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the best and the worst
|The following cars are the most fuel-efficient 2008 model year vehicles, as determined by the EPA.
Best fuel efficiency:
1. Toyota Prius Hybrid (48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway) -- (pictured above) The most popular hybrid car on the road today, this sedan is roomy and comfortable, and average on performance.
2. Honda Civic Hybrid (40/45) -- The Civic has Honda's sporty performance and handling, but is a bit lacking on acceleration. A very efficient car, but a bit small for families.
3. Nissan Altima Hybrid (36/42) -- One of the largest hybrids because it's a mid-size sedan, but rear seat room isn't a strong point for tall passengers. However, with 198 horsepower, it is one of the quickest hybrids.
4. Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute / Mercury Mariner hybrids (34/30) -- Roomy but not oversized compact SUV hybrids. Acceleration is leisurely, with only 133 horsepower.
5. Toyota Camry Hybrid (33/34) -- Refined, roomy, and practical. Conservative styling and performance.
6. Toyota Yaris manual transmission (29/36) -- One of the fuel-thrifty trio (with the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa) of small Japanese economy cars that arrived about a year ago. Toyota's smallest car, but room for four 6-footers. Has a small, hardworking four-cylinder engine.
7. Toyota Yaris automatic (29/35) -- Same as the manual but with less driving effort -- and a little less performance.
8. Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner and Mazda Tribute hybrids with four-wheel drive (29/27) -- All the benefits and drawbacks of the No. 4 models, but with traction of four-wheel drive.
9. Toyota Corolla-manual transmission (28/37) -- The all-time best-seller, even topping the Ford Model T and original Volkswagen Beetle. Long-lived and a good ride, but just average handling.
10. Honda Fit-manual transmission (28/34) -- Most fun of the Japanese economy-car trio. Honda's smallest model but very space-efficient. Still, even the Honda Civic feels more substantial.
** SmartCar forTwo (33/41) -- The 5-speed automated manual transmission has no clutch pedal and can be used in manual or automatic mode. Its tiny size lets it be parked almost anywhere. (Arrived too late to be included in EPA's most recent survey.)
Highest Fuel Economy Models by Vehicle Class
Most if not all of these models are toys for the rich. While the cliche, "If you can afford the car you can afford the gas" may apply, the environmental costs need also be considered.
2. Bugatti Veyron (8/14) -- Very classy, exquisite interior, but you'll pay for gas and insurance.
3. Lamborghini Murcielago manual (9/14) -- Barely better mileage than the automatic.
4. Bentley Azure/Arnage RL (9/15) -- Azure is a large four-seat convertible; Arnage is big, less sporty but also awesomely fast sedan. If you can afford either, whatever gas costs shouldn't bother you.
5. Ferrari 612 Scaglietti automatic (9/16) -- Fuel economy aside, one of Ferrari's most-practical cars, with seating for four and a decent-size trunk. Less attractive than other Ferraris.
6. Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder manual, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti manual, Bentley Arnage automatic (10/15) -- Entering the territory of the fuel economy of the biggest luxury SUVs -- which is all they have in common.
7. Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Aston Martin DB9 Coupe and Volante and Mercedes-Benz Maybach 57, 57S, 62 and 62S (10/16) -- How the "other half" lives -- or drives.
8. Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe manual, Bentley Continental GT, GTC and Flying Spur automatics (10/17) -- All the virtues of the above Lamborghinis --and all the vices.
9. Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG (11/13) -- Any model from Mercedes's AMG hot rod division is fast, exclusive and costly.
10. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRTS four-wheel drive (with 6.1 liter hemi) and Mercedes-Benz ML 163 AMG (11/14) -- Plenty of power and SUV utility, but prohibitively expensive on gas.
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