The best mid-size cars for gas mileage

Written by richard rowe
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The best mid-size cars for gas mileage
cars (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Though the hunt for great fuel economy is endemic in today's automotive industry, the mid-size class is where the battle transitions from academic to cutthroat. Though mileage is not necessarily a discriminating factor when shopping for trucks, performance cars or luxury cars, it's a make or break issue on family-oriented mid-sizers.

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Toyota Prius

All else aside, the Toyota Prius is the sitting emperor of EPA mileage. Toyota's 48 city/51 highway figures scream from the window sticker in 24-point bold print.

However, investigation past the bold print will reveal a number of flaws in the Prius. First, that MSRP is only the suggested retail price, which is often a great deal less than any given dealer will ask for with high demand items like the Prius. Additionally, the Prius accelerates a bit slower than a 1976 Chevy Chevette, and actual observed mileage figures are only a little higher than a Honda Civic Si's (autotropolis.com).

The best mid-size cars for gas mileage
prius (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Ford Fusion Hybrid

The Fusion may have been Hecho in Mexico, but this mid-size wonder is storming America like a blitzkrieg. The Fusion's less-impressive-than-Prius 41mpg won't win you any arguments, but it does have one major trump card. Reports indicate that, unlike the Prius, Fusion Hybrids will actually get better mileage than their EPA estimates imply. Significantly better.

In a recent test by treehugger.com, one Fusion Hybrid averaged a staggering 81.4mpg on a 1000-mile test drive. That's Orlando, Florida, to Wichita, Kansas, on about £29 in gas. It would probably be more expensive to walk.

The Fusion is more than a jaw-dropping number generator, though. This Ford has all-wheel drive and a respectable 16.4-second quarter-mile time. That makes it at least as performance-oriented as a V8 Ford Explorer, with four times better fuel mileage.

The best mid-size cars for gas mileage
ford (Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Chevy Malibu Hybrid

If you're beginning to sense a theme here, it's because American cars are coming back in a big way. At 34mpg (close to 40 when driven economically), it's one of the few contenders for the Fusion's stateside crown.

GM has hyped the Malibu with more enthusiasm than Don King, and it's not alone. "The New York Times" referred to the Malibu as a "super-Accord, but from GM." "Motor Trend" rated it higher than Accord and Camry in its 2008 Car of the Year Awards, and "Car and Driver" warned Camry to "beware." The Malibu also took home top honours at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and Malibu sales have almost exceeded GM's capacity to build them.

The best mid-size cars for gas mileage
Malibu (Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

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