Part 4 Includes: Ford and Volkswagen
This post is the fourth in my series highlighting the best cars that get over 30 miles per gallon (combined city and highway). If you missed them, click here for Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3
Until pure electric technology improves, we can look to traditional cars with internal combustion engines with high fuel efficiency/economy as a temporary solution or at least movement in the right direction. This series features some of the most popular and affordable of these such cars. Part 1 covered Toyota's 30mpg+ models; Part 2 covered Chevy, Dodge, GMC, and Buick; Part 3 covered Honda and Nissan; this post will continue the discussion.
The Fiesta belongs to the growing subcompact family along with the Chevy Spark. The Fiesta is a very small car. With that said, my friend and I actually rode in one during an Uber ride last week and I was shocked by how spacious the interior is despite its overall smallness. This car does indeed have 5 seats. I am not sure how your kids would enjoy it over the weekend, but it's workable for 30 minutes to few hours.
MPG: 31 city / 43 highway --> 36.7 combined MPG
2016 YTD US Sales: 42,188 units
I will reiterate that the Fiesta doesn't actually feel that small on the inside. I sat in the back alone which was fine, and my friend who is almost 6' sat in the passenger seat and was comfortable. Also, for how cheap this little guy is, the speakers, media system, and other features were pretty impressive.
The Focus is to the Fiesta what the Chevy Sonic is to the Spark -- a slightly bigger model with the same idea: smaller is better. A compact car (instead of a "subcompact car"), the Focus will still probably be the smallest car you've ever owned, but hey, maybe that's ok when you factor in the fuel savings. belongs to the growing subcompact family along with the Chevy Spark. The Fiesta is a very small car. With that said, my friend and I actually rode in one during an Uber ride last week and I was shocked by how spacious the interior is despite its overall smallness. This car does indeed have 5 seats. I am not sure how your kids would enjoy it over the weekend, but it's workable for 30 minutes to few hours.
MPG: 30 city / 42 highway --> 35.7 combined MPG
2016 YTD US Sales: 149,417 units
The Focus comes in both a sedan and hatchback model. My mom and I rented one for our college road trip and we drove in it for about 15 hours total. It is a fun little car to drive and I didn't 'hate' it, although it was definitely not the best ride I've ever experienced, obviously. Also, the front wheel drive did not perform well going up steep hills, fyi. Finally, the Focus comes in an adorable souped-up model with 350 hp and 350lb-ft of torque... now that is my kind of car.
Ford C-Max Hybrid
The Ford C-Max is a hybrid with similar technology to the Toyota Prius: a 'passive' (in that you don't charge it directly) electric battery that kicks in at low speeds and while idling. Though the C-Max is, in many ways, Ford's shameless attempt to get a slice of Prius sales, it is slightly different. For one, it has a lower fuel economy. Second, it is slightly taller. I have never been inside of one, so I can't say if it is technically bigger, but it's rounded top is physically taller than the Prius' somewhat flat top.
MPG: 42 city / 37 highway --> 40 combined MPG
2016 YTD US Sales: 16,118 units
The C-Max features the same SYNC media technology display as other Ford models. Also, an interesting note, it only costs $3,000 extra to upgrade to the Titanium package, complete with an upgraded audio system and leather seats.
Ford Trucks and SUVs
Alas, again, I regret to inform that Ford doesn't currently produce an SUV or Truck that gets over 30mpg combined. With that said, Ford's smaller SUVs, such as the Escape and the Edge get 30mpg on the highway.
Barely sliding into the club at 30 combined MPG is the VW Golf. As VW's compact car, its price tag sits comfortably above that of its competitors, ensured by the renowned quality of VW's German engineering. While the following statements are by no means to be taken as definitive fact, I have experienced two types of VWs in my life. One is my good friend's VW Golf which is coming up on 185,000 miles and feels like it just hit 100,000. [Fact, VW has the highest number of high-mileage vehicles on the road, or something like that, read it in a dealership brochure lol]. The other is the type of VW a handful of people I have known have had. They said it hits the shop hard and fast and costs a lot of money. But while it's on the road, it's the best car they've ever driven.
MPG: 25 city / 36 highway --> 30 combined MPG
2016 YTD US Sales: 46,235 units
The Golf is a fun, peppy car with an impressive 170hp... given its small size, that is an excitingly powerful engine!
The Jetta is another one of those vehicles with a special place in the hearts of American drivers... or maybe just mine, I don't know. Jetta's are simply beautiful. Its clean lines, combined with a comfortable interior, combined with remarkable 1.4L engine make it a serious contender for the top on any small-sedan research list.
MPG: 28 city / 40 highway --> 33.7 combined MPG
2016 YTD US Sales: 97,811 units
Priced within range of others in its class (the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, etc), the Jetta is an enjoyable, well-made car. A valid concern I've heard about buying VW's, however, is that their repairs cost illogically more than those of American and Japanese cars, so buyer beware.
Patrizio Murdocca is Chief Web Architect at Drover Rideshare, a student at Vanderbilt University, and President of Interfaced Ministries.