According to a recent Consumer Report newsletter, buying a used 5-year-old non-hybrid compact car can save you a significant amount of money due to its depreciation factor has passed over the years, but is still young enough to have, “…many of the modern convenience and entertainment features found in brand-new models but at a lower price.”
The other perk with these particular models is that in a searchable database from Consumer Reports you can find out not only the pricing when new and the mileage CR analysts measured with each model, but more importantly, all of the issues (if any) consumers experienced during the first few years of ownership.
To help consumers find the choices in this category of vehicles, CR analysts have assembled a list of the most fuel-efficient 5-year-old, non-hybrid compact cars that have a history of reliability that meet their recommendation standards for consumers. Plus, the listing also makes a good comparison for their brand new reliable and fuel-efficient compact SUV recommendations released earlier this year.
The only caveat to any of these choices is that before buying, you must always ensure it has been well-maintained by hiring a trusted mechanic or learning how to do your own used car inspection before sealing the deal.
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That said, here is a summary of their listing that includes the biggest perks (aside from price) each vehicle has to offer to its new owner.
Used Compact Cars with the Best Fuel Economy
Toyota Yaris iA 2018
Price Range: $12,975 - $13,500
Owner Reported MPG: 35 mpg
Biggest perk(s): 35 mpg overall from its 1.5-liter four-cylinder, paired with a six-speed automatic. Low-speed FCW and a backup camera are standard.
Honda Fit 2018
Price Range: $14,300 - $18,300
Owner Reported MPG: 35 mpg
Biggest perk(s): 33mpg overall fuel economy, incredible space efficiency, and interior versatility, thanks to multiple rear-seat configurations.
Toyota Yaris 2018
Price Range: $11,675 - $15,650
Owner Reported MPG: N/A
Biggest perk(s): efficient fuel economy of 32 mpg overall keeps operating costs low, and the car’s tidy dimensions make it easy to park.
Mazda 3 2018
Price Range: $14,175 - $18,725
Owner Reported MPG: 29 mpg
Biggest perk(s): A “sprightly yet efficient” 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with six-speed automatic transmission that got 33 mpg overall in CR tests (32 with manual stick).
Hyundai Elantra 2018
Price Range: $11,950 - $16,075
Owner Reported MPG: 32 mpg
Biggest perk(s): At 33 mpg overall, the Hyundai is on a par with the nonhybrid fuel misers of the era. Look for versions with the optional FCW, AEB, and BSW recommends CR analysts.
Kia Forte 2018
Price Range: $11,400 - $15,425
Owner Reported MPG: 30 mpg
Biggest perk(s): A competitive 33 mpg overall from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Look for an S or EX trim, which were available with FCW, AEB, and BSW recommends CR analysts.
Toyota Corolla 2018
Price Range: $15,075 - $17,150
Owner Reported MPG: 31 mpg
Biggest perk(s): The interior room rivals that of some midsized sedans—but still returns a frugal 32 mpg overall (43 mpg on highway) from its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission.
Be sure to check out other recent CR-related articles that cover:
- Popular Small SUVs to Avoid and What to Buy Instead Advises Consumer Reports
- 10 Cheap Cars That Consumer Reports Recommends
- Reliable New Cars and SUVs Under $30,000 Recommended by Consumer Reports
Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.
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