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5 Of The Most Fuel Efficient Used Sedans You Should Be Shopping For

A grey 2022 Honda Civic Si driving on a highway overlooking the city.

When you're shopping around a used car dealership for a vehicle with good fuel economy, you want something worthwhile and reliable. Because so many drivers make fuel economy a priority when they shop for an economy sedan, Car manufacturers have listened and made their sedans much more efficient over the past several years. But, in addition to fuel economy, what are you looking for in a car to commute with? Here are five used sedans that you should absolutely look at if you're on a budget and shopping for a cost-effective, fuel-efficient vehicle:

1. The Honda Civic Sedan

The models available throughout the tenth and eleventh generation of the Honda Civic make for excellent options when you're shopping for a used sedan. You get a sedan that is super affordable and extremely fuel efficient. As a compact sedan, it has a maximum range of over 30 MPG in the city and over 42 MPG on the highway. Eleventh-generation Civics come with a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. This provides you with a lot of range on a gas-powered vehicle.

Even if you opt for a slightly older, 10th-generation Civic Sedan, you can expect to get excellent mileage. With a recent-vintage gas-powered sedan, you won't have trouble finding parts or getting it serviced if you ever run into trouble. Repairs will not be expensive.

The Civic is great if you're looking for a really affordable and very reliable compact sedan. Is it great for larger families? Maybe not so much, but as a starter vehicle, an economy car for daily driving, or a work vehicle for long-range commuting, the Civic is a surefire pick. You can find the Civic used—especially tenth and eleventh-generation models—for a fraction of the MSRP of new models, which makes for a great deal.

A grey 2022 Kia Forte GT parked at a used car dealership.

2. Kia Forte

Since 2018, the third-generation Kia Forte has been a dependable compact sedan for drivers who value fuel economy in a gas-powered vehicle with great features, space, and a cozy interior. Recent models are available with a 10.25-inch infotainment suite, making it quite a catch. The Forte has some of the best fuel economy in the segment without sharing power between a battery and an internal combustion engine—it's all gas-powered. The third-generation Forte models from 2018 onward have an EPA mileage rating of about 30 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway, with a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine. It has standard front-wheel drive and is paired with a continuously variable transmission. While a manual six-speed transmission is available, you won't get the same level of fuel economy out of it as you would from the automatic.

The Forte is one of the most desirable compact sedans on the market when it comes to fuel economy because of just how affordable it is, even brand new. Buying a used model could easily be one of the best economic decisions you could make. You would save money opting for a used Forte, both in upfront costs and in long-term savings with the fuel economy. The Forte is a relatively standard-looking sedan, so it's not as aesthetically distinct as the Civic, but it gets the job done for what it's intended to do.

3. Volkswagen Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta has been a long-running sedan since 1979, making it one of the longest-running compact sedan nameplates in the industry. Regardless of the overall reputation of the company in the eyes of consumers, the Volkswagen Jetta has consistently managed to maintain a solid reputation for its fuel economy and long travel distances.

The seventh generation Volkswagen Jetta (from 2019 onward), in particular, is the one that offers you the most modern amenities, including digital gauge clusters, an available eight-inch touchscreen, and the latest in safety assists and driving aids. This sedan is also nimble on the road, and if you opt for the 1.4L turbocharged inline four-cylinder, you can expect affordable fuel economy. When configured as a six-speed manual transmission, you can see up to 30 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway.

Not everyone is keen on driving a manual, so you can opt for an eight-speed automatic transmission, but you will see a decrease in estimated fuel economy down to around 25 MPG in the city and just over 30 MPG on the highway. Additionally, the automatic is only available with the 2.0-liter powertrain. With this sedan, you get a turbocharged powertrain, good infotainment and safety features, and excellent gas mileage. It is a solid choice for a small family car.

A blue 2022 Toyota Corolla XSE driving on a city street.

4. Toyota Corolla

Toyota has a well-established reputation for making some of the most reliable and long-lasting vehicles on the market, whether you buy them new or used. So, opting for a Toyota Corolla from a used car dealership already comes with the perks of being a used vehicle from a reliable name-brand automaker. The added benefit of the Corolla is that it has some of the best fuel economy in its segment, so you have both a reliable and long-range car without the worry of an extra battery pack or alternative fuel sources.

The eleventh and twelfth-generation iterations of the Corolla make for good shopping options because they're new enough that you can get many modern-day features but old enough to have a very low price. You can also expect a fuel economy of around 30 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway thanks to a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder that makes 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. The cargo volume is right in line with the Jetta and the Forte, while you still have access to a decent infotainment suite with an eight-inch screen for the twelfth-gen models.

The mixture of solid interior convenience features, a modest trim line, and decent performance all add to the Corolla's value. You get good long-range capabilities out of the Corolla without any major downsides. If you're looking for a highly reliable vehicle that will give you good service for years, the Corolla could definitely be the way to go.

5. Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is a compact sedan with outstanding fuel economy; not just good fuel economy, but some of the best overall fuel economy in the compact segment. The 2021 Elantra, for instance, has an EPA mileage rating of 33 MPG in the city and 43 MPG on the highway. While the hybrid electric Elantra offers the best overall fuel economy out of any recent model year offering, it's the 2.0L naturally aspirated inline four-cylinder that gets you the next best fuel economy. With a continuously variable transmission, that engine gets you 147 hp and 132 lb-0ft of torque. All of that while having an eyebrow-raisingly low price tag.

The added benefit of the Elantra is that seventh-gen models come with the available 10.25-inch HD touchscreen, outstanding infotainment and safety tech, and 14.2 cu.ft. of cargo space. And that's not to mention that the Elantra looks exceptionally sleek. You get a great-looking compact sedan at a very low price, impressive tech, and some of the best fuel economy on the market across the board. The Elantra is definitely a worthwhile pick if you can get your hands on one for daily driving and long commutes.