With rising gas prices and no sign of it slowing down, fuel efficiency is back in the forefront of car buyers’ minds. Sure, it would be ideal to buy an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), but not everyone can plug in every night.
With fuel economy in Canada as high as it is, we’ve compiled a list of the most fuel-efficient cars in each class that don’t require a plug to deliver their stellar fuel economy.
Two-seaters are often small performance vehicles, but some two-seat models are designed purely for fuel efficiency. Let’s review the two-seat models with the best fuel economy in Canada.
Today’s Honda Insight is a four-door sedan, but the original was a two-seat coupe with a clear focus on efficiency. Its three-cylinder engine and electric motor churned out just 71-73 horsepower and 79-89 pound-feet of torque, but its fuel consumption rating, according to Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCAN) fuel-consumption guide, is 4.5 L/100 km combined. This makes it the most fuel-efficient two-seater in Canada.
The quirky smart fortwo was always designed for fuel efficiency, but the automaker’s diesel model, the CDI, pushed this even further. It includes a 799 cc engine that delivers just 40 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission.
While its power is low, its 4.7 L/100 km combined fuel consumption rating makes it the second-most-fuel-efficient two-seater in Canada.
Designed as the spiritual successor to the cult-classic Honda CRX of the 1980s and 90s, the CR-Z boasts a sporty design. But don’t let its looks fool you: this sporty hybrid is more “fuel miser” than performance model. Its 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine and electric motor deliver just 130 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque.
The CR-Z excelled at being a performance-looking vehicle with above-average fuel-consumption ratings of 6.3-6.4 L/100 km.
The subcompact class is chock-full of tiny cars designed to haul people without breaking the bank at the dealership or the fuel pump. These are the most fuel-efficient models in this class.
The most fuel-efficient model in the subcompact class wore many names. From 1995 through 1997, it was called either the Geo Metro or Pontiac Firefly. After eliminating the Geo Line, it became the Chevrolet Metro or Pontiac Firefly in 1998.
Available as a hatchback or convertible, this subcompact car came with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine that delivered 55-75 horsepower, depending on the year and trim. Its main focus was efficiency, as it delivered a combined fuel consumption rating of 5.9 L/100 km.
Though VW was put through the wringer for its emissions-cheating TDI engine lineup, there’s no denying this engine delivered great fuel economy. From 1999 through 2003 the funky New Beetle had this engine as an option, and it delivered 90 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque.
While the power numbers were unimpressive, its fuel-consumption ratings were anything but. It consumed just 6.1 litres of fuel per 100 km combined. This makes it the second-most fuel-efficient subcompact car in Canada.
The Scion iQ would never win a beauty contest, but its funky design certainly earned it its fair share of stares. This model included a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine that delivered 94 horsepower, making it rather slow. However, speed was never the iQ’s focus. Its best attribute is its fuel efficiency, which stands at 6.2 L/100 km.
Compact cars, like subcompacts, are designed to haul people and items without costing too much to buy or fuel. However, compacts offer just a bit more interior space.
The Toyota Corolla has always been one of the more thrifty compact cars, but when the hybrid variant debuted in 2020, it reached new heights. While the 121-horsepower from its electric motor and 1.8-litre gasoline engine won’t win it any drag races, it does deliver in fuel economy. Its combined fuel-consumption ratings check in at just 4.5 L/100km.
In the mid-2010s, the Prius came in three variants, the Prius c being the smallest of the bunch. The runt of the litter produced just 99 horsepower from its 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine and electric motor, but it wasn’t designed for power. Instead, this small hybrid car was designed for efficiency, and it delivered with a combined fuel-consumption rating of just 4.7 L/100 km.
The Honda Insight returns to our list, but this time in its more current sedan garb. The 2021 Honda Insight Touring, which is closely related to the Honda Civic, has a combined 151 horsepower, which delivers decent straight-line acceleration. But its best attribute is its combined fuel-consumption rating, which checks in at just 4.9 L/100 km, making it the third-most-fuel-efficient Canadian compact car.
Midsize cars offer plenty of room for the whole family and their luggage, without the large footprint of a full-size vehicle. However, with this extra size comes increased fuel consumption. That said, these family cars still throw out some impressive fuel-efficiency ratings.
The Hyundai Elantra Blue boasts a sharp design that grabs attention and comes standard with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, which pairs with an electric motor to produce 139 horsepower. But while its power is just adequate, its fuel economy leads the class at 4.4 L/100 km.
In 2016, the Toyota Prius underwent a full redesign, but it remained a leader in fuel consumption. With just 121 horsepower, the Prius isn’t an overly engaging car to drive, but that’s far from its focus. Instead, Toyota turned most of its attention to fuel consumption, giving the new Prius a combined rating of 4.4-4.5 L/100 km with front-wheel drive and 4.7-4.8 L/100 km with all-wheel drive (AWD).
Honda Sneaks into the No. 3 spot on the midsize list with its 2014 Accord Hybrid. This model combines all the roominess and comfort of the standard Accord with the fuel efficiency of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors. Combined, this powertrain delivers 196 horsepower while consuming just 4.8 litres of gasoline per 100 km.
Full-size vehicles are for folks who need a lot of room for their families and luggage but prefer not to get a station wagon, crossover, or minivan. Here are the most efficient vehicles in this class.
The Hyundai IONIQ Blue comes with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that pairs with an electric motor for a combined 139 horsepower. That’s ample power for a car this size, but its real shining achievement is its low fuel-consumption rating of 4-4.4 L/100 km.
The most recent Honda Accord grew up a bit and now falls into the full-size class, and its hybrid model is among the most fuel efficient cars in the segment. It consumes just 5-5.1 litres of gasoline per 100 km driven. It’s also one of the more powerful hybrids in this class with 212 combined horsepower.
Note that the Sport and Touring trim levels are not included here, as they consume fuel at a rate of 5.5 L/100km.
The 2020-2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid gives the Accord Hybrid a run for its money in the power department at 192 horsepower. While that’s not a lot of power for the typical full-size car, it is considering it’s a fuel-sipping hybrid. It consumes gasoline at a rate of 5 L/100 km combined.
Station wagons are the ultimate combination of sedan and crossover, giving ample room for cargo in the back and passengers in the front. Station wagons aren’t common these days. In fact, NRCAN lists only two.
The Kia Niro is arguably a crossover, but NRCAN classifies it as a station wagon. It boasts a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that pairs with an electric motor to deliver 139 horsepower. While that is OK power, its real benefit is its 1,790 litres of max cargo room and 4.6-5.54 L/100 km combined fuel consumption rating.
The largest of the 2010’s Prius models was the V station wagon. It delivers 134 horsepower from its 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain and swallows up to 1,906 litres of cargo with the rear seats folded. Those are all respectable numbers, plus its fuel-consumption rate is just 5.5-5.8 L/100 km.
Pickup trucks are rarely bought for their efficiency, but there are a few trucks in Canada that get respectable fuel economy. Here are the best.
The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid is one of the first-ever full-hybrid pickup trucks, but it also features up to a 680 kg payload capacity and a 907 kg towing capacity. While that may not be a lot for a pickup truck, it is when you consider its combined fuel-consumption rating is just 6.3 L/100 km. That’s 2.5 litres less than the second-best truck in efficiency.
In 2020, Chevy threw a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine in the Silverado 1500, which gave it 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This engine also afforded it up to a 4,218 kg towing capacity.
The 2020-2022 Silverado 1500 Diesel also delivers in fuel-efficiency with a combined consumption rate of just 8.8-8.9 L/100 km.
RAM also went diesel on its light-duty 1500 model, giving it a 3.0-litre turbo diesel six-cylinder engine with 260 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. With this diesel engine, the RAM 1500 can tow up to 12,500 pounds. On top of this, it delivers combined fuel-consumption ratings of 8.9-9 L/100 km.
SUVs have become all the rage these days, as many fall in the crossover category, providing the driving feel of a sedan with the roominess of an SUV. These are the most fuel-efficient models in the SUV class.
In 2020 the hybrid version of the all-new Escape debuted with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and electric motor that combine for 200 horsepower. This powertrain also delivers in efficiency, consuming 5.8 L/100 km with front-wheel drive and 5.9 L/100 km with AWD.
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid got a new, more aggressive design in 2019. It also got a more efficient powertrain. This powertrain not only churned out a healthy 219 horsepower, but it also delivered up fuel-consumption ratings as low as 6 L/100 km.
A cousin to the RAV4 Hybrid is the Lexus NX 350h. It uses the same 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain as the RAV4 Hybrid but has the power turned to 239 horsepower. Fuel economy matches the RAV4 at 6.0 L/100 km combined.
For larger families that a sedan or SUV just won’t work for, we have minivans. These large people haulers are rarely great in fuel economy, but recent hybridization has brought them a long way.
In 2021, the latest-generation Sienna debuted as a hybrid that combined a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. Paired up, this powertrain produces 243 horsepower. The big news, though, is its fuel economy, which checks in at 6.5-6.7 L/100 km
The next best minivan is a long drop, as the 2012-2017 Mazda5 with its 2.5-litre four-cylinder earned a fuel-consumption rating of 9.6-9.8 L/100 km combined. That’s over 3 litres more than the minivan efficiency leader.
Taking it back to before the new millennium brings us to our No. 3 most efficient minivan, the 1995-1996 VW Eurovan Diesel. With its 2.4-liter five-cylinder diesel engine, this van earned a fuel-consumption rating of 9.9 L/100 km combined.
At Clutch, Canada’s largest online used car retailer, we have a wide selection of fuel-efficient vehicles from which to choose. Plus, all of our vehicles have been through a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process to ensure they're in top-notch condition. We then back them with a 90-day (or 6,000 km) warranty for good measure.
At Clutch, You can shop 100% online for your next pre-owned vehicle and complete your purchase online too. We’ll secure your financing for your purchase, then deliver it straight to your door. We’ll even take your current vehicle as a trade-in and pick it up.
On top of all this convenience, Clutch also offers a 10-day or 750-km test-own period. Which means that if you don’t love your Clutch vehicle during this time, you can return it for a full refund or exchange it for another. No questions asked.
So check out our inventory of high-quality pre-owned vehicles and find the one best suited for you today.