Fuel costs add up, and totaling fill-ups over a year or more of driving can reveal eye-popping sums. It’s cash that could be spent on having fun, but instead just gets blown out the tailpipe. Besides helping the environment, value is often why drivers prefer fuel efficient cars. So which new cars are efficient and good values?
Tapping its decades of experience, IntelliChoice has announced the Best Overall Value winners for 2020, and a number of fuel-efficient models make the list. Fuel costs, however, are only part of a car’s value equation. Insurance, repairs, maintenance, financing, state fees, and depreciation also play into a car’s overall ownership costs. In fact, these are factors that IntelliChoice, part of the MotorTrend Group, takes into account when calculating car values.
Keep reading to learn which vehicles sip fuel and excel in IntelliChoice’s other criteria, making them great values in the long run.
2020 BMW 530i
BMW’s iconic midsize sedan is known for performance, luxury, and technology—but efficiency? In the case of the 530i, yes (other 5er variants, not so much). With its turbo-four engine it scores a 25/33 mpg city/highway EPA fuel economy rating, which leads to an estimated $8,308 five-year fuel total. Over its year in the MotorTrend long-term test fleet, we found the 530i to live up to its heritage as a comfortable, luxurious, and high-tech cruiser, but its dynamics left us wanting more. At least it was reasonably efficient.
2020 Lexus NX 300h
The Lexus NX 300h wins IntelliChoice’s 2020 Best Overall Value Award for Premium Vehicles. This award considers all classes, and 2020 is the third year in a row the NX 300h has won it, and the eighth consecutive year for a Lexus. EPA-rated economy of 33/30 mpg gives the NX 300h a $6,096 five-year fuel cost estimate. That’s second-best in the Premium Compact Utility segment, bettered only by the smaller (and, frankly, not nearly as good) Lexus UX 250h. The Lexus NX’s nice handling, upscale materials, and edgy looks make it an enjoyable everyday SUV.
2020 Mini Convertible
The Mini Cooper Convertible’s engine is, well, mini. It’s a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder, which scores a 28/36 mpg EPA fuel economy rating. That helped it win IntelliChoice’s Best Overall Value Award for the Convertible class, as it costs about $7,359 to keep fueled over five years. Need more zing? The Cooper S Convertible packs a punchy 2.0-liter turbo-four, and also scores well in IntelliChoice’s rankings. It’s not much more expensive to fuel, at an estimated $7,854 over five years. Either way, these Minis provide open-air fun and long-term value in a small class.
2020 Honda Civic Coupe
Who says value-focused transportation can’t be fun? For decades, the Honda Civic has proven those aren’t mutually exclusive, and in 2020 the Coupe model wins IntelliChoice’s Best Overall Value Award in the Sporty Coupe segment. An EPA rating of up to 31/40 mpg with the 1.5T engine is good for any non-hybrid car, and the Civic Coupe is pretty fun to toss around, too. True, the Civic Si Coupe is even sportier, but it’s way more expensive to keep fueled. Over five years, the Si will burn about $7,378 worth of gas, while the standard Civic Coupe uses just $5,346.
2020 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
Always on the verge of luxury, the Toyota Avalon now also feels somewhat lively in its latest iteration. For 2020, the Avalon Hybrid earns IntelliChoice’s Best Overall Value Award for Premium Passenger cars. That factors its 43/43 mpg fuel economy rating toward $4,393 fuel and $44,555 total ownership costs over five years. The standard Avalon’s five-year total ownership cost is $47,501, and much more of that goes to fuel: it costs $7,100 to keep gassed up over the same period.
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
Although the Prius is synonymous with fuel efficiency, it’s not the only affordable small Toyota on this list. In its debut year, the Corolla Hybrid took IntelliChoice’s Best Overall Value Award in the Compact Passenger Car class. It has an EPA fuel economy rating of 53/52 mpg city/highway, and a $3,622 anticipated five-year fuel cost total. That compares to 30/38 mpg and $5,583 for the standard Corolla with a 1.8-liter engine. True, the Corolla Hybrid’s initial purchase price is higher, but still bests the standard Corolla’s estimated five-year ownership cost, at $28,943 against $30,291.
2020 Toyota Prius
How does 58/53 mpg appeal to you? The Prius is built for efficiency, so it’s no surprise it makes this list. For 2020 it’s the Best Overall Value winner for Passenger Cars, but that’s not the Prius’ only accolade this year. For a decade now, this popular hybrid has won its class’ awards for Lowest Fuel Cost ($3,695) and Lowest Operating Cost ($6,532) in the five-year timeframe IntelliChoice uses for calculations. Although the Prius is no sports car, it posted a surprising result in our figure-eight test.
Best Fuel Efficient Car Values for 2020:
- BMW 530i
- Lexus NX 300h
- Mini Convertible (Cooper trim)
- Honda Civic Coupe
- Toyota Avalon Hybrid
- Toyota Corolla Hybrid
- Toyota Prius