Fast lane: Top 10 fuel-saving cars

With the cost of fuel rising to levels the rest of the world endures as a matter of course, people are beginning to consider petrol mileage when purchasing a car. Here is a list of the 10 best fuel-sippers, but with a difference. Since the most economical cars don’t always fit everyone’s needs we’ve chosen 10 automobiles that combine fuel saving with what consumers really want in a car. (Note: Automatics will use slightly more fuel than manuals.)

1) Toyota Prius:

A hybrid petrol-electric, the Prius wins for the way its second-generation technology has been presented in an attractive hatch/sedan envelope that delivers big in comfort and convenience. Yes, it actually gets better mileage in city driving

2) Honda Civic Hybrid:

Obviously the hybrids take first in class but Honda has chosen to offer its advanced technology in a well-known and respected family sedan, rather than create a purpose-built vehicle like the Prius.

3) Volkswagen Golf TDI, aka New Beetle TDI, aka Jetta TDI:

We’ve combined these three diesels because they’re built on the same platform and use the same advanced technology. Diesel proponents claim to nearly equal hybrid mileage figures without complex and potentially costly battery/electronic systems.

4) Mini Cooper:

As proof that you can still have fun while saving on fuel, the Mini Cooper stands alone. Corners like a go-kart, holds four people and a little luggage, perfect for the city, no slouch on the expressway

5) Hyundai Elantra:

Compact on the outside yet listed by the EPA as a midsize car because of a spacious interior. 4-cylinder engine is big on power while sipping fuel. Plus it offers a powertrain warranty that protects the buyer for ten years.

6) Ford Focus Station Wagon:

Any of the Focus lineup could make this list now that the car has overcome its quality problems. But the wagon is versatile while retaining the edge in handling that makes it a delight to drive. A new engine for 2005 makes it even better.

7) Honda Accord 4-Cylinder:

Easy to recommend as a great family car, but what you may not realise is that the Accord’s 4-cylinder engine has all the power most families need, unless they’re towing Airstream trailers.

8) Nissan Altima:

Nissan has proven that style need not be ignored when buying a family car, for the Altima is both beautiful and practical. But forget the V-6 and opt for the 4-cylinder engine. Torque is what matters and the 4-cylinder Altima has plenty.

9) Chevrolet Malibu MAXX:

A real winner in our book for providing a spacious, versatile interior within an intelligently-sized exterior that looks bigger than it really is. The V-6 engine is powerful and powers past the petrol pumps, too.

10) Buick LeSabre:

Best-seller in its class and for good reason. Behind the restrained, tasteful styling is a car that delivers a comfortable ride with remarkable fuel economy from an old-fashioned pushrod V-6. Rates high in quality, too.