Top Ten

The 10 Most Fuel-efficient New Cars That Aren't Hybrids

Use less gas without an electric motor.

By Evan Williams Wheels.ca

Jan 26, 2023 5 min. read

Article was updated 10 months ago

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Nearly everyone wants to use less fuel, but not everyone wants to drive a hybrid or an EV. We get it, hybrids can sip gas, but they aren't the same as a pure gas car or crossover. They can cost more, be more complex, and just not offer the same feel. We're here to help Canadian drivers who want to save money at the pumps without getting a hybrid. So here are the 10 most fuel-efficient new cars you can buy that aren't hybrids.

Nissan Kicks: 6.6L/100km Hwy

7.7 city, 7.2 comb

Nissan Kicks

Yes, you can get a crossover and still be on the list of the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars that aren't hybrids. How does Nissan do it? The 1.6L engine helps, making 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. A CVT helps, but the Kicks' small size and front-wheel drive do much of the work. AWD would offer more traction on a slippery day, but the extra weight, drag, and friction cut into fuel economy (as well as interior space). Adding to its impressive fuel economy, a starting price of $20,998 makes this one of the most affordable new vehicles on the market.

2023 Kia Rio: 6.1L/100km Hwy

7.2 city, 6.7 combined

Kia Rio most fuel-efficient new cars

Kia's smallest model is also its most fuel-efficient model that's not a hybrid. The Rio instead uses a 120 hp 1.6L four-cylinder engine and a CVT to help deliver its fuel economy. The Rio might be small, but it is well equipped including heated seats and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Kia's manual transmission is $1,000 cheaper but manages just 7.1/6.1/7.0 L/100 km

2023 Kia Forte: 6.0L/100km Hwy

8.2 city, 7.2 combined

2023 Kia Forte

Kia's compact Forte sedan uses a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that makes 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. There's no high-tech wizardry here, and you'll find that's common to most of this list. Instead, a highly efficient CVT with torque converter and light weight help the Forte deliver its fuel economy figures. Even the entry-level Forte LX offers useful features like heated seats and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2023 Nissan Sentra: 6.0L/100km Hwy

8.0 city, 7.1 combined

Nissan Sentra
Much like the Kia above it on the list, the Nissan Sentra has a 2.0L four-cylinder and a CVT. This one makes 149 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. The continuously variable transmission helps make vehicles more efficient by letting the engine run at a more optimal RPM in nearly every driving scenario. Low revs on the highway and in the power band for acceleration. You'll see plenty of them on this list, and for reference, the six-speed manual Sentra is rated at 9.2/6.2/7.9.

2023 Honda Civic: 6.0L/100km Hwy

7.7 city, 6.9 combined

Honda Civic most fuel efficient new cars

Impressively, Honda offers two different engines in the Civic and despite big differences in power and torque the fuel economy is nearly the same. The 158 hp 2.0L four found in LX through Sport trims has an estimated 7.7/6.0/6.9 city/highway/combined, and the Touring's 180 hp 1.5L turbo-four offers 7.6/6.1/6.9. The Civic is also offered as a hatchback with a 7.1 L/100 km combined rating. Blame the slightly less aerodynamic hatchback shape, but the cargo capacity benefits are large.

2023 Nissan Versa: 5.9L/100km Hwy

7.4 city, 6.7 combined

Nissan Versa most fuel-efficient new cars

Nissan offers the Versa S with a manual or a CVT automatic, both for the same $18,298 starting price. What's the difference? The manual transmission uses about a litre more fuel per 100 km on each of the three test cycles. Versa's 122 hp 1.6L four holds the key to this model's fuel economy success, along with that transmission. Though this is a low-dollar car, it is big on driver aids including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, and lane departure warnings. Combine those with the fuel economy and you have an excellent commuting car.

2023 Volkswagen Jetta: 5.7L/100km Hwy

7.7 city, 6.8 combined

VW Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta is the largest vehicle on this list, giving you more car for every litre of gas. That includes nearly 400 litres of trunk space in a car that comes standard with heated seats, heated steering wheel, and LED lights. The Jetta is powered by a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 158 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, and it's linked with an eight-speed automatic. The six-speed manual transmission has a 7.0 L/100 km combined economy estimate.

2023 Toyota Corolla: 5.7L/100km Hwy

7.4 city, 6.7 combined

toyota corolla

The best-selling car in the country last year, the Toyota Corolla is known for being frugal at the pumps as well as popular in the parking lot. The Corolla comes with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that makes 169 hp this year and, like most of the list, has a CVT. The Corolla hybrid might offer better fuel economy, but the gas version is around $2,000 cheaper. That makes the gas-powered offering quite appealing if you want to use less fuel but aren't doing big distances every year.

2023 Mitsubishi Mirage: 5.6L/100km Hwy

6.6 city, 6.2 combined

2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage is the smallest new car you can buy in Canada. It's also got one of the smallest engines and the lowest window sticker price. So it's not much of a surprise that the Mirage also gets better fuel economy on the combined cycle than any other gas car you can buy this year. The CVT-equipped model gets the fuel economy figure in the heading, but even the manual transmission version is a fuel-sipper with 7.1/5.8/6.5 combined. The 1.2L three-cylinder only makes 78 hp, but in a car that only weighs 1,320 kilos that's enough for most driving. The Mirage makes up for the power figure with a very tight turning circle and more equipment than you'd expect at this size and price.

2023 Hyundai Elantra: 5.5L/100km Hwy

7.1 city, 6.4 combined

Hyundai Elantra most fuel efficient new cars

The compact Hyundai Elantra offers the second-best combined fuel economy of any non-hybrid car in Canada for 2023 and the best highway rating, an impressive number for a car that's far from the smallest on the list. The Elantra gets a 2.0L four-cylinder that makes 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque paired with a CVT. The Elantra has some of the sharpest styling on this list, and we mean that literally. The inside is top-notch too, with even the basic model getting heated front seats and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


We used Natural Resources Canada's Fuel Consumption Ratings search tool, the official Government of Canada fuel economy ratings. The results were sorted using the combined cycle and ties were decided according to the NRCan table. If a vehicle wasn't listed, we used the automaker's website for ratings.




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