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20 Family Cars With the Best Gas Mileage

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When it comes to buying a family car, don’t get anything that’s considered cheap. But at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money on a new vehicle. A great way to do this is to find an affordable family car with the best gas mileage.

Fuel costs can make a huge difference on your wallet in the long run. You would save $558 a year driving a 30 mpg vehicle versus a 20 mpg one, according to FuelEconomy.gov. For this reason, take a look at our list of the best family cars for gas mileage.

2017 Kia Sorento L (FWD)

  • Combined MPG: 24
  • City MPG: 21
  • Highway MPG: 28
  • Starting MSRP: $25,400

It’s tough finding an SUV that’s fuel-efficient and also one of the best family cars. The 2017 Kia Sorento makes it look easy, sporting SiriusXM radio capability even in its base L trim, which comes with automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

What the reviewers say: Overall, Kelley Blue Book liked the 2017 Kia Sorento but noted that competing vehicles like the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer were roomier, which can be an important factor when choosing a family car.

2017 Ford Fusion S

  • Combined MPG: 25
  • City MPG: 21
  • Highway MPG: 32
  • Starting MSRP: $22,120

The 2017 Fusion S comes with standard features such as SYNC voice recognition and entertainment system, convenient push-button ignition — no more turning the key — and rearview camera.

What the reviewers say: KBB could find little wrong with the 2017 Ford Fusion, calling it a practical and affordable family sedan.

2017 Chevrolet Impala LS

  • Combined MPG: 25
  • City MPG: 22
  • Highway MPG: 30
  • Starting MSRP: $27,300

The Chevrolet Impala comes standard with steering wheel controls for audio and communication systems, safety features like dual front and front seat-mounted airbags, as well as Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Another bonus is the Impala’s OnStar system with built-in WiFi hotspot so passengers can use mobile devices at lightning speed.

What the reviewers say: Edmunds.com took issue with the 2017 Impala’s unimpressive acceleration. Otherwise, it found the vehicle to be a solid family car that provides comfort, safety and plenty of space.

2016 Kia Soul Base

  • Combined MPG: 26
  • City MPG: 30
  • Highway MPG: 24
  • Starting MSRP: $15,900 for manual transmission; $17,400 for automatic transmission

The 2016 Kia Soul Base is one of the most affordable family cars — and the cheapest car on our list of family cars with the best gas mileage. It has the key safety features of a good family car, including rear child safety locks on the doors, three-point seat belts — versus just a lap belt — for all seats and full-length side airbags to keep front and rear passengers safe. Choosing automatic transmission adds $1,500 to the MSRP. The mpg is the same for manual and automatic transmission.

What the reviewers say: The main drawback KBB cited with the 2016 Kia Soul was that there’s no all-wheel drive option. But if you’re trying to save money on your family car, all-wheel drive options generally raise the price anyway.

2017 Toyota Camry LE

  • Combined MPG: 27
  • City MPG: 24
  • Highway MPG: 33
  • Starting MSRP: $23,070

Safety and reliability are at the heart of the 2017 Toyota Camry LE, offering relevant standard features when thinking about the best family cars: integrated backup camera, 10 airbags and touch screen display.

What the reviewers say: Edmunds.com faulted the 2017 Toyota for not having better fuel efficiency for a car in its class. Still, it found some positives: plenty of space, especially in the back seat, good sight lines and user-friendly controls.

2016 Chrysler 200 LX (FWD)

  • Combined MPG: 28
  • City MPG: 23
  • Highway MPG: 36
  • Starting MSRP: $21,995

The 2016 Chrysler 200 LX packs a lot of good standard features into a family sedan, including side-curtain front and rear airbags to keep all passengers safe, as well as a low starting MSRP and impressive mpg on the highway.

What the reviewers say: KBB called the Chrysler 200 an “elegant and luxurious contender” with a reasonable MSRP, but it has one of the smallest rear seats compared to competitors.

2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i

  • Combined MPG: 28
  • City MPG: 25
  • Highway MPG: 33
  • Starting MSRP: $24,995

The 2017 Outback is also available, but the 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i gets slightly better gas mileage: 33 highway mpg vs. the 2017 Outback’s 32 highway mpg.

What the reviewers say: Edmunds.com faulted the base trim 2.5i for its less-powerful engine, but otherwise highlighted features that you should look for in the best family cars — plenty of space, comfortable interior and top marks for safety.

Find Out: Most (and Least) Expensive States to Own a Car

2017 Subaru Forester 2.5i CVT

  • Combined MPG: 28
  • City MPG: 26
  • Highway MPG: 32
  • Starting MSRP: $23,595 for CVT

Even cheaper than the Outback, the 2017 Subaru Forester 2.5i has standard safety features like rear three-point center seatbelts and child safety rear-door locks. The real kicker to the Forester is it comes standard with all-wheel drive, making it a good choice for driving in poor weather conditions. You can get a Forester with manual transmission for a starting MSRP of $22,595, but it gets lower gas mileage — 22 city/29 highway — than the continuously variable transmission (CVT).

What the reviewers say: Edmunds.com highlighted many positive features that family car shoppers should look for: roomy interior, spacious enough for adults in both seating rows and great safety features.

2016 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E

  • Combined MPG: 29
  • City MPG: 25
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Starting MSRP: $36,150

Volvo has a reputation for making great vehicles, and the 2016 V60 T5 Drive-E is a prime example of one of the best family cars. The base trim, front-wheel drive Volvo V60 comes standard with keyless drive and rear parking-assist camera, although Volvo’s high quality means the starting MSRP for the base trim is over $36,000.

What the reviewers say: Edmunds.com only gave the Volvo V60 three stars out of five, but praised the car’s supportive seats, fuel-efficient Drive-E powertrain and extensive safety features.

2016 Mazda CX-5 Sport (FWD)

  • Combined MPG: 29
  • City MPG: 26
  • Highway MPG: 33
  • Starting MSRP: $23,595 for automatic transmission

The starting MSRP for the Sport, the base version of the 2016 Mazda CX-5, is $21,795, but the automatic transmission option raises the MSRP to $23,595. Standard features include E911 automatic emergency notification and Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio.

What the reviewers say: The Mazda CX-5 placed on several of KBB’s best-of lists, including “10 Best SUVs under $25,000,” “10 Most Affordable SUVs” and the “10 Most Fuel Efficient SUVs.”

2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T S

  • Combined MPG: 29
  • City MPG: 25
  • Highway MPG: 35
  • Starting MSRP: $22,725 for automatic transmission

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T S comes with a rearview camera system to make parking easier and a three-month trial of SiriusXM satellite radio. The starting MSRP is $21,625 for manual transmission, and choosing the automatic transmission option pushes the MSRP to $22,725.

What the reviewers say: Edmunds.com awarded the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen high marks for its spacious cargo room, fuel efficiency and good value.

2016 Honda CR-V LX

  • Combined MPG: 29
  • City MPG: 26
  • Highway MPG: 33
  • Starting MSRP: $23,845

There are several crossovers to choose from, and the Honda CR-V is among the most popular, according to U.S. News and World Report. You won’t have to worry about choosing manual transmission to save money because the 2016 Honda CR-V LX comes standard with CVT.

What the reviewers say: Edmunds.com gave accolades for a number of the CR-V’s family-friendly features, including great fuel efficiency, spacious seating and better cargo room than competitors.

2016 Hyundai Sonata SE

  • Combined MPG: 30
  • City MPG: 25
  • Highway MPG: 38
  • Starting MSRP: $21,750

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata SE is the first family car on the list to crack 30 combined mpg. The base SE trim comes standard with automatic transmission and gets an incredible 38 mpg on the highway.

What the reviewers say: KBB said the Sonata would appeal to drivers who want a four-door sedan and a bargain, noting that it costs $600 less than Toyota Camry’s and Honda Accord’s base models.

2016 Kia Optima LX

  • Combined MPG: 30
  • City MPG: 25
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Starting MSRP: $22,140

Kia has earned a reputation for good quality base model cars, and the 2016 Kia Optima LX is no different. For $22,140, you get automatic transmission, Bluetooth wireless technology and the invaluable auxiliary jack for your iPod.

What the reviewers say: KBB said the Optima mid-size sedan is a great value, offering modern features, attractive styling and plenty of room.

2017 Honda Accord Sedan LX

  • Combined MPG: 30
  • City MPG: 27
  • Highway MPG: 36
  • Starting MSRP: $23,155 for CVT

You’ll save more money on gas mileage than MSRP by choosing the 2017 Honda Accord Sedan LX with CVT instead of manual transmission, which has a slightly lower MSRP of $22,355. The manual transmission is less fuel-efficient with 26 combined mpg, whereas the CVT gets 30 combined mpg.

What the reviewers say: Edmunds.com gave positive remarks for the Accord’s “roomy and high-quality interior; impressive acceleration and fuel economy.”

2016 Mazda6 Sport

  • Combined MPG: 30
  • City MPG: 26
  • Highway MPG: 38
  • Starting MSRP: $22,995

Excluding hybrids, 38 highway mpg is tough to beat, and for only $22,995 you get that plus automatic transmission, Bluetooth capability and other solid standard features, such as advanced front air bags, front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and side-impact air curtains.

What the reviewers say: Overall, KBB liked the 2016 Mazda6 Sport, highlighting its fuel efficiency, style and fun driving, but did knock it for lack of interior room, which is an important factor when considering the best family cars.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu L

  • Combined MPG: 31
  • City MPG: 27
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Starting MSRP: $21,625

The 2016 Chevy Malibu might trail the Mazda6 on highway gas mileage, but the Malibu has a higher combined mpg. The base L trim comes with standard features, including automatic transmission, 10 airbags and a six-month plan for the OnStar guidance system.

What the reviewers say: KBB found that there was more than meets the eye with the Chevy Malibu, calling it better than just an alternative to “the usual Honda/Toyota/Hyundai choices.”

2016 Honda HR-V LX

  • Combined MPG: 31
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 35
  • Starting MSRP: $20,015 for CVT

The 2016 Honda HR-V LX is another example of when paying extra can help save money in the long run. The Honda HR-V LX starts at $19,215 for manual transmission, but it gets 28 combined mpg, lower than the more expensive CVT transmission.

What the reviewers say: KBB said the Honda HR-V straddled the difference between the CR-V compact SUV and Honda Fit hatchback, and approved of its “easy driving manners, good fuel economy and bigger-than-you-think interior.”

2016 Honda Civic LX

  • Combined MPG: 35
  • City MPG: 31
  • Highway MPG: 41
  • Starting MSRP: $19,440 for CVT

The 2016 Honda Civic LX introduced the larger 2.0L engine to the base model, giving the family car more power while still getting an incredible 41 mpg highway. The starting MSRP for the 2016 Honda Civic LX is $18,640 for the manual transmission, which gets lower gas mileage at 27 city/40 highway than the convenient and slightly pricier CVT.

What the reviewers say: KBB had plenty of good things to say about the Civic, touting its entertainment system and increased horsepower. More relevant to being considered one of the best family cars is the Civic’s reliability, safety and good resale value.

2016 Honda Fit LX

  • Combined MPG: 36
  • City MPG: 33
  • Highway MPG: 41
  • Starting MSRP: $16,690 for CVT

The 2016 Honda Fit is a cheap family car that doesn’t skimp on quality features. You can technically get the Honda Fit LX cheaper, for $15,890, if you choose manual transmission instead of CVT. If you do so, you’ll lose on gas mileage — the manual transmission gets 29 city/37 highway.

The Honda Fit has what’s called the Magic Seat, which is great for families because it allows for more cargo room. Even the base LX trim comes with Bluetooth streaming audio and Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, so you can drive while talking on the phone.

What the reviewers say: Edmunds.com singled out the car’s high fuel efficiency and versatility, namely its ability to provide plenty of cargo space and leg room at once, as being the top features.

Read: 21 Compact Cars With the Best Gas Mileage

Methodology: GOBankingRates sourced the list of cars specified as family cars from Kelley Blue Book’s “16 Best Family Cars of 2016” list, Autotrader’s “10 Must-Shop Family Cars” list, and Car and Driver’s “The Best New Cars for Growing Families” list, and ranked the cars by combined gas mileage, which was sourced from FuelEconomy.gov and/or car manufacturers’ websites. MPGs and MSRPs are representative of base models.

Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for illustrative purposes only and might not feature the cars’ specific trim levels.