Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Hatchbacks Under $25K

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Would you believe that you could get a vehicle with a 50-mpg combined rating for under $25,000?

If you’re looking for the versatility of a hatchback and you’re on a budget, there’s plenty of vehicles under $25,000 that gets impressive fuel economy. AutoGuide has compiled a list of the top 10 most fuel efficient hatchbacks available in today’s marketplace for under $25,000 and some of the vehicles on the list might surprise you.

While we normally include destination fees in determining the price of a vehicle, we decided to not calculate it in order to determine the vehicles on the list. The reason being, certain cars were on the threshold and adding in the delivery fee pushed it over the $25,000 mark – vehicles we felt deserved to be on the list.

Starting off the list is the Chevrolet Sonic LT equipped with a 1.4-liter EcoTec turbo engine that provides 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. While the 1.4-liter EcoTec engine isn’t standard, it’s worth the extra money if you’re looking to maximize fuel economy. With that specific powerplant, the Chevrolet Sonic achieves 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, giving it a 33-mpg combined rating when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The Chevrolet Sonic LT with the 1.4-liter EcoTec Turbo is priced from $17,905.

The budget Toyota Yaris deserves a second look if you’re in the market for a fuel-efficient hatchback. Priced at $14,430, it’s one of the cheaper vehicles on this list and is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine boasting 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque. It gets an EPA-estimated 33-mpg city, 37-mpg highway which results in a 33-mpg combined rating with a five-speed manual gearbox.

People looking for a fun, yet fuel efficient hatchback will want to take the Fiat 500 for a test drive. While its performance figures particularly aren’t impressive with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder under the hood providing 101 hp and 98 lb-ft of torque, the Fiat 500’s size makes it a surprisingly fun to drive. The Italian automaker’s offering starts at $16,195 while getting 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, good for a 34-mpg combined rating with a five-speed stick and third pedal to change gears.

The cheapest car on our list is the Chevrolet Spark which was clearly developed to offer impressive fuel economy. The 1.2-liter engine is puny, offering only 84 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque, but the compact city car does seat four comfortably while its $12,170 price tag will surely impress even the stingiest car shoppers. Best of all, it’ll save on your stops to the gas station with its 31 mpg city, 39 mpg highway rating. On average and equipped with a five-speed manual, it should average 34 mpg.

The Ford Fiesta SE has become an exciting product in recent years for the compact hatchback market and now the American automaker is offering it with an optional 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine that’s well worth the extra $995. With the smaller powerplant, the total price of the Ford Fiesta SE becomes $17,075 but has a surprising 123 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque available to the driver. What’s really impressive is its highway fuel economy that is rated at 45 mpg, while its city economy gets a 32 mpg rating. The result is a 37 mpg combined figure that bests the bigger engine without suffering a significant performance sacrifice. It doesn’t hurt that the package is only sold with a manual transmission.

The funky Scion iQ hasn’t been the hot-seller the brand hoped it would be, but it’s still one of the most fuel efficient hatchbacks available on today’s market at a reasonable price. Those looking for a different style will be drawn to the iQ’s design while the 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine is on par with others in the segment. With 94 hp and 89 lb-ft of torque, the iQ is pretty average among its competitors but impresses in the fuel economy department with a 36 mpg city, 37 mpg highway rating. Of course there’s also the $16,250 price tag that is also average for the segment, although this is the first car on the list that doesn’t require its driver to govern gear shifts.

The subcompact offering from Mitsubishi is the Mirage, and it’s cheaply priced at $12,995. But don’t expect a whole lot from this hatch, considering it’s the least powerful of all the cars on our list with 74 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque from its 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. But then again, if you could care less about performance and concerned more about fuel economy, then the 37 mpg city, 44 mpg highway rating will surely be music to your ears. It’s is actually the most fuel efficient hatchback under $25,000 that doesn’t use hybrid technology with a 40 mpg combined rating. That’s due in large part to its continuously-variable transmission, which improves fuel economy over the base manual version.

It might be surprising to some that doesn’t pay close attention to the car market that hybrids are available for under $25,000. Then again, with so many hybrids hitting the marketplace, automakers are forced to price their vehicles aggressively in order to compete. The Honda Insight features a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a hybrid powertrain that provides a total system output of 98 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. Priced from $18,725, it’s actually one of the cheapest hybrids available while achieving 41 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway. Then again, the 40 mpg combined rating is identical to the Mitsubishi Mirage, and if you’re not entirely sold on hybrids, perhaps the Mirage is your choice.

Considered by some as the “king of hybrids,” the Toyota Prius is a bit on the more expensive side, barely covering the list with a starting price of $24,200. Its reputation over the years however has resulted in impressive sales nationwide thanks to its 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway rating. Offering a generous 10 mpg more in its combined rating compared to the Insight, the Prius also has ample performance with the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated to hybrid powertrain for 134 hp and 153 lb-ft of torque.

But it’s the little brother to the Prius that tops our top 10 list, thanks to its cheaper starting price of $19,080. The Prius c get an identical 50 mpg combined rating, but is less fuel efficient in the city at 46 mpg. It is however, more fuel efficient on the highway than the standard Prius, achieving a 53 mpg rating. Under the hood is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor to provide 99 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. Overall, the Prius c is smaller than the standard Prius, but it’s also cheaper and give or take, provides the same fuel economy depending on your driving habits.

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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