With gas prices approaching $1.50/litre in Metro Vancouver this summer, the topic of fuel-efficient transportation is on a lot of people’s minds. Fortunately, with modern technology many manufacturers are able to squeeze more performance out of small engines, like Mazda with their subcompact Mazda2, or offer gas-sipping hybrids such as Toyota and their extensive lineup of legendary Prii (yes, that is the official Prius plural term). For the consumer, that means there is something to suit virtually every taste and budget. Below is a look at what’s currently available on the market.
Fuel consumption*: 8.0 L/100 km city, 6.7 highway (manual)
Estimated annual fuel cost*: $1,625
The 100 horsepower produced by the Mazda2’s 1.5-litre engine might not seem like much, but with an impressive power-to-weight ratio and a manual transmission option, expect a lot of fun in the corners as you row through the gears. It’s quite well equipped for its class as well, with standard power door mirrors, locks and windows, MP3-capable head unit, USB inputs and 15-inch wheels. The car will undergo a complete change for the 2015 model year.
Fuel consumption: 8.3 L/100km city, 6.4 highway (automatic)
Estimated annual fuel cost: $1,638
In its second generation and about to enter a third, the Honda Fit has been a popular choice for a wide demographic from budget-conscious students to families looking for an additional car. Like the Mazda2, the engine is also a 1.5-litre but makes slightly more power at 117 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque. Despite its sub-compact form factor, the Fit can still carry plenty of stuff with 585 litres of storage space behind the rear seats. Fold them down and the hatch will swallow up 1,622 L of cargo.
Fuel consumption: 5.5 L/100 km city, 5.8 highway (CVT)
Estimated annual fuel cost: $1,196
Paving the way for entry-level luxury hybrid vehicles to come, Lexus launched the CT 200H a few years back giving consumers the option of being eco-friendly while enjoying upscale features. Refreshed for this year, the front fascia gets the “Spindle Grille” as found on other models across the lineup, the rear spoiler has been redesigned, and the speakers now include bamboo-fibre components. The hatchback is powered by a 1.8 L Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine coupled with an electric motor making 134 net hp.
Fuel consumption: 4.7 L/100 km city, 4.9 highway (CVT)
Estimated annual fuel cost: $968
There can be no discussion of fuel-friendly vehicles without the mention of the Toyota Prius. Available in Canada since 2000, it now comes in four configurations (standard, plug-in hybrid, the smaller “c” and the “v” station wagon) and tops the Natural Resources Canada list for best in-class fuel efficiency year after year. Utilizing Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, it has the same powerplant as the CT 200H that shifts smoothly between gasonline engine and electric motor.
There are just some examples of what you can expect when you walk into any OpenRoad Auto Group dealership in the Lower Mainland, with more on the way! For a full list of vehicles, visit openroadautogroup.com/new-cars.
* Based on the 2014 Natural Resources Canada Fuel Consumption Guide with revised federal testing methodology.