Which are the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market? Here are some of them, as determined by 2020 vehicle data from Natural Resources Canada. While these rides are classified as “conventional vehicles,” they’re all powered by hybrid or diesel powertrains.
Toyota Corolla Hybrid
When it comes to compact cars, the most fuel-efficient vehicle is the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. The 1.8-litre four-cylinder hybrid is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Sure, the Corolla Hybrid isn’t the fastest car out of the gate, but it’s solid, comfortable and reliable. Plus, it returns impressive fuel-economy numbers. In the city, it delivers a very frugal 4.4 L/100 kilometres; on the highway, it’s 4.5 L/100 km. The annual fuel cost is estimated at only $1,125. The Corolla also comes with a long list of standard safety features and is available as a hatchback or gas-only sedan version. The 2021 conventional Corolla sedan starts at $19,350, while the hatchback is $21,390. There is a premium to pay to get into the hybrid sedan. It costs $25,090, but it’s still one of the cheapest hybrids on the market.
Canada’s most fuel-efficient full-size car is another hybrid – the Hyundai Ioniq. With its 1.6-litre four-cylinder hybrid powertrain, it returns remarkable fuel ratings of 4.2 L/100 km in the city and 4 L/100 km on the highway. The annual fuel cost is only $1,025. The Ioniq also comes in a plug-in hybrid version and an all-electric version. But you might have some range anxiety with the electric version – it only has a range of up to 274 km on a single charge. Financially, the best bet is the Ioniq with the conventional hybrid system – not just because of the gas savings, but it’s also cheaper. The Ioniq Hybrid costs only $25,399. The plug-in hybrid is $33,749, while the all-electric Ioniq is $41,499.
In the small station-wagon category, the Kia Niro beats the competition. Although it’s more of a compact crossover than a station wagon as Natural Resources Canada classifies it, there’s no denying it’s frugal on gas. Powered by a four-cylinder hybrid electric powertrain, it averages only 4.5 L/100 km in the city and 4.8 L/100 km on the highway. The annual fuel cost is $1,175. The Niro has SUV-like styling. It’s practical, smart, spacious and affordable, starting at $26,845. Its compact size also makes it easy to drive and park in busy downtown cores. The Niro also comes in a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) version that costs $35,995 and an all-electric version that’s $44,995.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
When it comes to pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 gives the competition a run for its money thanks to its 3-litre, six-cylinder turbo-diesel, which is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. It averages 10.2 L/100 km in the city and only 7.2 L/100 km on the highway, which is respectable for a full-size truck. The annual fuel bill is $2,136. It also has an auto stop/start function that’ll automatically kill the engine when stopped to save more fuel. The Duramax turbo-diesel delivers 277 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, making it a workhorse. It can tow up to 9,500 lbs. The 2021 Silverado starts at $31,698, but the diesel engine costs more – starting at $48,778 for the Silverado LD 2WD double cab.
Ford Escape Hybrid
The Ford Escape hybrid is the most fuel-efficient small SUV on the market. Powering this hybrid is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine coupled to an 88-kilowatt electric motor mated to a CVT. In the city, it averages 5.4 L/100 km and 6.3 L/100 km on the highway. The annual fuel cost is only $1,450. While it costs more than the gas-powered Escape ($27,549), the Escape Titanium Hybrid adds extra convenience and safety features including adaptive cruise control with a stop-and-go function, so the driver doesn’t need to touch a pedal. Lane centering and precollision assist with automatic emergency braking (AEB) are also included. The Escape Hybrid costs $34,649.
When it comes to standard or full-size SUVs, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD takes the top spot for fuel-efficiency. The 243-hp 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid powertrain averages 6.7 L/100 km in the city and 6.8 L/100 km on the highway – that’s not bad considering it’s a three-row SUV that weighs roughly 2,720 kilograms. The average annual fuel bill is $1,675. Despite its size and weight, this SUV doesn’t feel cumbersome to drive or park. The third-row seats are a bit tight, but they can recline or fold flat into the floor if extra cargo space is needed. If not, there’s 454 litres of cargo space. The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD starts at $45,950, while its gas-powered sibling starts at $40,450.
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