I just got back from the New York Auto Show and the big news that you couldn’t miss if you tried was the fact that more cars are now getting 40 mpg (highway) without any hybrid technology or diesel fuel.
But many of them are small like the new Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent (above). That’s too small for most families for sure, but what about the other contenders? If you go by strict rules of 40 mpg or more you have two choices, the Hyundai Elantra or the Mazda3.
I haven’t tested the new Elantra with the kids nor has Cars.com site MotherProof but it seems as roomy as a Civic and the dimensions certainly back that up (check). But the Mazda3’s updated transmission and engine will now get 40 mpg and that car I’ve tested many times and find the back seat doable for child-safety seats. Even roomy. However, only the sedan returns 40 mpg, the hatchback gets 38 mpg. And the more powerful engine doesn’t get any better fuel economy for 2012 like the smaller engine.
While it’s really encouraging that more cars are getting 40 mpg with advanced gas engines and more efficient transmissions, there isn’t a perfect 40 mpg car for dads yet. But the Mazda3 is the best option. The 2012 goes on sale this fall.