Fuel efficient cars

16 minute read Published on Jan 13, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Close up of car engine

If you want to buy a new car, then you’re probably considering several factors. For instance, you may want to purchase a model from one of the most reliable car brands in Canada. You may also want to choose a car that comes with affordable car insurance rates. However, one other factor that might be important to you is fuel efficiency. Fuel efficient cars offer many benefits. We explain what fuel efficiency is and provide a list of the most fuel efficient cars in Canada right now.

Fuel efficiency explained

What is fuel efficiency? Fuel efficiency refers to how far you can travel on a certain amount of fuel in your car. It is usually measured as the number of litres of fuel required to travel 100 kilometres or the number of miles travelled per gallon of fuel. The former is favoured in Canada and the latter in the United States. Generally speaking, the lower the number of litres required to travel 100 kilometres, the more fuel efficient the vehicle is.

There are many factors that impact fuel efficiency, and these factors are tested by various bodies across North America. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States tests all cars in a lab to compare fuel economy. Since factors like how fast a car is travelling, how often the car’s air conditioner or heating system is used, how hard and fast a driver accelerates can all impact fuel efficiency, all of these various driver behaviours are tested.

Fuel efficiency vs. fuel economy

You may hear the terms fuel efficiency and fuel economy used interchangeably. The reality is that both refer to the amount of fuel that a car consumes. However, fuel efficiency generally describes a car’s overall fuel consumption performance, whereas fuel economy is a specific number e.g. 8.9 litres/100 kilometres or 40 miles per gallon. Both are valuable pieces of information to have and are important to compare and contrast when debating between models.

Is buying a fuel efficient car worth it?

Many drivers prefer to purchase fuel efficient cars for a number of reasons. First, the less fuel your car consumes, the fewer pollutants or emissions it will release into the air, making fuel efficient cars more environmentally friendly.

Second, fuel efficient cars may cost less to run, as it means you won’t be filling up at the gas pump as often. Given the high price of gasoline, buying a fuel efficient car could be a smart economic decision.

Ultimately, if you’re torn between two models, be sure to research the fuel efficiency and fuel economy of each - especially if you drive frequently.

What are the benefits of fuel efficient cars?

The main benefit of fuel efficient cars is that they consume less fuel, which helps drivers in two main ways. These vehicles reduce your carbon footprint because less fuel consumption means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. They also reduce the financial burden of vehicle ownership because you will not have to spend nearly as much money on gas.

Studies show that fuel efficient cars can save drivers thousands of dollars at the gas pump over time. Thus, even if the purchase price of a fuel efficient car is higher, it is likely to save you money or at least even out in the future.

The most fuel efficient cars in Canada

If fuel efficiency matters to you, then continue reading for a list of the most fuel efficient vehicles in Canada:

Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage has long been known as one of the most fuel efficient non-hybrid, non-electric vehicles. In other words, it has a traditional internal combustion engine and yet it continues to reign supreme as one of the best cars on the market for fuel economy. This vehicle features a continuously variable transmission, though it has less than 100 horsepower.

Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is another of the most fuel efficient cars in Canada. Not only is it affordable but it has a 147 horsepower engine, a continuously variable transmission, and an 8-inch touchscreen.

Toyota Prius

Next up is the Toyota Prius. Since its initial debut in 2001, the Prius has developed a reputation for its fuel efficiency. Seen as a trailblazer for hybrid cars, the 2023 Toyota Prius remains one of the best options if you care about fuel economy. The 2023 version of this iconic model also features firmer brakes and higher speed capabilities with a horsepower of up to 196.

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

A second Toyota model makes this list of the most fuel efficient cars in Canada - this time, it’s the Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Although not quite as fuel efficient as the Toyota Corolla hybrid, it still offers impressive fuel efficiency at 36 miles per gallon. Other features of this Toyota model include a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engineer, 168 horsepower, and Toyota’s patented SafetySense 2.0 safety technology.

Nissan Versa

The Nissan Versa is highly regarded as one of the most fuel efficient cars in the country. Features include front-wheel drive, 122 horsepower, and a wide range of safety technology, such as automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Versa has a fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon.

Hyundai Accent

The Hyundai Accent boasts 36 miles per gallon, an affordable price tag, 120 horsepower, and a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. All of these features make this small Hyundai sedan a worthy choice if you’re looking for a car with fuel economy.

Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is another great, fuel efficient option. The latest version of the Rio is known to offer better fuel economy than previous iterations. Plus, it features 120 horsepower, a 1.06-litre engine, and all kinds of safety features.

Volkswagen Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta has so much going for it - and we’re not just talking about fuel efficiency. Although it offers some of the best fuel economy of vehicles in its class, it also comes with a 158 horsepower turbo engine and a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic transmission, the latter being the more fuel efficient option.

Kia Forte

The Kia Forte is the second Kia vehicle to make this list. Boasting excellent fuel economy on the highway, this Korean-made vehicle is not only fuel efficient but safe. It also features 147 horsepower, an eight inch touchscreen, and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

Nissan Sentra

Finally, the Nissan Sentra might be worth checking out if you want to trade your gas-guzzling vehicle for a more fuel efficient option. Not only can it travel a long distance without running out of gas but it also features a 149 horsepower engine and a continuously variable transmission.

Tips to improve your car’s fuel efficiency

While driving a car with a good fuel economy rating is a great first step if you want to reduce your fuel consumption, it’s not the only way to do so. In fact, there are a wide variety of driving habits that you can adopt if you want to make any car more fuel efficient. Studies show that beyond purchasing a more fuel efficient car, one of the best things you can do is to modify your driving habits in a way that reduces fuel consumption. You might be surprised to learn just how much of an impact the way you drive has on fuel efficiency. Continue reading to learn a few tips on how you can maximize your car’s fuel efficiency:

Avoid braking or accelerating suddenly

Did you know that the harder and faster you brake or accelerate, the more fuel you use? It’s true. For this reason, take care to brake and speed up slowly when possible.

Drive slower

Fuel efficiency tends to decrease the faster you are travelling. For example, when travelling at or over 50 miles per hour or 80 kilometres per hour, you will start to consume more fuel. Avoid speeding when possible as this can drastically reduce a car’s fuel economy.

Meanwhile, driving at slower speeds can actually save you both fuel and money. In addition, driving slowly is a general safe driving tip that can help keep you safe on the road. The slower you drive, the more time you have to react to other drivers around you.

Because you are driving slower you will also save on wear and tear on your braking mechanisms. You should always obey the speed limit and drive even more slowly in areas with lots of pedestrians, when driving through construction zones, when driving in inclement weather, and when driving at night.

Don’t weigh down your car

Weighing down your car by filling the backseat with lots of heavy items is a surefire way to reduce fuel economy. Experts say that every 100 pounds of weight in your car can reduce your gas mileage by a considerable percentage, with smaller cars being more affected than larger ones. So keep your car clean and tidy, removing any unnecessary items before hitting the road.

Turn on cruise control

The less time you spend braking and accelerating, the more fuel efficient your car will be. That is why another tip for increasing your car’s fuel efficiency is to use cruise control when appropriate.

Cruise control has been shown to improve fuel economy, especially when driving on hilly terrain. Plus, nowadays, many vehicles are equipped with adaptive cruise control, which makes driving with this feature even more seamless.

Adaptive cruise control senses the other traffic on the road and will slow down or speed up depending on the situation, without the driver having to adjust or turn off cruise control.

Avoid idling

Idling is another driving habit to nix if you want to make your car more fuel efficient. This unfortunate habit is responsible for the consumption of billions of gallons of fuel every year, and yet it doesn’t result in any travel.

A good rule of thumb to follow is if you know that you will be stationary for a period of ten seconds or more, turn off your engine. Depending on air conditioning and heating system use, an idling car can consume as much as half a gallon of gas per hour.

Properly inflate your tires

Did you know that underinflated tires can lead to additional fuel consumption? Thus, if you want to stop wasting money on gas and make your car more fuel efficient, make sure that your car’s tires are properly inflated at all times.

Even a single underinflated tire can spell trouble, but all four can significantly impact your car’s fuel economy. Vehicle maintenance is incredibly important. A professional mechanic should assess your vehicle at least once a year.

However, you should check your tire pressure more regularly than that, especially during the winter months when tires are known to lose pressure faster.

Replace old spark plugs

Bad spark plugs may also make a car less fuel efficient. If you notice a drastic drop in your gas mileage, there’s a chance that a bad or misfiring spark plug could be to blame.

Experts say that old spark plugs should be replaced between every 20,000 miles to 100,000 miles; it varies significantly from model to model. Review your auto manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for your model to find out the ideal timeline.

Make sure your tires are aligned

Misaligned tires drag rather than roll, and this can quickly reduce your car’s fuel efficiency. Thus, make sure that your tires are properly aligned by taking your car to a mechanic. Wheel and tire alignment is a standard part of any maintenance appointment, which is yet another reason that vehicle maintenance is so important. Please note that the biggest indication that your tires are misaligned is if you notice vibrations in the steering wheel or pulling to one side while driving.

Replace dirty air filters

Just as the air conditioner filters in your home need to be replaced, so too do the air conditioner filters in your car. Over time, these filters clog up due to a build up of dirt, debris, and other pollutants. In a car, this can affect fuel efficiency. Thankfully, buying and replacing air filters isn’t expensive, so take care to do this regularly.

Avoid driving during rush hour when possible

If you can avoid driving during rush hour, your gas tank and walletwill thank you. Stop-and-go traffic is known for increasing fuel consumption. Thus, not only does driving in rush hour waste your time but it also wastes your gas. If you can drive at off-peak times of day, we strongly recommend it.

The best type of fuel efficient car? Hybrid and electric vehicles

The reality is that driving a fuel efficient car, such as those listed above, and adopting more fuel efficient driving habits can all help to improve your car’s fuel economy. However, at the end of the day, gas-powered cars with internal combustion engines are going to consume gas.

Thankfully, nowadays, drivers have other options when it comes to vehicles. Two of the main alternatives to traditional cars are hybrid and electric vehicles, both of which are known for their fuel efficiency. In fact, there has never been a type of car on the market more fuel efficient than hybrids or electrics. Below, we explain how hybrid and electric cars work:

Hybrid vehicles

First, there were gas-powered cars, and then there were hybrid cars. Nowadays, we know hybrid cars as a cross between electric vehicles and gas-powered vehicles. This is a fairly accurate description, given that they contain both a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

The engine and motor work together to power the car. There are multiple types of hybrids on the market today, from full hybrids to plug-in hybrids. Full hybrids use a combined battery-powered motor and an internal combustion engine, with the latter charging the car’s battery when the motor isn’t in use. In turn, the motor kicks in when the car is travelling at low speeds.

Further, mild hybrids work similarly to full hybrids, except they are never solely powered by the electric motor. This means that the motor and the engine in a mild hybrid must run simultaneously.

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are one of the most popular types of hybrids today. They are the closest type of hybrid car to an all-electric vehicle as they primarily rely on the electric motor for power. They also contain an internal combustion engine. However, this engine only charges the electric motor’s battery.

Finally, range extender hybrids are also very close to all-electric cars in that the internal combustion engine they contain is used extremely minimally - only in emergency situations, in fact.

Electric vehicles

Moving on to electric vehicles (EVs): EVs are all the rage of the moment, with automakers all over the world making promises to stop producing gas-powered vehicles and introduce all-electric fleets in the next five to ten years. The main way that electric cars differ from hybrids is that they do not contain an internal combustion engine.

Rather, they have an electric car battery and an electric motor that work together to power the vehicle. When an electric car battery is charged, it gives off energy, which the motor then converts into power and sends to the wheels, allowing the EV to move.

Electric cars are powered by electricity, they do not require any fuel to run. You need to plug in your EV to an electrical outlet, whether in your home or at a public charging station, and your car battery will begin to charge.

EV infrastructure - namely charging stations - is improving across Canada, with experts predicting that it will only become easier and more convenient to own and drive an EV in the future. Overall, if you want to reduce your fuel consumption and increase your fuel economy, you can’t go wrong with a hybrid or electric vehicle.

Car insurance for your fuel efficient car

No matter what type of car you drive in Canada, whether it’s gas-powered, hybrid, or electric, you will need to purchase car insurance if you plan to drive it. In Ontario, mandatory car insurance coverage looks like this:

Mandatory auto insurance coverage for fuel efficient cars

There are many types of auto insurance on the market today, but the most important types are those that are mandatory. We explain how each type of mandatory coverage works to protect drivers and other vehicles on the road:

Third party liability coverage

Third party liability car insurance is a type of auto insurance that protects you if you get into an at-fault accident. Since at-fault accidents can be very expensive, it’s important to have this type of coverage. This way, if you are found liable for a collision, you can file a liability claim that will help you pay for medical expenses, legal fees, and vehicle repair bills.

Accident benefits coverage

Accident benefits is another type of mandatory car insurance in Ontario. This type of coverage will help you if you get into an accident and someone is injured. For example, if you suffer a concussion after a car accident, you can file an accident benefits claim to help you cover the cost of medical expenses not covered by your healthcare plan. This type of coverage can also pay for loss of income if you are temporarily unable to work because of your injury or funeral fees if someone dies in the accident.

Direct compensation coverage

Direct compensation coverage will help pay to repair your vehicle if it is damaged in a collision where you are not found at fault for the accident.. Note: that you can only file a direct compensation claim if you are not found to be at fault for the accident, at fault accidents are treated differently.

Uninsured automobile coverage

Finally, uninsured automobile coverage will pay for the costs associated with an accident, like medical expenses and vehicle repair bills, if you get into an accident with a driver who does not have car insurance and is therefore driving illegally or who does not have enough coverage to pay for the cost of the accident. Uninsured automobile coverage can also be claimed in hit and run situations when you do not learn the identity of the other driver because they flee the scene.

Additional insurance coverage for fuel efficient cars

Beyond the four coverages explained above, there are a few other types of coverage you may be interested in adding to your insurance policy if you want to protect your fuel efficient car. The coverages below are typically optional but are nonetheless important.

Collision coverage

Collision car coverage can pay to repair or replace your fuel efficient car if you get into a serious accident that causes extensive damage to your vehicle. If you want as much of the damage to be covered as possible, make sure that you select a collision coverage limit that reflects the value of your fuel efficient car.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive car coverage is another type of optional coverage that can protect drivers against losses or damage while their car is parked. Comprehensive insurance covers damage caused by insured perils, which range between insurance companies but may include fire, theft, vandalism, falling and flying objects, explosions and riots, and weather-related incidents.

Accident forgiveness coverage

One more type of optional car insurance coverage popular among drivers is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement, to protect your driving record and to help prevent your insurance premium from increasing if you have an at-fault accident claim. Note: coverage and eligibility varies by province. You can learn more about how accidents affect car insurance rates by contacting BrokerLink.

Waiver of depreciation

A waiver of depreciation comes into play if your fuel efficient car is totalled and needs replacing. With this type of endorsement added to your policy, your insurer will issue a payout closer to the amount of money it will cost to replace your car since it does not deduct depreciation. This coverage must be purchased when the vehicle is brand new, most insurance companies will only offer this coverage at the time when the brand new vehicle is added to the policy. Loss of use coverage

Lastly, loss of use coverage is another type of optional auto insurance coverage that you may wish to add to your policy. With this type of coverage, your insurer will reimburse you for various transportation costs if you are forced to be without your car due to damage. For example, if it was damaged in a collision and will need to be in the shop for a week being repaired, loss of use coverage can help pay for you to rent a car or take taxis during this time.

Get in touch with BrokerLink

Whether you need help picking out your next car or you still have questions about fuel efficiency and what you can do to improve your car’s fuel economy, BrokerLink is here. As insurance experts, we can make you aware of the mistakes to avoid when buying insurance, as well as explain what documents you need for car insurance. We can also help you find a competitive policy that complies with local laws in your province and is within your budget.

How can we find you quality insurance? By working with insurance companies in Canada, we contact them to obtain car insurance quotes on your behalf. From there, we compare these quotes in order to find you the best possible policy for your needs. We also offer free insurance quotes ourselves. So if you want to know how much a certain type of auto insurance plan will cost you, get in touch with us and request a free car insurance quote today. BrokerLink’s accurate and reliable insurance quotes can be requested over the phone, in person, or on our website using our online quote tool.

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FAQs on fuel efficient cars

How can I improve my car’s fuel efficiency?

You can improve your car’s fuel efficiency by driving a hybrid or electric car, using eco mode on your car, driving at off-peak times, turning on cruise control when possible, driving slowly, and maintaining your vehicle regularly.

What reduces a car’s fuel efficiency?

Failing to maintain your car, speeding, idling, accelerating or braking suddenly, and under inflating or not maintaining your tires can all reduce a car’s fuel efficiency.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.