Fuel Efficient Used Cars

Are you ready to move to a reliable, affordable and relatively new fuel-efficient used car? These 14 fuel-efficient used cars that cost from $8000-$10000 represent the best of what manufacturers offer. A wide variety are represented that should meet the needs of almost any driver. All will comfortably carry 4 adults. Pricing info courtesy of KBB.com. Reliability info comes from ConsumerReports.org and fuel economy stats come from FuelEconomy.gov. Here are the abbreviations used: CR = Consumer Reports EPA = Environmental Protection Agency 22/29 = city mpg/highway mpg AFC = Annual Fuel Costs.

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2004 Acura RSX $9,350

2004 Acura RSX. Photo © Acura

The Acura RSX replaced the Integra in 2002. It gets high marks from Consumer Reports with the 2004 model rated at above average reliability. Fuel economy is 22/31 and AFC-$1716.

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2003 Acura TL $8,525

2003 Acura TL. Photo © Acura

Here’s another Acura model that reinforces the lines reputation for reliability (and it’s fun to drive to boot). Consumer Reports rated the 2003 model at above average reliability. You can save money by opting for the 2003 model because the TL was redesigned in 2004 and costs about $4000 more. This model just squeaks in under the fuel efficiency rate with 17/27 and AFC of $2206. One downside is the TL takes premium gas.

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2007 Ford Focus $9,500 (and below)

2007 Ford Focus. Photo © Ford

The market for used Ford Focuses continues to be white hot. It’s a good, reliable sedan that’s going to leave a smile on your face. CR rated the 2007 model above average reliability Fuel economy of 23/31 and AFC-$1652 are good. People who need lots of space can even find a station wagon version.

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2007 Hyundai Elantra $9,550

2007 Hyundai Elantra. Photo © Hyundai

This was the year Hyundai redesigned this popular little sedan. The 2007 model Elantra is CR rated as excellent for reliability. It also has good fuel economy numbers of 25/33 AFC-$1532.

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2003 Infiniti G35 $9,500

2003 Infiniti G35. Photo © Infiniti

Infiniti’s entry-level sedan has evolved into bigger and better things, but there are no complaints with this model. It is CR rated for the 2003 model, the first year as the G35 that replaced the G20, as having above average reliability. Fuel economy numbers are good at 17/24 with AFC-$2257. By the way, this refers to the sedan only. The coupe costs a couple thousand more.

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2009 Kia Rio $9,075

2009 Kia Rio. Photo © Kia

Bland can be good and they don’t come much blander than the Rio but it is also the newest car on the list. It’s going to provide basic transportation from point A to point B. CR has no information available on reliability. (Apparently they don't like Rios because CR has never rated it for reliability.) Good fuel economy numbers of 26/35 and AFC-$1429.

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2005 Honda Civic $9,750

2002 Honda Civic. Photo © Honda

This is just good solid transportation that will treat you well as long as its maintenance is maintained. The CR rated the 2005 model as having excellent reliability. You save money because this was the last year before a redesign. 29/36 AFC-$1343

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2006 Pontiac Vibe $9,600

2003 Pontiac Vibe. Photo © GM

What I really like about the Vibe is it’s a Toyota Matrix in Pontiac clothing. I find it to be a little noisy, but that’s a personal thing. CR rated the 2006 model as above average reliability. Good fuel numbers at 25/31 with AFC-$1587. Don't be concerned about the demise of Pontiac. There will be mechanics and parts for the Vibe for a long time to come.

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2005 Toyota Camry $9,625

2005 Toyota Camry. Photo © Toyota

This is the sixth generation Camry. It’s a good mid-size sedan that’s going to rarely let you down. CR rated the 2005 model as having excellent reliability. Fuel economy is good for its size at 21/31 AFC-$1716. By the way, this info is for the four-cylinder model. The six-cylinder fuel economy is not as good and costs more.

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2007 Toyota Corolla $9,600

2007 Toyota Corolla. Photo © Toyota

Look up “bullet proof” in an automotive dictionary and you’re going to see a picture of a Toyota Corolla. This compact does its job without a lot of flash, but that’s never a bad thing when it comes to your daily commute. CR rated the 2002 model as having excellent reliability. You’ll love the fuel costs of 28/37 AFC-$1716. By the way, the recent Toyota recalls don't pertain to the 2007 model.

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2004 Subaru Legacy $9,225

2001 Subaru Legacy. Photo © Subaru

Subarus are the little trains that could. They can have amazing longevity. CR rated 2004 models with average reliability but there are questions about potential engine problems. 19/25 AFC-$2042. Those are good numbers for an all-wheel drive sedan. Savings also come from the fact that the Legacy was redesigned in 2005.

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2004 Toyota Prius $9,750

2004 Toyota Prius. Photo © Toyota

you're not going to find a more fuel efficient sedan than 2004 Toyota Prius. Just one warning. Be aware of models with batteries approaching 100,000 miles because they are expensive to replace. Fuel economy is outstanding at 42/41 with AFC-$1047.

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2005 Toyota Yaris $9,275

2005 Toyota Yaris. Photo © Toyota

Get beyond its quirky looks and you have a little compact that will zip you to and fro. Best suited for two adults and two kids with a decent size trunk. CR rated the 2007 model as having excellent reliability. The Yaris will never excite you but you'll be happy with your fuel bills. 29/35 AFC-$1386

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2004 Volvo V40 $8,450

2004 Volvo V40. Photo © Volvo

Luxury wagons like the 2004 Volvo V40 are a good alternative to fuel chugging SUVs. Volvo maintenance can be expensive and CR didn't tally the 2004 V40's reliability - so make sure you get a good inspection. Fuel economy is fair, but this is a midsize station wagon so that helps explain its 19/27 and AFC-$2109. The V40 became the V50 in 2005 with a redesign.