The average new car in August 2022 cost $46,259, according to a recent J.D. Power sales report. That’s 12% higher than August 2021, and it reflects an all-time high for new car prices. Meanwhile, prices at the pump continue to hover in the $4 range in roughly a dozen states, with the national average on Sept. 15 coming in just under $3.70 per gallon, according to AAA.
With this in mind, if you’re in the market for a new car or SUV, you’ll want to keep both the sticker price and fuel efficiency in mind.
Fortunately, Consumer Reports just released its report of the top cars and SUVs based on overall value and fuel efficiency. “All of these [models] have sold for between 1 and 7 percent over MSRP. That’s as good as it gets right now,” Consumer Reports wrote.
The cars on the list below include regular internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, hybrids, and one EV pick. The survey excluded any vehicles with fewer than 300 models on the lot, since limited availability can drive the price higher.
What are the top-rated cars and SUVs for fuel efficiency and price, according to Consumer Reports?
2022 Toyota Corolla LE CVT
Selling for just over $20,000, this compact sedan boasts 33 mpg combined, getting up to 45 mpg highway miles under optimal conditions. The Corolla LE CVT is considered very reliable, and while it may not win any contests for prestige, it’s a solid vehicle that drivers love. Plus, right now the average price of $21,181 is just $308 over the sticker price, making it the best value, hands-down, based exclusively on cost.
2022 Lexus RX
Retailing for $45,920 to $58,110 depending on the trim package, this luxury mid-size SUV offers incentives of up to $2,000 cash back through Oct. 3, 2022, according to Consumer Reports. Enjoy 22 mpg and a reliable vehicle with tons of style.
2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
This sporty SUV delivers fuel efficiency of 37 mpg combined thanks to its hybrid engine. The average price is $32,869, which is just $1,824 over the sticker price.
2022 Toyota Camry
Rated the no. 1 midsize sedan by J.D. Power once again in 2022, the Toyota Camry also gets high marks from Consumer Reports for its reliability and customer satisfaction. You can pick one up for an average price of $27,381, just $1,536 over the sticker price, and enjoy comfort, style and 32 mpg combined. This model also offers a jaw-dropping 49 mpg on the highway.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE AWD
A family favorite for years, the Toyota Highlander offers a convenient and fairly spacious third row. The hybrid engine delivers 35 mpg combined. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable third-row family SUV for under $50,000. The Highlander Hybrid averages $47,204 right now, which is $3,049 over sticker price, but when you consider the fuel cost savings, the SUV is a tremendous value.
2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid
Hybrid SUVs are the way to go if you want performance, space, and fuel-efficiency. With an MSRP of $32,010 and an average transaction price of $34,345, the Honda CR-V is an incredible value. Enjoy 35 mpg combined, along with Honda’s legendary reliability and style.
2022 Mazda 3
If you’re looking for an affordable compact car, take a look at the Mazda 3. It delivers 30 mpg combined at an average price of just over $25,000. The sticker price is listed at $23,450, but you may expect to spend as much as $1,789 over that, depending on availability on your dealer’s lot.
2022 Honda Civic Sport Sedan CVT
It’s not surprising so many high-quality compact cars are on this list. If you’re looking for an affordable vehicle, a fuel-efficient compact is the way to go — provided you don’t need a ton of space. The 2022 Honda Civic Sport Sedan delivers fuel efficiency of 33 mpg combined, with a retail price of $23,950. The average transaction price is $25,787.
2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E
The only electric vehicle to make the list, The Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD turns heads on the road without draining your wallet at the pump. You’ll enjoy a range of 90 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent) combined. Expect to spend roughly $55,934 on a new Mustang Mach-E, $4,134 over the MSRP of $51,800. However, remember to look into federal and state tax credits for purchasing an EV to help defray the cost.
2022 Toyota Prius LE
One of the first and most well-known hybrid vehicles, Prius used to be virtually synonymous with “hybrid.” Today, the car features updated styling for a fun and sport look, while delivering excellent fuel efficiency of 52 mpg, combined. It can still be had for under $30,000, too, with an average transaction price of $28,530.
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