Open Road

Top 5 most economical cars to drive per mile

Open Road

I like money. Or rather, I like it when I can take money and turn it into fun. Because what I really like is fun.

If I had about a quarter of a million dollars, I’d be in a terrible bind—I’d have to choose whether to take all that money to a Ferrari dealer and beg him to sell me a 458, or take it to a Mercedes-Benz dealer and get on the list for an SLS Roadster. First-world problems are still problems, OK?

Thankfully, I just don’t have that kind of money. But if I had, say, about five percent of the purchase price of a 458, I would also be facing a choice between two cars.

For my roughly $12,000 I could buy a Nissan Versa, or a Chevy Spark. And really not much else.

But here, I wouldn’t be in a bind. Because as much as the dreary Versa represents everything that’s wrong with milquetoast automotive appliances, the Spark is more fun than spiking the punch at the retirement home.

The Spark is fun because it’s unpretentious, cheery, and lightweight. It’s wee – an A-class body in a country where we don’t really get them – and yet it’s roomy inside. It also delivers where it’s important for today’s buyer: nine airbags, OnStar, standard air conditioning, power windows, and an entertainment system so connected that when I got home I found I had accidentally turned on the toaster and downloaded a full season of Game of Thrones.

It also keeps being cheap. Adding up purchase price, estimated depreciation, insurance, and maintenance costs and dividing by 15,000 miles driven a year for five years, the Spark is the very cheapest car on the market to own, costing you only 37 cents a mile.

While it’s little surprise that a frugal Spark is economical to own, the Nissan Leaf shocks as an affordable car, costing 38 cents a mile due to the $7,500 tax credit and 129 mpge.

Forget that twelve large would buy you a good four year-old VW GTI, or the best vintage Porsche 928 on the market. If you absolutely must have a new car, if you have very little money to do it with, and even with both those things working against you, you still have a glimmer of soul and thirst for fun left in your body, you need a Chevy Spark.

Because it’s fun. And you can’t beat fun for a good time.

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