Open Road

Zippy fuel-efficient cars

Open Road

There used to be a time when the need for speed would have to take a backseat to fuel efficiency. Today's cars do not necessarily force you to make this choice. The fastest fuel-efficient cars not only look cool but are also fun to drive.

Kia Rio 5-Door

The Kia Rio-5 EX has an 11.4-gallon tank and gets an estimated 30 miles per gallon in the city. On the highway, this car comes in with 36 miles per gallon. With 138 hp and 88.4 cubic feet of passenger space, this car is as fun to drive as it is functional. A 10-year/100,000-mile warranty offers you peace of mind. Depending on your appetite for extras, the MSRP ranges from $13,600 to $17,900.

Chevrolet Sonic

With 40 miles per gallon on the highway and the MSRP starting at 14,185, the Chevy Sonic won a high safety rating with its 10 airbags. The turbo charger gets you from zero to 60 in about eight seconds. If you remember, the old Ferrari 360 Modena got from zero to 60 in half this time but required 400 hp to do so -- while guzzling 11 miles a gallon in the city and 16 miles on the highway. What are four seconds when gasoline prices are skyrocketing?

MINI John Cooper Works Coupe

Starting at $31,350, you get a top speed of 149 miles an hour in the 208hp John Cooper Works coupe. With 35 miles to the gallon, you can actually afford to fuel up this fun little car. The performance suspension and rear stabilizer bars come standard. If you do not mind spending a little extra, invest in Recaro sports seats. Since the tank holds 13.2 gallons, you will not even have to pull into the service station all that often.

Mazda 2 Touring

When you opt for the automatic transmission, the Mazda 2 Touring car gets 28 miles to the gallon in the city and 34 miles while on the highway. The tank holds 11.3 gallons that power the 1.5 liter engine and its 100 hp. The MSRP starts at 16,210. Acceleration gets you going from zero to 60 in about 9.3 seconds.

These four great cars will not send your blood pumping like an Aston Martin Vanquish that goes from zero to 60 in four seconds and tops out at 183 miles an hour. Of course, with a $278,000 price tag, you might just be too old to really enjoy this ride by the time that you can afford it.

Content by Sylvia Cochran.

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