Ah, the sedan, one of America’s most famous family-hauling form factors. Among the technological leaps and bounds the segment has undergone in the last few years, fuel efficiency is among one of the most significant. There’s no better proof of this than the 10th generation Honda Civic, the 1.5-liter turbo mated to the continuously variable transmission (CVT) achieving a whopping 36 miles per gallon rating in combined city and highway driving. Hot on its heels is the 1.8-liter Toyota Corolla with the CVT featuring 32 MPG in mixed conditions. Below, in addition to fuel economy, we look at what else makes cars like the above, great.
Now also sold as a coupe, hatchback, and tarmac-ripping Type-R, the sedan was the first variant of the 10th gen Civic to roll off the assembly line in 2016. Aside from looking fantastic, boasting the company’s modern chrome “flying wing” grille, fastback-styled sloping roof, pronounced rear-wheel arches and C-shaped rear taillights. The interior was ahead of its time highlighted by an electronic parking brake, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support and optional heated rear seats.
Two engines were packaged at launch, the more noteworthy being the first turbocharged motor available in a Honda product: the 1.5-liter four cylinder. Producing a healthy 174 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, the low displacement paired with the CVT (a six-speed manual is offered as well) yields 31 MPG in the city and 42 on the highway.
Like the Civic, the Ford Focus comes in a variety of shapes and flavors, which include a regular hatch and the spicy, drift-ready ST. With the addition of a trunk, the four-door is arguably the most sensible and mature-looking of the group, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. All models wear the slim headlamps and wide-mouth slatted grille channeling a little Aston Martin. Inside, the cabin boasts some unique design details like vertical air vents and a rotary command knob for the infotainment located right in the middle of the dashboard.
While a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost and six-speed standard gearbox powertrain is produced, most consumers will likely go for the 2.0-liter four-cylinder mill with choice of two six-speed autos, one possessing SelectShift capability allowing the driver to manually choose the gear via a button on the side of the shifter. The latter option possesses a fuel economy rating of 27 MPG in the city, 38 on the highway and 30 MPG in mixed conditions.
Not only is the American-built Toyota Corolla one of the best selling passenger cars in the United States, it’s one of the safest too due to the brand’s Safety Sense suite of technologies. Unlike many other competitors, even the base trim bundles collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, and radar cruise control. Similarly, unusual for the segment is the ability to add full bi-LED headlights. All Corollas utilize a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, however the ECO grade has a specially tuned version mated to an intelligent CVT system, helping it generate eight more horsepower (140) and lower fuel consumption, realizing numbers of 36 city, 48 highway and 41 combined.