This issue we get two excellent cars that are easy on the fuel budget. First up is the Honda Civic, a successful model that has been around since before most of us were born.
For 2020 the base price is still reasonable, starting at $20K. This is an upgraded Touring version, which has plenty of standard items, so the tab climbed to $28K. The base motor is a 2.0-liter putting out 158 horsepower, a six-speed manual gearbox and fuel economy rating at 25/36 mpg.
This car has the 1.5 turbo, cranking 174 horsepower, a CVT transmission and 30/38 mpg claim.
The cabin looks nice, with very good materials and workmanship. There is a large glove box, excellent gauge cluster design, proper driving position, and this year we get a real volume knob for the stereo instead of the horrible finger touch nonsense. This car came with so-called safety features like emergency automatic braking and steering control. This techno junk can be disconnected, and we did so.
This is a pleasant car to drive. The ride is comfortable, handling very good and steering is quick enough. Fuel economy was 39 mpg on highway trips. It’s hard to beat the Civic.
For those who want something different, there is the Kia Forte sedan. The advantage over Honda is its long 10-year warranty, plus generous dealer discounts. The low base price of $18K helps as well. This is an upgraded Sport version, so it was $26K. Too bad it did not include the potent 1.6-liter, 201-horsepower turbo engine. Instead we get the economy 2.0-liter at 147 hp. But claimed fuel economy is 30/40 mpg, and we put 600 miles on the clock to see if this was true. There is a dial offering Normal, Sport or Smart mode of driving.
The cabin has very simple controls, nice materials and enough room for four. The gauges are easy to read. The trunk has 15 cubic feet of room and a spare tire.
Most of our commuting was on the highway, and real world fuel economy was 38 mpg in brisk driving and 42 cruising at 70 mph. This plus the low price and excellent warranty makes this Kia worth a look.
Chad Haire, of Phoenix, test-drives vehicles for this feature.