10 Best Fuel-Efficient Cars to Buy If You Hate To Spend Money on Maintenance

INSURANCE - CAR INSURANCE
The best vehicles might save you money on gas and maintenance.
Updated Feb. 21, 2024
Fact checked
A man driving

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

If you are shopping for a car, you probably hope for a low price tag so you can keep more money in your wallet

But there are other factors to consider beyond the sticker price if you are trying to lower your car costs. Ongoing costs such as filling up with gas and paying for repairs and maintenance can also make your car more expensive.

Here are some car options experts have praised as saving you money in these key areas.

Editor's note: Unless noted, all fuel economy numbers are for 2024 models and come from the U.S. Department of Energy. All maintenance estimates are from CarEdge.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources

Over 50? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member you could be missing out on huge perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on things like travel, meal deliveries, eyeglasses, prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (Do not skip this step!) Doing so will allow you to take up 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Volkswagen Golf

Courtesy of Car and Driver driver wearing helmet driving volkswagen golf

The Volkswagen Golf gives you a combined 25 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway.

The Golf will cost you an estimated $5,410 in maintenance and repairs over the first 10 years. It also has a 15.91% chance of needing a major repair during that time, 5.59% better than similar vehicles in this segment.

Nissan Versa

Courtesy of Car and Driver red nissan versa displayed outdoors

The Nissan Versa offers a combined 35 city miles per gallon in the city and on the highway, making it a fuel-efficient option.

The Versa also averages $5,331 in repair and maintenance costs over the first 10 years of the vehicle. It has a 16.43% chance of needing a major repair, during that time, 5.07% better than other vehicles in its segment.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Courtesy of Car and Driver mitsubishi mirage with blurred background

Check out the Mitsubishi Mirage, which can get you a combined 39 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway.

The Mirage also scores well in terms of maintenance and repair, coming in at an average of $4,939 for the first 10 years. That is $1,825 lower than the average for hatchbacks.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.

National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.

How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.

Try it

Honda Civic

Courtesy of Car and Driver honda civic car with driver

The Honda Civic offers a combined 48 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway.

In addition to saving you money at the gas pump, the Civic will also cost you $5,245 in maintenance and repair for the first 10 years of ownership, which is $1,851 less than the average for the segment.

Nissan Sentra

Courtesy of Car and Driver driver driving nissan sentra

The Nissan Sentra can save you money at the pump, with its combined rating of 34 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway.

Expect to spend $5,441 to cover maintenance and repair costs for a Sentra in the first 10 years of ownership, which is $1,655 below the average for sedans.

Mazda 3

Courtesy of Car and Driver mazda 3 parked on road

The Mazda 3 is a fun sedan that offers good gas mileage as well. It gets an average 31 miles per gallon combined in the city and on the highway.

Plan on spending $5,409 in maintenance and repair costs during the first 10 years of your Mazda 3 ownership, which is $1,687 below the average for vehicles in the segment.

Subaru Impreza

Courtesy of Car and Driver driver driving blue subaru impreza

If you’re looking for an affordable car, the Subaru Impreza may check the right boxes. The vehicle’s base price is $22,995, and it offers a combined 30 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway.

Maintenance and repair costs are also impressive, with Impreza owners paying $5,900 during the first 10 years of ownership, $1,196 below the segment average.

Chevrolet Malibu

Courtesy of Car and Driver driver driving chevrolet malibu on street

The Chevrolet Malibu gets a combined 31 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway, according to Edmunds.

You can also expect to pay $6,460 in maintenance and repair costs over the first 10 years of the vehicle’s lifespan, which is $636 below the average for sedans.

Toyota Prius

Courtesy of Car and Driver driver driving toyota prius at sunset

The Toyota Prius is a great example of a car that offers great fuel mileage and low maintenance costs all in one vehicle.

The Prius gets a combined 57 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway.

It’s also cheap to maintain, with an estimated $4,008 in repair and maintenance costs during the first 10 years of the vehicle. That is $2,756 below the industry average for vehicles in its class.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Honda Accord

Courtesy of Car and Driver driver driving blank honda accord

The Honda Accord is another sedan that can boost your bank account by saving you some money at the gas pump. The Accord offers a combined 32 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway.

You can also save money on the maintenance of the vehicle. The Accord costs $5,412 in maintenance and repairs over 10 years, which is $1,684 less than other models in the segment.

Bottom line

Drobot Dean/Adobe happy young friends driving car

If you want to get ahead financially, it’s important to factor in all the potential costs of owning a car.

When you account for all costs — from the sticker price to gas and maintenance bills — the cars on this list offer good, affordable choices for people who want to save a buck.

  • You could save up to $500 with some companies
  • Compare dozens of providers in under 5 minutes
  • Fast, free and easy way to shop for insurance
  • Quickly find the perfect rate for you

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt