Fed up with paying hand over fist at the gas pump, just to keep up with your work commute? As we progress into the new decade, the auto market is changing rapidly, and saving money on gas has never been easier. Economic and eco-conscious car buyers who are searching for a peppy and affordable commute are after fuel-efficient compact cars. Here’s our top five fuel-efficient compact cars for 2020.

Subaru Crosstrek

If you have a long commute to work but love hitting your favorite campsites and dirt trails on the weekend, the Subaru Crosstrek is a compact crossover that resembles a sedan on steroids.

With standard all-wheel drive, 8.5-inches of ground clearance, and a body and interior that is practical and stylish for your next outdoor adventure, the Subaru Crosstrek receives an estimated 27 MPG city and 33 MPG highway. The Subaru Crosstrek is one of the more versatile compact cars and can easily hold your kayaks, paddleboards, or mountain bikes.

Kia Optima Hybrid

42 MPG combined with 40 MPG in the city and 45 MPG on the highway, the Hybrid version of the Kia Optima is a top pick for drivers seeking a solid warranty for a durable, fuel-efficient vehicle. A compact sedan that also offers quality tech and convenient hybrid technology, the Kia Optima remains a top player for fuel saving car brands.

Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Want to fill up on fuel on Monday and not have to worry about refueling for a while? Depending on the amount of miles you place on the odometer monthly, you’ll love the Toyota Corolla Hybrid model.

A sedan that gains an estimated 53 MPG city and 52 MPG on the highway, this gas saving sedan is a punchy drive with it’s 121-horsepower 1,8-Liter four-cylinder. With plenty of pep behind the gas pedal and a variety of sporty trims to pick from, the hybrid version of the Corolla is a long-lasting and reliable buy for sedan seekers. 

MINI Cooper

Fun, sporty, and tiny for the smaller driver or English car enthusiasts, the MINI is a fantastic ride for city drivers or the suburban commute. Receiving an estimated 28 MPG city and 36 MPG highway, the MINI Cooper offers a punchy and zippy ride with high-level control and handling. With its low center of gravity and large windows, the MINI is easy to drive on and off the highways.


If you want a stylish compact sedan, the Mazda3 is a four-door, five-passenger car that is quick off the start and great for a long or short highway commute. Receiving 27 MPG city and 36 MPG highway, the Mazda3 comes with innovative tech and safety, as well as perks like a sunroof, and driver assist features on select trim levels..

Kia Sportage

If you want an affordable compact SUV that offers a bold stance and versatile interior, the Kia Sportage is a fun ride for young and old drivers. Pack in your weekend gear with plenty of rear cargo area, and take to your daily work commute with up to 23 mpg city 30 MPG highway.

Toyota Prius

Looking for a traditional hybrid that has proven itself to be a top contender for fuel-efficiency? The Toyota Prius is a standout-buy for car buyers on a budget.

Expect to receive an estimated 58 MPG city and 53 MPG on the highway. With a roomy backseat and cargo space, this commuter hybrid is a great choice for city dwellers or suburban drivers who frequent the highways to work.

Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai has crafted a unique hybrid vehicle for the fuel-efficient compact cars segment. The brand new Hyundai Ioniq delivers a stylistic boldness sedan lovers have been waiting for. Drive home with 57 MPG City and 59 MPG highway. With some of the latest smart-tech and practicality for active drivers, the Hynudai Ioniq.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Compact and affordable, if you’re not interested in style or buying your first work vehicle for your small business, a great errand runner that is excellent on fuel is the Mitsubishi Mirage. Gain up to 44 MPG highway and 36 MPG city. Light on horsepower, this compact car is best fitted for city streets and suburban driving.

One may feel timid driving on the highway in the Mirage with its 78-horsepower engine. The fuel efficiency you get on the roads makes it worth it.

Mazda CX-3

Searching for a compact crossover that goes above and beyond for your daily commute? The Mazda CX-3 is a fun and active drive with plenty of amenities, even within its lower trim options. Throw on a bike or kayak rack. This little Mazda crossover is ready for adventure, no matter where you travel. Plus, you can drive to work with an estimated 29 MPG city and 34 MPG on the highway.

Nissan Leaf

For the lover of fuel-efficient compact cars, look no further than the Nissan Leaf. If you’re perusing new hatchback sedans, the Leaf eliminates the need for fuel with its 100% electric engine. Enjoy no oil changes or engine pump failures with this no-emission sedan that offers a smooth ride and quiet cabin.

Tesla Model S

Wondering what it feels like to drive an electric vehicle? The epitome of style and luxury in the EV realm is the Tesla Model S. This ride receives an estimated range of 402 miles on one charge. User technology and commuting has never blended better than when driving the Tesla Model S. This four-door EV sedan offers substantial safety, sportiness, and versatility. 

Travel with the 17-inch touchscreen display that delivers all your vehicle readings, smart tech needs, and favorite entertainment apps. All-wheel drive is also available for this Tesla model which takes control on slippery surfaces to a whole new level.

Pick from fuel-efficient compact cars and save on gas during your work commute

So you’ve browsed your favorite sedan models. Now, you can make the choice that best fits your driving style and budget. Try shopping cars online or at your local car dealership. You can save even more money by purchasing a used car. Check out our article on the differences between buying a used or certified pre-owned car and go into your next car purchase with confidence!

As it turns out, finding fuel-efficient compact cars for your work commute ain’t so hard after all.

Patrick Kirk
I am a full-time copywriter from Naples, FL and living in Austin, TX. I have written for the automotive industry for three years, and enjoy other hobbies such as camping and mountain biking. I received my Bachelors from Florida Gulf Coast University, and served in the U.S Coast Guard.

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    1. This is a pretty comprehensive list, thank you!

    2. Great Article ! love to save gas!

    3. I can attest to knowing what it feels like to have a fuel-efficient car. Definitely worth it! Why spend more in gas if you don’t have to?

    4. The Optima definitely isn’t a compact. It is a pretty decent size mid size sedan. I believe the Soul and Forte would be considered Kia’s compacts. But this is still a good list of fuel efficient vehicles.

    5. My work commute is now 5 steps from bed!
      Very fuel-efficient!!!!!!

    6. Lots of great choices to choose from here!

    7. Tesla should be number 1 on the list!

    8. I’m very impressed by the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. I wonder if the hybrid is available with sport suspension and a hatchback.

    9. Nice article, its amazing how good the economy is getting on these new cars.

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