The Most Fuel Efficient Used Cars Under $10,000

August 19, 2015

he fuel efficient used car market has evolved more than any other automotive segment in the past decade. The upshot is that there is a lot of good news for budget-conscious shoppers looking to get lean, green machines for under $10,000.

Greater competition has sparked more competitive pricing, for both traditional gas-fueled cars and alternative fuel vehicles. Additionally, as technology improves, the fuel efficiency of both these classes of vehicles continues to pay back owners. Time always helps, too; more hybrid vehicles are available in the aftermarket every day. has assembled our top picks for the most economical used cars under $10,000, and separated them into gas-fueled and alternative fuel cars.

The most economical used cars: top 3 gas-powered cars

honda fit sport2010 Honda FIT

Universally lauded as the best subcompact for your buck, the Honda Fit’s value stretches well beyond its very reasonable sticker price. With 27 city / 33 highway mpg, each fill-up is like finding a pocket full of spare change. Don’t worry, the FIT has cup holders for all those quarters. What makes the FIT so well liked isn’t just its value, but the fact that it provides better handling and more cargo room than you might expect from the subcompact class. It’s a clown car with some pep, or as states, “No budget hatchback can match the Honda Fit’s combination of practicality and performance.”

ford fiesta2012 Ford Fiesta

Need a little more zip in your trip? What about a few bucks in gas savings, too? The 2012 Ford Fiesta boasts an impressive 29 city / 39 highway fuel efficiency, and there are plenty of additional features to like, too. The subcompact car gets surprising kick despite its 120HP, and the modern styling complements giddy-up. According to, you should be able to find a 2012 Ford Fiesta through a dealer in good or better condition for about $9,500.

toyota-camry-042007 Toyota Camry

The Camry has probably been on more vacations than any other car. As the reigning mid-size family sedan of choice, it manages to pack more storage space than a walk-in closet, unexpected V6 power and still maintains a 31/21 mpg fuel efficiency. On a single fill-up, the car can drive the fam more than 570 highway miles. Plus, it’s more reliable than the Bat Signal. The 2007 edition also received an interior makeover, but it’s still built to simply do its job and blend in.

The Most Fuel Efficient Cars Under $10,000: Alternative Fuel

It’s tough to find a lot of alternative fuel options under $10,000 because they simply haven’t been around that long, showing up on lots en masse shortly after the dawn of the century. But with each passing year, used hybrids, diesels, electric cars, bio diesel, and natural gas vehicles become more and more affordable. Here are our top picks for alternative fuel vehicles available for less than $10,000.

Chevy Volt2011 Chevy Volt

Few cars have received the fanfare and press of the Chevy Volt. When it first hit lots in 2011, there was a palpable buzz. By combining an electric motor capable of a 40-mile range with a gas engine that extended that for another 300 miles, consumers had a car that captured the best of the traditional gasoline and alternative fuel benefits. Despite this fuel versatility, it’s been a somewhat bumpy road for the Volt. It took hits in the beginning for its lofty sticker price – north of $40K without the beefy tax rebates – and then a few years later took grief for losing $25,000 of its resale value in just three years. Don’t worry, as this is a boon for drivers scouring the aftermarket for Volts. Four years after its launch, the Volt is jut becoming within range of that magic $10,000 or under budget. Edmunds calls out the Volt’s low-speed pick-up and swell handling, but points out that it’s an energy efficient car that ultimately runs like one. Still, if the worst thing you can call a car is boring, and it’s as cool and innovative as it is, we think you’re nitpicking.

mercury milan hybrid2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid

The Mercury Milan Hybrid is a surprisingly well rounded entry into the hybrid sedan category that was a bit unexpected. The Milan combines superior fuel efficiency – 36 city / 41 highway – with a number of features that many other hybrids lacked – the ability to run AC in hybrid mode, availability in all 50 states and superior, non-hybrid-like handling, to name a few. Upon publication of this article, used 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrids were just hitting $11,000 resale values when purchased through a dealer. Go through a private buyer or be comfortable with a ding here or dent there to break through the $10K price barrier.

toyota prius2008 Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius will probably always be on this list. One of the biggest reasons is that more than reasons is availability: nearly 700,000 have been sold in the United States form between 2000 and 2008. We put the cut-off at 2008 because this is likely the latest model year you’ll be looking at to keep the purchase under $10,000. We found a number of ’08 Prius hybrids available at with about 100K to 120K-ish miles. A second-generation Prius, the ’08 model also represented an up to 8 percent price drop Honda made to stave off increased hybrid competition. Expect 45 city / 48 highway fuel efficiency from the Prius.

Tips for buying your fuel efficient used car

Do you plan on buying a new or used car in the near future? Read our tips for car buyers and be sure to use to compare car insurance quotes online to find the best rates available.

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