Toyota Prius
Smart ForTwo
Jetta Sportwagen TDI

Left: Toyota Prius. Top Right: Smart ForTwo. Bottom Right: Jetta TDI Sportwagen.

The EPA and Energy Department this week issued its 2009 fuel economy guide. Hybrids, once again, dominate the top of the list with five of the six most efficient vehicles. The 2009 Toyota Prius is the leader with ratings of 48 mpg in the city and 45 on the highway.

There are two new entries on the Top 10 list: the diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta TDI sedan and wagon, and the Smart ForTwo convertible and coupe. The Smart ForTwo is number five on the list, with a rating of 33 mpg city and 41 highway. The Jetta diesels are now capable of passing strict emissions guidelines in all 50 states. The Jetta with a manual transmission is in the No. 7 spot with 30/41 mpg, followed by the automatic version at 20/40 mpg. The manual-transmission Toyota Yaris, and the automatic version, round out the Top 10 list.

The outlines of the 2009 list give a clear picture of the most effective fuel-efficiency strategies available today: hybrid gas-electric technology is at the forefront, followed by clean diesel and small cars.

Top 10 Fuel Economy List for 2009 Vehicles

  1. Toyota Prius – 48/45
  2. Honda Civic Hybrid – 40/45
  3. Nissan Altima Hybrid – 35/33
  4. Ford Escape Hybrid FWD; Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD; Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD – 34/31
  5. Smart ForTwo convertible; Smart ForTwo coupe – 33/41
  6. Toyota Camry Hybrid – 33/34
  7. Volkswagen Jetta (manual, diesel); Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (manual, diesel) – 30/41
  8. Volkswagen Jetta (automatic, diesel); Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (automatic, diesel) – 29/40
  9. Toyota Yaris (manual) – 29/36
  10. Toyota Yaris (automatic) – 29/35