The Best Hatchback to Save you Gas

14 September 2013

I love the idea of a hatchback.  Versatile (you can cram furniture or even a bicycle in it with ease), roomy for storage, and easy to park!  Most importantly, it's not like an SUV, which tend to be gas guzzlers.  I've always wanted to know the answer and analyze the options but never had the chance to.  The analysis will look at 2013 prices so that everything can be compared equally, but of course it is highly recommended not to buy a new car since the depreciation when you drive the car off the lot will be in the ballpark of 20-30%.

Although the hatchback is presumably great on gas already (compared to sedans, mid-sized cars, and the aforementioned SUVs), it would be a good idea to look at which hatchback gives you the best bang for your buck.  After all, gas prices are going nowhere but up (in Vancouver recently, gas prices are $1.44 a litre).

So the parameters used to calculate are for the average commuter who travels 50km on a highway to and from work Monday to Friday (and not including much commuting on the weekends), this would equate to approximately 2000 km per month.

With the average fuel consumption being about 10 L/100km in the city and 7 L/100km on the highway (which is what my current car gives, an older Honda Civic), this equals about $200 a month in gas at the current rate of $1.44 per litre.

Here are some of the best hatchbacks in Canada that will save you some gas money, as well as save you some purchase price money.  Sympatico Autos has a great breakdown of the 30 most fuel efficient cars in Canada.

  • Toyota Prius
  • City L/100km: 3.7
  • Highway L/100km: 4.0

The Prius has been out for a few years now and other car companies have followed suit with new hybrid technology.  The MSRP price for a 2013 Prius about $27,800.  The Prius C which stands for "city" (a smaller more affordable hybrid hatchback) starts at $20,440.  Also, there is the Prius V which stands for versatile, a larger, more wagon-SUV type compared to the regular Prius.

Using the calculations above, this would be about $115 a month on gas, an $85 savings.

  • Honda Civic Hybrid
  • City L/100km: 4.7
  • Highway L/100km: 4.3

The Honda Civic Hybrid is also fantastic on gas, and very comparable to the Toyota Prius.  The Honda Civic Hybrid starts from $24,360 MSRP.  Unfortunately, the Honda Civic Hybrid hatchback has not been released in Canada yet, but it is expected to be released soon.  The regular, non-Hybrid civic starts at around $18,000.

Using the calculations above, this would equate to $122 a month on gas, a $78 savings per month.

  • Honda Insight
  • City L/100km: 4.8
  • Highway L/100km: 4.6

The Honda Insight was Honda's first foray into Hybrid vehicles, and rumour has it that Honda is done with playing with this even though they haven't officially discontinued the car yet from the market.  The Honda Insight's MSRP starts off at around $18,600.

Using the calculations above, this would equal $131 a month in gas on 2000km driven per month on the highway, which is a savings of approximately $70 a month.

  • Ford Fiesta
  • City L/100km: 6.8
  • Highway L/100km: 4.9

The Ford Fiesta is fun and compact.  It is one of the most economical hatchbacks out there starting at MSRP $13,999.  It's so small it might be considered a subcompact.

So at 2000 km per month, it would cost $140 to fill this car up, yielding a savings of $60 a month.

  • Toyota Yaris
  • City L/100km: 6.9
  • Highway L/100km: 5.4

This is like the newer version of the Toyota Tercel (I miss those guys!) and it starts at an MSRP of around $14,250.  It is roomy on the inside.  Just doesn't have the oomph factor and the sex appeal of the other hatchbacks as much.

With this car, it would cost about $154 to fill up per month driving on the aforementioned conditions.  A savings of $46 a month.

  • Honda Fit
  • City L/100km: 7.1
  • Highway L/100km:  5.4

The Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris have similar highway fuel consumption.  Therefore it would cost about $154 to fill up per month driving on the aforementioned conditions, with a savings of $46 a month.  The Honda Fit has a lot of space in its interior (hence the name "Fit") and personally I find the sex appeal of this car better than the Yaris.  The Honda Fit starts at an MSRP of $16,075.
With the specs above for fuel consumption, the average cost to drive this with highway driving at 2000km per month is $154 a month, a savings of $46 a month.

The Verdict?

Depending on how long you plan to drive your car, it might not be worth it to spend the extra $10,000 on a Hybrid vehicle.  Hybrids may have more expensive maintenance fees as well since it is newer technology.

Photo Credit: Thomas Cherian

Bargainmoosers, do you have a Hybrid? Are you happy with it in terms of value?

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