Mileage Challenge 6.1: Subcompacts

For those who want to downsize into a smaller car, there are now significantly more options to do so and not be left in a bean-sized and shaped econo-box. Enter our most recent mileage challenge where we picked four examples of such cars, including the 2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback, 2010 Honda Fit Sport, 2010 Nissan Cube Krom and 2010 Scion xD.

This group of subcompact cars demonstrates that you don’t have to sacrifice many features when downsizing or looking for a budget buy; our Mileage Challenge contenders come with power windows and locks, air conditioning, antilock brakes, side curtain airbags and more. As we discovered while driving these cars in the city and on the highway during disaster-movie-like weather, some don’t drive like a small car, either.

All eyes were on the Fiesta because it’s a new contender in the segment and has a lot to prove, including backing up its highest-of-the-group 38 mpg highway rating. A 40-mpg version is available but not tested here. Of our Mileage Challenger contenders, the Scion xD and Honda Fit Sport have the second-best highway rating of 33 mpg; the base Fit is rated at 35 mpg on the highway. The Cube rounds out our group with an EPA-estimated 31 mpg highway. You can see a breakdown of each car we had in the fleet and how they measure up below.

As we’ve reported in previous mileage drives, the disclaimer with every mileage rating is, “Your mileage may vary,” and it’s no joke. We’ve tested some cars that easily surpass their rating, and others that don’t come close. You’ll just have to stay tuned until tomorrow to find out if these subcompacts delivered on their promise.

2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback
1.6-liter four-cylinder and six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission
29/38 mpg city/highway
Starting price: $13,320
As tested: $19,165

2010 Honda Fit Sport
1.5-liter four-cylinder and five-speed automatic transmission
27/33 mpg
Starting price: $14,900
As tested: $19,110

2010 Scion xD
1.8-liter four-cylinder and four-speed automatic transmission
27/33 mpg
Starting price: $14,900
As tested: $16,439

2010 Nissan Cube Krom
1.8-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable automatic transmission
27/31 mpg
Starting price: $13,990
As tested: $21,070

Mileage Challenge 6.2: The Results



My 2009 Honda Fit Sport (manual) averages 35mpg combined. The trip computer is very optimistic and shows 42 average mpg combined....


I've noticed something, most of these cars are in the priciest packages, and they're within striking distance of super efficient cars like the Jetta TDI and the Prius.

There are really a lot of options. It only depends on how people will respond to it.

That's good. Many car lovers look for this kind of cars. They need efficient but a small one.

Greg Hyatt

Boy do you guys mis the mark. Go drive a Honda Civic. If you just play a game to keep the Civic in the green odometer color reading, and only accelerate going downhill, just hold you speed up hill and stay at or below the speed limit the car will hit over 50 mpg a/c and all running. I went on a sixteen hour round trip recently and the trip worked out to 44 mpg for the complete trip hills and all in N.Y Adrondacks back and forth from Ohio.

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