A commuter car typically is for moderate to long distances, and one that is easy to drive on a daily basis. It should be reasonably comfortable, gets great gas mileage, reliable, and won’t break the bank. That doesn’t mean you need to roll around in a Toyota sedan though. For the cost of a Prius, we found a lot of cars for commuting in that all get exceptional gas mileage and keep performance, luxury, and style intact. With the exception of the new Ioniq, we picked gently used models for the cars on our list. They include top quality hybrids and diesel-powered cars, definitely very affordable.
Starting with the cheapest car on this list, we come to the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid. This car comes with a hybrid 4 cylinder 2.0-liter VTEC engine that produces 195 horsepower, an automatic transmission and gets 47 mpg which is staggering. It’s big, comfortable and although not strictly a luxurious car it is certainly on the higher end of available Hondas. According to KBB, the average price is about $16,000.
The Mazda3 while not as quick as its Speed version and not quite as domineering as its larger Mazda6 brethren, is a good compromise. It's cheap, you'll get an astonishing 40+mpg, and could stand to get even more with its manual transmission. Mazdas are known for having exceptional, responsive handling characteristics and while power might be lacking it's got enough to get you on the freeway, and is plenty comfortable on the inside to get you through the early morning traffic.
This car is probably painfully slow, heavy, and not a lot of fun to drive. But if you don't care about that kind of thing, and are only looking at the fact that it can get up to 43 MPG in the city then you're in luck. The CT 200H Hybrid from Lexus is a fuel-efficient luxury branded sedan that like other Lexus is very comfortable, easy to drive and easy to relax in. At $23,400 it doesn't cost very much either.
What can be said that isn’t already known about the prestige that comes with the Mercedes brand. This E-class Mercedes comes with a turbocharged 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine, producing 195 horsepower and still manages 45 mpg on the highway. While slightly more expensive than the Honda, the E250 is perfectly manageable at $25,000. For that price, you could commute in a Mercedes and not feel guilty about how much you spent on it.
Ford's luxury line provided a stellar example of what can happen when the efforts of luxury and practicality work together. The Lincoln MKZ isn't as luxurious as the Mercedes of course, but it does still get a combined 40 MPG out of a hybrid 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and only costs around $23,500. The steering and handling aren't as refined as other cars and the interior doesn't feel as expensive as, say, a BMWs, but it's still classified as a luxury car which means it probably feels more luxurious than a Honda Civic.
Like Mercedes, Lexus finds itself in contention for high-end luxury and is no less apparent with the 2014 Lexus ES Hybrid. For a mere $22,500, the ES Hybrid is a fantastic option. With a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine that produces 200 horsepower, the ES delivers an impressive 40 mpg, which means commuting to work no longer has to be an uncomfortable chore. You can enjoy it in the Lexus, especially since that probably means comfortable seats and a smooth, effortless ride.
BMWs depreciate quickly, and that means you can get a decently priced commuter car that is synonymous with BMW performance. The 2014 BMW 328D is going to perform better than a lot of vehicles by nature, but also with its 181 horsepower turbo diesel 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the car will get up to 45 mpg on the highway. For a sports luxury sedan that’s nothing to sneeze at. Plus it means commuting with some top of the line performance, and for only $21,000.
The only brand new car to make the list, the Hyundai Ioniq is certainly a fantastic choice for a commuter car. It starts at only $22,000 but gets almost 60 mpg. It also produces only 139 horsepower out of its tiny 1.6-liter engine, which might not sound like much, but considering how well Hyundai maps out their engines’ power it’ll probably feel like plenty. So when you are shopping for a commuter car, don’t overlook the new Ioniq Hybrid.
For $25,000 or less you could have a really nice, luxurious commuter car that gets almost as good mileage as a Prius. With that in consideration, it’s hard to pass up the chance to drive a more comfortable car every day, to make your commute all the more enjoyable.
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