Is This the Most Fuel-Efficient Car Ever?

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Since 2000, the original Honda Insight hybrid has held the title of the most fuel-efficient car ever tested by Consumer Reports — until now.

The 2016 Toyota Prius hybrid has unseated the 51-mpg Insight by clocking 52 mpg gallon overall, according to Consumer Reports.

The 2016 Prius’ overall fuel economy topped that of the previous-generation Prius by 8 mpg. On a city route, the new Prius got 43 mpg. At 65-mph highway cruising, it got 59 mpg — better than any diesel-engine car Consumer Reports has tested.

The nonprofit tests all vehicles’ fuel economy by installing a fuel meter and driving the same routes. The new Prius earned its fuel-economy title by paying attention to detail, including:

  • A more aerodynamic body
  • A stingier gasoline engine
  • A more efficient transmission
  • A battery pack that uses a lighter and more efficient compound — a lithium polymer instead of a nickel-metal hydride.
  • More frequent use of the battery’s power, especially in city driving

As Consumer Reports puts it:

“All those seemingly small engineering changes added up to a huge improvement.”

The Prius is a hatchback. Unlike the Insight, it has enough room to be described as “a proper family car for five occupants.”

The mid-trim Prius Three model tested by Consumer Reports costs $27,323.

According to Toyota, there are six versions of the 2016 Prius:

  1. Prius Two — starts at $24,200
  2. Two Eco — $24,700
  3. Three — $26,250
  4. Three Touring — $28,100
  5. Four — $28,650
  6. Four Touring — $30,000

If you’re considering a new or new-to-you car, be sure to first check out:

What’s your take on the Prius? Have you driven one, or would you want to? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.