If you’re interested in a new family car that won’t cost a fortune at the gas pump, you’ve come to the right place. That’s because we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite 2017 model year family cars that offer roomy interiors and excellent fuel efficiency just in time for Earth Day. And while our list mainly includes efficient gas-powered cars, we’ve also added a couple of cars with electric motors, too — for the family that wants to be especially earth-friendly. We’ve also kept things to a reasonable budget of around $40,000 or less so that none of the cars on our list break the bank.
The Chevy Bolt isn’t just efficient; it’s fully electric. And while its starting price of around $37,500 makes it more expensive than the other cars on our list, that figure is eligible for major tax credits, bringing it down to a much more affordable amount. Better yet, the Bolt can travel an amazing 238 miles between charges, which means most people won’t have to adjust their lifestyles to fit the electric vehicle. And it offers just about everything a family might want, including a roomy, versatile interior, excellent technology (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and all the latest high-tech in-car safety features.
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
The Chevy Malibu Hybrid is an excellent midsize sedan that more shoppers should consider. With a base price of just $28,800, it’s highly affordable for a hybrid-powered midsize sedan — and it boasts an excellent 47 miles per gallon in the city and 46 mpg on the highway, which places it among the most efficient family cars on the market. It also touts a long list of standard equipment, including Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system with a 7-in touchscreen, 17-in alloy wheels and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity. Make no mistake: After lots of investment, Chevrolet has gotten the Malibu just right.
Ford Fusion Energi
There are two different ultra-efficient versions of Ford’s popular Fusion midsize sedan. One is simply the Fusion Hybrid, which is an excellent car in its own right: It gets 43 mpg city/41 mpg hwy, and it offers a highly reasonable starting price of just $26,800. But we’re especially recommending the plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi, which uses a combination of an electric powertrain and an efficient gasoline engine. The Fusion Energi can travel up to 22 miles on electric power alone — but unlike fully electric cars, it doesn’t shut off once it hits that number. Instead, the gasoline engine kicks in, extending the sedan’s range. With a base price of $34,100, the Fusion Energi isn’t cheap, but it’ll save you a lot of money at the pump.
Honda Accord Hybrid
The Honda Accord Hybrid is a truly excellent choice for shoppers interested in combining "family car" and "fuel efficient." The primary reason is its gas mileage numbers, which are amazing: At 49 mpg city/47 mpg hwy, it beats out every other midsize sedan — and it even approaches the smaller Toyota Prius’s fuel economy figures. And while the Accord Hybrid is on the pricey side for a hybrid midsize sedan, with a base price of around $30,500, it has excellent equipment: Even the base model has an infotainment system with a 7.7-in touchscreen, Bluetooth Audio, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry and an amazing list of safety features that includes forward-collision warning with automatic braking and Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot camera.
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Although the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid’s fuel economy figures — 39 mpg city/45 mpg hwy — don’t quite equal those of the Chevy Malibu Hybrid or the Honda Accord Hybrid, the Sonata Hybrid offers some benefits of its own. One is pricing: With a base price of $26,900, it starts around $2,000 cheaper than the Malibu Hybrid, and nearly $4,000 cheaper than the Accord Hybrid. It also offers Hyundai’s excellent warranty, which comprehensively covers the sedan for up to five years or 60,000 miles and also includes 10 years or 100,000 miles of powertrain protection. Finally, the Sonata Hybrid touts a roomy interior and a lot of excellent standard equipment — including Apple CarPlay, automatic headlights, a 7-in touchscreen and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Although you might think of the Toyota Prius as a compact car, it’s more versatile — and family-sized — than you might expect. The rear cargo area, for example, is much larger than a sedan’s trunk, and it comes up just shy of Toyota’s midsize Camry sedan in terms of rear leg room. Plus, you get a trade-off for that slightly smaller overall size: The Prius offers amazing gas mileage of 58 mpg city/53 mpg hwy if you get the Eco model, or 54 mpg hwy/50 mpg city if you spring for a regular version. Better yet, pricing is cheap. The Prius starts at just $25,600, which means it’s a great deal if you can fit your whole family inside.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is an excellent choice for shoppers who want something efficient without giving up the versatility and practicality of an SUV. Currently the only small crossover offering a hybrid powertrain, the RAV4 Hybrid seems to have it all. Fuel economy, for example, is an amazing 34 mpg city/30 mpg hwy, which dramatically outstrips rivals (the Honda CR-V, for example, returns 25 mpg city/31 mpg hwy). The RAV4 Hybrid also boasts standard all-wheel drive and surprisingly reasonable pricing that starts at just under $30,000 with shipping. No, it doesn’t quite offer the gas mileage of some of the hybrid-powered sedans on our list — but it’s an excellent choice for family car shoppers who especially prefer an SUV or crossover.