Fast Efficient Used Cars: Top Picks

Fast efficient cars are the wave of the future and the first big wave hit the beach about 5 years ago. This means we can get our hands on these automobiles used, for reasonable prices, with about 65,000 miles on them.

We all want and need more miles per gallon, but none of us want to give up performance along the way. I will be writing a couple of articles about this subject, but I wanted to focus on three General Motors cars in this article. I picked out cars for the modern family. Mom gets the Pontiac, Dad gets the second car and Junior gets the Chevrolet at the end.

In my opinion GM is now leading the way on raising average miles per gallon, while at the same time increasing horsepower and performance thanks to its cutting edge direct injection systems. Since the rebirth GM is a much more efficient company that is able to respond to consumers.

Fast Efficient American Cars

My first example of the fuel efficient work by General Motors is the Pontiac Solstice. At the bottom is a full size picture of the sister ship from Saturn. It’s a friends 2009 Saturn Sky in bright silver metallic. This is one of those situations when the hotter version of the car is actually more fuel-efficient as well.

The Solstice GXP delivers 28 miles to the gallon on the highway and 19 in the city, which gives it an average fuel economy of about 24 miles per gallon for mixed driving situations. Just because Pontiac is no longer in business does not mean you can’t buy this car anymore!

I see these fast efficient cars along with the sister ship by Saturn on many dealers used car lots. The Pontiac solstice GXP comes with the 2 Liter turbocharged four-cylinder power plant. The standard solstice is equipped with a 2.4 L engine that is not as fuel-efficient.

The performance on the vehicle is an impressive zero to 60 times of 5.5 seconds and a total quarter-mile time of 14.0 seconds. My 1979 Pontiac Trans Am with a big block ran about a 13.75 quarter mile and got 8 miles to the gallon coasting down hill. So to me these numbers are amazing.

The price for the Pontiac solstice GXP was listed at 30,000 when it was available new. With a good trade and some haggling this vehicle could be had for a lot less now. This fast efficient cars one drawback is that it is a 2 seat car. Although the trunk space is not as bad as other 2 seat sports cars.

Some people worry about the availability of parts, but I don’t think this will be an issue since many parts crossover to models still being built by other GM brands. Regardless this platform is another good reason to miss Saturn and Pontiac.

The Fastest Fuel Efficient Used Car

The 2008 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 can be purchased used at a fraction of the 2016 model year price. The 08 Corvette completely blows my mind. The LS3 V-8 power plant produces 430 horsepower.

Yet the vehicle is capable of 26 miles per gallon on the highway Chevrolet has reported that the Corvette with a six speed manual transmission cruising in the overdrive top gear has seen north of 28 miles per gallon during testing. This fast efficient cars fuel economy has not reduced it’s performance from previous years. The zero to 60 times is reported at 4.2 seconds.

The total quarter-mile time has been reported as 12.6 seconds at 115 mph. Of course when you have your foot to the floor to achieve these performance standards you will not be receiving that fantastic fuel mileage.

To compare this to my non fuel efficient present day vehicle I have a 2004 Chevy blazer with a 4.3 later V6. The best fuel economy I have seen in my mix of city and highway driving has been 15 mpg. One time I averaged 18 MPG on a 3,000 mile trip.

For the high performance Corvette to achieve its average of 21 miles per gallon is truly amazing to me. The price on the Corvette stood at $56,185 brand-new 0 miles out of the box. Pretty good for what you get from this fast efficient cars overall performance. With the next generation C7 released in 2015 the older C6 cars are in a buyers market category.

A Real Cheap but Fast and Fun Car

Another top performer for both performance, price and fuel economy is another entry from Chevrolet. Chevrolet’s slogan used to be, what is good for America is good for Chevrolet and I am starting to believe this.

The Chevrolet Cobalt SS shares the same 2 L turbocharged engine that is in the Pontiac solstice GXP. The engines 260 base horsepower rating is at 26 miles per gallon for average fuel economy. General Motors has stated that the vehicle is capable of 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway. These numbers are as impressive as this little vehicle’s performance.

The cobalt SS reports a quarter-mile time of 14 seconds flat at 102 mph. Zero to 60 times as reported at around five seconds. The cobalt SS has also been equipped with a performance suspension that would make any serious driver very happy.

The best part about the Chevrolet cobalt SS is that the vehicles sticker price was a reasonable 23,490 when it was brand new. This is a lot of bang for your car buying dollar. Picking one up used could also be a good buy. I do recommend you check vehicle history to make sure it wasn’t wrecked and rebuilt before you sign the papers.

It’s said that it takes General Motors more than one year to retool a plant and billions of dollars to change the vehicle that plant produces. General Motors has begun this process by retooling plants that build large SUVs to produce small performance oriented vehicles. The company is betting and actually putting all of its eggs in this fuel-efficient performance oriented car market basket.

The slow moving General now appears more agile and capable then ever before. This is absolutely necessary for the company to survive after it’s recent bankruptcy. The relaunch appears to be very strong from a technology point of view despite the setbacks from the recalls. I plan to continue to support America’s largest and in my humble opinion greatest car manufacturer.

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2009 Saturn Sky