5. Kia Forte, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent (tie)

EPA combined estimate: 30 mpg

Previously known for small cheap cars, Hyundai and Kia are gaining a reputation for building small, cheap, efficient cars thanks to a trio of vehicles that all touch the combined 30 mpg mark. The diminutive Kia Rio even approaches 31 mpg when equipped with its manual transmission.

We haven't taken a look at the Kia Forte five-door, but check out the full review of the Kia Forte SX sedan.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Kia Motors
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4. Mini Cooper

EPA combined estimate: 32 mpg

It may not be as much of a miniature as it used to be, but the Mini Cooper is still a tiny terror that's both fun to drive and easy to live with at the pump.

The EPA's estimate is for the standard Mini Cooper, but we've taken a look at the hotted-up Mini Cooper S--you should, too.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh P. Miller/CNET
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3. Ford Fiesta (tie)

EPA combined estimate: 33 mpg

It's picked up dozens of awards from the European press before making its way to North American shores, so we're not surprised that the Ford Fiesta has also made its way onto this list. Besides being thrifty, the Fiesta is fun to drive and packs a great cabin tech package that's powered by Sync.

Check out the full review of the Ford Fiesta.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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3. Hyundai Elantra (tie)

EPA combined estimate: 33 mpg

Tied with the Ford Fiesta for third place, Hyundai's would-be Civic-killer manages an impressive 40 mpg on the highway thanks to its thrifty, yet still peppy, engine and six-speed automatic transmission. It's also available in certain markets with PZEV certification.

Get a First Look at the 2011 Hyundai Elantra GLS.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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2. Volkswagen Golf TDI, Jetta TDI, Audi A3 TDI

EPA combined estimate: 34 mpg

Somehow, we've managed to cram three diesels into a Top 5 list. However, this three-way tie is between three vehicles from the VW Group that all use the same 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine. These cars aren't just efficient, they're also fun to drive thanks to the plethora of diesel torque.

Check out the full review of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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1. Smart ForTwo

EPA combined estimate: 36 mpg

The Smart ForTwo is one of the smallest cars on the road and is powered by one of the smallest engines you can buy new today: a 1-liter, three-cylinder mill. Having been designed from the ground up to be the apex of driving efficiency, it's no wonder the ForTwo finds itself at the top of the fuel economy hill.

Check out the full review of the 2011 Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet.

Go back to the original blog post.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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