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Cars - Fuel Efficient, but Roomy on the Inside

With fuel prices hanging around $3.00 per gallon, several fuel efficient new cars have hit the market. These cars include the Dodge Caliber, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio5, Nissan Versa, Suzuki Reno, and Toyota Yaris. The base prices for this group is from just under $13,000 to $15,000.

Fuel economy is on most drivers' minds and the average fuel usage of these cars is 30 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. Although these cars are small on the outside and easy to park, they are quite large and useful on the inside.

A road test of the Nissan Versa hatchback determined that it will seat three people in the back seat. With the rear seat folded down, out of the six other cars, it tied for first place in cargo volume; and at 70 miles per hour, it was the second quietest car of this group.

The Versa is available with a Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission which gets 38 MPG or more on the highway. Overall, the Versa scored near the top as compared with the other cars in this group.

My personal drive of the Versa determined that it has comfortable front seats and a roomy and versatile interior. The engine is reasonably powerful with good passing ability. The Continuously Variable Transmission is smooth at all times and it helps to maximize fuel efficiency. The interior fit and finish are good, and the car handles well with reasonable ride quality.

If the $14,500 price of a new Versa is more than you can spend, used Versas will be on the market in 6-12 months. It will be one car to look for!

Kyle Busch is the author of "Drive the Best for the Price ...." His car has been driven over 439,000 miles, and his web site: Drive the Best - Car Buying Guide accepts all car questions.

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