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Cost-effective, fuel-efficient non-hybrid cars

March 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
With high gas prices consumers are once again looking to buy fuel efficient vehicles. And with the economy still struggling, those same consumers want cost-efficient cars too.

There are several non-hybrid vehicles that meet the criteria of getting more than 30 miles per gallon, with price tags under $30,000

With the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, car manufacturers like Toyota and Honda have had to shut down factories. That means we may see a shortage of popular gas saving vehicles. But all is not lost.

With the help of NADAguides, an online vehicle information resource for consumers, we found several non-hybrid vehicles that have a lot to offer including great fuel economy.

"We wanted to take a look at all the research data that we have and identify vehicles that are currently available, currently on lots, that would blow you away with the feature sets that are included in these vehicles, and the vehicles we've hand-picked are all 30-plus miles per gallon combined fuel efficiency," said Troy Snyder, Nadaguides.com.

And also under $30,000. One of those vehicles is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.

It gets 24 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, and the price starts at a little more than $16,000. Plus it's loaded with features.

"You've got all these control systems and monitor systems that tell you what's going on with the car," said Snyder. "Six-speed automatic transition. Multiple levels of trim that you can choose from. All kinds of power options, satellite radio, navigation. It's really impressive."

Another sedan to consider is the 2011 Nissan Sentra 4 Door Sedan. At 27 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and a cost of around $15,000, it was a surprise.

"We were expecting the fuel efficiency, but what came in that vehicle was what really caught us by surprise. And again, it's the rich features that you cannot typically find in vehicles of that type," said Snyder.

Need something larger? Then check out the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen. It gets 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and starts at $19,995.

"What we loved about it was the practicality of it. It's a wagon, you can haul all kinds of things in it," said Snyder.

Another vehicle with room and plenty of style is the 2011 Kia Soul 5 Door Wagon. It's estimated at 24 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and sells for a base price of $13,300.

"Very cool look. Customizable features. You can get into the interior and make some tweaks in the interior. Highly recommended," said Snyder.

The largest vehicle on our list is an SUV from GMC. It's estimated at 22 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and it's under $28,000.