At this time, we are sure that we are not the only ones surprised by the skyrocketing price of gas. With gas prices hitting a historic high, knowing what classic cars to invest in can definitely make a difference. For us, looking at the mpg of classic cars plays a big factor alongside the purchase cost, car specs, longevity, and design.
So, what classic cars fit our standards? Our top pick is the Honda CRX Gen 1 (1983) which claims to have 62 mpg fuel economy and Fiat 500 (1957) with 45 mpg, and the Mini (1969) which boasts of its 43 mpg.
Want to discover more fuel-efficient cars? Keep on reading to see our complete list of classic cars that are good on gas. We have also included other important information about gas mileage and fuel efficiency for more reference.
Are Classic Cars Good on Gas?
A lot of people believe classic cars are better, but they are not built equal and not all of them were built with fuel efficiency in mind. In addition, the fuel efficiency of cars doesn't just depend on their mpg rating but also on the place where you are driving. For instance, if you are driving on city roads, your mpg will become lower compared to when driving on the highways. This is because driving on city roads requires you to drive in idle mode, stop frequently, and drive according to the flow of traffic. This gives more strain on your engine, therefore burning gas faster and reducing gas mileage.
Usually, the classic cars that are good on gas are those that have a small build and smaller engines They are also typically slower. In addition, they often have a higher purchase price according to the KBB Classic Car Value Guide and limited driving range. Nevertheless, they offer lesser cost to run and tend to be a more environmentally friendly means of transportation.
How To Know If a Car is Good on Gas?
The main indicator that a car is good on gas is its gas mileage. Manufacturers state their tested miles per gallon, but in reality, this can be completely different for each person depending on their driving habits. Best way to tell, is really by driving the car and seeing when you fill up the gas tank.
What is gas mileage?
Gas mileage refers to the distance that a vehicle can travel using a specific amount of fuel. It is often expressed with mpg or miles per gallon. The distance is expressed with miles while the amount of fuel is expressed in gallons. For example, if your vehicle has 25 mpg fuel economy then it can travel 25 miles using one gallon of gas or fuel.
Essentially, the longer distance or more miles you can travel with one gallon of fuel is more fuel and energy efficient. When buying cars, you can usually the mpg rating in the car details or simply ask your dealer.
What is good gas mileage?
For classic cars, a sufficient satisfactory mpg rating is about 15 mpg on less congested roads and up to 40 mpg on busy roads like the highways. At present, hybrid and electric cars remain to be the most fuel-efficient car options in the automotive market.
Best Classic Cars that are Good on Gas
The MGB is a 916-kg., two-seater car that was released in the early 60s. It is best known for its sophisticated appeal on the road with its shiny build and details. It offers 25 mpg fuel efficiency and is designed with a 1.8-liter engine that can produce 94 bhp at 5500 RPM. It was designed to be a powerful sportscar and a more modern version of its successor, the MGA.
Triumph Spitfire (1962)
A stylish cut-down door, short wheelbase, and eye-catching overall build are just some of the common ways the Triumph Spitfire is often described, Despite being small, this two-passenger convertible car offers an advantage in fuel efficiency with its 29.8 mpg rating. It weighs 711 kg. to 790 kg and is equipped with 1493cc, in-line four-cylinder engine. On the road, it can reach up to 71 bhp at 5500 rpm. Overall, it is a simple automobile that is both reliable and sophisticated.
Datsun 510 (1968)
Datsun 510 is a great energy-efficient car with 20 to 30 mpg. It rose to popularity from 1968 to 1973 and since then became a well-loved car by many enthusiasts. Its models come in two-door, four-door, and station wagon designs that are desired by many collectors until now. Depending on the model, the Datsun 510 was equipped with 1.3L.+, 1.4L, 1.5L, 1.6L, and 1.8L engines that can produce 96 to 109 hp. It is also relatively lightweight with 940 kg. to 965 kg. as its curb weight. During its time, it was known for its powerful performance that came at an affordable price Some even call it as the budget BMW.
MG Midget (1961)
If you like small and lightweight cars that give off sporty vintage vibes, then the MG Midget is no doubt a great classic car for you. It is cost-effective to run with a 33.5 mpg fuel economy rating. It only weighs 735 kg. and is equipped with a 948cc engine that produces 46 hp at 5500 rpm. It is a great buy for beginner classic car collectors and offers good performance at a low cost.
BMW Z3 1.9 (1996)
Travel back to the '90s with the reliable classic BMW Z3 1.9. This small convertible car is not just fun to drive but also cost-effective with its 35-mpg fuel economy rating. Its models feature six-cylinder and four-cylinder engines that can deliver up to 315 hp and are generally easy to drive and definitely a head-turner on the road.
Ford Escort XR3i (1986)
Ford Escort boasts of its 35-mpg fuel economy which makes it one of the most affordable classic cars to run today. It was designed with an Inline 4, Petrol engine that can reach sufficient power of 105 bhp. It is not the smoothest performing car, but its attractiveness and practicality make it a great classic car for enthusiasts.
Honda Beat (1991)
Known as a Kei car that follows strict Japanese standards, the Honda Beat with 36 mpg fuel efficiency delivers a good balance of engine performance and style. It has a three-cylinder 656cc engine and produces up to 63 bhp at 8100rpm. It is also considered one of the most lightweight cars as it weighs only 760 kg.
Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1 (1974)
The VW Golf GTI Mk1 is one of the fuel-efficient models of Volkswagen. Its lightweight and small build and fuel injection features allow you to enjoy up to 37 mpg of fuel efficiency. Depending on the model, the car is equipped with a 1.1L, 1.3L, 1.5L, 1.6L1.7L, and 1.8L engine that can reach up to 90hp. It is easy to drive, functional, practical, and definitely worth every penny.
Ford Puma 1.7 (1999)
This compact classic car only weighs 1035 kg. and remains to be one of the most fuel-efficient cars from the 90s. It is equipped with Yamaha developed 1.7 liters engine that gives the car 38 mpg. It can produce up to 123 bhp and is great for cruising on less busy roads.
Renault 5 GT Turbo (1986)
The Renault 5 GT Turbo is a lightweight classic car that weighs 970 kg. It features a 1.4L engine and claims to have up to 39 mpg fuel efficiency. It is compact and also known for its strong and functional design.
Citroen 2CV (1940)
Simple, compact, and lightweight, the Citroen 2CV is a fuel-efficient classic car with a 40-mpg fuel economy rating. It weighs 725 kg. and is also one of the famous Kei cars from Japan. It features a 657 cc three-cylinder engine that can reach 63 bhp at 6500 rpm. Its energy-efficient performance combined with its nostalgic design makes it a must-have collector item.
MG Metro (1985)
The MG Metro is the perfect balance of affordable running costs and vintage style. It has a 42-mpg fuel efficiency and a 1275cc engine. It is also a lightweight car that weighs below 900 kg. It delivers a quiet comfortable ride that is perfect for long drives. Many also often say that it is a better car than the Mini.
Fiat 500 (45 mpg)
The Fiat 500's timeless design isn't the only reason why you'll want this classic car in your collection. It offers a 45-mpg fuel economy and is relatively less costly to run. It was first released in 1957 and was relaunched in 2007. It features a rear-mounted two-cylinder air-cooled 479 cc engine that produces up to 135 hp. It weighs under 500 kg. and features a drag coefficient of 0.38Cd.
Honda CRX Gen 1 (1983)
The Honda CRX was a popular car from the '80s that achieved 62 mpg fuel economy with its 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine. With its unmatched energy-efficient engine, some users say that they were able to achieve 84 mpg. making the Honda CRX Gen 1 a highly affordable car to run in the '80s. In addition, it is one of the most lightweight functional cars with just below 800 kg. weight. Apart from fuel economy, the Honda CRX Gen 1 is also a powerful and fast car on the road. Its build and design are also compact, sporty, and definitely timeless.