I was looking for a car that got at least 40 mpg and wasn't more than 25K. What I found was the beautiful Honda Insight. I am averaging 48.3 mpg with most of my driving back and forth to work on a rural road. The hatchback design gives me loads of room in the back, and if I need to carry something awkward I can drop the rear seats and they really lie flat. It isn't a race car but is plenty zippy around town. It struggles sometimes going up a steep grade here in the mountains, but you can downshift. The only negatives are the radio speakers aren't the greatest and the headlights don't turn off by themselves. Other than that, I have no complaints!
I absolutely adore my Honda Insight- it's stylish, quick, and turns alot of heads... plus, it's so nice to so rarely have to worry about gas! At 45+ MPG, I only have to refill my 10 gallon tank about once a week. I recommend this car to anybody and everybody- So much more unique than the Prius, gives tons of driver feedback (all the info on the driver interface shows you exactly what's going on in the car at that moment- that's why it's the Insight!) and is overall the best car I've owned :-)
Don't let the official EPA figures fool you, the car can routinely get more MPG - particularly if the weather cooperates. My commute is pretty much a 50/50 mix of hwy and city driving. 32 miles in all daily. I typically get slightly upwards of 45 MPG when it is below freezing. When in the 70s, I can hit close to 60 MPG. However, it should be known I drive the speed limit on the freeway - 55 mph. Drive the car 70 mph and the mileage drops into the mid 40s. The car has "interactive" features which help you learn to drive it efficiently regardless of the speed. I find the car to be very comfortable and functional as a city commuter. As long as you don't take any detours at the dragstrip you're fine. It does after all have a 1.3 L engine. Merging with traffic at highway speeds uphill can tax the motor quite a bit but with enough electrical assist it can usually do fine. The gasoline motor does generally shut off at stops as a hybrid should. Is eerily quiet at first. And, the brakes have a hybrid feel to them as well. They stop great but use a metered pressure on them. Put the family in the car and things get a little tight in the backseat - two teenagers and a younger child in a booster seat. That can make even a Grand Marquis tight. Hatch is convenient with easy access. One car magazine describes the car as alien in nature styling wise. The dashboard does look more sci-fi than hi-tech but ignore the looks and you'll find everything is right at your fingertips or direct view as it should be. It is a reach to the Navigation/audio unit sometimes but this is easily overlooked as I appreciate the direct integration for my Ipod. Bluetooth for the hands free phone on the Nav model is also a great convenience. Some folks complain about the bar in the middle of your rear window. I on the other hand appreciate it at night when it blocks glaring headlights. Just the right level. I have had no visibility issues. I have two other Hondas - Odyssey and a Civic Hybrid. This one seems to have the same desired family traits.