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Most fuel-efficient cars for 2006

Hybrids and diesels tops in EPA's new Fuel Economy Guide. Ford Escape Hybrid top SUV.

October 13, 2005; Posted: 11:13 a.m. EDT (1513 GMT)

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Honda Insight, a gas-electric hybrid car, edged out the Toyota Prius as the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the U.S., according to new mileage ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

Both get an estimated 60 miles per gallon in city driving.

The Insight, a two-seat car, gets an estimated 66 miles an gallon on the highway, though, while the Prius gets 55 miles per gallon.

The Prius, a car that's classified as mid-sized, uses a different hybrid system that delivers better mileage in stop-and-go driving than in steady highway cruising.

The EPA's fuel economy figures are based on laboratory tests. Drivers in real-world conditions generally report lower actual mileage.

Mileage estimates for the redesigned 2006 Honda Civic hybrid are not yet available. The 2005 version ranked fourth overall last year, behind two versions of the Insight and the Prius.

The Prius is the most efficient "mid-sized" sedan by a wide margin. The Hyundai Elantra is listed as the most efficient non-hybrid mid-sized sedan. It gets an estimated 34 miles per gallon on the highway and 27 in the city.

Diesel-powered cars from Volkswagen took the top spots in the "compact" and "sub-compact" car categories. The diesel VW Beetle with manual transmission is the most efficient sub-compact and the VW Golf diesel, which is built on the same vehicle structure as the Beetle, is the most efficient compact. Both get an estimated 44 mpg on the highway and 37 in the city.

The Beetle and Golf tied for third in overall mileage rankings.

Among SUVs, the Ford Escape hybrid is the most efficient. It gets 36 mpg in city driving and 31 on the highway.

The Mercury Mariner hybrid and Mazda Tribute hybrid are very similar and get the same mileage. All tied for eighth in overall mileage rankings.

Top 10 vehicles overall:

(City/Highway)

1. Honda Insight (hybrid) -- 60/66

2. Toyota Prius (hybrid) -- 60/51

3.Volkswagen New Beetle and Golf (diesel, manual) -- 37/44

4. Volkswagen Jetta (diesel) -- 36/41

5. Ford Escape Hybrid FWD -- 36/31

6. Volkswagen New Beetle and Jetta(diesel, automatic) -- 35/42

7. Volkswagen Golf (diesel, automatic) -- 33/44

8. Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD (Also Mazda Tribute and Mercury Mariner 4WD hybrids) -- 33/29

9. Lexus RX 400h 2WD and Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2WD -- 33/28

10. Toyota Corolla (manual) -- 32/41

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