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Best cars with great gas mileage

CNNMoney and Edmunds.com select the top cars to buy that are smart buys and easy on fuel.

June 19, 2006; Posted: 1:35 p.m. EDT (1735 GMT)

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - You find plenty of lists out there of cars that get the best fuel economy. Those lists are easy to produce, but they aren't really of much use.

For example, the most fuel-efficient car on the market today is the Honda Insight, but do you really want to buy a rough-riding two-seater with no storage space? After all, you probably need your car to do more than just get you from one place to another. You might like to carry a few other people or some luggage. You might even want a little driving enjoyment from all those miles you're driving with each fill-up.

We worked with Edmunds.com, the people who provide automotive data and content for CNN's automotive Web sites, to select vehicles in five categories that get very good fuel mileage but that are also otherwise outstanding automotive values. There's no point to buying a fuel-efficient car that doesn't pay off in other ways.

We've selected five -- a luxury car, family sedan, sports car, crossover SUV and a subcompact -- that are smart buys and easy on fuel. For each category, we've also mentioned two alternatives.

None of the top cars are hybrids. That's because, with their added cost, hybrids aren't really a good value from a purely economic standpoint. But we've provided a hybrid choice in some categories for those who are willing to pay more to burn less fuel.

One thing you'll notice is that Toyota is well represented on this list. That's because Toyota does two things particularly well. They build high-quality cars by every measure and cars that are very fuel-efficient. On a list like this, Toyota is bound to come out on top.

Gallery: Best high-mileage cars

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