7 cheap alternatives to hybrids

2014 Mazda3i Sport Sedan

Price: $20,290
Mileage: 30 mpg city/41 hwy/34 combined
Estimated Annual Fuel Cost: $1,450

Talk about fun to drive. The Mazda3i has a wonderful balance of spot-on handling, quick acceleration and impressive fuel economy. Redesigned for 2014, it clearly benefits from Mazda's Skyactiv Technology, which recasts most mechanical components to make this sedan stronger, lighter and more efficient. The new Mazda3i also has the biggest, most powerful engine you'll find here — 2 liters, 155 horsepower — and the only six-speed automatic transmission (an option we recommend and have included in the price).  Inside you'll find better materials and workmanship than in previous versions. Although there are pricier versions with all manner of extra goodies, the Sport ticks all of our boxes.