7 cheap alternatives to hybrids

2014 Nissan Versa SL

Price: $17,700
Mileage: 31 mpg city/40 hwy/35 combined
Estimated Annual Fuel Cost: $1,400

The Versa sedan won't turn any heads. It's as plain as Amish pajamas. But we are impressed with its cabin space — more rear-seat legroom than a Mercedes-Benz C-Class — despite its tidy exterior footprint that allows it to slide into those smaller parking spaces in downtown garages. It easily transports four adults and five in a pinch. Its generous trunk carries more stuff than a C-Class, too. Nissan uses continuously variable transmissions almost exclusively in its cars and put one in the Versa SL, along with a 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Push-button start, trip computer and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat are all standard.