7 cheap alternatives to hybrids

2014 Toyota Yaris LE 5-Door

Price: $17,300
Mileage: 30 mpg city/36 hwy/32 combined
Estimated Annual Fuel Cost: $1,550

The Yaris is right at home battling city traffic and squeezing into urban parking spaces. Yet it's surprisingly roomy. Toyota added a few inches to the length in its last makeover, noticeably increasing trunk space. It can now carry more cargo than the Volvo S60. Although the interior is pretty basic, the long list of standard equipment is impressive, including a six-speaker audio system and the extra protection of seven air bags. The bad bits are mostly under the hood. We don't know how Yaris manages such terrific fuel economy with its outdated four-speed automatic transmission. A smaller than average engine — 1.5-liters, 106 horsepower — offers about average performance for a little car.