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THAT depends on how much you drive.
For MOST people fuel economy means little. But for some of us (myself, for instance) it can mean a lot in the total cost of ownership. But again -- make sure you're comparing fuel costs (e.g. diesel .vs. regular gas.)
For example my TDI Jetta wagon returns a no-BS 48mpg on the highway, and low 40s around town. Call it 45 in mixed-cycle driving. So for the 180,000 miles I have on my "6" with fuel at 3.00/gal that's ~$12,300 in fuel.
Ok, now the Mazda at 34.6mpg (actual) over the same 180,000 miles and an average fuel cost of $2.44 has consumed $12,693. In other words, almost identical in dollar terms even though the mpg on the Jetta is roughly 10mpg better! Why? Diesel fuel is more expensive. It didn't used to be; it used to frequently be cheaper than regular gas, but hasn't been for many years. The Jetta has also been stone-cold reliable, however, it has several expensive parts (e.g. turbocharger and EGR cooler) that the "6" does not. None of them have failed, but if they do you're talking about some cash to replace them -- since the "6" doesn't have them they can't fail. The injection pump on the diesel is pretty expensive to have repaired or replace as well but I have no idea what the fuel pump costs on the Skyactiv engines -- it might be kinda spendy if it does go out as well.
What if I bought a CX-5 and managed combined mpg of ~29? Now we're at $15,144 in fuel expense, which is roughly a $2,500 penalty to drive the small SUV over the sedan. Do I get more utility out of the SUV? Maybe a bit; it has a bit better ground clearance, but I've never had that be a limiting factor. Whether cargo is better depends on WHAT the cargo is; with the "6"'s seats folded it does well so long as what you are carrying isn't *tall*; if it is the CX-5 wins in that it will accept cargo the "6" will not.
But -- remember, this is over 180,000 miles of driving! If you put 15,000 miles a year on the car over the four-ish years I've owned mine the penalty is now under $1,000 for the CX-5 -- and that's not very much at all.
Where it REALLY matters is if you're coming from something like a Suburban that gets 15 mpg around town and is hard-pressed to do better than 18-19 in ANY driving conditions. Now the gas bill adds up FAST. But as your baseline fuel economy goes up the incremental dollar savings from an additional mpg becomes less and less important.
Last edited by tickerguy; 08-12-2019 at 03:27 PM.