Unless you've been living under a rock for the last four months, you're well aware that the Chevrolet Cobalt is at the center of a controversial recall over a faulty ignition switch. Naturally, this has tarnished the reputation of the mighty Cobalt, but maybe they are still good for something.

That something is fuel economy as Regular Car Reviews explains in this video filmed prior to ignition-gate. The Cobalt XFE, in the mold of the Toyota Yaris, cut down on weight, lowered compression, and used tall gearing and low rolling resistance tires to achieve hybrid-like fuel efficiency. Indeed, if you drove the Cobalt XFE carefully you could get 40 MPG on the highway.

Unfortunately, no one bought them. Regular Cars thinks that this was because in 2009 when the XFE trim was introduced the Volt was soon to debut, and Chevy didn't want to steal that car's fuel efficiency limelight. The XFE was probably created to meet some fuel efficiency standard, and it came as quietly as it went.

One can't help but feel a little bad for the lowly Cobalt XFE, which despite the recall mess is an honest workhorse. It's a reminder that one doesn't need a fancy hybrid system to get respectable gas mileage–just some old school engineering and careful driving. If you're looking for a cheap, fuel efficient commuter this might be a good way to go. Just make sure you take all your junk off of your keyring.