Nearly 5,000 vehicles could be added to a recall General Motors announced in May.
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10. (TIE) 3-Series Hybrid, Mercedes E400 Hybrid, Infiniti M35h, Buick LaCrosse/Regal eAssist: 29 mpg
Who is to say that luxury car buyers aren’t affected by high gas prices? If you want to drive in comfort, style, and have the latest high tech goodies in a car, you shouldn’t have to pay more at the pump for it. Here are our picks for the top 10 most fuel friendly luxury cars, ranked in order of their combined city/highway mpg numbers.
Quite a few luxury cars hit the 29 mpg mark combined. The most impressive of the bunch is the Buick LaCrosse, which manage to get solid fuel economy, despite its bigger size. The Infiniti, Mercedes and BMW vehicles make do with a high-power pairing of a six-cylinder engine and an electric motor, which gives the end result of over 300-hp.
The Buicks use a mild hybrid system called eAssist which pairs a 2.4L four-cylinder engine with a conventional automatic, and a compact lithium ion battery to get its impressive fuel economy numbers.
Currently available on three models, GM’s eAssist technology is a product and packaging gamble the automaker has made that does not appear to be paying off. While the first two Buick models to receive the mild-hybrid system received modest praise, the new Chevy Malibu Eco has drawn so much criticism it was recently named “the most disliked vehicle of 2012” according to Fortune magazine.
The impact of that title, not to mention all the bad press that’s led up to it, can’t be understated. The reputation, and sales, of an entire lifecycle of Malibu models (the Malibu being one of GM’s largest volume products) is hanging in the balance.
Posting respectable 2011 sales numbers, the quietly successful Buick Regal outsold the Audi A4, Lexus IS250 and Acura TSX last year. For 2013, the Buick Regal has received some drivetrain upgrades. First, the performance trim Buick Regal GS will receive an automatic transmission. Second, the 2013 Regal will possess eAssist technology as standard.
Introducing the Buick GS with a manual transmission is an interesting move and, according to U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing Tony DiSalle, “With the Regal GS, we made a conscious decision to go against the current trend and give enthusiasts the manual transmission they desire as standard equipment. Adding an automatic simply makes the performance of the GS even more accessible.” The new Aisin AF40 automatic transmission will be a no-cost option from the manual. According to GM, the new automatic transmission will deliver firmer shifts, capable of matching the manual Regal GS to 0-60 at 6.7 seconds. EPA ratings for the GS is at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
For 2013, the Regal will come with eAssist hybrid technology as standard equipment. A system that provides a light, but effective, secondary electric motor that assists to either motivate the car during slow traffic or to provide an additional boost to the engine, eAssist was initially a $2,000 option for Regals equipped with the Ecotec 2.4 liter engine. According to EPA ratings, the eAssist Regal reaches 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.
GALLERY: Buick Regal GS
With the new Verano compact luxury sedan on sale this year, Buick will look to expand its offerings in a green direction with a hybrid version. The news comes via a list of suppliers printed by Automotive News, detailing all of the companies and parts involved in the current Verano.
According to the published data the Verano is set to get a 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain, likely the next-generation of the current 2.4-liter hybrid used in the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco. It’s also expected that the Verano hybrid’s system will be a version of GM’s eAssist mild-hybrid technology.
In the new hybrid Malibu the eAssist system delivers fuel economy of 26/38-mpg. In a smaller car, look for city mileage to approach 30-mpg, with a 40-mpg rating at least.
Have your heart set on a hybrid compact Buick, but don’t have the funds? Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to save up, with the car not set to arrive until 2015.
GALLERY: 2012 Buick Verano
Buick has announced pricing for their newest additions to the Regal lineup, with their Regal eAssist mild hybrid vehicle starting at $29,530, while the high performance Regal GS starts at $35,310.
The Regal eAssist uses a stripped down regenerative braking system to deliver hybrid-like fuel efficiency gains without the weight or added complexity of a full hybrid system. Fuel economy numbers aren’t quite as high as other full hybrids, but the vehicle still manages to deliver 25 mpg in town and 36 mpg on the highway.
The Regal GS offers a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and a 6-speed manual gearbox. Despite early concept vehicles that were displayed with all-wheel drive, the Regal GS is front-drive only, but also adds adjustable damping, upgraded brakes, a 19″ wheel and tire package and a harmon/kardon stereo system. The Regal GS is also expected to deliver 27 mpg on the highway.
General Motors will reportedly unveil a Buick Regal Hybrid at the Chicago Auto Show that uses similar eAssist technology seen on the its Lacrosse stablemate.
With the Lacrosse capable of returning 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, a 25 percent boost in fuel economy. eAssist also provides an extra 15 horsepower and 79 lb-ft of torque to GM’s 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft 2.4L 4-cylinder. While the Lacrosse has eAssist as standard, the Regal’s Hybrid model will likely be a flagship, along with the upcoming Regal GS for customers who want something a bit spicier.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
For more information on the Buick Regal, such as specifications, news, prices, safety information and more, please see http://www.regalforums.com/.