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Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Non-Hybrid Cars
People buy hybrids because they think the “H” word is synonymous with fuel savings. While that’s true, hybrid appeal leaves a wide grey area between mildly improved mpgs and real returns at the pump, not to mention the higher cost of entry into the gasoline-electric segment.
Toyota’s success with the Prius often leads people to believe that anything called a hybrid offers immensely improved fuel economy. Not so. Take the Honda Insight. It even looks like a Prius, but the two are on different planes.
Then there’s the Chevrolet Malibu Eco, which gathered negative press and was even named the most “disliked car” of 2012 by Fortune magazine.
Why is everyone gaga for hybrids when many would be happy with reasonable mileage? The mystery remains, but in the spirit of spending less time at the pump, AutoGuide has compiled a list of the 10 most fuel-efficient non-hybrid cars of 2013.
The list excludes electric cars and uses EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimated average fuel economy figures.
Disclaimer: As many know, the EPA’s utopian estimates are to be taken with a grain of salt. This story uses them for consistency. Please don’t write angry letters if your car falls short.
Honorable mentions: both the Chevrolet Cruze Eco and Cruze Clean Diesel deserve to be mentioned. The diesel Cruze will be available in dealers soon and according to the EPA, offers 46 mpg on the highway, but falls just short of the list for combined fuel economy. In the same way, the Cruze Eco uses clever gearing and cuts weight to save gas.
Put your ear to the ground. You’re probably going to hear the gravelly sound of a diesel engine coming… at least figuratively.
With the oil crisis of the ‘70s many predicted the death of the V8 engine, but it has continued to solider on. With Chrysler and Infiniti execs recently commenting that there’s no place for eight-cylinder cars in the future of their respective brands, this time, are the V8 engine’s days finally numbered?
In response to the World Health Organization’s recent decision to classify diesel exhaust as a carcinogen, more toxic to your health than second hand smoke, America’s largest retailer of diesel passenger cars is questioning the findings.
Price, looks and size… these are the few factors that used to decide what vehicle you’d park in your driveway. Looking for a cheap and small car? A Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic will do. Need something bigger, perhaps a mid-size Hyundai Sonata or an SUV. Things used to be pretty easy.
With increasingly high gas prices and an overall movement towards green, fuel efficient vehicles, fuel economy has become more important. In fact, for many price, looks and size are now completely trumped by fuel economy.
“Buyers just look at the MPG on the sticker,” says IHS Automotive Analyst Devin Lindsay commenting that car buyers are now completely mesmerized by the EPA sticker label.
Take a look at the Toyota Prius, for example. It’s not terribly big, is fairly expensive, and looks… well… weird. But that didn’t stop three million of them from being sold, all thanks to a hybrid gas-electric engine that provides excellent fuel economy.
The Prius isn’t the only option for someone looking for a fuel efficient car, however; especially those in search of a more engaging driving experience. If you want to cut down on trips to the pump, and still drive a fun, powerful, good looking car, your best bet might just be in a diesel powered vehicle. That does mean you’ll almost certainly have to drive German, although a flood of new diesel-powered vehicles are about to hit our shore.
Audi unveiled the 2013 A3 hatchback at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show today, showcasing a lighter and more efficient version of the company’s small three-door car, despite remaining almost exactly the same size.
The car will be available with two TFSI engines or a turbo diesel. All three engines were newly developed for the car and bundle efficiency technologies including direct injection, thermal management and fuel shutoff to discourage fuel thirst.
The TFSI engines offer customers the choice between a more conservative 122-hp 1.4-liter engine or sportier 180-hp 1.8-liter engine. TDI fans sit squarely in the middle in term of power, getting 150 hp from a 2.0-liter turbo diesel.
Efficiency is further helped by a chassis that loses more than 176 lbs as well as a covered underbody and engine compartment that reduce drag.
Customers will also enjoy the use of Audi connect, the company’s modular infotainment system which makes its debut in the new A3.
Aside from entertainment, the A3 comes with safety technology features like adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist which monitors traffic behind the vehicle and active lane assist.
GALLERY: 2013 Audi A3
The publication Race Engine Technology has given Audi Motorsport the “Race Engine of the Year” award for their 3.7L V6 TDI powerplant. The engine, which was vital to Audi capturing its 10th title at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year, produces more than 540-hp through the use of a single turbocharger.
Compared to its V10 TDI predecessor, the 120-degree, extremely compact V6 TDI is 25-percent lighter and uses a single turbo rather than the twin-turbo the V10 TDI used. The single turbocharger sits above the engine and draws its air directly through the roof-mounted air scoop. The setup was the result of a collaboration with Garrett, one of the leading manufacturers of turbochargers.
“Audi invented the TDI engine and is convinced that this technology remains one of the most efficient and modern forms to power a car – especially at Le Mans where engines with high specific power, low fuel consumption and low emissions are a necessity,” explained Audi Motorsport’s Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
Volkswagen is recalling 168,000 diesel engine vehicles produced from 2009-2012 over a possible leak from the fuel injectors that could start a fire.
The vehicles in question are Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta SportWagen and Golf models as well as the Audi A3 TDI. 161,144 VWs and 7,131 Audis are involved in the recall, while no injuries or accidents have been reported so far. Volkswagen says that about 20 percent of the vehicles in question have fuel injector lines that could be potentially faulty. The company will begin notifying dealers and owners in November.
[Source: The Detroit News]
Diesels are starting to make a serious push in the U.S. marketplace and while both the Japanese (Mazda) and Americans (General Motors) are planning oil burners for our shores, it’s the Germans that have always cornered the market on diesel options for passenger cars.
While VW has offered diesels for years, its Audi luxury brand has only had the A3 TDI on the market for a relatively short while. Audi is now looking to expand its diesel lineup, adding a TDI option for the new A6 luxury sedan.
According to the latest reports the A6 will get a 3.0-liter turbo diesel making between 225 and 250-hp. But that’s not all. Audi is also looking to introduce a 313-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter diesel that would produce well over 400 lb-ft of torque and deliver a 0-60 time of around 5.5 seconds.
Audi has not given any indication of when this diesel A6 might hit our shores.
General Motors has officially confirmed that there will be a diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze compact car in the U.S, planned for introduction in 2013. The current Chevrolet Cruze Eco is rated at around 40 mpg on the highway, so the diesel would have to deliver significantly better fuel efficiency than that to justify a higher-price. GM CEO Dan Akerson commented on the diesel variant, ”I drove it the other day. It is great, these new diesels are quiet. Should make it in the low- to mid-40s, and that’s with an automatic,”.
Diesel engines on average get 20 percent to 40 percent better mileage than similar-sized gasoline engines but lately, diesel fuel in the U.S has averaged 5 percent to 10 percent more than regular gas. Diesel engines are also costlier than gas engies, and require complex emissions gear, upping the price of diesel vehicles. GM wouldnt release anything pertaining to the price or give other details about the diesel Cruze because production is more than a year away however, a Jetta diesel with an automatic costs $24,865 so the Cruze is likely to be competitively priced.
Check out Cruze Talk forums for more info
[Source: USA Today]
On July 13, Rainer Zietlow and his team set a new world record for driving the length of the Pan-American Highway covering nearly 16,000 miles through 14 countries in a 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel SUV.
The team set off on this journey to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the legendary Pan-American Highway. The team began their adventure on July 2 at the southern-most tip of Argentina where the Pan-American Highway begins, then travelling through Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Canada. The team drove day and night, taking five hour shifts throughout the trip.
Zietlow chose the Toureg TDI Clean Diesel for its durability, high-performance and long-range fuel efficiency. The Touareg features a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 TDI engine that produces 225-hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The clean diesel SUV consumes 30 percent less fuel and produces up to 25 percent lower CO2 emissions than comparable gasoline vehicles.
The journey was to benefit charity organizations that work in 48 developing countries. Zietlow will donate 10 Euro cents for each kilometer that was driven to two villages in Latin America managed by Plan International.
Zietlow will travel to VW dealerships across the U.S from August 1-30 with the record setting Touareg so the public can learn about the record setting journey.
GALLERY: 2011 Volkswagen Touraeg TDI
In this 14 minute video, Audi takes the viewer through all that goes into competing and winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The video takes an in depth look into the all-new sophisticated R18 TDI race car and all the people working for the Audi racing team. The video is very entertaining whether hearing from Audi’s top executives or the race car drivers themselves and features some great slow motion shots of the Audi race car going airborn and some terrific angles of Le Mans car crashes.
Check out the video after the jump!
Audi is set to abandon its Q7 V12 TDI due to slow sales and rapidly advancing diesel technology in their smaller displacement motors. The current V12 TDI makes 500 horsepower and 738 lb-ft, and is widely considered to be one of the most impressive SUVs on the market.
But with Audi’s V6 TDI making a more-than-adequate 313 horsepower (compared to the 4.2L V8s 340 horsepower), Audi is moving to drop both the V12 and V8 TDI motors in favor of the newer, more efficient V6. Mercedes-Benz and BMW abandoned large displacement diesels long ago, so such a move wouldn’t be out of character for Germany’s third luxury brand.
[Source: Car and Driver]
According to a recent report by Car and Driver, Audi will be offering a diesel option for the soon to be released 2012 S6 and S7 Sportback models.
Official details have yet to be released, but there is speculation that the diesel variant will likely have a 3.0-liter TDI powerplant rivaling the gas engine in power. The diesel will have less horsepower but more torque; somewhere around 350-hp and 479 lb-ft of torque.
The gas engine is expected to be a 430-hp turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, which Audi will share with the Bentley Continental GT.
Designed for the European market, it’s unclear (and unlikely) that the diesel S6 or S7 Sportback will be offered in North America.
[Source: Car & Driver]