Who’s Your Gas Buddy? 16 Cars With 40-MPG Gas Mileage On Sale Now

Gas prices got you all nervous? Figuring the days of cheap gas are over? Thinking about a new car with much better gas mileage?

Well, just because the EPA rates a specific car at the magic 40-mpg mark doesn’t mean you’ll actually get 40 mpg.

But the ratings are a good indicator of where cars stand relative to one another.

New: 2012 Ford Focus SFE

The latest entry to cross the 40-mpg threshold is the 2012 Ford Focus SFE, one specific model of the all-new Focus compact that’s now shipping to Ford dealers.

The 2012 Focus fitted with that “Super Fuel Economy” package and a six-speed automatic transmissionis rated at 28 mpg city, 40 mpg highway.

“Our customers tell us that fuel economy is the top reason for purchasing a Focus,” said Ford’s VP of global product development, Derrick Kuzak. “The all-new Focus meets that demand with great fuel economy, class-leading technologies … and driving dynamics typically reserved for larger, more expensive vehicles.”

Many 40-mpg choices

The 2012 Focus SFE joins an expanding list of cars–encompassing hybrids, clean diesels, and conventional gasoline vehicles–with EPA-rated gas mileage of at least 40 mpg on either the city or highway cycle.

That’s the crucial criterion that lets them blare “40 MPG !!!” in big letters on their ads.

We haven’t included battery electric or plug-in hybrids, e.g. the 2011 Nissan Leaf or 2011 Chevy Volt, in this list. Also, we’ve listed a specific transmission only if ratings differ among the transmission options.

2011 Toyota Prius

2011 TOYOTA PRIUS: 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway – 50 mpg combined

The world’s best-known hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius, is the undisputed fuel-efficiency champ in the U.S. market.

Toyota has sold more than 2 million hybrids, and this is their crowning achievement. You really will get mileage somewhere in the 40s, no matter how you drive it.

2011 LEXUS CT 200h: 43 mpg city, 41 mpg highway – 42 mpg combined

2011 Lexus CT 200h

The newest, smallest Lexus, a compact five-door hatchback, is actually the second best rated car on the EPA’s list of gasoline vehicles.

It’s a car class down from the Prius, but it’s also more luxurious inside, and reviewers say it’s far more fun to drive.

But we’re still puzzled by the strange “Darker Side of Green” marketing campaign.

2011 HONDA CIVIC HYBRID: 40 mpg city, 43 mpg highway – 41 mpg combined

2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

The all-new 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid will arrive this spring.

It’s expected to achieve a combined mileage rating of 45 mpg–which would boost it above the CT 200h into second place after the Prius.

There will also be a gasoline Civic HF model that is projected to hit the magic 40-mpg highway rating.

2011 HONDA INSIGHT: 40 mpg city, 43 mpg highway – 41 mpg combined

2011 Honda Insight

Honda’s subcompact hybrid hatchback has been a sales disappointment.

That may be, in part, because it competes with the superb 2011 Honda Fit five-door subcompact that gets decent mileage in the id-30s for almost $5,000 less.

This was one of Honda’s pair of new dedicated hybrids, but the other one, the 2011 CR-Z hybrid sports coupe, didn’t break the 40-mpg barrier.

2011 FORD FUSION HYBRID and LINCOLN MKZ HYBRID: 41 mpg city, 26 mpg highway – 39 mpg combined

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Ford’s large midsize hybrid sedan was widely lauded on its introduction two years ago.

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid model, new this year but largely the same under the skin, is the first car to price the V-6 gasoline and four-cylinder hybrid versions identically.

2011 HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID: 35 mpg city, 40 mpg highway – 37 mpg combined

2011 Hundai Sonata Hybrid, La Jolla, California, October 2010

Despite some last-minute delays in getting Hyundai’s first hybrid to dealers, the 2011 Sonata Hybrid delivers superb fuel economy and a visually distinct appearance from the standard Sonata.

And its mileage is biased toward highway speeds, where Hyundai notes most U.S. drivers spend more than half their time.

2011 SMART FORTWO: 33 mpg city, 41 mpg highway – 36 mpg combined

2011 Smart ForTwo with 'Heartthrob' Valentine's Day car wrap

They’re small, they’re not all that pleasant to drive, and their sales have plummeted.

Yes, they get decent gas mileage. But you can get much bigger and better cars that give you the same gas mileage.

Honestly, the automatic manual transmission shifts so abruptly, pitching the car
back and forth on its short wheelbase, that you really won’t enjoy the journey that much. ‘Nuff said.

2011 AUDI A3 TDI: 30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway – 34 mpg combined

2010 Audi A3 TDI

Audi’s A3 TDI clean-diesel won the 2009 Green Car of the Year Award.

It’s a thrifty five-door compact hatchback that’s fun to drive, even if it’s getting a little long in the tooth now.


2011 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF TDI, JETTA TDI, and JETTA SPORTWAGEN TDI (6-spd manual): 30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway – 34 mpg combined

The 2011 VW Jetta is all new this year, though the Jetta Sportwagen model is carried over from the last few years.

Either way, they are offered with VW’s durable and high-mileage clean diesel TDI engine.

2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 FORD FIESTA SFE (6-spd automatic): 29 mpg city, 40 mpg highway – 33 mpg combined

This high-mileage option package on the subcompact Fiesta gets it to the magic 40-mpg mark.

The 2011 Fiesta is the first of Ford’s line of stylish, high-content European models to be brought to the States, and it’s a cut above the aging Toyota Yaris and some other contenders.

2011 Hyundai Elantra

2011 HYUNDAI ELANTRA: 29 mpg city, 40 mpg highway – 33 mpg combined

Hyundai has aggressively promoted the 40-mpg ratings on all models of its all-new 2011 Elantra, even challenging other manufacturers to report monthly sales of their own 40-mpg models.

The Elantra’s room, styling, features, and fuel economy have all won it high marks from reviewers.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

2011 CHEVROLET CRUZE ECO (6-spd manual): 28 mpg city, 42 mpg highway – 33 mpg combined

Chevy’s own Eco package on the new 2011 Cruze compact surpasses the 40-mpg mark, but only with the exceptionally high gearing of the six-speed manual model.

The automatic model is rated at just 26 mpg city, 37 mpg highway.

2012 Ford Focus

2012 FORD FOCUS SFE (6-spd automatic): 28 mpg city, 40 mpg highway – 32 mpg combined

And here it is, the latest of the growing list of 40-mpg models.

Yes, this too is a special-order package, but as Ford rather sniffily points out, at least it comes with an automatic, the type of transmission specified by 90 percent of all new-car buyers in the U.S.

[Ford, FuelEconomy.gov]

This story originally appeared at Green Car Repor

  Comments | By - February 28, 2011

Porsche Recreates The Original Hybrid Car, 111 Years Later

The name Porsche has traditionally been associated with fast, rear-engine sports cars, and more recently with fast heavy SUVs and fast heavy four-door luxury sedans.

But it all goes back to pioneering engineer Ferdinand Porsche.

He also designed the prototype for what became the Volkswagen Beetle, and would found Porsche AG after World War II.

Designing the first hybrid

Porsche’s role in creating what is acknowledged to be the first functional hybrid-electric vehicle in the world is now getting more attention, since virtually every automaker is working on hybrids–including Porsche itself.

The company has been selling the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid sport-utility vehicle for several months now. It will officially launch the 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid at next week’s Geneva Motor Show.

Lohner-Porsche series hybrid

In-wheel motors, two engines

To commemorate these new models, Porsche commissioned a replica of that first hybrid design, the 1900 Porsche Semper Vivus.

The company’s engineers have meticulously re-created the car as exactly as possible over a four-year period, and it will be fully unveiled at the Geneva show.

The Semper Vivus featured a pair of in-wheel motors at the front, powered by lead-acid batteries that were recharged by a pair of combustion engines. In other words, the engine never provided torque to the wheels, making it a “series hybrid” like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt or 2011 Fisker Karma.

Production: Lohner Porsche

Two years later, an evolution of the design was put into production by his employer at the time, the Austrian coachbuilder Lohner, which had begun making cars in 1896. In honor of his pioneering design, the cars were known as Lohner Porsches–marking the first time the Porsche name appeared on a production vehicle.

The 1902 Lohner Porsche was a larger vehicle, displayed with wheel motors at all four corners, making it possibly the first all-wheel-drive passenger car offered for sale. The bulk of the 300 vehicles sold from then through 1906 were two-wheel drive, although some buses were fitted with four motors.

Porsche Cayenne Hybrid logo

The Lohner Porsche line continued in production until 1906, using engines from Daimler and Panhard, among others.

But the “mixte” system of engine plus wheel motors plus battery pack proved too expensive in comparison to the gasoline-engined vehicles of the day.

From hybrids to WW1

An historical footnote: Porsche was drafted into military service in 1902, and became a chauffeur to Archducke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. It would be his assassination just a decade later that would lead directly to the First World War.

The Semper Vivus replica will be housed at the new Porsche Museum in Stuttgart after the show.

The video below shows more details. You can disregard the distinctly martial music; the photos tell the story, and there is no narration.

[Porsche via MotorAuthority; Wikipedia; CarKeys]


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This story originally appeared at Green Car Repor

  Comments | By - February 25, 2011

BMW Confirms ‘i’ Electric Sub-Brand, Lineup: MegaCity Now i3

Auto marketers and PR people have a love-hate relationship with the Internet. It lets them connect directly with users and fans, but it also transmits facts, leaks, and rumors at lightning speed.

That meant that this morning’s BMW press conference, telecast live from BMW Welt in a snowy Munich, contained very little new to anyone who had been following closely.

Rumored BMW 'i' logo

The event was to announce that BMW is creating a new sub-brand (which had been rumored), to be known as ‘i’ (which had been rumored), with its own graphic (which had been leaked), that will grow to include an entire range of custom-developed vehicles.

The BMW MegaCity Vehicle, its carbon-fiber all-electric urban car, will be known officially as the BMW i3. That number was new; some had bet on i2 or even i1, since the “3” designation has so far only applied to the company’s best-known and highest-production model, the 3-Series.

And the production version of the Concept EfficientDynamics, first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show of 2009, will be known as i8 (which was also rumored).

BMW Megacity Vehicle official teaser

This being a typical German press conference, there was a great deal of language about “a new world of revolutionary mobility,” and the newly-named i3 being “the first time in history that a car has been purposed-designed and built from the ground up for sustainable premium mobility.”

Oh, and lest we forget, ‘i’ stands for “innovative, integrated, and, of course, inspiring” vehicles. The ‘i’ sub-brand is the perfect complement to the “M” sub-brand, which denotes performance and exclusivity, with both taking different approaches to delivering “the BMW brand promise of joy through sheer driving pleasure.”

And so on. The video at the bottom was shown as well, if you want a flavor of the event for yourself.

BMW prototype based on Vision EfficientDynamics concept

In its quest to be “the most innovative and sustainable premium car company in the industry,” BMW chose to establish the separate sub-brand for two types of customer. (If you’re either of them, or some other kind of fan, there’s inevitably a Facebook fan page.)

First are experienced premium consumers, who are now coming to value sustainability and social responsibility (while still demanding the BMW driving experience). Then there are cosmopolitan trend-seekers, for whom a sense of style is as important as their passion for technical innovation.

The real news came around some of the new sub-brand’s styling hallmarks, as presented by BMW design chief Adrian van Hooydonk. The ‘i’ cars, for instance, will have a blue ring around the traditional BMW rondel badge.

The twin BMW “grille” elements at the front of each car will also be ringed in blue, although they won’t actually be air inlets. They may well be blanking plates, in fact (as they are on the less upmarket 2011 Chevrolet Volt), but the twin-kidney grille is such an “important feature in recognizing a BMW car” that it had to stay.

BMW prototype based on Vision EfficientDynamics concept

The wheels will be large in diameter, although narrower than today’s BMWs to reduce aerodynamic drag, and the ‘i’ cars will have their own recognizable roof pillar design (or “C-pillar”) as well as aero flaps just behind the front wheels and an L-shaped design for the rear lights, also outlined in blue.

About that graphic: “The ‘i’ is the narrowest, smallest letter in alphabet, so we gave it more width, more presence,” von Hooydonk said. “The ‘i’ brand stands for transparency, so the letter itelf is transparent.” OK, then.

Both the i3 and the i8 will be built at BMW’s Leipzig plant, which will become its global competence center for low- and no-emission vehicles. But “you’ll have to wait a little longer to see the cars,” with further information expected at the Geneva Motor Show, where media days start on March 1.

“There’s a lot of space between 3 and 8, isn’t there?” asked the unnamed announcer. “Three is not the lowest number, nor is eight the highest”–all but confirming that at some point in the future, there will be additional models in the line.

Finally, BMW announced the formation of its own $100 million venture capital arm, to be called BMW i Ventures and based in New York City. BMW i Ventures announced its first investment at the press conference, in mobile information provider MyCityWay, which provides data on city attractions to mobile phones.


This story originally appeared at Green Car Repor

  Comments | By - February 23, 2011

2013 Chevrolet Cruze To Offer 2.0-Liter Clean-Diesel Option

Last fall, GM executive Tom Stephens said the company would offer a passenger car with a clean-diesel engine in the U.S. market, its first since 1985.

Now we know what that vehicle will be: a model of the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan.

Workers at the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant where the Cruze is built were told about the model last week, according to GM Inside News.

The engine in question will be a modified version of the General Motors corporate 2.0-liter turbodiesel. It is already available in Cruze models sold in Europe and, as the Holden Cruze, in Australia, among other markets.

'Diesel fuel only' caution on Audi Q7 TDI

In Australia, the 2.0-liter common-rail turbodiesel engine is rated at 148 horsepower (110 kW) and a strong 236 foot-pounds (320 Newton-meters) of torque. It is offered with a five-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission.

In the U.K., the Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDi model with the same engine delivered 42.0 miles per gallon (50.4 miles per Imperial gallon) on the European test cycle. It cost  £17,325 (roughly $28,250 including tax) as tested by Autocar magazine in September 2009.

Internal documents indicate that the U.S.-market diesel will have an engine option code of “LUZ” on the order form. According to GM Inside News, development vehicles (known as “mules”) are now being fitted with the diesel engine for testing at GM’s Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.

Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDi turbodiesel (Europe)

The success of the 2013 Cruze clean diesel model in the U.S. market will depend on several factors:

  • the price of gasoline;
  • the price of diesel fuel and the cost difference between that and gasoline;
  • the cost differential for the diesel engine over the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine fitted to most U.S. Cruze models; and
  • whether GM has to fit an expensive urea-injection emissions treatment system to get the engine certified for tougher U.S. emissions standards.

While diesel engines are more efficient and deliver better MPG figures than gasoline engines of the same power, they do not represent a large portion of the U.S. passenger vehicle market.

Car companies and industry analysts say that for several reasons, small diesels won’t dominate U.S. car sales. But most experts expect that over the next five years, diesel sales will slowly rise as a percentage of the total U.S. car market.

Gas pump

A 2013 Chevrolet Cruze clean diesel, competitively priced and delivering mileage notably higher than the ratings of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco–which the EPA rates at 28 mpg city, 42 mpg highway for the six-speed manual version–could speed up that rise.

Would you buy a Cruze diesel? What fuel mileage would it have to deliver, and at what sticker price? (Please be realistic: “60 mpg for $12,000” is not realistic.)

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

[GM Inside News]

This story originally appeared at Green Car Repor

  Comments | By - February 22, 2011

2011 Geneva Motor Show: Three World Premieres For Toyota

Toyota FT-86 II Concept teaserWe already know that Toyota will be unveiling an updated version of its FT-86 rear-wheel drive sports car concept at next month’s 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the aptly named FT-86 II, which we saw a teaser of last month, but now the Japanese auto giant has confirmed several other world premieres.

We can also reveal that the upcoming show will be graced by the appearance of a new electric car based on the Toyota iQ, as well as a concept car previewing a hybrid version of the next-generation of Toyota’s popular compact car. Finally, Toyota will also debut the European version of the more versatile Prius V, the new seven-seat Prius+.

Toyota iQ EV prototypeThe iQ electric car is a prototype featuring a newly designed flat lithium-ion battery pack and is good for up to 65 miles on a single charge. It will undergo testing on European roads this year, with a potential introduction to that market through a leasing program in 2012.

Toyota has already announced its plans to bring the car to market in the U.S. as a Scion and is also investigating its viability in other regions.

2011 Toyota Yaris HSD ConceptAs for the Yaris HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive), the new concept will preview the look of Toyota’s next-generation Yaris and also introduce several hybrid-specific styling cues. Additionally, the concept also confirms Toyota’s intention to bring full hybrid technology to the compact segment.

The 2011 Geneva Motor Show kicks off on March 1. Follow our complete coverage of the event by clicking here.
This story originally appeared at Motor Authori

  Comments | By - February 18, 2011

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