Author Topic: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars  (Read 10901 times)

Offline Autos_Editor

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Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« on: August 20, 2012, 04:09:13 am »


We compare the 2013 Mazda CX-5, 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, 2012 Volkswagen Golf TDI, 2012 Toyota Prius, and 2012 Chevrolet Volt

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Offline sailor723

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 05:46:42 am »
Great article guys. Very interesting to review the various approaches being taken to reduce fuel consumption and the compromises involved in each choice. I have to say I agree with your conclusions as well. It seems to me the VW is the clear winner in terms of being a good all around "car' that just happens to be extremely fuel efficient as well. The case for the Volt would be far more compelling if it were not for the price.

I was a little surprised by this comment about Li-ion batteries ...."may not be as durable over time" It has always been my understanding that Li-ion batteries were good for more charging cycles and would last longer than NiMH before losing the capacity to "hold" a charge.....ie more durable. My experience comes from cell phones and a variety of hand held marine electronics. Perhaps larger automotive applications have different characteristics?
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 05:57:29 am by sailor723 »
So, why can't the Germans make electronics work in cars?

Offline tpl

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 06:41:18 am »
That sentence in the Volt page about the range extender "charging the battery". From what I have read about the Volt it just keeps the battery charge from dropping below a certain point and does not recharge the battery .  I think it would be a useful thing under some circumstances to be able to run the engine to recharge the battery while the car is stationary but that might require a wholesale redo of the engine cooling system.
There are only two golden rules for attaining a mature age: first, always give way to temptation; and second, go easy on the fruit and veg. No other measures are required.
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Offline JohnM

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 07:23:00 am »
The idea was to have no winner and clearly there are 5 great cars here.

That leaves one loser which (I'm sorry to say) is the Hyundai.  If it can't deliver on fuel economy to come close to its ratings then the ratings should be changed.  Hello Transport Canada!

Big fail here.  The non-hybrid Camry would come very close to these numbers and beat them in pure highway running.

A cloud is developing over Hyundai's fuel economy claims.  It is starting to smell like American car horsepower figures in years gone by.

Great test and thanks for the big effort.  A direct comparison run over the same route at the same time would be more valid of course but this article is an excellent reference.

Cheers,
John M.


Offline sailor723

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 07:59:14 am »
The idea was to have no winner and clearly there are 5 great cars here.

That leaves one loser which (I'm sorry to say) is the Hyundai.  If it can't deliver on fuel economy to come close to its ratings then the ratings should be changed.  Hello Transport Canada!

Big fail here.  The non-hybrid Camry would come very close to these numbers and beat them in pure highway running.

A cloud is developing over Hyundai's fuel economy claims.  It is starting to smell like American car horsepower figures in years gone by.

Great test and thanks for the big effort.  A direct comparison run over the same route at the same time would be more valid of course but this article is an excellent reference.

Cheers,
John M.

Or Hyundai horsepower claims in years gone by  ;D :stick:

Offline Mike

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 08:12:57 am »
That sentence in the Volt page about the range extender "charging the battery". From what I have read about the Volt it just keeps the battery charge from dropping below a certain point and does not recharge the battery .  I think it would be a useful thing under some circumstances to be able to run the engine to recharge the battery while the car is stationary but that might require a wholesale redo of the engine cooling system.

You are correct.  I think that is what Jonathan was getting at.  Engine charges batteries enough to keep the engine running.  I agree though, if it could also charge the battery at the same time this car would be even better

Offline hemusbull

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 09:17:37 am »
What a shame! There isn't exception  - the most frugal on gas is the most expensive to buy, the second expensive to buy is the second in fuel efficiency and so on. What's the point? The most regarded vehicle for me is Mazda CX5 for its conventional but contemporary in terms gas mileage drivetrain. All manufacturers must take that path instead to offer us overpriced, media adopted, semifunctional high tech wonders affordable for few!

Offline AP

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 10:28:20 am »
Of course the most technologically advanced offerings are the most expensive.  Early takers underwrite the costs of the R&D.  Economies of scale bring prices down through time.  This is economics 101!

An interesting sideline issue for me is the extent to which, if at all, the tax concessions on green technology crowd out price concessions manufacturerers might otherwise offer. 

Offline sailor723

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2012, 10:35:55 am »
I'd be interested to know what kind of loss per unit GM is taking on those 10,000 Volts they sold last year. :-\

Offline hemusbull

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2012, 10:49:19 am »
Of course the most technologically advanced offerings are the most expensive.  Early takers underwrite the costs of the R&D.  Economies of scale bring prices down through time.  This is economics 101!

Yes and no! One of the most efficient type of car is actually a car with turbo diesel injected engine and in Europe their price is slightly higher than their gas siblings. And this is economy as well - the world pays for Diesel R&D from 1930s of previous century. The only problem here, in North America is the customer persption. But it comes with vigorous work of the manufacturers against the Diesel cars. Even the most famous VW/Audi with TDI are sold here with enormous premium. North American mass car market is manipulatively build as an luxury, high scale priced.

Offline greengs

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2012, 10:56:31 am »
Golf would be my only choice here by far as well.

We really need more diesels in NA.  I'm hoping Chevy, Mazda, Subaru, Honda etc start to bring more affordable options to our market soon. 

Offline AP

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2012, 11:01:49 am »

Yes and no! One of the most efficient type of car is actually a car with turbo diesel injected engine and in Europe their price is slightly higher than their gas siblings. And this is economy as well - the world pays for Diesel R&D from 1930s of previous century. The only problem here, in North America is the customer persption. But it comes with vigorous work of the manufacturers against the Diesel cars. Even the most famous VW/Audi with TDI are sold here with enormous premium. North American mass car market is manipulatively build as an luxury, high scale priced.

There is a market rationale for that too: Since VW lacks competitors with diesel offerings, there is a reduced need to package the TDIs in the price competitive lower trim levels.

Offline aaronk

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2012, 11:02:16 am »
Great article and nice to read a bit about the technology behind these fuel-sippers. Any reason the Prius C wasn't in the mix? It undercuts the Prius by $5,000 and gets better MPG's, I would think that might be the 'value leader' here for folks wanting to save both at the dealer and at the pump.

Offline sailor723

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2012, 11:25:39 am »

Yes and no! One of the most efficient type of car is actually a car with turbo diesel injected engine and in Europe their price is slightly higher than their gas siblings. And this is economy as well - the world pays for Diesel R&D from 1930s of previous century. The only problem here, in North America is the customer persption. But it comes with vigorous work of the manufacturers against the Diesel cars. Even the most famous VW/Audi with TDI are sold here with enormous premium. North American mass car market is manipulatively build as an luxury, high scale priced.

There is a market rationale for that too: Since VW lacks competitors with diesel offerings, there is a reduced need to package the TDIs in the price competitive lower trim levels.

Slightly off topic but still having to do with fuel economy... I can't imagine why more manufacturers aren't offering diesels in their large and mid-size SUV/CUV's. It would seem like a pretty easy way to get some fairly significant fuel savings. I'm saving between 5 and 6L/100km city and 3-4 highway in my diesel ML compared to the 3.6 V6  Cadillac SRX I had.

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2012, 11:39:29 am »
Slightly off topic but still having to do with fuel economy... I can't imagine why more manufacturers aren't offering diesels in their large and mid-size SUV/CUV's. It would seem like a pretty easy way to get some fairly significant fuel savings. I'm saving between 5 and 6L/100km city and 3-4 highway in my diesel ML compared to the 3.6 V6  Cadillac SRX I had.

Would be nice, wouldn't it.... having driven a few diesels over in euro-land, with the X5 in particular... what a sweeeet engine...



Offline tpl

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2012, 11:46:04 am »

Yes and no! One of the most efficient type of car is actually a car with turbo diesel injected engine and in Europe their price is slightly higher than their gas siblings. And this is economy as well - the world pays for Diesel R&D from 1930s of previous century. The only problem here, in North America is the customer persption. But it comes with vigorous work of the manufacturers against the Diesel cars. Even the most famous VW/Audi with TDI are sold here with enormous premium. North American mass car market is manipulatively build as an luxury, high scale priced.

There is a market rationale for that too: Since VW lacks competitors with diesel offerings, there is a reduced need to package the TDIs in the price competitive lower trim levels.

Slightly off topic but still having to do with fuel economy... I can't imagine why more manufacturers aren't offering diesels in their large and mid-size SUV/CUV's. It would seem like a pretty easy way to get some fairly significant fuel savings. I'm saving between 5 and 6L/100km city and 3-4 highway in my diesel ML compared to the 3.6 V6  Cadillac SRX I had.
I suggest a couple of answers.   Because of the expensive emissions gear for a NA certified diesel you need a considerable economy of scale to not price out of the market... not a problem for MB (price range) or VW (scale) and I guess BMW don't quite have either...or just don't want to sully their "sporty" marketing in NA
A Diesel that is perfectly satisfactory in the EU and the rest of the world may be just not certifiable here, age, technology, whatever.  The pre 2007 VW 2litre TDI being an example.  M-b went through a similar timeout.
The D3 have not attempted to sell diesels in NA except the ones they have bought from specialist engine manufacturers and they have been too big for mid size SUVs or even mid size trucks.
And as long as gas is cheap such that Joe Sixpack can afford to drive a Durango or an Expedition why should they bother to make the ionvestment.

Offline dragonfly

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2012, 12:00:54 pm »
 Might some of the fault for the Sonata's poor MPG showing be that the driving was all highway?  Most hybrids get better mileage in stop and go (slower) driving...At highway speeds hybrids are operating on gas engine only...negating the benefits of their electric-powered capabilities... Just a thought...Very well written, informative article...Also, the Volt, in Ontario, would cost about 37,000...Would that not bring it's savings in fuel down to a viable level over some of it's competitors here? Thanks   Jack

Offline Mike

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2012, 12:02:51 pm »
Might some of the fault for the Sonata's poor MPG showing be that the driving was all highway?  Most hybrids get better mileage in stop and go (slower) driving...At highway speeds hybrids are operating on gas engine only...negating the benefits of their electric-powered capabilities... Just a thought...Very well written, informative article...Also, the Volt, in Ontario, would cost about 37,000...Would that not bring it's savings in fuel down to a viable level over some of it's competitors here? Thanks   Jack

The Sonata will actually go into EV Mode (purely battery) for short periods of time on the highway.  All the vehicles were driven the same with the Volt being used a bit less.  All five were put into Toronto commuter for several days.

Offline AP

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2012, 12:14:29 pm »

All the vehicles were driven the same with the Volt being used a bit less.  All five were put into Toronto commuter for several days.

Hmmm....the article suggests the Volt got some kid glove treatment no?

Quote
we babied the Volt and sent other vehicles on any trips we knew would surpass its range, moreso to prove the point that if your round-trip commute to work is between 50 and 60 km, you could bring your gas bill practically down to dollars per month, with an estimated $50 increase in monthly electricity bill, as per the Energuide estimated annual electrical cost. Of course, rates may vary.


Offline Neromanceres

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Re: Comparison Test: Best Fuel Efficient Cars
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2012, 12:24:25 pm »

All the vehicles were driven the same with the Volt being used a bit less.  All five were put into Toronto commuter for several days.

Hmmm....the article suggests the Volt got some kid glove treatment no?

Quote
we babied the Volt and sent other vehicles on any trips we knew would surpass its range, moreso to prove the point that if your round-trip commute to work is between 50 and 60 km, you could bring your gas bill practically down to dollars per month, with an estimated $50 increase in monthly electricity bill, as per the Energuide estimated annual electrical cost. Of course, rates may vary.

I got my 2013 Volt two weeks ago.  I don't baby it.  I'm averaging 74km range a day.  I will drive it at 120km/h on the expressway to work too.   It's a spectacular car.  In two weeks I have have put over 1000kms on the car and used 7.5L of gasoline (only because of a road trip from Kitchener to London).

Many of the people on here just can't seem to accept or believe this car from General Motors.  If you live in Kitchener/Waterloo area give me a message and I will show you myself.