Posts Tagged ‘fuel efficient cars’
December 6th, 2012
If you’ve been in the market for a new car this holiday season, chances are, fuel economy is at the top of your wish list. But with so many new vehicles hitting showroom floors, it’s tough to know exactly which ones really are. Inflated highway fuel economy makes for great marketing, but it can leave owners furious when the claims don’t come to fruition. At this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, we saw a plethora of all-new vehicles, most of which promised high fuel efficiency.
Here’s some brand-new production cars from the show floor that are pushing the boundaries of fuel efficiency in their segments to greater levels than ever before. Look for these 10 cars in dealerships within the next 6 months or so.
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible TDI
Volkswagen’s brand-new Beetle Convertible, on sale this month, is now the most fuel-efficient convertible you can buy in the United States. Thank Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine: the Beetle Convertible achieves 28 city/41 highway/32 combined mpg.
2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost 1.0
The Ford Fiesta will get a new engine for 2014, with 3 cylinders and just 1.0 liter of displacement. It’s the smallest Ford engine ever, and has impressed European buyers for some time with 123 horsepower thanks to efficiency-minded turbocharging. Ford says the new EcoBoost 1.0 Fiesta will be the nation’s most efficient gasoline subcompact car, with over 40 highway mpg.
2014 Kia Forte Sedan
The new redesigned Kia Forte Sedan is longer, lower and wider than the car it replaces, with smaller engines than the outgoing model while maintaining power. Packing Hyundai/Kia’s efficient 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 148 horsepower, fuel efficiency should match or exceed the Elantra at around 38 to 40 highway mpg. A 173-horsepower GDI 2.0-liter four should also provide competitive efficiency.
2013 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid
The EPA rates the new 2013 Honda Accord Hybrid (launching Jan. 15, 2013) at 115 MPGe (“Miles-per-gallon Equivalent”), placing it above the Toyota Prius Plug-In, Chevrolet Volt and most all-electric cars. Costs of ownership should be among the lowest of any production car, thanks to solid Honda reliability and great mpg.
2013 Honda Civic Hybrid
The 2013 Civic Hybrid doesn’t see improved mpg (still excellent at 44 city/44 highway/44 combined mpg), but it does see a ton of new standard features and a bolder, more-interesting exterior design. The Hybrid is now decked out with Forward Collision and Lane Departure warnings as standard equipment, plus a general upgrade in interior technology and quality. On sale now.
2013 MINI Clubvan
Need a light commercial vehicle for your small business but don’t want to spend a fortune on gas? The new MINI Clubvan panel wagon has you covered, with an estimated 26 city/35 highway/29 combined mpg. Perhaps more important, the Clubvan will lend an air of hipness and authority to every delivery you make and offers ample cargo space in a business-friendly interior design. On sale March 2013 from around $26,000.
2014 Chevrolet Spark EV
The Spark EV, which goes on sale in California and Oregon in early 2013, will achieve greater than 100 MPGe and will offer what Chevy says is among the best all-electric range in the segment. Other U.S. markets will need to wait it out, though, as Chevy says the electric car will at least initially be released in just a few test markets.
2014 Fiat 500e
The cutesy 500e will achieve 116 MPGe in the city and 100 MPGe on the highway, while Fiat promises an electric driving range of between 80 and 100 miles. Thankfully, the 500e is even sleeker than the standard 2013 Fiat 500, and doesn’t look like a toaster like some other electric cars.
2014 Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 TDI
Audi debuted no less than four new TDI diesel-powered models at the LA Auto Show, each using the brand’s new 3.0-liter diesel with 240 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The 2014 A8 TDI flagship luxury sedan will debut first (Spring 2013), with the other models in Fall 2013. The A8 TDI will achieve 24 city and 36 highway mpg, or more than 40% better than the base gasoline model.
2013 Honda CR-Z
The Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid is not among the most efficient hybrids on the market, though it sure beats the Prius, C-MAX and others in the fun-to-drive category. 2013 brings edgier styling, more power, improved efficiency (now 36 city/39 highway mpg) and a new “S+” button for an instant on-demand dump of extra passing power from the electric motor.
December 3rd, 2012
Honda’s nipped, tucked and revised 2013 Civic is now on sale, sporting a host of changes to improve upon the redesigned 2012 model that received a rather ho-hum reaction, despite strong sales. “The Big H” listened to customer feedback that the new compact sedan was too bland both inside and out, lacked the polish of the previous 8th-generation model and felt isolated on the road.
Here’s a summary of what’s new (from Honda’s official press release):
Summary of Changes for 2013
• Completely revised front and rear exterior styling (Sedan)
• Enhanced standard feature content on all model grades
• Recalibrated suspension and steering
• Extensive new NVH reduction features
• Revised interior styling including soft-touch materials
• Next-gen Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ II (ACE™ II) body structure
• Standard rearview camera
• Standard Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®
• Standard Bluetooth® Audio
• Standard Pandora® Interface
• Standard USB/iPod® interface
• Standard SMS text message functionality
• Available Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems
• Two new exterior colors: White Orchid Pearl and Kona Coffee Metallic
• New interior color: Black
Seeing the car in person, we can attest to the fact that the exterior design looks much more dynamic. Inside, the story is even better, with new standard feature content making even the base DX model one of the best-equipped cars in the class. The dash and door panels are now soft to the touch, interior color schemes have been given a once-over and high-tech safety features like Forward Collision Warning make a stronger case to choose Civic over the competing Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus. We’re anxious to drive the new car to see how much “sharpened steering and suspension responses” really make a difference.
Pricing goes up $160 at each trim level for 2013, now starting at $18,165 plus a $795 destination fee. Make a trip to the Los Angeles Auto Show (Nov. 30-Dec.9), or your local Honda dealer, to see the revised model for yourself.
November 22nd, 2012
The upgraded 2013 Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid features revamped styling, a hybrid powertrain that’s both more powerful and more efficient, and a higher-quality interior packed with new safety and connectivity technology. In other words, Honda has made progress in everything we didn’t like about the outgoing 2012 model.
Pricing will rise slightly to $19,975 when the new CR-Z hits dealers by the end of 2012.
Honda CR-Z: What’s New for 2013?
To improve the CR-Z’s sportiness, Honda made some key changes to the car’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid powertrain. The 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder and electric motor make more power, now combining for a peak 130 horsepower and 140 lb-ft. of torque. In a neat trick we wish came to more hybrids, a new “S+” button on the steering wheel causes the electric motor to dish out a momentary extra shot of power on demand.
Fuel efficiency goes up, too: 36 city/39 highway for the CVT version and 31 city/38 highway for the 6-speed manual. The CR-Z is still the only hybrid available in the U.S. with a true manual transmission. The switch to lithium-ion batteries from older nickel-metal technology rounds out the powertrain changes.
Inside and out, the CR-Z is a slicker looking car. Changes include a redesigned face that brings the car in line with the new 2013 Civic and Accord and now sports LED daytime running lamps and an attractive black mesh grille. New trim and interior materials are joined by Pandora internet radio and other in-car apps, plus standard Bluetooth and SMS text-to-speech. A rearview camera also comes standard, sure to help in parallel parking with that CRX-style split rear window.
Pricing and Availability
2013 CR-Z: $19,995 + $790 destination
2013 CR-Z EX: $21,655 + $790 destination
Release Date: Late November/December 2012
November 15th, 2012
The new 9th-generation Honda Civic debuted for 2012, and although the model has been the top-selling compact in the U.S. this year, critics called it a step backward from the previous car. Honda has listened to its customers, pushing forward a Civic refresh after just 1 model year. The updated car you see here is the 2013 model, set to hit dealerships on Nov. 29, with its official reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show coming the same day.
Take a quick look around the 2013 Civic and you’ll see an overall more interesting design Honda calls “youthful and upscale,” with some details cribbed from the all-new 2013 Honda Accord. Up front, a new black honeycomb mesh grille design gets a tasteful chrome accent bar, as does the sharper front fascia. The car’s hood now features a beveled design, and the headlamps no longer have the squinty-eyed look that plagued the 2012 model.
Out back, new taillamps now flow into a redesigned trunk lid that sweeps upward at the rear. Like the Accord, a chrome strip runs between the taillamps for a little more visual flair. There’s nothing drastic here, but the changes look nice, and help differentiate the car from the previous 8th-generation model.
Honda has not yet revealed the 2013 car’s interior, but promises “styling enhancements” that should include higher-quality materials. The suspension system will also receive some tweaking, which will hopefully improve what was years ago the best-handling compact car on the market. Mum’s the word on any other mechanical improvements, but we’ll bring you complete details from the LA Auto Show at the end of November.
November 13th, 2012
The first images of the refreshed 2013 Honda Civic have surfaced as Honda takes emergency measures to improve its new-generation compact after just 1 year of sales. Set to hit dealerships Nov. 29, the Civic gets a modest reworking inside and out in response to a lukewarm reception for the 2012 model.
A keen eye will spot an updated front fascia incorporating a sharper front chin spoiler and new headlamps. The grille design is also new, sporting a honeycomb pattern and framed by a U-shaped brushed-metal-look insert pulled from the redesigned 2013 Honda Accord. Out back, the taillamps are changed out for new units, and the trunk lid has been given a little plastic surgery.
What we haven’t seen is the interior, where Honda promises a thorough refresh. The redesigned 2012 Civic’s interior has been called a step backward from the model it replaced, so expect higher-quality materials along with the Accord’s new HondaLink infotainment system.
Expect some serious deals on outgoing 2012 Civics as the 2013′s release date approaches, with dealers given a directive from the automaker to take any and all steps necessary to move the remaining cars.