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  1. #1
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    10 Cars to Beat High Gas Prices

    By the editors of Popular Mechanics and MSN Auto.

    Not in any particular order:

    Chevrolet Cruze Eco
    Price as Tested: $19,745
    PM-Tested Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 28/42


    Cruze Eco features aerodynamic slats behind the grille that automatically open at low speeds to keep the engine cool, but then close when cruising to reduce drag. And, of course, it has low-rolling-resistance tires. The star here is a 138-hp, 1.4-liter turbo motor that performs like a much larger engine. To enable the Cruze's 42-mpg highway rating, the Eco's engine is lashed to a six-speed manual transmission, with overdrive ratios for the top three gears.

    Ford Focus SFE
    Price as Tested: $20,780
    PM-Tested Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 28/40


    With its sculpted flanks and radical windshield slope, the Focus looks like a 21st-century small car. The SFE model is tricked out for fuel economy. The 2.0-liter engine features direct fuel injection good for a 10 percent efficiency gain, Ford says and is coupled to an automated twin-clutch six-speed gearbox that drives low-rolling-resistance tires.

    Hyundai Elantra
    Price as Tested: $17,760
    PM-Tested Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 29/40


    Hyundai's Elantra features aerodynamically slick "fluidic sculpture" styling with solid hardware a new 148-hp engine, an optional six-speed automatic that delivers the same fuel-economy ratings as the manual, six airbags, plenty of standard features and a USB port for plumbing into the sound system.

    Volkswagen Jetta TDI
    Price as Tested: $24,965
    PM-Tested Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 30/42


    Volkswagen's turbodiesels remain boutique items here in America. With the new Jetta, however, that boutique is looking like a Walmart. The Americanized Jetta is bigger and roomier than the previous model, and a simpler beam axle has replaced the independent rear suspension.

    Audi A3 TDI
    Price as Tested: $33,000 (est)
    PM-Tested Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 35.7/42


    Few vehicles combine sporty handling, luxurious amenities and exemplary fuel efficiency in one package, but the A3 TDI does just that and does so with a satisfying rush of torque. The U.S.-spec A3 TDI uses the same 140-hp, 2.0-liter diesel that has made the VW Jetta TDI such a blockbuster hit for Volkswagen. The motor is paired to Audi's brilliant six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), which performs brisk shifts.

    Honda Insight
    Price as Tested: $23,810
    PM-Tested Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 45.3/43.3


    One reason is Honda's much simpler hybrid system: A 13-hp electric motor is sandwiched between the 1.3-liter engine and the CVT. Unlike the Toyota or Ford hybrid systems, however, the Honda does not allow prolonged electric-only operation, because the little electric motor just doesn't have enough juice. The Insight switches to electric-only power when cruising at low speeds.

    Ford Fusion Hybrid
    Price as Tested: $31,940
    PM-Tested Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 38.4/38


    As much as we appreciate the high-mileage chops of traditional dedicated hybrids, the Fusion proves that fuel efficiency doesn't necessarily require unconventional wrapping. In fact, the Fusion looks and drives more like a regular midsize sedan than a hybrid. The Ford rides smoothly, absorbing big potholes like a luxury sedan. It's quiet, too, and in the city achieved with 38.4 mpg excellent for a sedan weighing nearly 2 tons.

    Smart Fortwo Passion
    Price as Tested: $15,205
    PM-Tested Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 39/36.3


    Smart has quite a few shortcomings. The doors and hatch are light and tinny. The minuscule, rear-mounted, 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine drives the rear wheels and produces an odd squatting of the suspension as you floor the throttle. It's paired to a lethargic automated manual that requires long pauses to perform shifts. Freeway driving isn't the Fortwo's forte. At speed, the wake of an 18-wheeler easily jostles the tall and narrow body. And it requires constant correction to keep on course.

    Chevrolet Volt
    Price as Tested: $33,500 (after $7500 federal EV subsidy)
    PM-Tested Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 37.5/38.2


    It's an EV early adopter's worst nightmare: running out of juice, miles from the nearest charging station. With the Volt, Chevrolet is intent on squelching those fears. When its 16-kilowatt-hour battery pack becomes depleted, the car automatically switches to a gas engine a transition that is remarkably smooth (it's nearly impossible to discern on the road).

    Nissan LeafPrice as Tested: $25,280 (after $7500 federal EV subsidy)
    PM-tested EV range: 82 miles


    It's not the first pure EV, but the Leaf is hitting the mainstream like none of its predecessors. At $32,780 ($25,280 after the federal rebate), the Leaf costs the same as an average car and offers a 100-mile range enough to cover the needs of the vast majority of commuters and errand runners. The car is eerily quiet to drive. "The vehicle is equipped with a sound generator just so people can hear it coming," says Paul Hawson, product planner for the Leaf.

    The Top High-Mileage Cars to Beat Rising Gas Prices - MSN Autos

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I've never seen or driven a Volt in person, but it looks like quite the vehicle. I have rented a few Chevy Cruzes and I have to admit they are a very nice car for what they are.

    That Leaf is a weird looking vehicle. A 100 mile range would satisfy my need for a 2nd vehicle. I doubt anyone around here would want to work on it though.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I rented a Ford Focus and I was very impressed with the ride, comfort, and how quiet it was on the highway. Build quality was very good except for a flimsy turn signal. The Hyundai Elantra has excellent build quality and the interior in the top of the line version looks like a much more expensive car. The Cruz is unrefined and can't compete with the Focus and Elantra in build quality. And from what I have read about the Cruz is that is does not get close to it's claimed MPG. It is a good looking economy car though.

    I got to see a Volt at the auto show last month and it is a little odd looking in person but I could get use to it.

    The VW Jetta was really cheap inside and the styling was boring. There are better options at its price point. The 2013 Ford Fusion is the one to watch. I saw one at the auto show and it was a show stopper. Ford really has out done themselves with the looks of the car. If it rides as good as it looks, they will sell a million of them.

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    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    I wanted the Audi A3, but the TDI didn't come in all wheel drive.
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    Oldest join date recoveryone's Avatar
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    Let me know when one can do 0-60 under 5 sec and have a nice exhaust note, some of us are just pure motor heads and will always be one.
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    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recoveryone View Post
    Let me know when one can do 0-60 under 5 sec and have a nice exhaust note, some of us are just pure motor heads and will always be one.
    Here's my answer for two.


  7. #7
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post
    Here's my answer for two.

    Nice, but a little tough in the snow.
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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    I like the idea of the the Cheby Volt, a true all-electric drive with battery charging by the highly efficient, built-in engine or AC plug-in. I won't be getting one though: the Canadian price is a whopping $43k.


  9. #9
    Stereo value > car value texlle's Avatar
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    High fuel efficiency is great for those who want to save money in the long term during their period of ownership, but so is reliability. All of these dazzling figures may or may not hold true in the real world application of daily driving, as opposed to the more optimistic conditions created during testing. And even if they do apply to the real world, how long will they last? Running gear like your engine, transmission, fuel system, etc. will degrade over time, some faster than others. If you're going for maximum efficiency, make sure to consider high ratings in the areas of fuel economy AND reliability. Unless you lease, then reliability isn't as much of an issue as is financial loss, but that's another argument entirely.

    I would not expect the Cruze to last very long, based on Chevy's performance over the last 40 years or so....after the muscle car days died, the 1973 oil crisis set in, and the big 3 said, well we can't keep producing in a fashion by which we have known best for the last 60 years or so, we'll try making cars lighter, cheaper, and more efficient. Hmm, yeah. I would say the Japanese have the Americans beat pretty handily in that respect, and have since that transitional era. The Koreans proving just as competent as the Japanese over the last 10 years in terms of reliability, and 3-5 years in terms of overall quality.

    If I were buying a compact today, it would be an elantra, hands down. It really does have everything you'd expect in a compact and goes beyond expectations, while undercutting Honda and Toyota by a couple thousand or more. You just can't beat it. Then again what would you expect to hear from a Jolida owner with entry level Dyns. Bang for the buck is kind of a big deal with me. I don't like paying extra for a nameplate. It's just frivolous and impractical considering a car is the second biggest expense you incur in a lifetime, and the most heavily depreciating one. If my next car is a Nissan Z, and it likely will be, it will be because it fulfills its intended purpose well enough for the price. High performance to price ratio.

    On an even more personal aside, I have estimated my repair expenses, not including regular maintenance like oil/fluids, brakes, and tires over the last 10 years since its purchase in May 2002, totaling at roughly $1100. Just broken or worn parts. The most expensive being a radiator, alternator, ac compressor and one line, and a couple of small valve modules related to the emissions system. The engine itself has had its valve cover gaskets replaced at 90k miles. The transmission is factory original with no slop or hesitation. No leaks of any sort whatsoever, the engine bay is bone dry. The car now has just under 160k miles on it.
    After adding an aftermarket cold air intake, dual exhaust, stainless headers, and minor weight reduction, my tiburon now gets around 30-32 on the highway with a city rating of about 21. A good improvement over the factory rated 19/27 city/hwy figures. It may not be the fastest in a straight line but it sticks like a go-kart in the turns with these new Hankook ventus tires. Not bad for a 3000 pound front wheel drive.
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    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    The tricky part of lists like this is that they include limited niche variants that differ from the mass market volume versions. The Cruze Eco and Focus SFE fall into that category. The reviews for both cars indicate that they drive fine, but they have limited option packages and the fuel saver versions cost extra.

    Among the competing compact class cars, only the Mazda3 and Hyundai Elantra get 40 MPG with their volume versions. I bought the Mazda3 back in January, and my overall fuel economy so far is around 35 MPG in mixed driving with a high tank of 39 MPG.



    Aside from the abysmal Smart Fortwo (it's smaller than a subcompact, yet the much larger Mazda3 has higher fuel economy) other cars on the list rely on alternative drivetrains (hybrid, electric, or diesel) to achieve high fuel economy, which adds substantial costs. The Golf TDI was a very strong contender, but the diesel engine ballooned the cost to $4k more than the Mazda3 -- and to get both the moonroof and premium audio, the car would have cost $29k, compared to less than $22k for the Mazda3.

    At this juncture, most consumers are not ready to go over to alternative drivetrains, and with stricter CAFE standards going into effect by 2016, car manufacturers have been revamping their drivetrains. Features like direct injection, turbocharging, stop/start engines, regenerative braking, cylinder deactivation, and dual clutch transmissions are making their way into conventional cars at a rapid rate. These all increase fuel economy, and don't require an alternative drivetrain.
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    Stereo value > car value texlle's Avatar
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    All of the aforementioned in combination especially with lighter-weight carbon composite and organically derived plastic parts, aluminum body panels, and aluminum chassis/suspension components help to reduce overall weight, making a huge impact in power to weight ratios and thus effecting greater fuel economy.

    Good to hear that your Mazda is producing numbers as close as can be expected to the advertised ratings. Very nice. I just drove my friend's new Genesis Coupe 2.0T and I do believe it may be time for me to reduce the Tib's daily commuting duties to light duty usage in the next few months and upgrade. Either a GC or a low mileage Mazdaspeed Miata may be just what the doctor ordered.
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  12. #12
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by texlle View Post
    High fuel efficiency is great for those who want to save money in the long term during their period of ownership, but so is reliability. All of these dazzling figures may or may not hold true in the real world application of daily driving, as opposed to the more optimistic conditions created during testing. And even if they do apply to the real world, how long will they last? Running gear like your engine, transmission, fuel system, etc. will degrade over time, some faster than others. If you're going for maximum efficiency, make sure to consider high ratings in the areas of fuel economy AND reliability. Unless you lease, then reliability isn't as much of an issue as is financial loss, but that's another argument entirely.
    I totally hear you, but I think that most cars nowadays are not going to fare as well with long-term reliability. They're just not built to last too far beyond 10 years. The powertrains might be okay, but the interior parts and functions controlled by these new infotainment systems can't be expected to last too long.

    That said, the newer cars as a whole are more reliable than ever within that window. If you look under the hood, cars have largely replaced mechanical and hydraulic systems with electric/electronic setups. Mechanically, these systems have fewer parts and can perform to tighter tolerances. But, they are less tried-and-true, and I would expect them to work well until they just quit. With direct injection in particular, we have limited data on their long-term reliability, yet they are getting deployed at a very rapid rate.

    What I am seeing with these newer drivetrains is much greater demands on the components. For example, in the next few years, V6 engines will largely disappear in favor of turbocharged I4 engines. The turbo fours can outperform the V6s, while sipping much less gas (until the EPA retested BMW's fuel economy rating, the 3-series was rated for 36 MPG highway). But, in the process we lose the smooth power of the V6, and the turbo fours place greater stresses on the engine components. Even with my Mazda3, the Skyactiv engine achieves its high fuel economy partly by using high compression.

    The auto industry is now going through its most radical changeover in decades. I can't remember another time where so many new advances are getting standardized in such a short time. Direct injection engines and dual clutch transmissions were limited to high end luxury cars less than 10 years ago, and now it's standard issue on the subcompact Ford Fiesta.

    With hybrids, electrics, and diesels also vying for attention, this is going to be a bumpy ride as new technologies go from the test track to the production line in short succession. Although I expect conventional engined cars to remain dominant when the CAFE standards take effect in 2016, the advances in battery technology will make electric or hybrid drivetrains far more viable by that time than they are right now.
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  13. #13
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by texlle View Post
    All of the aforementioned in combination especially with lighter-weight carbon composite and organically derived plastic parts, aluminum body panels, and aluminum chassis/suspension components help to reduce overall weight, making a huge impact in power to weight ratios and thus effecting greater fuel economy.
    Mazda and Nissan are reducing their new vehicle weight by going with higher tensile steel in specific areas. I recall that aluminum is more expensive and difficult to work with, so it's been limited to higher end cars. The use of carbon fiber should be interesting. It would definitely lighten the car, but I would want to see more information on the long-term durability and effect on insurance rates (composite bodies tend to break apart in collisions, but I have no idea whether they'd be easier or more difficult to fix).

    Quote Originally Posted by texlle
    Good to hear that your Mazda is producing numbers as close as can be expected to the advertised ratings. Very nice. I just drove my friend's new Genesis Coupe 2.0T and I do believe it may be time for me to reduce the Tib's daily commuting duties to light duty usage in the next few months and upgrade. Either a GC or a low mileage Mazdaspeed Miata may be just what the doctor ordered.
    Thanks, I've been enjoying the ride. The Skyactiv engine is not a beast off the line, but it has very linear power delivery and the chassis is the usual Mazda goodness.

    I wish that Hyundai had brought the Elantra Touring 5-door to the U.S. sooner. It would have given me another good option to consider (I wanted a hatchback, but Hyundai will not bring the 5-door Elantra to the U.S. until this summer).
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    Stereo value > car value texlle's Avatar
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    As the global economy widens, auto makers are trying to consolidate their product lines among the various countries to which they export. It's an easy way to cut costs. 10 years ago, Toyota's American market may have shared 3 economical models with smaller, more densely populated countries. Now the US has the entire Prius LINE, along with the Yaris, the smaller Scion models, and hybrid variants of the Camry, Highlander, etc. (most of which Japan, SE Asia, and European countries have had for years, possibly one or two preceding generations, likely excluding the Camry and Highlander). Hyundai's move toward efficiency is even more prominent considering that the majority of their offerings tout 30mpg+ ratings. This CAFE push has these companies scrambling back to the drawing board to get these new, more efficient models ready for production before they are taxed out the wazoo due to unsatisfactory CAFE adherence. The only issue with hybrids is that they're typically more expensive than a comparably efficient gas-driven competitor. I believe the Prius C and Sonata Hybrid offer good value though. The problem of course with all electric models like the Leaf, is that these alternative drives really sell in countries where the standard commute is much shorter than they are in the US. Who wants a car with a 100 mile range per 8 hour charge? Not me.

    I'm not sure V6's are going anywhere, personally. I think we may see a broader range of V6 models replaced with I4's and V8 models replaced with V6 models. Watch the big-3 make this transition. The V6 is still lighter than the V8 and every pound counts with these overbearing CAFE numbers.

    Regarding the high-tensile steel comment, yes, you are correct. Aluminum is more expensive and is typically reserved for sports-car and luxury models- niche vehicles in essence. Whereas the high-tensile steel will be the more mass-marked lighterweight metal of choice...for now. Also, I believe the carbon composite is utilized for smaller components like engine bay trim, accessory housings, interior compents---a lot of little things that add up, but not so much used in the shell/body, for safety reasons you mentioned.
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    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post
    I totally hear you, but I think that most cars nowadays are not going to fare as well with long-term reliability. They're just not built to last too far beyond 10 years. The powertrains might be okay, but the interior parts and functions controlled by these new infotainment systems can't be expected to last too long.
    That is very true. The first thing in interior that seem to go wrong is power window switches. And then that dreaded "Check Your Engine" warning light.

    As for long term reliability, trucks seem to fare much better than cars. I drove a Nissan Hardbody truck for 15 years (and a cross country trip to Oregan), beside changing the brakes and clutch, nothing else needed repair.

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    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    I rented a Ford Focus and I was very impressed with the ride, comfort, and how quiet it was on the highway. Build quality was very good except for a flimsy turn signal. The Hyundai Elantra has excellent build quality and the interior in the top of the line version looks like a much more expensive car. The Cruz is unrefined and can't compete with the Focus and Elantra in build quality. And from what I have read about the Cruz is that is does not get close to it's claimed MPG. It is a good looking economy car though.
    The Focus was on my short list, but my two finalists came down to the Golf TDI and Mazda3 Skyactiv. The Focus and Mazda3 are very similar because they're built on the same platform, but I thought the Mazda had a better drivetrain, so I went with that even though the Focus has better styling and a slightly better interior.

    The Cruze has done very well in the U.S. market, and had outsold the Focus most of last year. I haven't driven one yet, but my impressions are that it's larger and softer than the Focus. And this is more in line with traditional American car buyer tastes. Speaking of which ...

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    The VW Jetta was really cheap inside and the styling was boring. There are better options at its price point. The 2013 Ford Fusion is the one to watch. I saw one at the auto show and it was a show stopper. Ford really has out done themselves with the looks of the car. If it rides as good as it looks, they will sell a million of them.
    I saw the Jetta and Passat at the L.A. Auto Show, and I was shocked at how frumpy and downscale those cars now look. But, going cheaper, softer, and bigger seems to be a formula that works well in the U.S. market. Fortunately, VW left the Golf alone, as it retains much of its Teutonic appeal.

    As VW becomes more like an American car company (actually, they're trying to become the new GM), Ford has been slowly unifying its global platforms. The Focus is the best example of what's possible when they stop dumbing down their cars for the U.S. market. And it might yet pay off for them, as the Focus has recently been outselling the Cruze and challenging the Civic for the sales lead in the compact class.

    The Fusion is a stunning design and you're right that this car will sell in the hundreds of thousands. By far their most ambitious midsize car design since the original Taurus.



    There is also Ford's Evos sports car concept based around the same design language that's rumored to become the new Mustang. Rather than the retro elements of the current model, this is a radical rethinking of the pony car concept.

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    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by texlle View Post
    As the global economy widens, auto makers are trying to consolidate their product lines among the various countries to which they export. It's an easy way to cut costs. 10 years ago, Toyota's American market may have shared 3 economical models with smaller, more densely populated countries. Now the US has the entire Prius LINE, along with the Yaris, the smaller Scion models, and hybrid variants of the Camry, Highlander, etc. (most of which Japan, SE Asia, and European countries have had for years, possibly one or two preceding generations, likely excluding the Camry and Highlander). Hyundai's move toward efficiency is even more prominent considering that the majority of their offerings tout 30mpg+ ratings. This CAFE push has these companies scrambling back to the drawing board to get these new, more efficient models ready for production before they are taxed out the wazoo due to unsatisfactory CAFE adherence. The only issue with hybrids is that they're typically more expensive than a comparably efficient gas-driven competitor. I believe the Prius C and Sonata Hybrid offer good value though. The problem of course with all electric models like the Leaf, is that these alternative drives really sell in countries where the standard commute is much shorter than they are in the US. Who wants a car with a 100 mile range per 8 hour charge? Not me.
    VW seems to be bucking that trend towards global platforms, as they've proliferated dumbed down North America-only versions of the Jetta and Passat. Seems to me that VW is the latest company that has their sights set on becoming the new GM.

    By the time the sudden acceleration fiasco hit, Toyota had already become the new GM. If not for the green halo from their Prius line, Toyota would be just another giant car company. They abandoned their venerated Toyota Way more than a decade ago by going on a decontenting binge (like VW's doing right now with the Jetta and Passat), and it took about that long for the s**t to finally hit the fan.

    Even Hyundai, the "it" company of the moment, is seeing some growing pains. Their latest JD Power IQS ranking is now below the industry average, just two years after they ranked #1 among non-luxury brands.

    With electric cars, I think we're only seeing a fraction of what these cars will be capable of when the new CAFE standards kick in. As an example, the Tesla Model S (going on sale later this year) will start at a 160 mile range and can be optioned up to 300+ miles with high performance variants (0-60 in 4.4 sec) also available. Obviously, the $60k+ Teslas will be well outside most budgets, but as a technological proof-of-concept, I think those cars will point towards a potential direction for electrics. I've sat in the showroom mockups, and those cars are absolutely stunning when you see how Tesla took full advantage of the extra space that opens when a car eliminates the IC engine, transmission, exhaust system, hydraulics, and nearly all other conventional drivetrain systems. The battery is a one-piece unit that runs along the floor (which is completely flat), there's a motor and power inverter between the rear wheels, an electric steering setup, and active suspension -- and that's it for the drive setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by texlle
    I'm not sure V6's are going anywhere, personally. I think we may see a broader range of V6 models replaced with I4's and V8 models replaced with V6 models. Watch the big-3 make this transition. The V6 is still lighter than the V8 and every pound counts with these overbearing CAFE numbers.
    I was more referring to the midsize class and other performance cars that currently use V6 engines. Mazda just announced that the next generation Mazda6 and CX-9 will no longer offer a V6 option. This comes on the heels of Hyundai eliminating the V6 option from the Sonata, Chevy phasing out the V6 on the Malibu, and Ford eliminating the V6 on the next gen Fusion. You're probably right that the V6 will soldier on as a replacement for V8 power in many cases (the sales for the Ford F-150 demonstrated that consumers will opt for a V6 over a V8 if the power's comparable).
    Last edited by Woochifer; 04-18-2012 at 10:49 PM.
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    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    That is very true. The first thing in interior that seem to go wrong is power window switches. And then that dreaded "Check Your Engine" warning light.
    Are you still searching for that elusive car with hand crank windows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    As for long term reliability, trucks seem to fare much better than cars. I drove a Nissan Hardbody truck for 15 years (and a cross country trip to Oregan), beside changing the brakes and clutch, nothing else needed repair.
    But, in the meantime you're driving a truck! Sort of like the indestructible and performance-challenged Curtis Mathes TVs of yesteryear, if I was forced to drive a truck, I would be begging for the thing to break down just so I can get some relief!
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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post
    ...
    With hybrids, electrics, and diesels also vying for attention, this is going to be a bumpy ride as new technologies go from the test track to the production line in short succession. Although I expect conventional engined cars to remain dominant when the CAFE standards take effect in 2016, the advances in battery technology will make electric or hybrid drivetrains far more viable by that time than they are right now.
    CAFE standards are better than nothing, I guess. But they are a sort of non-supply/demand regulation that is subject to manipulation and abuse by various parties. Better would be that fuel prices include the very real external costs such as environment impact. Whole-world pricing of gasoline, etc., need to be enforce by means of a substantial fossil fuel tax.

    Nothing would promote alternate technologies better than high gas prices.

    Electric motors are generally simpler and more reliable than internal combustion engines. While even "serial" hybrids still use internal combustion engines, these can be much small and simpler because they can always run at optimum efficiency. (The concept has been proven for decades in diesel-electric locomotives.)

  20. #20
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    One word...and that word is Fisker...

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    Cash money, baby!
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  21. #21
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks View Post
    One word...and that word is Fisker...

    2013 Fisker Surf Debuts in Frankfurt – News – Car and Driver



    Cash money, baby!
    Justin Bieber chromed his Fisker. Whaddya think? ...


  22. #22
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Justin Bieber chromed his Fisker. Whaddya think? ...
    Not much, though I did the other day see a 458 with the Nurburgring Metallic and the Scuderia striping that was complete badassery...
    So, I broke into the palace
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    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  23. #23
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    CAFE standards are better than nothing, I guess. But they are a sort of non-supply/demand regulation that is subject to manipulation and abuse by various parties. Better would be that fuel prices include the very real external costs such as environment impact. Whole-world pricing of gasoline, etc., need to be enforce by means of a substantial fossil fuel tax.

    Nothing would promote alternate technologies better than high gas prices.
    External costs though would apply to any nonrenewable energy source, including the coal and gas-powered plants that generate electricity.

    I think alternative technologies will simply emerge when they're ready. High gas prices will simply prod consumers to drive less and/or downsize their car. Right now, high gas prices alone aren't going to move the market towards alternative propulsion, because those options do not yet offer up any other compelling advantages over conventional cars.

    Hybrids have the high fuel economy, but they still have the same drawbacks as other cars because they use IC engines and the hybrid drivetrain comes with its own set of headaches. Electric cars can be compelling, but there remains the issue of range and where/how to recharge the car when it's out. Hydrogen fuel cells are great in theory, but as with electric cars, there's no infrastructure for refueling.

    With electric cars, I am seeing more and more businesses provide charging stations. It helps, but I think a more compelling option could emerge if service stations can swap out electric car batteries. Nissan's been trying to set a network like this in Israel, where someone will simply pull into a station, and their depleted battery pack will get swapped out for fully charged one. A network of battery stations would serve the same function that gas stations do right now. It's not a viable option if electric cars can only go less than 100 miles on a charge, but if the range extends to 200 miles or more, then it potentially eliminates another disincentive to electric cars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Electric motors are generally simpler and more reliable than internal combustion engines. While even "serial" hybrids still use internal combustion engines, these can be much small and simpler because they can always run at optimum efficiency. (The concept has been proven for decades in diesel-electric locomotives.)
    That's why Mazda's keeping Wankel rotaries on the frontburner. The rotary engine is very inefficient in stop-and-go city driving, but can be a very compelling option as a steady-state battery generator because of its small size, smooth operation, and efficiency under constant load.
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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post
    ....
    That's why Mazda's keeping Wankel rotaries on the front burner [because it's a simpler IC engine]. The rotary engine is very inefficient in stop-and-go city driving, but can be a very compelling option as a steady-state battery generator because of its small size, smooth operation, and efficiency under constant load.
    I had a 1974 Mazda RX-2 with the rotary engine; (always a conversation piece at the local service stations). A great car over all but It's fuel economy was terrible. It had 3-speed manual. Mostly it would have got much better mileage with a modern 5 or 6-speed.

    My RX-2 looked almost exactly like this one ...


  25. #25
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post
    Are you still searching for that elusive car with hand crank windows?
    Yes! That or a pulley

    But, in the meantime you're driving a truck! Sort of like the indestructible and performance-challenged Curtis Mathes TVs of yesteryear, if I was forced to drive a truck, I would be begging for the thing to break down just so I can get some relief!
    Owning a truck have its own set of advantages and disadvantages. One major disadvantage is that any time a coworker, friend or family is moving or buying a huge furniture or TV to take home, they always call you first.

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