The 2013 VW Beetle TDI is no longer that bare-bones icon of the Sixties nor the note-perfect cute revival New Beetle of the past decade. With the 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine, the Beetle will regularly turn in 40+ mpg on the highway. The EPA numbers are 28 city/ 41 highway with the manual and 29/39 with the automatic. As is the case with most diesels, and in contrast to most gasoline-fueled vehicles, beating EPA fuel economy numbers are not hard.
As I approached the new Avalon Hybrid for my test drive, I noticed that Toyota had preserved the subdued elegance of the exterior while making it more aerodynamic with a .28 coefficient of drag. I sat behind the leather steering wheel in the 10-way power driver leather seat to insure my comfort even on a long drive. The 2013 Avalon Hybrid is rated at 40 MPG city, 39 highway, 40 MPG overall. Price starts $35,555.
Get in, buckle up, push the start button, put it in forward, push the right pedal, and go. Driving the new Toyota Scion IQ EV the day before the official press release was a real treat, not an October Halloween promotion trick. Feeling like a good dance shoe or ski boot, quick, positive, solid, no [...]
I see a soaring hang glider as I look up through the sunroof of this sporty hybrid. This new Prius c is a pleasure to drive along the cliffs of Pacific Coast Highway overlooking the ocean. This hybrid has handled well through sharp turns, accelerating quickly on to freeways, and hitting the brakes hard when some nut cuts me off in heavy traffic. After 130 miles of mixed driving, I am getting 48.1 MPG, averaging 33 miles per hour, and staying in electric-motor only mode 20 percent of the time.
I drove the car and talked to the Coda sales representatives extensively during the San Diego auto show. The Coda headquarters are in Los Angeles, the body and many components are Chinese, and their assembly is done in Benicia, California, less than an hour from Tesla’s new manufacturing site. I suspect that Coda is under capitalized.
It’s an ideal California day for this test drive of the Kia Optima Hybrid. As the day warmed, we would be able to open the sunroof, even though it is January. The drive will combine city streets, freeway acceleration, hill climbing, and navigating curves over steep cliffs descending to the ocean. It will be interesting to compare this to my test drives of other midsized hybrids including the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Nissan LEAF is the first electric car to earn five stars from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. My wife and I have been driving our Nissan LEAF for over three months. This electric car feels safe to us on city streets and on freeways. The LEAF is easy to charge. It won’t let us drive anywhere if we forget to disconnect the charge point. When backing out of our shared condo parking, the mirrors and backup camera are helpful. The LEAF accelerates well on to freeways, even in the range-extending ECO mode that we almost always use.
By Tom Bartley (4/30/11) In 2012, Toyota will start selling an SUV with 100-mile electric range – the RAV4 EV. In 2015, Toyota will start selling an SUV with an electric drive and 400-mile range – the FCHV. Electrically driven cars could fast become part of our transportation landscape and hydrogen is still in the [...]
By Tom Bartley (3/24/11) My two weeks were up yesterday and I had to pass the car to the next Clean Fuels Coalition board member. I liked the experience and it saved me money. This dual fuel (electricity and gasoline) Prius is all about having a nice ride and being energy efficient. The car I [...]
The Eubank family was interested in replacing one of their SUVs with a fuel-efficient car. A typical SUV in the United States produces about 12 tons of CO2 emissions per year; a fuel-efficient hybrid only one-third that amount. Safety and storage were major concerns in their decision. Without sacrificing safety or vehicle needs, the Eubanks now live in better harmony with their values about energy security and being environmentally friendly.
It’s easy to slide behind the steering wheel of this Tesla Roadster because the top’s removed for this January day. I don’t mind. It’s 70 degrees here in Palm Springs, California. A perfect day for a test drive. Handling S-curves is smooth and effortless even though this sports car has no power steering. I go over a speed bump at 20 mph. No scraping sounds. No damage. These shocks are worthy of a race track.
This Lincoln MKZ is delivering the most smooth and silent drive I’ve experienced. In stop-go LA traffic, I quietly move forward only using the two electric motors, with the gasoline engine off. When I accelerate around slow traffic the electric motors and gasoline engine blend power so smoothly that it would happen unnoticed unless you are doing a test drive. The Lincoln MKZ is the premium hybrid car with the best fuel economy on the road. No other luxury or premium car gets the Lincoln MKZ’s 41 highway, 36 city, and 39 mpg combined fuel efficiency.
Keo, at age 3 months, started his Nissan LEAF test ride with a yawn, gurgled his approval during the ride, then wisely left the car buying decision to his parents. Grace and Susan Stanat brought their son along for the test drive. They arrived with Keo, baby seat, stroller, and high-hopes for getting an electric car. Although three adults can squeeze into the back seat of the LEAF, two babies are another matter.
CODA was taking people for rides at the Santa Monica Alt-Car Expo, but not letting them drive, in contrast to hundreds of potential buyers test-driving the Nissan LEAF. Sorry, but CODA did not appear to be worth $44,900 in contrast with the more sexy, more fully appointed Nissan LEAF priced at only $32,780. Both pure battery-electric cars are targeting 100-mile ranges. CODA with 33.8 kWh lithium battery pack is likely to have a better real world range than Nissan with 24 kWh battery pack.
My test drive of the Volt demonstrates this plug-in hybrid is a winner. I settle behind the steering wheel, feel comfortable in the bucket seat, and am impressed with the display behind the wheel, and the 7-inch navigation screen. While driving, I was able to try the three modes of the car with a push of the button. In Normal mode, the Volt always stayed in the quiet electric mode that gives this 4-door sedan a 40 mile electric range before engaging its 1 liter gasoline engine to provide 300 extra miles of range, depending on driving conditions. In Sport mode, the Volt goes 0 to 60 in 8 seconds.