Mileage Challenge 7.3: Our Favorite

Our latest mileage challenge revealed the Volkswagen Golf TDI as the most efficient of our high-mileage hatchbacks. However, mileage alone doesn’t make up a buyer’s mind when car shopping, especially considering that between our mileage challenge’s winner and loser the gas savings would total about $1,000 over the course of five years. So, after a day behind the wheels of these three, which one would we put in our own driveway? Editors Mike Hanley and Kelsey Mays weigh in below.

By Kelsey Mays | October 20, 2010 | Comments (4)

Mileage Challenge 7.2: The Results

Gas, diesel or hybrid? That’s the question we set out to answer in our latest mileage challenge of small, sporty cars.

There’s the hybrid Honda CR-Z, the diesel Volkswagen Golf TDI and the conventionally powered Mini Cooper. Combined EPA fuel-economy ratings for all three cars fall within 2 mpg of each other, but each car takes unique fuel. The Cooper sips premium gas, and the CR-Z takes the cheap stuff; the Golf TDI needs diesel.

Each car’s trip computer offered a gas-mileage readout, which we reset to begin each of the three legs on our 330-mile daylong route. The winner came down to the car that had the lowest fuel costs over a 15,000-mile year of driving, given our observed mileage.

The scrutiny, it turned out, made little difference. Each hatchback handily beat its combined city/highway EPA fuel-economy rating, but the Golf TDI ran away with the gas mileage and remained victorious even after we accounted for the high cost of diesel.

Check out the results below.

By Kelsey Mays | October 19, 2010 | Comments (32)

Mileage Challenge 7.1: Efficient, Small and Fun

Expensive electric-powered cars are getting all the attention lately, but there are still plenty of small, efficient cars with small price tags being introduced on the market. For our latest mileage challenge we decided to take out three cars with three approaches to efficiency:  the redesigned diesel 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI, the new 2011 Honda CR-Z hybrid and the just plain gas-powered 2010 Mini Cooper.
We compared the cars in our latest three-car faceoff, but because of these differing powertrains it seemed natural to put them through our Mileage Challenge, as well. We’ve put diesel and hybrid vehicles on a mileage drive before but never two that were direct competitors with a fuel-efficient gasoline car in the mix to boot.

An overview of our test route and the contestants are below.

By Kelsey Mays | October 18, 2010 | Comments (25)

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