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.