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2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO

2012 Nissan Versa

2012 Hyundai Accent Sedan

2012 Hyundai Accent Hatchback

2012 Mazda3
One hybrid, and two conventional autos aim for 40MPG

New CAFE restrictions are forcing all auto manufacturers to release more fuel efficient vehicles. As a result, it's becoming commonplace to see compact sedans cracking the 40 mpg (highway) barrier and hybrid vehicles are becoming more prevalent. 

At this week's New York Auto Show, three manufactures are showing off new models that come close to (or achieve) the magic 40-mpg mark in highway driving. 

The first model is Chevrolet's new midsize 2013 Malibu ECO. The entire Malibu range got a makeover for the 2012 model year, and the ECO is the most fuel efficient of the bunch. The Malibu ECO uses the same powertrain first seen in the Regal eAssist and LaCrosse eAssist from Buick. This means that a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is paired with GM's mild hybrid system.

When all is said and done, the Malibu ECO is good for 26 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway -- the maximum driving range for the vehicle is 550 miles. The competing Fusion Hybrid offers fuel economy numbers of 41/36, but the Malibu ECO will likely cost much less (official pricing is not yet available) than the Ford's $28,990 price of entry. It may, however, find tougher pricing pressure from the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (35/40) which is priced from $26,545.

"Malibu ECO exemplifies Chevrolet's drive to use technology that delivers high-value, gas-friendly performance," said Scheidt. "In fact, the Malibu ECO delivers the fuel economy of a compact car in a midsize sedan."

Moving on the to the first of two smaller entries, Nissan is gearing up with its next generation 2012 Versa. This ungainly sedan is all-new and starts at a low, low $10,990. Nissan says that the sculpted body (CD of 0.31), lighter weight (the new model is 150 pounds lighter than the outgoing model), and fuel sipping 1.6-liter, 109hp engine make for impressive fuel economy. 

The Versa is rated at 33 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway (33 mpg combined).

"The new Versa Sedan stands out as the only expensive looking car in the segment – with a lot of eye power," said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager for Nissan North America. "Its sculpted, dynamic proportions are modern without being gimmicky, projecting a much higher sense of design value than you might expect."

The last newcomer is Hyundai's new 2012 Accent. The new Accent features a 1.6-liter engine like the aforementioned Versa, but it generates a healthy -- for a subcompact -- 138hp. Despite the added power, the Accent manages to post up impressive fuel economy numbers as well. The Accent is rate at 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

"Accent's class-leading standard fuel economy is another showcase of Hyundai's dedication to improving fuel efficiency with advancements to traditional gasoline powered vehicles and is the fourth nameplate in Hyundai's lineup delivering 40 mpg on the highway."

The 2012 Accent is priced from $12,445, and will be available in sedan and hatchback models.

Updated 4/20/2011 @ 5:12pm EST

Here's another 40MPG vehicle for you today. Mazda just announced that its 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder engine would be made available in the 2012 Mazda3 (both sedan and hatchback models). The Mazda3 may be known for its handling prowess, but it's equally well known for its relatively low fuel efficiency compared to its other compact rivals. 

The new SKYACTIV-G engine (155hp @ 6,000 rpm, 148 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm) solves that problem by improving fuel economy from 24/33 (city/highway) in the previous 2.0-liter engine with a 5-speed automatic to 28/40 with a 5-speed automatic (sedan). Those who opt to row their own gears will see returns of 27/39.

The hatchback (which previously was only available with the 2.5-liter engine) will also now have the SKYACTIV-G option. In hatchback form, the vehicle achieves 28/38 with an automatic transmission and 27/38 with the manual transmission.

In addition to the new engine option, the 2012 Mazda3 models also get an updated front fascia that has less of a "smile" and revamped rear taillights.

"SKYACTIV is not just an engine; it is the next generation of advanced vehicle performance and efficiency," said Jim O'Sullivan, President and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "SKYACTIV embodies Mazda's philosophy of engineering only vehicles that are fun to drive, satisfying to own and environmentally responsible; and there is no better vehicle to start with than the Mazda3, one of the most exciting sport compact cars on the road."



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RE: Nice.
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/2011 7:39:25 PM , Rating: -1
quote:
Sorry. But the Accord handles demonstratively worse than it's competitors, which is honestly shocking to me; The charger is renown for it's crappy handling and with the accord being the lighter car I thought for sure it would pull a larger fraction of G and get through the F8 faster. But no. Not the case.


That comes down to stock tire choice. Accord's use non-sticky all weather tires which are fairly narrow, for fuel economy.

And are you seriously comparing an Accord to that p.o.s Charger? Yeah, how does it do on the skidpad when it's sitting on blocks?

The Accord V6 is a really nice daily driver. I mean, you are talking like it needs to breath fire and have Impreza STI lateral grip to be a good car. What the hell? It's an ACCORD!

quote:
Of course. When you make engines that have microscopic torque peaks that arrive way late in the revline, it's hard to break things like trannies and CV joints. Quality control's easy to do on major components like tansaxles and engines when all of it comes in one really small package that fits in one place.


This is a really weak argument. Vtec engines put a lot of strain on components because they HAVE to be built to handle high revving constantly. You need to give credit where credit is due. Honda has legendary engine durability despite years of "kicking it into VTEC yo". Kids buy those things and beat the hell out of them, and they keep going and going.

quote:
Haha. You realize the first thing someone looking to wring the most out of their car on a track does it to reach for the 'TCC off' switch right? The cluelessness here is pretty amazing.


Who takes an Accord to the "track"?? Wtf. The TCC and stability is for daily driving situations obviously, NOT track racing. Again, get this through your head, IT'S AN ACCORD!


RE: Nice.
By YashBudini on 4/20/2011 10:43:16 PM , Rating: 2
Low rolling resistance tires, used to increase mileage, are also low friction tires. Put any high performance tire on a car and watch ABS kick in far less frequently. Who says so? People who buy real tires at Tirerack.

The 87 Integra engine was very undersquare but very smooth, which proves car companies can do as they please when they address the issues. 3300 RPM at 65 mph(appx) was not a headache. 5th to 3rd downshifts were fun.

Stock tires on a Ford Fusion are an abomination.


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