2017 sets another high point for fuel efficiency with a bumper crop of hybrids, turbo-diesels, and small-displacement vehicles that will knock your socks off. Not only do these highly efficient cars deliver great gas mileage, many are exceptionally rewarding to drive and stylish to boot.
While the brand new Hyundai Ioniq swipes the top spot from the Toyota Prius, the Kia Niro, Honda Accord Hybrid, and Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid are roomy and packed with creature comforts.
2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
Here’s our list of the Top Fifty Cars of 2017 with Great MPGs (without a plug) …
Fleet vehicles use a whopping amount of fuel. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that the average delivery truck travels approximately 13,000 miles per year, a police car slightly over 15,000 miles, and a light truck nearly 12,000 miles. Multiply those numbers by the size of each fleet and the numbers roll up.
Whether it’s a police cruiser, an appliance repair truck, or an executive transport coach, optimizing idle settings is key to slashing overall fleet fuel consumption. The average fleet vehicle spends a monumental amount of time idling. A fleet manager can see a substantial reduction in fuel costs by implementing some simple changes. Yet it’s rarely done.
When Chevrolet first rolled out a Malibu Hybrid back in 2008, it was referred to as a “mild hybrid” with fuel economy ratings of 26 city / 34 highway miles per gallon. At the time, it presented little competition to the hybrid fuel economy leading Toyota Prius. Flash forward to the present day and it’s a very different story. The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is a contender, with EPA ratings of 47 city / 46 highway. I spent a week with the Malibu Hybrid producing two videos and was very impressed. This first video is a backroad/small town hybrid “stunt drive” where I use a conservative driving approach to ascertain the hybrid drive train’s potential for high MPGs:
I am a road-test editor by trade. Testing fuel-efficiency is a key part of my job. It seems odd that the EPA, NHTSA and CARB have teamed up on TAR, but that the DOE and USDA have been left out.
The Oak Ridge National Labs work on this topic is crucial. The world’s largest automobile manufacturers are all turning to highly-efficient downsized, down-speeded small displacement forced-induction engines. They produce more power with less weight.
Modern forced induction small-displacement engines LOVE high-octane low-carbon fuel. The most cost-effective way to achieve high-octane is with ethanol.
I have begun fuel efficiency testing with E15 fuel. My first E10 vs E15 test with a turbocharged 1.4-liter 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco produced remarkable results:
Adding a front lip was one of the first aero modifications I made to my 1999 Honda Civic HX Coupe (a.k.a. SLAMBO). I used heavy duty agricultural plastic to get the job done, cutting down a sheet of bamboo root barrier. Bamboo root barrier comes in a variety of widths and weights. The lighter the weight, the easier it is to make the bends. You won’t find it locally, though, and it tends to be expensive. Most folks use lawn edging like this Five-inch wide Master Mark Plastic Landscape Edging. I’m not sure if this stuff is too heavy to make tight bends, but it looks similar to the material that Mighty Car Mods used in their recent D-I-Y Lip episode.