The mid-size Hyundai Sonata was introduced to America in the 1989 model year and quickly became a hit with the value conscious. The 2013 Sonata produces solid gas mileage figures when equipped with Hyundai’s 2.4 liter engine: 35 miles per gallon (MPG) highway / 24 city / 28 combined (with either the six-speed manual or automatic transmissions). The hybrid version takes it up a notch with a rating of 36 / 40 / 38 (with the Limited edition rated at 37 combined). Our review of the 2011 Sonata shows why the redesign was met with widespread acclaim.
The Ford Escape was introduced in 2001 as Ford’s entry into the two-row mid-size SUV segment. The original model was designed in conjunction with Mazda, and shared many components with the Mazda Tribute, as well as with the Mercury Mariner.
At the time it was introduced, the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid (shown below) was billed as the most fuel efficient SUV sold in the United States, with the front wheel drive version delivering 34 city and 30 highway miles per gallon, while the four wheel drive version hauled down 29 city and 27 highway. (The non-hybrid 2008-2012 Escape was offered with either a 2.4 liter four cylinder or a 3.0 liter six.) The Escape Hybrid was offered through the 2012 model year.
The Escape is all new for 2013, with a sleek new crossover design and a choice of three different engines.
How many gallons of gas did you use on your last trip into the big city?
In this extended video road test, I took a 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi from Central New Jersey into mid-town Manhattan. I experimented with the Energi’s EV Now and EV Later modes to see how it reacted on backroads and Interstate highways, as well as in New York City traffic. The trip started with the battery showing 18 miles of charge. The fifty-odd mile route resulted in a 61 MPG result – easily the most fuel efficient trip I’ve ever taken into NYC.
The C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid has a pure electric range of approximately twenty-one miles when fully charged. While the stated EPA mile per gallon (MPG) estimates are 108 city / 92 highway – compared to 47 / 47 for the standard C-MAX – gas mileage results will always vary, depending on route and distance. 100+ MPGs will only be seen on shorter trips.
Folks often ask me, “what’s the ‘greenest’ car?” This is one of my favorite questions, because it can spur deeper conversation. Some people are shocked when I reply that the ‘greenest’ car is a recycled car. “Wait a minute,” comes the typical response, “a used car … for real?”
They often expect that I would answer with “oh, a (insert the most common name here) hybrid or an electric car (like the one that’s caught the tech world’s fancy that real world folks can’t afford).” Truth be told, 40 mile per gallon (MPG) cars are nothing new. You can find a ten or fifteen year old Honda Civic HX or Volkswagen TDI on eBay that will get 40 MPG on the highway. The older VW Jetta, Golf, Passat, and Beetle TDIs can even run on 100 domestic renewable biodiesel. Vintage Mercedes-Benz diesels can run on biodiesel as well, and they can all be converted to run on recycled fryer grease. There are great bargains to be found on fuel-efficient Saturns, too …
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me an old fryer-grease-powered Mercedes-Benz. All my friends slobber over Teslas, I must make amends …
There’s a common misconception among drivers that all hybrid vehicles are sluggish, unresponsive, and generally not fun to drive from a sporting perspective. While that may be historically true, the tide is changing. The latest crop of hybrids contains a bunch of cars with plenty of ‘get up and go’ to go along with that fuel-stingy technology.
When most people think of hybrid cars, the Toyota Prius is the first model that comes to mind. Introduced to America near the turn of the century, more than a million Prius have been sold in the United States. It’s hugely popular in California and among the environmentally conscious and spendthrifts alike.