At the very bottom of the list
are three Korea-made cars; Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, and Chevy
Aveo. All three of those have the most offensively inefficient
engines that are disguised by 27 to 30mpg. The Rio, Accent
and Aveo should be getting 40mpg just to be average in efficiency.
The '06 Ford Escape makes its rank among the
most offensively inefficient vehicles followed by two more
Korea-made cars (Kia Rhondo and Hyundai Tiburon). The Ford
King Ranch Expedition is plagued by an underperforming engine
and by being the heaviest vehicle on the chart. Only a hundred
pounds lighter than the King Ranch is the Toyota Sequoia.
The Sequoia is graced with a much more efficient engine turning
out better mpg and faster acceleration. The Hybrid Tahoe has
a short gain in efficiency over the Sequoia. If the list is
sorted by "vehicle efficiency rating" so that the
order is from least to greatest, an obvious trend emerges.
Of the top ten worst, seven are SUVs (there are nine SUVs
in the chart). The others are the Ferrari Enzo, Kia Rhondo,
and Rolls Royce Phantom. The Phantom has a nice engine and
too much weight. The Rhondo and Enzo must be flushing fuel
out the exhaust. The seven SUVs all suffer from towing around
their own weight. The Tahoe Hybrid escaped by four places
on the chart. The most efficient SUV on the chart, the Ford
Escape Hybrid, is just a little more efficient than the average
new car. This is why I won't waste much time on SUVs or pickups.
The column titled "Bang per $ rating"
shows how much car we're getting per dollar spent. Of course
everyone may write this equation differently depending on
how they value the various performance qualities. The explanation
on how this equation was derived can be found on this page.
The chart shows that the most fuel efficient cars also provide
the greatest reward for the expense paid. This should be expected
when an efficient car should do more with less. The various
performance qualities on the far right include quarter mile
drag time and speed, braking distance from 60mph, and cornering
capability measured in lateral force (g) and the maximum speed
the car can weave in between cones (Slalom). Generally, as
performance declines, so does efficiency. The hybrids are
a renegade to this trend. The hybrid efficiency is typically
gained at the expense of performance.
The hybrid technology does provide a net gain
in efficiency that is evident in the chart. However, hybrids
don't get all this extra energy for free. Hybrids typically
carry more weight in the form of batteries that reduce cornering
and braking ability. Limiting the force put into acceleration
means that more energy is reserved for going the distance.
There are energy conversion losses. The energy stored in the
batteries was once energy in the form of gasoline. The gasoline
energy needed to be mechanically converted to electrons. When
that electrical energy is released it is converted back into
mechanical energy. The best-case scenario is about 85% efficiency
at each conversion. Convert X amount of gasoline to stored
electrons =0.85X. Convert it back to mechanical energy 0.85X
x 0.85= 0.72X of the potentially lost gasoline energy is used.
But no system operates at that ideal peak efficiency. Batteries
are still very inefficient. Most electric motors/generators
don't always operate at an ideal peak efficiency of 85%. The
hybrid system must also provide a net gain over the loss of
carrying extra weight in batteries. The energy return (net
gain) on a hybrid gets much slimmer. The hybrid energy return
gains are calculated on the hybrid / non-hybrid comparison
Some of the car models are highlighted. These
are featured cars that
I want to bring to everyone's attention. Car reviews can be
found by clicking the model of a car. The cars highlighted
in dark purple are a comparison between hybrid cars and their
non-hybrid counterparts. The cars highlighted in light purple
are intentionally listed as used cars with a bluebook value
also highlighted in light purple.
The first two cars I want to bring to everyone's
attention are the Cobalt SS turbo
and the Civic Hybrid Navi CVT. Both are under $24,000
new, and offer a lot of performance/efficiency for the dollar.
To find out which car companies are doing their
homework, click on the "Brand" column title to sort
the list by brand. There are a few car companies that make
several noteworthy cars. From A to Z; BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge,
Honda, Lotus, Mini, Nissan, Pontiac, Porsche, Saturn, Toyota,
and Volkswagen. If the other car companies want me to write
about their work then they should make more interesting cars.