For the first time in quite awhile people are purchasing automobiles based on fuel economy more than emotion. They’re shopping with their brains more then their hearts, which means that the performance based automobile may be looking at a tough road ahead. 550 hp cars are wonderful things and as journalist we’re pre-programmed to like them because let’s face it, they make our jobs fun. However when it comes time to filling their fuel tanks our love for them tends to diminish. The new Cadillac CTS-V line for example is one of our favorites, but the thought of putting $65.00 worth of fuel in those suckers every 225 miles is simply not appealing. Don’t get me wrong, I’d buy one in less than a heartbeat if I could, but I’d also have to have something fuel efficient parked next to it in the driveway. The question though is which type of fuel efficient car should you purchase.
Hybrids, turbo diesels, small displacement turbo petrol engines and electric cars all have their pro’s and con’s, but in the end there is actually a fair amount of research that needs to be done before pulling the trigger. Hybrids for example offer great fuel economy by combining electric drive with small gas engines, however they’re about as exciting to look as a pair of old people power walkers (think Toyota Prius). Small displacement turbo engines offer great fuel economy and come in some nice wrappers, i.e. Chevrolet Cruze, but they lack any sort of real grunt and with full electric vehicles you’ll be constantly suffering from range anxiety.
Personally, I’m a big fan of turbo diesels. Cars like the BMW 335d and Volkswagen Jetta TDI are clean burning, offer great fuel economy and have power and torque to spare. Sure they may be a bit pricier, but in the end I think they offer the best compromise between performance, style and economy.