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Is 40 the New 30 – MPG, That is?

Searching the LA Auto Show for the newest 40 mpg offerings.

by on Dec.03, 2012

The new Honda Accord PHEV will get 115 MPGe, says the EPA, the highest mileage rating in the industry.

For years we’ve been hearing about the surprising vim and vigor of people who hit age milestones like 40 that once meant the downhill slide had begun.  Now 40 is being touted as the new 30.  Might this milestone hold true for cars, as well?

Is 40 miles per gallon the new 30?

Could this be the de facto standard for a new crop of vigorous, green machines that promise to cart our gracefully aging selves around while taking baby sips of fuel — or electrons?

Your Inside Source!

To get a sense, we kicked the tires and listened in on the news conferences and Q&A sessions during the two press preview days at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The second day started off with the Green Car of the Year award going to the promising new 2013 Ford Fusion that offers a hybrid version providing an average for city and highway driving of 47 mpg.  Not bad.


Toyota Ready to Fight Back With Downsized Turbo Engines

Some help from the Great Gazoo.

by on Jan.19, 2012

The turbocharged, GRMN-tuned Toyota Yaris (sold as the Vitz in Japan).

Toyota is hoping to take a giant leap into the future with the help of the Great Gazoo.  That’s Gazoo Racing Masters of Nurburgring, or GRMN, which partnered with the giant automaker to pull together a turbocharged version of the Toyota Vitz for the recent Tokyo Auto Salon.

The 178-horsepower subcompact – known in much of the rest of the world as the Yaris – is more than a one-off show car, however.  Industry sources say it’s a sign of things to come from Toyota, which has been focusing the major portion of its engineering resources on gas-electric hybrids while most of its key competitors are racing to market with downsized, direct injection turbo engines.

Your Trusted Source!

Turbos may not yield quite the urban fuel economy of a hybrid but they deliver more customer-pleasing performance than the typically anemic hybrid, along with improved highway mileage.  They’re also, typically, a lot cheaper than hybrid systems that depend on more complex driveline components, including expensive battery packs.


GM Launching New Global Small Car Engine Family

Underscores maker’s shift to small cars and crossovers.

by on Oct.12, 2011

The new GM Ecotec engines will cover models ranging from microcars to midsize.

General Motors is developing an all-new family of high-tech global engine family that it hopes will reduce costs while delivering better mileage and performance.

The new engine line will power a wide array of products, from the smallest GM produces all the way up to some of its midsize models, officials announced during a global news event celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of the maker’s dominant brand, Chevrolet.  During the well-attended gathering, the automaker unveiled one of the first vehicles that will make use of the new engine line, the next-generation Chevy Spark.

The new engine family – which will replace three separate powertrain lines currently in use – will cover displacements ranging from 1.0 to 1.5-liter and both 3- and 4-cylinder configurations.  The new Spark, which goes on sale in the U.S. next year, will feature a 1.2-liter 4-cylinder version of the global Ecotec family.

Power Up!

Significantly, GM will incorporate a wide range of the latest technologies, including Direct Injection and turbocharging.  Such features are costly but Jim Federico, who oversees small car operations at GM, stressed that by migrating to a single family that shares many key components there will be major cost savings due to the improved economies of scale.