Browsing all articles from June, 2013
Jun
23

Choosing a Fuel-Efficient Hatchback: Mitsubishi i-MiEV vs. Ford Focus Electric

Author JoeC    Category Fuel Efficiency     Tags
2013 Ford Focus Electric

2013 Ford Focus Electric

If you’re looking for the ultimate combination of fuel-efficiency and utility, nothing beats a hatchback. And if you’re willing to trade some of that cargo space for the hyper-efficiency of an all-electric vehicle, there are tons of fantastic options. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Ford Focus Electric are two of the more popular electric hatchbacks out there, and each, of course, has its own pros and cons. Which one is the better choice? Read on to find out.

Range and Efficiency

The first question to ask when judging an EV is simple: how efficient is it? The i-MiEV scores an impressive 126 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) in the city and 99 MPGe on the highway, for a combined rating of 112. The Focus, on the other hand, scores slightly lower on this metric, with 110 MPGe in the city, 99 on the highway, and 105 combined. The Focus will take you about 76 miles on a full charge, while the i-MiEV only has a range of 62 miles.

Passenger and Cargo Space

Though the Focus is a class larger than the i-MiEV, they’re actually quite comparable in terms of space. They’ve both got a decent amount of space up front, and not so much space for rear passengers (though the Focus has a slight edge). The i-MiEV falls slightly short of the Focus in behind-the-seats space, but with the rear seats folded down it offers 50.4 cubic feet, which is better than the 44.8 cubes of total cargo space in the Focus.

Overall Value

By the usual EV metrics, the i-MiEV is almost as good as (or better than) the Focus in every way. And even a $7,500 tax credit can’t bring the $40,000 Focus into the budget-conscious consumer’s comfort zone. But there are a few things that the Focus offers that the i-MiEV decidedly lacks, namely refinement, style, features, and engaging driving dynamics. So if you’re committed to buying electric, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not you’re willing to spend an extra $10,000 to get the more well-rounded Ford Focus Electric. For the average driver, however, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV delivers everything you’re looking for in an eco-friendly vehicle at a much more sustainable price.

Jun
16

The 2013 Toyota Sienna FWD V6 vs. the 2013 Honda Odyssey FWD V6

Author JoeC    Category Family Cars     Tags
2013 Toyota Sienna

2013 Toyota Sienna

Minivans certainly aren’t the coolest cars out there, but many families need them for the comfort and space. Some people are turning to crossover SUVs as another option while others still prefer the classic minivan feel. There are still plenty of minivans on the market and they can all seem very similar at first glance. We’re going to see how the 2013 Toyota Sienna and the 2013 Honda Odyssey do in a side-by-side comparison.

Vehicle Price

The Toyota Sienna starts with an MSRP of $26,585 while the Honda Odyssey weighs in at $28,675. These days most people are looking for the cheapest car out there and are going to settle on price alone. The Honda Odyssey is very close to $30,000 and that might be too prohibitive for some.

Powertrain and Fuel Economy

Both vehicles have a 3.5L V6. The Toyota minivan gets a little more horsepower (266 hp vs. 248 hp) while the Honda minivan has a little more torque (250 lb-ft of torque vs. 245 lb-ft of torque). Not a lot of difference here to justify paying more, but let’s take a look at fuel economy. The 2013 Sienna gets 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway while the 2013 Odyssey gets 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway; however, the Odyssey’s one gallon larger fuel tanks means both cars have a $232 average monthly fuel cost.

Vehicle Features

The question lies with whether or not Honda offers more features to justify its higher price. Well, they do offer standard Bluetooth connectivity and power-adjustable seats, the latter to cost extra on the Sienna. However, the Toyota does come with standard satellite radio and an optional DVD player on the base trim, which is not available on the base Odyssey.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is both vehicles are so similar that there’s not a whole lot of justification for spending over $2000 more for the Odyssey unless you’re really into Bluetooth, which is an optional feature on the Sienna. Of course, it’s all going to come down to personal preference. Who knows, the Honda might have a design that just appeals more to you.

Where to buy?

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Jun
8

The Toyota Prius Hatchback vs. the Ford C-Max Hybrid

Author JoeC    Category Fuel Efficiency     Tags
2013 Toyota Prius

2013 Toyota Prius

With gas prices continuing to soar to record highs around the world, car buyers are searching for vehicles that offer outstanding fuel economy. Two such models are the Toyota Prius Hatchback and the Ford C-Max Hybrid. Both cars deliver strong fuel-efficiency ratings in addition to a wealth of interior features. We took a closer look at them to get a better idea of which is the better deal.

Pricing

If pricing is the sole determinant for deciding on which of these two vehicles to buy, you’re going to have a very difficult time. With the C-Max Hybrid priced at $25,200 and the Prius Hatchback offering an MSRP of $24,200, the difference is only a mere $1,000. For some that may be enough, but for others they’ll need to know more about the cars.

Powertain

The Toyota Prius comes powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder engine; when paired with the electric motor, it can produce 134 hp. It delivers an EPA-estimated 51 mpg city/48 mpg highway/50 mpg combined fuel economy. The Prius has been clocked going 0-60 mph in just over 10 seconds.

Under the hood of the C-Max is a little larger 2.0L four-cylinder engine that delivers 141 hp and 121 lb-ft of torque. When the electric motor and lithium ion battery pack are combined, they produce 188 hp. The C-Max Hybrid is also a bit faster than the Prius, going 0-60 mph in about 8 seconds. The Ford model also offers 47 mpg combined EPA-estimated fuel economy.

Warranty

Both the Toyota Prius Hatchback and Ford C-Max Hybrid offer similar vehicle warranties: a basic 36-month/36,000-mile warranty, a 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and a 60-month/unlimited mile corrosion/perforation warranty. The difference is the C-Max offers better roadside assistance with a 60-month/60,000-mile warranty over the 24-month/25,000-mile package on the Prius. The Hatchback, on the other hand offers a 24-month/25,000-mile maintenance warranty that isn’t available on the Ford hybrid model.

Test Drive the Toyota Prius Hatchback and Ford C-Max Hybrid

Despite everything that these vehicles offer in terms of features, technology, and warranties, the way these cars drive and the comfort level you feel behind the wheel may be the most important factor when deciding which model to buy. Visit your local Ford or Toyota dealers and ask how you can take these automobiles out for a test drive.

Jun
1

Fuel Efficient Wagons: the 2013 Audi A3 TDI and the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI

Author JoeC    Category Wagons     Tags
2013 VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI

2013 VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI

Wagons aren’t as popular as they used to be, with many people now choosing trendy crossover SUVs. However, if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle with a lot of storage space, then a wagon is still your best friend. For 2013, the most fuel efficient options are actually diesels. Let’s take a look at the diesel wagons offered by Audi and Volkswagen.

2013 Audi A3 TDI

The 2013 Audi A3 TDI comes equipped with a 2.0L four-cylinder turbodiesel that produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Diesel engines provide tons of low-end torque power, and they’re also very fuel efficient. This Audi is rated at 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway, which is going to be better than any gas-powered wagon on the market.

These luxury models start at $31,145, but are actually rather sparse in terms of features. You do get premium touches like leather seats and a 10-speaker sound system, but even getting Bluetooth will cost extra. In terms of cargo capacity, the vehicle has 19.5 cubic feet with all seats in place and a maximum available 39 cubic feet.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI

This vehicle is a mouthful, but actually seems to be a better buy than the Audi. The Jetta SportWagen TDI also comes equipped with a 2.0L four-cylinder turbodiesel producing an identical 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque with the same fuel economy rating of 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway. The immediate difference is the Volkswagen has a much lower starting price at $26,590.

That’s not the extent of the differences, though. While it doesn’t have the leather seats, Volkswagen gives you more standard features like Bluetooth, heated front seats, satellite radio, and iPod connectivity. Looking at cargo space, there’s more of that too. You get 32.8 cubic feet with the seats up and 66.9 cubic feet total.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is both models come with the same engine offering the same power and same fuel economy. Audi gives you a recognized luxury nameplate, but actually skimps when it comes to features and costs a lot more. The extra space many people buy a wagon for isn’t really there either. It all comes down to driver preference, but the Volkswagen seems like the better buy.