It’s become something of an article of faith among the mainstream media in this country that the only environmentally friendly automobile is Toyota’s Prius. True, the Prius, with its fiendishly complicated and expensive hybrid powertrain, is an impressive piece-innovative and accomplished enough, in fact, to be named our 2004 Car of the Year. But I’ve recently driven a car that beats the Prius for driver appeal and does just as good a job of saving the planet.
The car? Audi’s A3 1.9 TDIe, developed to meet Europe’s proposed 2012 CO2 emissions target of 120 grams/kilometer, roughly equivalent to 52 mpg on the highway here in the U.S. With its revised engine and gear ratios and low rolling-resistance Michelin Primacy HP 205/55R16 tires, Audi claims the A3 1.9 TDIe is good for 53 mpg on the highway. In more than 500 miles of fast freeway hustling, rush-hour grind, and regular urban running through England, my tester averaged 44.3 mpg without any special econo-driving techniques.
Source: Motor Trend, picture by Audi