• Mar 25th 2006 at 10:01AM
  • 40
Your Prius may be rated at 60 mpg in the city and 51 mpg while cruising the countryside, but chances are you’re not realizing those numbers the EPA obtained by strapping Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive to a dynamometer. In Europe, where fuel economy is calculated by actually operating an engine on the road while it’s under the hood of a vehicle, the Prius returns a more realistic 47 mpg in the city and 56 mpg on the highway, or 5.0L/100km city and 4.2L/100km highway in the continent’s native metric.

This more realistic fuel economy rating lowers the bar enough for a handful of European small cars to beat the Prius in a game at which many Americans believe it’s indomitable. And guess what, these cars from the old world all use highly fuel-efficient diesel engines.

(All mileage numbers represent official European rating converted into miles/gallon via this conversion site)

Audi  A2 1.2 TDI
city: 65.33
highway: 87.11
average: 78.4

Smart fortwo CDI
city: 60.31
highway: 75.87
average: 69.18

Peugeot 107 Urban 1.4 HDi 54 / Citroën  C1 HDi 55 SX
city: 44.38
highway: 69.18
average: 57.37)

Citroën  C2 HDi 70 SensoDrive VTR
city: 48
highway: 61.9
average: 56

KIA  Picanto 1.1 CRDi EX
city: 48
highway: 31.9
average: 56

If many in this country are so concerned about eking the most amount of miles from a gallon of fuel, why hasn’t the modern diesel enjoyed the same success here as the hybrid? The easy answer would be the ghost of diesel’s past, particularly a bad batch of oil burners designed by Oldsmobile in the 1980’s.

The more complicated response is that Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel hasn’t been readily available in the U.S. like it is in Europe. This special blend of diesel contains less sulfur, which reduces emissions, but also allows for better emissions control systems to be used on a diesel engine. Fortunately ULSD will be the new standard in the U.S. come this fall. Some companies, like DaimlerChrysler, are waiting in the wings with 50-state approved diesels that are powerful, clean and get grand gas mileage. Will diesels finally become the eco-peer of hybrids? Who will be the first to marry the two in an ultra-efficient diesel hybrid production car? Time will tell, but we can all breathe easier knowing more green options are sprouting up every year.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Bruce Dodenhoff
      • 9 Years Ago
      Acquired a 1986 Diesel Benz 3 years ago for my family of 4---Its a vaulted tank- Model 300 sdl at 3500 lbs --It has 4 very large doors,a huge trunk, 250 k miles on it and does not burn a drop of engine or transmission oil.It gets 20mpg around town and 35 on the hwy at 70 mph.Its always been in Ohio --no rust and always coated with a a nice film of oil-thx again diesel!These cars can last a person a lifetime when cared for--ever think of putting in the formula of longevity folks? Here is the formula--Absolutely no energy or emmissions to reproduce another one or tranport one to a dealer probably for another 20 years !!Detroit might not want to here that one though !
      Diesels might be in our long time future because they can be converted to no emmision vegetable oil which they were originally designed to run on when first introduced to the world in the early 1900's --Do you think those oldtimers might have had some foresight in the issues we face today?
      Happily Diesel Benzin in Toledo Ohio.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Like #14 suggested, I checked the Euro Chrysler pages and compared the 300 3.0 V6 CRD with its 3.5 V6 gas guzzling counterpart (I think the numbers you've shown are Imperial Gallons though, so I used the conversion site):

      V-max: 3.0: 230 km/h = 143 mph
      3.5: 219 km/h = 136 mph
      0-100 km/h: 3.0: 7.6 s
      3.5: 9.2 s
      mpg city: 3.0: 21.8 mpg
      3.5: 14.8 mpg
      mpg hwy: 3.0: 35.6 mpg
      3.5: 28.7 mpg
      mpg combined: 3.0: 29.0 mpg
      3.5: 21.2 mpg
      CO2-Emission: 3.0: 215 g/km
      3.5: 264 g/km
      maximum power: 3.0: 218 bhp @ 4000 rpm
      3.5: 250 bhp @ 6400 rpm
      maximum torque: 3.0: 376 lb ft @ 2800 rpm
      3.5: 250 lb ft @ 4000 rpm

      The price for the two cars in England is the same (25.750 Pounds), in Germany the Diesel is even 1.200 Euros cheaper at 36.600 Euros.
      The Diesel looks better in every category.
      Sgt. Hulka
      • 9 Years Ago

      Considering the fact that the majority of the American driving public wasn't born when the Olds went of out production, let's drop the "Blame GM" game for the lack of deisel interest in the USA. A-Holes...
      • 9 Years Ago
      None of the cars look like the would qualify as mid-sized by American standards. The A2 may come close but I doubt one could be picked up for $25,600 (USD) with navagation. Cars like the smart that are no bigger then a typical office cube are not in the same league as the Prius that is comfortable for 4 real sized adult and lot of their stuff.

      I still think that the Prius, while monkey but ugly, represents a great value when compared againts other cars, hybrid or non-hybrid. Many people look strickly at how long it will take you to make up savings in gas dollars to determine it's value. Considering the tax credit, insurance savings and the fact that our county and town waive the yearly car tax on hybrids ($600-$1000 year)we feel like we are making out like bandits (just not nearly as fast). Now if only they could make the Prius look at little less like an egg timer on wheels.

      I would love to see/have a hybrid bio-diesel wagon sometime in the near future.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Kia Picano

      City: 48
      Highway: 31.9
      Average: 56 ?????????
      • 9 Years Ago
      we only have the over priced vw and dmx automotive diesels to choose from here in the states,hey uncle sam! and the rest of the narrow minded americans, i want economy , not rediculous size. i had the best of both worlds when i owned my volvo turbo diesel 5 speed sedan, real world mpg was 30's in the combined city driving and uper 40's on the highway.
      we need this back desperatly!!!!!
      well at least i do..............
      • 9 Years Ago
      Autoblog shouldn't be focusing on subcompacts; where Americans will most appreciate diesel is with their sedans, wagons, and SUVs, which are what really need the largest gain in fuel economy. Most of what you show in this story is meant for heavy downtown driving, which is less common in North America than in Europe.

      On that note, however, the Smart fortwo is capable of insane fuel efficiency if you really try. I've heard reports of 80 MPG for cautious regular drivers, and 100 MPG (!) for extended highway driving.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Unfortunately, the A2 has been discontinued.

      #4: You're right, you can't get an A2 with satnav for $25,600. You can get one for USD$15,600.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Yes, the Audi A2 (and the Volkswagen cousin, the Lupo) has been discontinued.

      I don't know about the Audi A2 1.2 TDI, but the Lupo 3L (which had the same engine) actually did have stop-start technology.

      Oh, and IIRC, the Smart ForTwo CDI has an 800cc engine - it's the gasser that has a 600cc engine.

      As for NOx, studies are coming out showing that it's not nearly as bad as once believed. Also, particulates can be filtered - once the ULSD comes out here, cars can be sold here with those filters.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'm felling a little lost arround here.

      We are comparing a family car with a city car?
      Are we comparing a diesel car wich produces more 30% or 50% of CO2 than Prius?
      Or are we comparing a Zero particle pollution of Prius against the Diesels lots of Particles pollutins which causes cancer?

      To choose a Diesel please do the world a favor select one with APF (Active Particules Filter) like Toyota Avensis or Citroens. No german cars please.
      • 9 Years Ago
      It would be fun to have the Audi A2 for a daily driver and an RS4 for you need to get your kicks, with an average of 78mpg this would sure be on my list. I don't understand why we don't get these cars in the US, Audi if your listening you have customers here.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Greetings from Europe (home of metric system and where the 50% of new cars are diesel).

      There's a diesel car for what you want, not only small cars. Even the sport cars include diesel engines, the reason: very easy, power, more torque and more mpg. And they are better valued than petrol version when you want to sell them.

      Some examples:
      SEAT Ibiza Cupra TDI 160HP
      Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTD 200HP
      Alfa Romeo Brera 2.4 JTD 200HP
      Audi A3 2.0 TDI 170HP
      Audi A4 3.0 TDI 233HP
      Audi A8 4.2 TDI 326HP
      BMW 330d 231HP
      BMW 535d 272HP
      BMW 745d 299HP
      CitroŽģ†C4 Coupe VTR HDi 136HP
      Mercedes C30 CDI AMG 231HP
      Mercedes E420 CDI 314HP
      Mercedes CLK 320 CDI 224HP
      Opel Vectra V6 CDTi 184HP
      Opel Astra GTC 1.9 CDTi 150 HP
      Peugeot 407 Coupe V6 HDi 204HP
      SEAT Altea FR TDI 170HP
      Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI 313HP

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