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When it comes to getting great fuel economy, there is definitely more than one way to skin a cat. The Prius may be thrifty but it certainly isn't the be all and end all. Just to demonstrate that the Times of London decided to go for a little a road trip with a Prius and a BMW 520d. While the 535d that we tried out a couple of months ago is a mighty machine, it's only the tip of the iceberg for 5-series diesels. Starting things off is the 520d with a 2.0L four cylinder diesel with 177hp. In a large sedan the size of a 5-series that may not seem like much but the diesel torque still manages to get it to 62mph in a respectable 8.3 sec. That's more than enough to easily merge onto highways without feeling like you're about to get run down by that oncoming truck. That's also about 2.7 seconds faster than a Prius. But of course the Prius is specifically designed to have a minimal thirst for fuel. So how did they do? On a jaunt from London to Geneva, that specifically included an extra 100 miles of city driving just to let the Prius shine, the Prius managed 40 mpg (U.S.). The 520d on the other hand managed 41.9 mpg, all in real world driving conditions. So who says GM has to cancel all their rear wheel drive programs to meet the 35 mpg standard?

[Source: The Times of London, TTAC]


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  • 36 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      "So who says GM has to cancel all their rear wheel drive programs to meet the 35 mpg standard?"

      It'll probably be California, who doesn't seem to want clean diesel technology.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Very interesting. The point GM says about canceling RWD programs for fuel economy has always been a croc. Its not about the RWD that makes it less fuel efficient its what they want to put in to drive said RWD platform.

      My only problem with this article is its apples to oranges. Things like price of Diesel vs. 87 octane unleaded gas.. or the emissions impact of that same mileage between the two cars past just the fuel consumption... etc..
      • 7 Years Ago
      #4: Why should one directly compare diesels and hybrids? Both excel in completely different usage scenarios. Diesels win on typical long and smooth commutes with relative few stop-and-go situations. In city traffic, they are sometimes even worse because of the heavier weight. Hybrids can score in typical traffic jam, short commutes or stop and go traffic in the cities. Besides that, regarding NOx it makes more sense to use hybrids in the city.

      Of course a comparison could tell you exact numbers, how many miles per year make diesels more efficient and what percentage of city traffic makes hybrids better. And yes, diesel hybrids would combine both advantages, but they would alos combine both premium prices.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have never, NEVER, gotten less than 45 mpg for a tank in over 70,000 miles of driving my Prius. That includes all day trips down the interstate at 75mph+.

      You'd have to work at it to do that badly.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Are you relying on the Prius' inbuilt computer for that, or actually measuring the economy yourself? By all accounts the inbuilt computer seems to way underestimate the true fuel consumption.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Prius is not best at fast European highways. Thats probably the reason. Thats where small diesels excel.

      On the other hand, Prius gets DOUBLE the mileage in the city.

      At the end, Prius will get average European driver around 50mpg, which is impossible for 520d which will get around 25-30mpg if driven carefully, in mixed conditions.

      There is no way you will average over 30mpg in 520d in your mixed driving conditions in Europe. It just doesnt work that way. European live in big and small cities, full of traffic lights.

      My Rav4 2.0 d4d diesel gets 28mpg, on average, and it should get slightly better consumption than 520d in mixed conditions.

      And yeah, I can get 50+ mpg on highway, yet my average is 28mpg :-).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bah!

      Everyone breaks out the personal anecdotes in the BS war between Hybrids and Diesels. Here is long term test of both to give some real world numbers to both and make both sides whine, Edmunds known to beat the crap out of the cars for over a year with multiple drivers.

      PRIUS:
      http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/LongTerm/articleId=101393/pageId=66588
      Current Odometer: 40,687
      Best Fuel Economy: 50.1 mpg
      Worst Fuel Economy: 33 mpg
      Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 41.4 mpg

      VW Beetle TDI:
      http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/LongTerm/articleId=44033
      Final Odometer Reading: 32,406
      Best Fuel Economy: 48 mpg
      Worst Fuel Economy: 21.5 mpg
      Average Fuel Economy: 36.5 mpg

      Both sides can put that in their pipe and smoke, but particularly the "Diesel better than hybrid in the real world" crowd.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What this stunt really reveals is how differences in driving styles can affect milage. The drivers may have been deliberately or subconsiously driving in a way to favor one car over the other. That's why it is important to use standardized carefully calibrated milage tests, like the EPA tests, to compare fuel economy for different models. I'd agree that getting 40 mpg in a Prius is a bit low, but certainly acheivable with bad driving.

      Hybrid myths persist. The Toyota hybrid batteries only weight 100 lbs, not 400, are recyclable, and are not a toxic hazard. Hybrids get excellent milage in city and freeway driving.
      • 7 Years Ago

      Diesel has a 15% higher energy content than gasoline!
        LUKAFOTO
        • 3 Years Ago
        520d is at least 15% more car than a Prius in terms of size and interior space. Remember this is the old 520d - new one is even better: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/review/2122509/road-test-bmw-520d-efficientdynamics-saloon People buy fuel by the volume not by weight. How much energy per lb of battery does the Prius deliver? Diesel is far easier (requires less energy) to refine than petrol/gas that the Prius consumes. Thermodynamically comustion of diesel is far more efficient than gas/petrol. Latter around 30% at best, diesels now 50%. How much energy is wasted in battery production (Bolivian eco - system) and delivery from Japan? WVO can be run in most diesel cars. Bio Diesel from algae and jatropha (not mono culture but mixed crops) is the future for 3rd world where there is no chance of a grid let alone battery infrastructure.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ULSD increased the price of diesel to some extent, there may also be refinery limitations, so a tight supply.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is my trip to work:
      http://senatorperry.shackspace.com/Prius/Photo_08-03-07.jpg

      http://senatorperry.shackspace.com/Prius/Photo_07-30-07.jpg

      http://senatorperry.shackspace.com/Prius/Photo_07-28-07.jpg

      It takes me roughly seven minutes longer to get to work when trying for the best MPG return. Right now I have 54 MPG in a mixed environment over 390 miles.


      • 7 Years Ago
      17. 40 MPG? You'd have try to do that badly in a Prius. I've never got below 50 mpg for a tank of gas. By the way, anyone else notice diesel is at $4.00/gal? I'll stick with my $3 gas+hybrid combination over a diesel anyday of the week.

      Good for you. Keep that Prius that you paid over $20 grand for and I will drive my comparable size and equipment $14 grand gas car that gets me 38 mpg!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have never, NEVER, gotten less than 50 mpg for a tank in over 70,000 miles of driving my Jetta TDI. That includes all day trips down the Highway at 90mph+.

      and it's a seriously tweaked out Jetta putting 200hp and 360lb.ft @ 1800 rpm
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