If the late '60s were all about horsepower, the late 2000s are all about fuel mileage. Forty years ago, the muscle car was invented by dropping the largest available V8 engine in a midsize car platform. Today, the volume sellers cut that classic cylinder count in half, though the transmissions now have six forward ratios in lieu of the three- and four-speed units of yesteryear, mostly. More on that in a bit. In short, the horsepower wars have given way to the fuel efficiency wars, and Chevy, Ford and Toyota are locked in a three-way battle for the crown of most fuel efficient midsize sedan in America.

Chevy came out swinging with its redesigned Malibu in 2008, and it's upped the ante in 2009 with a new six-speed automatic, though the base models still come equipped with an antiquated four-speed. Toyota has tweaked its 2010 Camry enough to earn matching EPA ratings of 22 city and 33 highway, though that figure is achieved with a stick shift and drops by 1 mpg on the highway when equipped with an equivalent automatic transmission. Ford's got 'em all beat with its new 2010 Fusion, though, which tops the list of contenders with figures of 23 city and 34 highway. Let the fight continue.

[Source: Kicking Tires]


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