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Audi A3 1.6 TDI - Click above for high-res image gallery

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Mahindra 'potential' dealer network - Click above to enlarge

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Excess weight is the enemy of every automobile. Extra pounds will make a car slower at the top end, more sluggish off the line, wobblier in the corners, more lethargic under braking, guzzle more gas and expel more toxic fumes...among other problems. It can render an otherwise great car imperfect. Case in point: the US-bound Italian beauty, the Alfa Romeo 159.

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They say we Americans love a good challenge, so in the face of global warming Slate collaborated with Treehugger to come up with the Slate Green Challenge. The idea is that you take a short quiz which determines your annual carbon footprint and then for the next eight weeks, the nation goes on a carbon diet with the end goal of reducing carbon emissions from individuals by 20 percent. The average for a U.S. citizen is 44,312 lbs.

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I've been having fun experimenting with a variety of transportation alternatives in the month since I began my low car diet. I've bussed a lot, taken the light rail known locally as the "Max," even riding transport for free in "Fareless Square." My husband had made plentiful use of the bike and ride option (he sticks his bike on the front rack on the bus before work, then rides home late at night when the schedules are inconvenient or nonexistent). We've done the Flexcar thing, and I've biked a

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