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In the run up to the Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz decided to show off the fuel efficiency of the new Smart ForTwo and the Mercedes E320 BlueTec. They ran a fleet consisting of gas- and diesel-engined Smarts and the E320 diesel over a 2,700-mile route from Los Angeles to Detroit. Along the way, the gas-engined Smart that has just gone on sale here in the US averaged 49mpg. The diesel-engined version, which isn't yet available on our shores, managed 60.3mpg. Even the big E320 sedan managed a v

Most drivers in North America old enough to remember the first wave of diesel cars that came our way in the early to mid-1980s have unpleasant memories of those cars. They were slow, smelly, smoky, noisy and did I mention slow. They got great fuel economy but had little else to recommend them. Two decades on and things have changed quite dramatically.

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