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Dear Tom and Ray:

Back in the '80s and '90s, there were some ultra-efficient cars like the Suzuki Swift, Honda CRX and Honda Civic. I owned a VW Rabbit diesel that got 45 miles per gallon with my lead foot. All sold for under $15,000 and had real mileage ratings of 45 mpg or more. Even factoring in inflation, I'm curious why we have to pay an extra $5,000-$10,000 for hybrid technology to get the same mileage that a good old-fashioned, gas-only car was able to achieve 20 years ago. Please tell me why this is so. -- John


A retrospective email answered by the Car Talk guys.

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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
snidegrrl
Sep. 26th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
You know, it would nice to think that car technology could develop the same way, say, RAM technology has over the past 20 years. Uses the same amount of energy, but works exponentially faster.
geniealisa
Sep. 26th, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC)
I miss my Mini Cooper. I think I'll go back to it at the end of this lease. It was so fun to drive.
snidegrrl
Sep. 26th, 2006 06:53 pm (UTC)
But you can't put bookshelves in it!
(Deleted comment)
geniealisa
Sep. 27th, 2006 12:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Prince John!
Ooh, as does your 11 icon! :)
yoshimi
Sep. 26th, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC)
i love those guys.
examorata
Sep. 26th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
I have seen a large number of Versas lately! They are cute! And I saw an orange Fit the other day and was very pleased.

I think the Versa ads are clever and funny, trying to appeal to a consumer segment that might otherwise spurn the subcompact due to concern about comfort (rather than concentrating on its extremely respectable 36 MPG).
snidegrrl
Sep. 26th, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC)
The Versa is definitely good looking. We'll see how it performs after the first few model years.

After driving around the past month, I have decided that the looks of the Yaris do actually edge out the looks of the Fit for me. But the Fit sacrifices having a low profile and being sleek in that way for having more head room & storage capacity which is ultimately pretty important. But as far as sheer visual appeal I am ranking my top 3 as the Mazda 3 (duh), the VW GTI, and the Yaris, in a surprise overturn.
examorata
Sep. 26th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC)
Ahh, the GTI is still a fine looking car. I can't wait 'til some of the new Rabbits are out on the road so I can see 'em up close, too.
yoshimi
Sep. 26th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
are you still salivating over the yaris?
examorata
Sep. 26th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
I am! But I haven't seen too many of the hatchbacks actually out and about. The sedan version does nothing for me. I am thinking about how I don't like cars that are too *low*, and so I really need for there to be more Yaris hatchbacks around for me to stand next to in parking lots to get a feel for their size/height.
y2kdragon
Sep. 27th, 2006 02:36 am (UTC)
The Fit, it's all about the Fit.
I love mine.
It's all the fun they say it is.
And getting 36 MPG in mixed driving is very nice.
cheetahmaster
Sep. 26th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
Excellent find.
snidegrrl
Sep. 26th, 2006 06:53 pm (UTC)
My favorite quote:

"As a result, today's economy cars are a lot safer and more comfortable than the tin-can deathtraps you mention."

Ah, the tin-can deathtraps of yesteryear. Of course, they can only be infinitely more deathy with everything else on the road being X times bigger. :)
simplesimon
Sep. 26th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
I don't know about tin-can death-traps. I've always driven cars which get nicknamed things like "Rhode Island".
asimplelife
Sep. 27th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
OH WHAT A FUN ARTICLE! Thank you! I don't know if we have all those cars, but I think if I do get a car I am going to get myself a secondhand Echo.

snidegrrl
Sep. 27th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)
At least in canada they sold the Echo hatch! Everyone I know that has an Echo has really liked it.
chaonisis
Sep. 27th, 2006 01:45 pm (UTC)
Very good
This was a very good article, I appreciate you sharing it with us. They really brought out alot of good points that I didnt really think about.
snidegrrl
Sep. 27th, 2006 02:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Very good
Thanks for stopping by! :)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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