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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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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.
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.