This is a very interesting article from Fortune Magazine. Read it. You can see the link here.
As gasoline prices creep toward $4 a gallon, motorists are fretting about the impact on their budgets, as well as their driving habits.Rational consumers at some point may decide to car pool, take the bus or — if they happen to be in the market for a new vehicle — choose a model that costs less to operate.
One new entry, the Chevrolet Volt gas-electric hybrid, will appeal to some though its $40,000 pricetag will deter many who want to start saving immediately. After all, with regular unleaded up about $1 per gallon in the past year, the average motorist might be facing $600 or $700 in additional annual fuel cost — a difficulty that isn’t solved if the new fuel-efficient vehicle costs twice what the old one did.
With the number of big sport-utility vehicles and pickups on the road, many will be looking to switch to smaller models with conventional engines. Smaller has always equated to less money, in terms of purchase price and fuel economy.
For the first time, however, smaller doesn’t necessarily equate to less comfortable. Today’s compact and subcompact cars increasingly come equipped with amenities that weren’t available just four or five years ago. Here are a few worth checking out:
By Doron Levin
This version of Chevrolet’s new compact sedan has EPA-estimated fuel economy of 42 mpg, highway and 28 mpg, city, when equipped with manual transmission. The cost is $18,175, about $2,000 more than the standard model, due in part to special aerodynamic improvements.
The new Hyundai Elantra subcompact is the perfect example of an affordable car with nice amenities and a gas-sipping disposition. The car sells for as little as $18,500. I recently drove a loaded version costing $22,000 that came with navigation, heated leather seats and push-button start. During three days of driving on highway and city streets the Elantra averaged an economical 33 miles per gallon.
The SFE — for “Super Fuel Economy” — is Ford’s new minicar, built in Mexico. The Fiesta SFE achieves 40 mpg, highway and 29 mpg, city. Selling for $15,000, this version has what Ford calls an “automated manual” transmission, which operates like an automatic but has more shift points, a help in saving fuel.
Deciding which models are most economical can be tricky. Consumer Reports
regularly rates cars based on their total cost of ownership, which takes into account purchase price and depreciation, as well fuel economy. In the magazine’s latest survey, Honda’s Fit minicar, selling for about $16,000, turned in the lowest cost to operate at 44 cents per mile.”Fit is a car that holds its value well,” said Gabe Shenhar, a senior test engineer for Consumer Reports. “Our test of the manual version showed 33 miles per gallon fuel economy.” He noted that depreciation may account for half the cost of owning a vehicle in the first three years.
Shenhar also picked Volkswagen’s Jetta Wagon equipped with a diesel engine. At a cost of about $27,000, the Jetta achieved 36 miles per gallon with manual transmission, he said, and cost about 53 cents a mile to operate.The only higher-rated wagon or minivan than the Jetta was the Mazda5 Grand Touring, selling for nearly $24,000, “which has all the versatility of a minivan, seating six and is affordable and practical.”
Mazda’s small minivan costs about 61 cents a mile to operate, compared to the Kia Sedona minivan, which Consumer Reports rated at 85 cents a mile to operate.
It’s just $15,500 for the sporty two-door, which turns in estimated fuel economy of 38 mpg, highway and 30 mpg, city.