Green Test Drive: Mazda3 gets surprising mileage using a blend of old and new technologies

Mazda doesn’t make any electric vehicles or hybrid models, but they are pretty darn serious about getting the most out of a gallon of gas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its most recent Light Duty Fuel Economy Trends report named Mazda Motor Corporation as the most fuel-efficient auto manufacturer in the U.S. with a fleet-wide adjusted fuel economy performance of 27.1 miles per gallon. Didn’t know that? Read on.

Green Test Drive: 2013 Kia Rio SX

Those who doubt evolution just need slide behind the wheel of a Kia Rio – a dramatically different car than it was 10 years ago, shaped by the survival-of-the-fittest business model of the automobile industry. The 2013 Kia Rio SX – the highest of three available trims – may have you ponder what constitutes a luxury car.

Green Test Drive: Kia Optima Hybrid

You reach a certain age when it seems the only surprises are bad surprises. The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid is a rare happy surprise. The rise of Korean automobile makers is an oft-told tale – cheap lemons to top-notch serious competition for the likes of Toyota and Honda. The 2012 Kia Optima isn’t your father’s Kia. Heck, it isn’t even your big brother’s Kia.

Green Test Drive: Chevy Aveo

By Clint Williams
Green Right Now

Some people buy a car looking for thrills. Others want a little prestige under the hood. A lot of folks, though, just want something to get them to work and to the grocery store as cheaply as possible.

The 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 Hatchback is a car for those people.

The Aveo5, and its sedan counterpart, get an EPA estimated 34 miles per gallon in highway driving and you can expect darn close to 30 mpg in your typical mix of run-around-the-suburbs driving. Aveo meets the ULEV II emissions standard.

Green Test Drive: Suzuki SX4

By Clint Williams

With highway fuel economy of 30 mpg, the Suzuki SX4 certainly conserves gasoline. And, more importantly these days, this compact sedan conserves cash. A comfortably well-equipped SX4 – complete with standard touch-screen navigation system – rolls off the dealer lot for less than $16,000. That makes it financially competitive in its class, and as economical as most cars featured in our “30(cars) Over 30(mpg)” gallery.

Green Test Drive: Honda Civic Hybrid 2009

By Clint Williams

Let’s be honest: For most folks, conservation implies sacrifice. Maybe even a little discomfort. Turn down the thermostat to save energy, your feet are cold.

There is no sacrifice involved driving the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. Not after you write the check, anyway. In fact, Honda this year is adding some nice touches. The most important addition is electronic stability control, now standard. Options now include leather-trimmed interior, heated seats, navigation system, XM satellite radio and Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®.

The Civic Hybrid is powered by a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine and a 15 kilowatt electric motor, producing a combined 110-horsepower. That horsepower is harnessed by a smooth continuously variable transmission. Acceleration is best described as adequate, but this isn’t a sports car.