We all understand that the European market was the first to really get nailed with high gas prices. They were paying over $5 per gallon while the U.S. market still was just cresting the $2 per gallon mark. This forced the European market to start accepting smaller and less desirable vehicles in hopes of getting better economy, while folks in the States continued to drive Hummers and other large SUVs.
Now that gas is hitting $4 per gallon, the U.S. buyers are starting to become more receptive to smaller cars with upwards of 40 mpg capabilities and hybrids cresting the 50 mpg mark. However, we are still left out in one market, the ultra economic clean diesels. The latest one is the 2012 Chevrolet Aveo , which is known as the Sonic in the U.S.
In the U.S., the highest mpg available on the Sonic is 40 mpg and that is the optional 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, which we have our doubts if any normal driver can actually hit 40 mpg in this car. In the U.K., the Aveo has several four-cylinder engine options, including a 1.2-liter gasoline, 1.3-liter diesel, 1.3-liter Eco Diesel, and a 1.4-liter. The highway fuel economy on these engines is 68.9 mpg, 83.1 mpg, 85.6 mpg, and 62.7 mpg, respectively.
None of these engines would make the Sonic a speed demon, like the relatively quick Sonic LTZ and its 1.4-liter turbo engine, but will Chevy ever bring these engine options to the U.S. market? We understand that diesel fuel is not as readily available as regular gasoline, but they certainly give the U.S. buyer an option other than hybrid or electric, which have technologies that could end up requiring rather pricy repairs in the future.
We’re not singling out Chevy here, as Ford has its ECOnetic system getting 65+ mpg in a Ford Fiesta . Our best Fiesta gets an arguable 40 mpg on the highway. Seemingly every car company has a super-Eco diesel engine in its European lineup, but we have yet to see one in the U.S. We think the time has come for one to show up.
gallery: Chevrolet Sonic
gallery: Ford Fiesta ECOnetic