Consumer Reports has done an economy test on four different types of fuel efficient cars, Honda CR-Z, Ford Fiesta, Mazda2, and Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI, and arrived at rather surprising results. What’s great in this test is the fact that CR was not obsessed with MPG rating, and also considered more important factors like reliability and driving fun while choosing the winner.
That’s why the 35 MPG Honda CR-Z rated too low to be recommended but the VW Jetta rated excellent. CR says the Fiesta and the Mazda are too new and they don’t have enough data yet to determine their reliability. And the CR-Z, well they were very upset with the car’s ride, noise and handling, and the fact that despite they sell it as a sporty coupe, there’s nothing sporty about it! The economy of the Honda is not on the par with other hybrids as well.
The VW TDI on the other hand offers great economy without compromise on the power, comfort, convenience and space. More details in the official release below:
Full tests and ratings for all the vehicles appear in the January issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale December 7. The reports are also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.Updated daily,ConsumerReports.org is the go-to site for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information.
Prices ranged from $14,770 for the Mazda2 Sport with manual transmission to $27,204 for the Vokswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI.
Vehicles were selected for this grouping because The CR-Z, Fiesta, and Mazda2 are all recent introductions. CR previously tested a Jetta TDI diesel sedan with a manual transmission and had not tested the diesel engine in a Jetta SportWagen with a manual transmission.
While the Jetta is Recommended, the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 are too new for CR to have reliability data and the CR-Z scored too low in CR’s road tests to be Recommended. CR only Recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR’s Annual Auto Survey of its more than seven million print and Web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.
The Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is a premium compact wagon whose ride has an underlying firmness, especially at low speeds, but is supple and well controlled. The Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI ($27,204 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 140-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that that delivers leisurely acceleration and gets 36 mpg overall and a superb 49 mpg on the highway in CR’s own fuel economy tests. The six-speed manual transmission shifts smoothly. Braking is Very Good. The interior is well-finished. Folding the 60/40-split rear seatbacks creates a spacious cargo area, which has a spacious cargo area.
Ford’s subcompact Fiesta is enjoyable to drive. Its agile handling, relatively quiet cabin and composed ride are high points. The Ford Fiesta SE sedan ($16,595 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 120-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers adequate acceleration and gets 33 mpg overall. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts responsively. Braking is Good. The interior is well-finished. The trunk will hold three large upright suitcases and one large duffel bag.
The Mazda2 is fun to drive, with excellent fuel economy, responsive steering and a usable rear seat despite the car’s modest dimensions. The Mazda2 Touring $17,075 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 100-hp 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that accelerates modestly and gets a very good 30mpg with the automatic transmission. The four-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. Braking is Good. The interior is well-finished. The cargo area can hold one large upright suitcase and two duffel bags with the rear seats in place.
The Honda CR-Z is a sporty-looking, two-seat hybrid that handles nimbly but it not very sporty otherwise. The ride is choppy, noise levels are high, and on-limit handling can be tricky. The Honda CR-Z EX ($21,510 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 122-hp, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with hybrid assist that is mild and gets 35 mpg overall. The six-speed manual transmission shifts effortlessly. Braking is Very Good. The interior materials look nice and most panels fit together nicely. A divider between the cabin and trunk folds down to reveal a large cargo area, but the 400-pound payload capacity is restrictive.