The Family Car Blog

A Dad’s quest to find the perfect family car

MPG and ULEV

So we’re coming to terms with the fact that practically every car maker does not have a really fuel efficient option in the minivan of SUV category. The mpg ratings of the cars are better, but really not where they should be for the conscious consumer. So we’ve switched part of our analysis from mpg efficiency to emissions and we’re looking at ULEV II (ultra low emission vehicle) ratings. The good news is many of the vehicles we’re looking at, including the VW Routan, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna all have ULEV II ratings.

The 2009 VW Routan is now our top pick

The 2009 VW Routan was our top pick, but the SE model didn't drive well

In our research, we admire the efficiency of clean diesel cars in Europe. Even the VW Jetta TDI gets 40-50 mpg and has ultra low emissions. Future concept cars like the Renault Ondelios look… well… futuristic, but efficient with “fuel consumption at a frugal 4.5 litres/100km and CO2 emissions at a lowly 120g/km.” This is equivalent to slightly more than 52 miles per gallon. Wow. And it seats six passengers. Why aren’t we there yet? The cars we’re stuck looking at today only get half this efficiency at best.

We have been thinking that one solution is to down size our car seats. This would allow us to fit into the Jetta TDI. As former Jetta Wagon owners, we’d be happy to go back. But we’d only be able to transport ourselves. There’s no room for grandparents, other parents or kids. A family car would help us get others around. In fact this raises an interesting point. One article I read suggested that minivans get 144 passenger miles per gallon making them more efficient if you’re travelling with many people.

Still lots to think about…

Advertisements

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Candidates, Research | , , , , , | Leave a comment

2009 Family Car Fuel Efficiency

Buying a family car requires a bit of compromise for the eco-conscious family. If we were just buying any car our options for finding a fuel efficient vehicle would be easier.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we need a car that can accommodate three car seats. This either means we need a wider car that can fit the car seats or a larger car like an SUV or minivan that has a third row of seating.

When we consider fuel efficiency, the choice becomes pretty obvious. Here’s a chart I pulled together with the city and highway miles per gallon for some of the models in consideration and others mentioned to us as we’ve begun our research.

2009 Model Year Fuel Efficiency
Make Model City Highway
Chrysler Town & Country LX 17 24
Ford Explorer 14 20
Honda Odyssey EX-L 17 25
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 27 25
Toyota Sienna 17 23
Volkswagen Passat Wagon Turbo 23 32
Volkswagen Routan SEL 17 25
Volvo XC90 3.2L 14 20

The VW Passat Wagon is quite efficient with 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. We’re going to be doing more city driving thought which may make the Toyota Highlander Hybrid the best choice with 27 mpg in the city and a respectable 25 mpg on the highway.

When we get out for our test drives, we’ll see how we’re swayed. That should happen towards the end of October 2008.

October 4, 2008 Posted by | Candidates, Other Cars, Research | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook reveals Honda fans

I got a great response from friends on Facebook regarding my inquiry on finding a great family car that can accommodate three car seats. There seem to be many Honda Odyssey fans out there. I was kind of surprised by that. I’m still in the minivan resistance stage. They seem so 1997.

And my eco-friendly car inquiry? Not so much of a response there. That’s a huge consideration for us. A high mpg (miles per gallon) rating is important, but more because of reduced emissions. The potential cost savings on fuel is a perk.

Making a responsible purchase is going to become a theme on this blog. We’re proud not to have a car right now. From an automotive point of view, our footprint is very light. We don’t want to suffocate the environment with our new car.

Later this month, we hope to get out for some test drives. In the meantime, research continues.

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Other Cars, Research | , , , | Leave a comment