VW Raises Stakes with 62 MPG Car

vw2Volkswagen is raising the stakes in the battle for the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market.

The German automaker recently revealed a concept of its next-gen Golf, which delivers a whopping 61.8 miles per gallon. Check it out here.

Powered by a BlueMotion diesel engine, the new Golf boasts better fuel economy than hybrids like the Toyota Prius (48 mpg), Honda Civic (40), and Nissan Altima (35).

It also emits just 99 g/km of CO2. The Prius, in comparison, emits 104 g/km of carbon dioxide.

The BlueMotion Golf relies on a 1.6 liter TDI common rail diesel engine, along with changes in the aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tires and a revised transmission to limit fuel consumption and improve emissions.

The Golf is built for efficiency, not performance, and the 105 horsepower engine confirms that. The car takes 11.3 seconds to get to 60 mph – not a world record, if you’re wondering – and it has a top speed of 117 mph.

According to Volkswagen, the BlueMotion Golf will be available in Britain by the middle of 2009. But don’t expect it stateside anytime soon. Restrictions on engines, technology expenses and the weak value of the dollar are all hurdles that Volkswagen must clear in order to bring it into the United States.

Hybrids combine gasoline engines with electric motors, causing less strain on the engine and, in turn, more miles per gallon.

Diesel engines are more fuel-efficient than standard gasoline engines, but in the past they have been too noisy, too unpredictable (try starting a diesel engine in the middle of winter), and too expensive to replace their gas powered brethren.

But with improved technologies and better reliability, diesel engines could soon be making a comeback. And Volkswagen, with its new BlueMotion Golf, may be leading the charge.

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