We wrote yesterday about Obama's quest for greater fuel efficiency, and how he's effectively challenged the American auto industry to create more cars that give consumers better value for money. So, with The Geneva Motor Show 2012 currently taking place in Switzerland, it gives us plenty of scope to scrutinise exactly how seriously some of the world's largest car manufacturers are taking the subject of fuel efficiency, and if they're really putting their customers' best interests at heart.
We haven't been disappointed so far. For a lot of manufacturers, efficiency seems to be the watchword with their new cars. So far a number of manufacturers have announced new models with greater fuel efficiency and green credentials than ever before. But is it all really just a clever marketing gimmick, or will some of the cars on show actually provide better value for consumers? If you're working to a budget, then don't buy a new car until you've seen our run-down of this year's five most fuel-efficient vehicles at the Geneva Motor Show 2012:
Maybe not the most groundbreaking announcement so far, but it shows that Honda is working hard behind the scenes to improve efficiency for consumers. Their recently announced 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine for the Honda Civic will deliver CO2 emissions of 95g/km (according to Honda's in-house data), with a compact high-efficiency turbocharger to enhance vehicle responsiveness. Honda has hailed it as 'the world's lightest aluminium open deck 1.6-litre diesel engine', and it will be the first of their Earth Dreams Technology engine series to be released across Europe. Will that matter to consumers, though?
Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept
The Cross Coupe sounds like a very efficient beast
You won't find one of these when you compare Volkswagen leasing prices. Volkswagen's Cross Coupe concept car is powered by a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid system. Volkswagen boasts that it has 'the performance of a sports car, but with efficiency greater than that of a city car'. A pretty strong claim, but the combined petrol and electrical system seems to be the real deal according to Volkswagen's statistics, which show low fuel consumption of 2.7 litres per 100 km (around 105 mpg) and CO2emissions of just 62 g/km. A shame that there are no plans afoot to put it in production, as it's also a cracking looking car...
Kia Cee'd Second Generation
Kia is releasing a secondgeneration version of their popular Ceed model
Kia is happy enough with its Cee'd model that it's decided to showcase a second generation at Geneva. The original Cee'd was widely heralded as Kia's breakthrough car in the European markets, and has proven to be incredibly popular with motorists. Kia says one of their main focuses for the second generation was to tweak the engines considerably, through their EcoDynamics sub-brand, to provide greater fuel efficiency for consumers and give them more value at the petrol pumps. The result is diesel and petrol engines that keep performance levels higher for longer, with improved fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from just 97 g/km.
Volkswagen Polo BlueGT
The Polo BlueGT is Volkswagens first attempt at ACT technology
Volkswagen claim that their brand new Polo BlueGT has 'extreme' fuel efficiency. 'Extreme' sounds about right - they're being brave and are using ACT cylinder technology for the first time in a Volkswagen car. They hope that their new EA211 series of engines, which is fully responsible for the Polo BlueGT's incredible efficiency, will become standard in all future Volkswagen products. Under light/medium loads, both the second and third cylinders shut down to save fuel consumption, with Volkswagen claiming that, at a constant 30mph, people can save as much as one litre per 100 km.
Ford Focus Electric
Ford hopes its first electric passenger car is a success
Ever wanted to buy a new Ford Focus? Why not wait for a car that's virtually emission-free? Well, you can't really get much more environmentally friendly than an electric car, can you? The Ford Focus Electric is Ford's first ever all-electric passenger car, with the public getting the chance to test it out for themselves at the show. Slated for a 2013 release in the UK, Ford claim that, for a charge time of between three to four hours, the Focus Electric can offer the same driving experience as a standard petrol vehicle (target range: 100 miles). It's powered by a 23kWh lithium-ion battery pack and will hopefully prove to be one of the most efficient cars on the market when it's finally released.