• Road Mice Posted: 2/28/2011 8:20pm PST

    I'd like to see a list of most fuel efficient family sized cars for those of us who need more room for around town or family road trips. I've noticed a trend in the above list of cars in that the hybrids are now getting better highway mileage than city - has something changed in the way they work vs the older frequent braking charging the batteries method?

  • suzannekane avatar suzannekane Posted: 3/3/2011 8:49am PST

    @Road Mice - Thanks for your comment about family cars for in-town and road trips. Good suggestion. Regarding your question, yes, some automakers have changed the way they are controlling their hybrid systems. Check out Green Car Reports (one of the High Gear Media websites) for more information on green cars. And, check out Family Car Guide for more articles on various kinds of family vehicles.

  • suzannekane avatar suzannekane Posted: 3/8/2011 12:46pm PST

    @Road Mice - Here's a more detail explanation from John Voelcker, editor of Green Car Reports. "Traditionally, hybrids have worked best in stop-and-go urban traffic, where the engine can switch off frequently and the battery and electric motor can move the vehicle using only electricity for short distances (up to a mile) at low speeds (30 mph or less). This is best suited to dense, crowded, high-traffic metropolises like Tokyo, London, and New York.
    In the U.S., however, that kind of duty cycle is less common for many buyers than is a higher-speed, longer-range suburban cycle that includes speeds up to 50 or 60 mph punctuated with less frequent stops.
    So more recent hybrids, especially those expected to sell primarily in the States, may be tuned to provide their benefits at highway speeds as well. One is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, now arriving at dealerships. Hyundai data shows that U.S. drivers spend roughly 55 percent of their driving time at freeway speeds, so the Sonata Hybrid provides electric assist at speeds up to 70 mph--and its highway mileage rating is higher than its city rating, the reverse of the ratings for most hybrids."