1977 Volkswagen RabbitEnlarge Photo
source: Popular MechanicsTop Gear America has decided that hybrids are boring. Boring. I know, it's hard to believe but not everyone gets excited by watching their dash readout telling them that they saved an extra tablespoon of gas on this trip to the video store, but apparently at Top Gear they don't. They like Italian styling and acceleration. They also like playing sports with compact cars and make fun of most of them at every opportunity. So when they announced an attempt at a super high-mileage car, one based on a VW, you instantly wanted to know more.
source: Popular MechanicsEnlarge Photo
The plan is deceptively simple--double the mileage of the current fuel sippers like the 2009 Toyota Prius, 2010 Honda Insight, and the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI which currently holds the mileage record in the U.S. Oh yeah, and make it hit 60 mph in 7 seconds while spending less than $7000.
The first two pieces of the puzzle are simple as well. Get an old Rabbit (like, say, the pickup shown here) and jam a brand new 2.0 TDI powerplant into its lightweight shell, nearly doubling the horsepower. It sounds like a good plan, but on its own it won't be getting anyone 70 mpg.
We'll keep an eye on it, to see if they need to call in The Stig to make it all work, or if it will further reinforce the slogan of "ambitious but rubbish" that I hear so often.
Read more at TopGear.com and you can even help them name it, if you're quick.
[Source: Top Gear.com]