Gas sippers with pop
“Fuel efficient” need not translate to slow, ugly and low-performance. We can enjoy powerful, capable and fun-to-drive sport vehicles that are also reasonably fuel-efficient. Here are four standouts:
By Eric Peters
Special to the Times
2005 Volkswagen Touareg diesel V-10
Engine: 5-liter Turbo Direct Injection diesel V-10.
Miles/gallon: 17 city; 23 highway.
Output: It provides an impressive 553 pound feet of torque at just 2,000 revolutions per minute. It pulls like a locomotive — endowing the Touareg with the ability to tow 7,716 pounds — but doesn’t sound or smell like one. Nails 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. Passing power is particularly exceptional.
Etc.: It has the easy power of a big-block V-8 (for those of you old enough to remember), but its 23 mpg is astounding economy for a midsize SUV with this much performance. The price is a big jump over the $42,600 V-8 equipped model, but the diesel’s approximate 10-12 mpg advantage in overall fuel efficiency could easily make up the difference over eight to 10 years.
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid Electric
Engine: 2.3-liter Zetec four-cylinder with high-torque electric motor and full-time all-wheel drive transaxle.