Saturday, April 19, 2008

Green Car Of The Year

Tell me this isn't typical of America : Green Car Journal have announced their Green Car Of The Year. The Camry hybrid? The Prius? The Tesla Roadster? Think again - it's the 2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid which according to Chevy's own adverts, has a combined mpg cycle of 14mpg city / 21mpg highway.

I'll print that again so you can revel in the absurdity of it : 14mpg.

Better still, if you read all the text in the print ads, Chevy claim that the 2008 Tahoe is so efficient that in the city it has the same mpg rating as a Toyota Camry*. If you follow that asterisk to the fine print at the bottom of the page, it says that the Camry does 21mpg city.

In what universe is the Tahoe's 14mpg city rating "the same" as the Camry's 21mpg? Even if you look at the Tahoe's highway rating - 20mpg - it's still lower than the Camry can get around town.

It boggles the mind how Chevy have managed to make a hybrid that only does 14mpg. That just doesn't seem possible, in the same way it doesn't seem possible for Ford to build a 4.6L V8 that has such pitiful horsepower. I mean we've known for years that American manufacturers just don't get it. My Honda Element averages 19mpg and I consider that to be below par for the Japanese, mostly because of the undersized engine and the total lack of aerodynamics. But compared to the Tahoe, my Element is a King amongst Kings.

Now hop across the pond to Europe, where the average family car is cracking out 35mpg and you realise just how badly Chevy don't get it.

Green Car Of The Year my arse.

My skeptical nature now leads me to ask whether a cash sum from Chevy was involved in Green Car Journal's decision.


Anonymous said... gives it 20 mpg highway and city. rated it at 19.3 mpg average over the 887 miles.

I think that 14 mpg is for the standard Tahoe. There is no way this car gets only 14.

Chris said...

From the print advert in this month's Popular Science :

"Chevy Tahoe Hybrid with available V8 and 2WD. EPA 2008 estimates 14mpg city / 20mpg highway."

It's around page 20 - 24. Full-page spread on the right hand side, mostly green background. You can't miss it.

Dave said...

Have you seen the Ford commercials that state they are as reliable as Toyota? Thats almost as funny as this. Maybe they haven't read consumer reports, where the only vehicles mentioned in a nice way are the Fusion and the Taurus/500. Complete distortion of reality.

Chris said...

I wonder if this is to do with the revised EPA test procedures? Or have Chevy just shot themselves in the foot with their print advert because it definitely indicates that the Hybrid Tahoe does 14mpg city and 20mpg highway.

Frankly, even if it does 20 city, that's still pathetic for a hybrid. Like I said - my Element manages a real-world (ie. not EPA) 19mpg city and it's not a hybrid.

Perhaps if they took some of the distractions out of the car - like all the LCD monitors, the nav system, most of the airbags, the overly complex and heavy rear seat mechanisms etc. Then they'd get a decent mpg rating because it would have lost the weight of an average Texan :-)

Dave said...

Or better yet, if all these people would realize they don't need to be driving these huge monstrosities and bought sensible cars or minivans they could easily get good MPG. FYI, my Accord gets about 30 city/37 highway.

Anonymous said...

This could be why Chevy doesn't post the EPA estimate on their site. Still, I think real life economy is slightly better than that, and does slight improvement over the standard car.

Hybrids with big engines don't get big gas mileage benefits. The V6 Honda Accord hybrid and Lexus hybrids don't get great increases in gas mileage either.

This isn't half as bad as the Saturn Aura hybrid which doesn't even let you mix power from electric and gasoline engines. It has a puny 4kW motor, while a hybrid Camry has a 30kW motor. As a result it can only run on only electric up to 3 mph, which makes it practically useless.

Anonymous said...

Gotta laugh at that 14mpg and it's a green car.

Look up the Citroen Cactus concept car.

Diesel/electric hybrid that does 97mpg now thats a green car, should make it into production by 2010 as well.

Chris said...

Or the VW Polo Bluemotion - 62mpg and you can buy it right now.

george said...

America genuinely confuses me. Do people over there not want to save themselves from rising petrol prices?

Anonymous said...

I don't know why it confuses you. Sure, everyone in America would like to save money on gas, but when you absolutely require the power or utility of a big car you got no choice. I for one am impressed when a monstrosity like the Tahoe can do 20 mpg city. You can't seat 7 people and tow a trailer with a Eurobox.

Keep in mind Europe rates the same cars much higher than the EPA. I read on this very web site! :p

GG said...

I have a rather bog-standard Citro├źn Berlingo (basically a van with windows) that does 41.27 US mpg.

There is a panoply of 7 seater vehicles that can tow from european constructors. Renault Espace or Grand Scenic for example? They will definitely do more than 20(US) mpg... and have tonnes of torque thanks to fantastic turbo diesel engines.

Hell, even my 41 year old Triumph Vitesse does better than that!

The only way a Chevy or suchlike could ever be green is through a paint job...