From Duds to Studs: 7 Cars That Have Drastically Improved Gas Mileage

In the past, the only way to improve your base gas mileage was to buy a completely different type of vehicle. But that’s no longer the case. Recognizing the importance of fuel efficiency, automakers have been retooling their products to get more miles between trips to the gas pump, while simultaneously improving safety features to help reduce auto insurance costs.

Here are seven examples of vehicles whose fuel-efficiency ratings have improved dramatically from their 2008 models to those offered in 2012. Annual savings is based on 10,000 miles driven each year with fuel prices at $4 per gallon.

Chevrolet Equinox

2012 gas mileage rating: 19MPG
2008 gas mileage rating: 25.1MPG

What changed: General Motors swapped out the Equinox’s standard V6 engine with a two-liter, four-cylinder version that’s just as powerful. GM also added a more efficient six-speed transmission to this SUV.  Annual savings: $511.64

>Kia Sorento

2012 gas mileage rating: 17MPG
2008 gas mileage rating: 22.1MPG

What changed: Many things. This mid-sized SUV now rides on a car-like body and not a truck frame, and it boasts a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine which is more fuel efficient.  Annual savings: $543

Dodge Challenger

2012 gas mileage rating: 15MPG
2008 gas mileage rating: 19.5MPG

What changed: Dodge did the unthinkable among muscle cars: the V8 engine was removed and replaced with a V6. Surprisingly, customers liked the better gas mileage and didn’t seem to notice any loss of power. Annual savings: $615.40

Mercedes Benz SLK

2012 gas mileage rating: 18MPG
2008 gas mileage rating: 23MPG

What changed: The German automaker introduced direct fuel injection to the engines into the SLK. The base engine in this sporty convertible is now a turbocharged four-cylinder engine which gets 201 horsepower.  Annual savings: $483.12

>Porsche Cayenne

2012 gas mileage rating: 16.8MPG
2008 gas mileage rating: 21MPG

What changed: Porsche’s sport SUV went on a diet, dropping an amazing 400 pounds. But Porsche also put in a hybrid engine that was able to produce an impressive 380 horsepower.  Annual savings: $476.20

Buick LaCrosse

2012 gas mileage rating: 21MPG
2008 gas mileage rating: 26MPG

What changed: Buick implemented its revolutionary “eAssist” technology into this sedan. This semi-hybrid arrangement combines a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with a lithium ion battery that powers a small electric motor. Annual savings: $366.28

Volkswagen Passat

2012 gas mileage rating: 24MPG
2008 gas mileage rating: 29.8MPG

What changed: Volkswagen added a new turbocharged diesel engine that can get 43 mpg on the highway to its lineup of Passats. Also, the TDI version can travel an amazing 800 miles between fill-ups.  Annual savings: $324.40

Add Comment