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Fuel efficiency is rapidly becoming one of the most influential determining factors when new car shoppers go looking for their next vehicle. And, as our friends at Consumer Reports correctly point out, earning top fuel efficiency marks generally means shopping in one of three categories: diesels, hybrids or subcompacts.

As such, the consumer-oriented magazine has pitted four fuel-sippers against each other in their upcoming January, 2011 issue: the 2011 Ford Fiesta, Honda CR-Z, Mazda2 and Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI. Of these four models, the Jetta is the only one that's currently Recommended - the Fiesta and Mazda2 are too new to have adequate reliability data and, though expected to be reliable, the last-place CR-Z scored too low in CR's own road testing to recommend.

CR tested two versions each of the Mazda and Ford subcompacts, one with a manual transmission and the other with an automatic. The Fiesta was ranked slightly higher than the Mazda2 overall, though the magazine seems to like both vehicles. Of the Honda, CR writes that "the ride is choppy, noise levels are high, and on-limit handling can be tricky." Couple those unfavorable traits with lower-than-expected fuel mileage of 35 mpg and limited utility, and it's understandable why CR wasn't particularly impressed with the CR-Z.

Though somewhat pricey at $27,204, the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI performed admirably, delivering 36 mpg overall and a superb 49 mpg on the highway in the hands of CR's testers. As an aside, CR also took a look at the Fuel Doctor FD-47 fuel-saving device, and rather predictably, found that it basically did nothing at all.

VW Jetta TDI tops Consumer Reports eco roundup, Honda CR-Z scores too low to recommend originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 07 Dec 2010http://www.autoblog.com/2010/12/07/vw-jetta-tdi-tops-consumer-reports-eco-roundup-honda-cr/
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