I first mentioned this car in my getting better milage post. I was thinking about it again because it was mentioned this morning in Marshal Brain's alteng blog. The following is a quote from the article:
The low drag and lightweight components are key reasons for the fact that the 140 horsepower concept car gets 20 percent better mileage than other diesels of its size, DaimlerChrysler said.
Combined city/highway driving delivers about 70 mpg, DaimlerChrysler said, while highway driving at 55 mph gets around 84 mpg.
For those who haven't driven a modern diesel car, 140 HP from a diesel engine will provide very peppy performance. Some years ago I test drove a diesel VW Beetle that had less than 100 hp and it still effortlessly pulled out into traffic and cruised at 80 mph, with 4 adults on board.
Now if you look at the shape of this 4 person car, you will realize that it would not be hard to adapt a mini-van to the same aerodynamic shape, and that the 140 hp engine would be sufficient motivation for a mini-van as well. So what I want to see from DaimlerChrysler is a production mini-van that can average 50 mpg in combined city/highway driving.
Don't think a 50 mpg mini-van is possible? Consider the Dodge Sprinter, a production vehicle from DaimlerChrysler, It seats 10 comfortably and gets 30 mpg highway and 26 mpg city. Car and Driver had a tongue in cheek review of it a few years ago, and even they managed to get 30 mpg driving the Sprinter (and they only managed to get 42 mpg in the Prius). For those that feel you need a Suburban to comfortably carry your family to the beach, try the Sprinter. You will have more room and nearly twice the mpg.