Varon H. Fugman
vfugman at globaldialog.com
Sun Apr 24 01:51:34 EDT 2005
My, what a popular topic!
I'll throw in my vote for the Acura TSX... nice handling for a front-driver
(but not enough power to be a potential urS6 replacement.) Subaru Legacy GT
good on the non-OOOO AWD side. Or consider a Saab 9-3 or 9-5... not a
German car for sure, but again nice handling for a front-drive and the
4-cylinder turbo has a plenty of torque.
On the hybrid side, the Toyota Prius is the only way to go. With the Honda,
the small gasoline engine runs all the time with an assist from the electric
motor. The Prius is a full hybrid, and can travel for several blocks on
electric motor power only. You don't get to shift for yourself, but this
automatic is no slushbox. In fact, it is the most sophisticated drivetrain
in a current production vehicle. The Prius actually has two electric
motors, one the prime mover when running on electric power, the other is
hooked to the engine via a planatary gearset and controls the power flow
between the gasoline engine, the main motor, and the wheels. It also varies
the effective ratio of the transmission. There are no bands, gears to
shift, torque converter, or even variable diameter pullies. Very clever!
But would it be fun to drive on mountin roads? Not sure, although the
torque from the electric motor combined with the output of the gasoline
engine ought to make it a good hill climer (just not a good as a 5-cylinder
turbo!) However, unless you do a fair amount of stop-and-go city driving,
don't look for incredible fuel savings... between regenerative braking and
shutting of the gasoline engine when not needed, city driving is where the
hybrid really shines.
1995 S6--snow car
1999 Saab 9-5 SportWagon--rain car
1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata--sun car
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