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Car Chase

Fuel Efficient and Fun to Drive

By Steven S. Brooks Published: June 10, 2011

I just returned from a trip to Europe, where I was astounded by the number of cool yet very efficient cars which are sold over there that we never see. For example, we rented a VW minivan which was just a size shorter than the rebadged Chrysler that VW markets in our country. It was very comfortable, fit all of our luggage well and was a very capable performer on country roads as well as the highways. The kicker is that we averaged 40 mpg in a fully loaded minivan!

Of course, it was equipped with an efficient diesel engine, which a very high number of automobiles in Europe are. As high as our fuel prices have climbed, they are almost double in Europe so they are serious about driving efficient cars. What we don't seem to understand here is that efficient cars can also be stylish and fun. In addition to the import brands we see here, the roads in Europe are full of great looking cars from Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Alfa Romeo and Fiat, among others. Even Ford's European offerings seem to be a cut above what we get here, although the new Focus and Fiesta are a step in the right direction.

What do you think it will take for us to get the variety and quality of cars which are offered to drivers overseas?

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