By Richard Truett, Automotive News
DETROIT--I'm cruising south on Interstate 75 at a steady 64 mph. If the fuel economy gauge in the car can be believed--and there's no reason that it shouldn't--I'm burning one gallon of fuel every 74 miles.
I'm not limping along in some wimpy gasoline-electric hybrid. I'm not drafting behind a semitruck. And I'm not relying on any of the dangerous maneuvers that hypermiling eco-geeks use as they try to extract every inch of distance out of a gallon of gasoline.
Nope. I'm in a 2007 Mini Cooper D, and I am driving it normally. The D stands for diesel. It's a version of the popular hatchback that isn't available in the United States--yet.
Here's a car that lets you have your high fuel economy cake and eat big slices of it, too. Just as important as the Mini Cooper D's ultralow fuel consumption is its fun-to-drive factor. It's off the charts in this car.
The Mini Cooper D is quick. Its 1.6-liter turbocharged diesel engine propels the 2,600-pound hatchback to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. Plus, the car is good-looking, the chassis is rock-solid, and the handling is as tight as a go-cart.
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