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-   -   What 0-60 acceleration would you accept for good fuel economy? (

MetroMPG 09-27-2008 11:03 AM

What 0-60 acceleration would you accept for good fuel economy?
I keep reading in various places that one of the big reasons we can't have efficient economy cars in North America any longer is because "we" have come to demand the power (and gearing) to give us faster acceleration.

I'm seeing this from both sides, eg. from the "automotive press" (who position themselves as champions of the vehicle-buying public): Car and Driver lists poor performance as one reason to lambaste used economy cars of the 90's as poor choices for people wanting to save fuel.

And from industry: I recently read a GM executive cite 0-60 mph acceleration times as a reason they can't build the thrifty econoboxes they used to. "Slower cars aren't competitive in the market." The added mass of safety engineering being the second reason given. (Sorry, I can't find the link at the moment.)

I personally don't give a rat's @$& about 0-60 acceleration.

What in our society has changed so much over the years that we now apparently demand that plain jane family sedans, minivans and "economy" cars be able to accelerate at rates that would outrun sports cars from the 80's and 90's?

SVOboy 09-27-2008 11:25 AM

I said 10-15, because sometimes I need to accelerate up a hill!

Clev 09-27-2008 11:28 AM

There are occasions that 0-60 in 13-14 seconds is dangerous, but people with 13-14 second cars tend to know this and not get themselves into those situations to begin with.

My Honda Accord (when new, anyway) hit 0-60 in about 10 seconds flat. That feels on the "sporty end" to me, but the average economy is still okay (35.5 on my last three fillups.) My '99 Metro 1.3L 5-speed only ever had a problem on snowy hills with chains. (It actually didn't have enough horsepower to make it up in first gear.)

The 'sweet spot' is probably a mild hybrid option. Make your no-frills econobox for $10k, and then offer a mild hybrid (i.e. belt-driven electric motor boost with regen, kinda like the Honda IMA) for a couple $k more. Wouldn't hurt economy much if at all, and could be done on the cheap.

As to the C&D article, they do have a point on the 89-92 Metro they're basing the article on. Small cars of that vintage have no side impact protection, older "neckbreaker" SRS airbags (or, God forbid, automatic belts), less advanced injection systems (or carburetors)... I love my '90 Accord, but I know that I'm at a substantial disadvantage in a head-on or t-bone vs. a 94-up Accord.

However, I see no problem whatsoever with, say, a 94-up Metro. They met the 1997 side-impact requirements three years early, have newer-generation airbags and generally hold up much better in a crash. I also have no problem with the earlier Metros if you're not going to be doing a lot of heavy freeway driving.

SuperTrooper 09-27-2008 11:44 AM

Having spent a good part of my teen years riding in my cousin's '69 VW Bus, I learned to appreciate decent acceleration. Getting on the highway or pulling out on a busy road was truly a nerve-wracking experience. It's a religious experience to be going 45 mph, looking out the back window, and only seeing chrome grill and the word PETERBUILT. Back then flipping people off wasn't as prevalent as it is now, but my cousin got far more than his share for causing the rolling roadblocks on back roads.

I voted for 10-15 seconds, but the closer to 10 the better.

MetroMPG 09-27-2008 11:59 AM


Originally Posted by Clev (Post 63808)
There are occasions that 0-60 in 13-14 seconds is dangerous, but people with 13-14 second cars tend to know this and not get themselves into those situations to begin with.

But you could say the same thing about those 0-60 in 3-5 seconds situations, and the drivers of the 6-8 second cars tend to know this and not get into trouble! :)

You do raise a valid point, though. More power can compensate for poor driving skills and/or poor judgment in some situations (e.g. passing, merging).

As a reminder: the 1st gen diesel smart (which was sold in Canada) had a 0-60 time of about 19 seconds.

I'm not sure what the acceleration rate of the new gas model is, but I'm betting it's still well above 10 seconds, and the cars are selling OK.

MetroMPG 09-27-2008 12:01 PM

And to put my comments in context, the ForkenSwift goes 0-30 mph in about 20-25 seconds flat out. :P

basjoos 09-27-2008 12:06 PM

My car with the 103hp DX engine, does 0-60 in 10 sec and I'm getting decent mileage, so the argument that a high-mpg non-hybrid car can't have decent acceleration is bogus.

Frank Lee 09-27-2008 12:11 PM

I wonder if the consumer is really driving this whole 0-60 thing, or if it's those idiot car magazines' obsession with track times for street cars.

Having had Microbusses AND Rabbit diesels and lived to tell about it, I too don't give a rat's *** about 0-60. Saying that x acceleration is necessary for "safety" is bunk.

SuperTrooper 09-27-2008 12:16 PM

Various magazine articles put the US smart 0-60 between 12.6 and 13.0 seconds.

Gee metrompg, I thought your car was quicker than that.

MetroMPG 09-27-2008 01:20 PM

Good point of course, basjoos. We can have our cake and eat it too via good aero. But I will guarantee the same exec who said "slow cars aren't competitive" will cite "consumer acceptance" as a reason they can't/won't build aero vehicles.

GM gave that exact reason to university students participating in GM's "Challenge X" hybrid building competition as to why they could not aeromod the competition vehicles.

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