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Fuel-sipper smackdown

Four ultra-fuel efficient cars hit the road to see which one was the best gas value. They all finished strong, but there was one clear winner.

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The challenge
The challenge
Test drivers at automotive information Web site Edmunds.com wanted to find out what kind of "fuel-efficient car" really got the best mileage.

To find out, they pitted a hybrid, a diesel, a compact and a really tiny mini-compact against one another on a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

They put the cars through three real-world driving tests along the way:

  • Back road driving - 334 miles
        of 50-65 mile-per-hour driving on
        roads through Death Valley
  • City driving - 133 miles of stop-and-go driving in Las Vegas
  • Highway cruising - 209 miles of Interstate at 75 mph
  • They then combined the results of those tests to determine the overall winner.

    The cars they selected were the Ford Focus, the Smart ForTwo, the Toyota Prius (all 2008 models) and a 2005 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. In the end, one car really was the real fuel economy king.

    NEXT: 4th place: Ford Focus
    Last updated June 02 2008: 3:17 PM ET