This comes from driving 1800 kilometers last week in a Nissan Note, a 5-speed diesel that got 40 mpg over a week of mountainous roads and chaotic Palermo traffic (it's like a demolition derby except you don't actually hit anything but your mirrors). Even with a lead foot, we sipped gasolio (diesel) as daintily as a debutante at a high tea. At 150 kph. With a decent ride yet. A little understeer but it's front-wheel drive. But I digress.
A Nissan Note. Ours was black.
At the same time I hear that we are giving 5 billion to GM to keep making stupid cars no one wants.
So here we are, in no particular order...
1) Mercedes A-class. Who says you can't have luxury in a small package? Average mpg is 45. With tiptronic shifting and autoassist parallel parking.
2) Fiat 500 (the new one). Super cool-looking in a retro way, very reminiscient and faithful to the original so-ugly-it's-cute 500. Autostrada ready. Sips gas (15.9 km/l, or about 37 mpg).
3) Alfa Romeo Mito. Sweet.
4) Citroen C1. Yeah, it means lemon in French, but these are really sweet little cars. The C2 and C3 get honorable mentions. The rollback top on the C3 is reminiscent of the 2CV.
5) Peugeot 206. Holy crap. 46 mpg in diesel.
6) Lancia Ypsilon. Fifty mpg in diesel. Five-Zero. And it's cute.
7) Toyota RAV4 D4-D. Diesel. Over 40 mpg. Cheaper than a hybrid Highlander and better mileage.
8), 9), and 10). Diesel Mini Cooper, Diesel Smart (70 mpg), and Diesel VW Polo.
From the Irony Department: You can get this car, a Ford Focus, in Italy.
Better looking than ours, of course, and available in Diesel. 22.2 km/l, or 52 mpg. Bring them here, geniuses, and maybe you won't have to ask for billions in bailout money as a result of your incredible inability to see 24-36 months into the future. Isn't that why you get paid the big bucks?