Shoppers interested in fuel-efficient cars might do well to wait a few months before making their next purchase. Several exciting new gas-savers will be on sale soon -- and we've listed them for drivers interested both in saving money at the pump and in driving a totally new model.
The compact i3 is the first among several fully electric to roll out under the "i" sub-brand. Scheduled to go on sale later this year or early in 2014, BMW will reveal a production-ready i3 this summer. The compact hatchback is said to achieve between 80 and 100 miles of pure electric range -- and BMW says it won't use a "range-extending" gasoline engine. Though pricing hasn't been set, we're excited to sample the i3's 170-horsepower electric motor, its claimed 0-to-60-miles-per-hour time of under eight seconds and its futuristic styling.
Think of the Cadillac ELR as a sleeker, sharper, more luxurious version of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt. Scheduled to go on sale this fall, the ELR shares the Volt's powertrain. But it's totally different inside and out, boasting a boldly styled 2-door body and a highly futuristic interior. Like the Volt, the ELR boasts a 35-mile fully electric range along with a 1.4-liter gasoline "range-extender" powerplant. That proven powerplant -- along with the ELR's upscale badge and unique styling -- should make it a hit among drivers interested in a luxurious new fuel-efficient car.
Honda Accord Hybrid
We've been impressed with our long-term 2013 Honda Accord EX. So it's hard not to get excited by the upcoming 2014 Accord Hybrid, which should combine many of our Accord's best features with a highly efficient hybrid powertrain. Honda says the 2014 Accord Hybrid will reach a class-leading 49 miles per gallon in the city -- an impressive figure that somehow even trumps the 47-mpg Ford Fusion Hybrid. More importantly, it will perform much like our long-term car, meaning we don't have to make sacrifices for the gas mileage. Of course, the only possible sacrifice could be the Accord's price -- and we'll find out more on that as we get closer to its October on-sale date.
Infiniti Q50 Hybrid
The sporty Infiniti Q50 replaces the brand's popular G37 sedan later this summer. And while styling inside and out differs from its predecessor, the Q50 will boast another entirely new item: an available hybrid powertrain. The Q50 Hybrid starts around $45,000 with shipping, a hefty sum for an entry-level sport sedan. But Infiniti says the Q50's hybrid V6 makes a muscular 354 hp while still achieving 36 mpg in highway driving. That makes the Q50 Hybrid attractive -- especially without many other hybrid models in its class.
Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
The latest Grand Cherokee has been praised by owners and automotive journalists alike. Now, it's getting a new version aimed at shoppers looking to maximize their mileage. The so-called Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel uses a 3.0-liter diesel V6 mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission to return the best possible fuel economy. The result is 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy, a vast improvement over the V6's 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. Best of all, the EcoDiesel offers 420 lb-ft of torque, which should make it an excellent tow vehicle.
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
The latest addition to the Porsche family is a plug-in hybrid version of the brand's newly face-lifted Panamera sedan. Capable of reaching 60 mph in around 5.2 seconds, the Panamera S E-Hybrid will be one of the sportiest hybrid cars on the road. And while its 20-mile fully electric range doesn't approach the 200-plus-mile range of the similarly sized Tesla Model S, the Panamera S E-Hybrid will certainly keep up with the Tesla on a track thanks to 416 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque. The Panamera S E-Hybrid starts around $100,000 and will reach dealers in November.
What it means to you: Some of today's most exciting fuel-efficient cars are closer to production.