When it comes to buying a car, one of the most important things to consider is fuel efficiency. After all, you’ll be burning gas for the next several hours while driving so it’s worth knowing how efficient your car is compared to others. When it comes to comparing different gas engines, one of the best places to look is at the speed charts published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The reason for this is because the EPA tests fuel economy in a manner that is nearly identical to actual driving conditions, so any differences in the results you see there are a pretty good indicator of how efficient (or inefficient) that particular engine is compared to others.
When it comes to the Volkswagen Beetle (also known colloquially as the ‘Beetle’ or ‘Bug’), it is perhaps the best known and most iconic car of all time. Developed in the 1930s, the original Beetle was manufactured in large numbers and remained in production for nearly 70 years. Although the design of the car has remained fairly stable throughout the years, its performance has fluctuated, resulting in the need to change the name of the vehicle from the ‘Fejee Beetle’ to the ‘Turbo-Beetle’ in 1975 and the eventual phasing out of the six cylinder engine in favor of the four cylinder in the 1980s. In terms of fuel economy, the four-cylinder Beetle is often considered one of the most efficient vehicles ever made, beating out even the most modern cars of the time.
If you’re in the market for a cheap, fun, and efficient ride, then you can’t go past a Beetle. As it happens, there is an option out there that suits all your needs and beats the pants off the average four-cylinder car from the 1930s, and that is the six-cylinder, or as most people know it, the ‘Speedway’ version of the Beetle. While the name may suggest otherwise, the Speedway gas engine was never designed for high speed racing; rather, it was developed in an effort to create a more practical and efficient alternative to the then-popular flathead V8 engine. And what a beautiful thing it is too!
The six-cylinder engine of the Beetle is the largest produced by the company, and naturally the largest in terms of both power and torque. And while the larger the capacity, the less efficient it tends to be (at least in theory), the six-cylinder Volkswagen is the king of fuel efficiency, with some estimates putting it at a whopping 49 MPG! That’s almost double the EPA average at the time! If you’re the type of person who spends most of your time driving under 15 MPH, then you’re going to love how efficient the sixer is, providing you with plenty of power while also being rather economical at the same time. Most people forget how efficient this particular engine is, perhaps not realizing the true significance of this number until it’s too late and the tank is almost empty.
Why Are Only Some Volkswagen Engines Fuel Efficient?
While the six-cylinder Beetle is incredibly efficient and popular among car enthusiasts, that doesn’t mean all Volkswagen engines are created equal. If you look at the company’s lineup, you’ll notice that there are several sub-brands, or models within the Volkswagen group that use four-cylinder engines. This is mainly because the four-cylinder engine was first used in the original Beetle and is therefore more established and popular than the six-cylinder counterpart. In fact, many people consider the Beetle to be a jack of all trades, being able to run on either gasoline or diesel fuel and being able to handle both comfortably. This versatility makes it popular with farmers who need a reliable vehicle for towing implements and with construction workers who need a reliable vehicle for the job site. But most importantly, the four-cylinder engine is also significantly less expensive to manufacture than the six-cylinder version, providing the company with an economic advantage.
In the 1950s, the German manufacturer of Volkswagen began to phase out the four-cylinder engine in favor of the more potent six-cylinder version. The reason for this was that the newer engines were more efficient and reliable and required less maintenance. In the case of the six-cylinder engine, this is mainly because there are more moving parts to it (6 vs 4), and because it has a higher compression ratio (8.8:1 vs 7.5:1). What’s more is that due to its size and because it’s a direct parallel to the engine in the Beetle, it’s fairly simple and easy to work on (for those who know what they’re doing).
How Is The Fuel Efficiency Of The Beetle’s Various Engines Compared?
To find out how efficient various engines are, all you need to do is look at the MPG rating of the car. The higher the MPG rating, the more efficient the engine. In general, the larger the tank and the more efficient the engine, the better, but this varies between models. Naturally the bigger the tank, the more gas you’ll be able to store, so if you really want to maximize your fuel efficiency then look for a smaller tank size. There are also other variables to consider, such as how wide the vehicle is (wider = more efficient) and whether or not you need a tow vehicle (towing = less efficient). If you’re trying to maximize your fuel efficiency then get a smaller car that is as efficient as possible.
When it comes to comparing different models of the same carmaker, it’s best to look at the MPG ratings because this is the only place you’re going to find real world driving comparisons. Naturally if you’re shopping for a cheap and easy way to get around town, then look for cars with high MPGs, as they’re going to be more economical to run than models with lower ratings. There are also other variables to consider, such as how quiet the vehicle is when you drive (noisy cars = less efficient), how comfortable the passenger seats are (firm vs soft), and how many miles per gallon the car gets when driven at a steady 60 MPH (higher speeds = less efficient).
Generally speaking, when comparing similar models from different carmakers, it’s best to look at the MPG rating. If you’re wondering which car model is best suited for your needs, then try out a few cars and see which one performs the best. Naturally if you have a specific model in mind that you think is perfect for your needs, then by all means buy it! But if you don’t have a specific model in mind and are simply looking for the best overall fuel-saving vehicle, then compare the MPG ratings of the models you’ve tried out and pick the one with the highest MPG rating.
Where Can I Go To Learn More About The Beetle And Its Engines?
For those of you who are curious about more information about the Beetle and its various engines, then here’s a list of some sources: