LaCrosse, another midsized sedan, ranked ninth-best in terms of improved fuel efficiency, with a 24.1% gain to 26 mpg from 20.9 mpg. LaCrosse sales rose 21%, to 5,228, in February, making it the best-selling Buick, while Buick sales lost 11.3%. While the 2008 LaCrosse came with six cylinders, the redesigned 2012 models include a four-cylinder model and a hybrid as well as an improved transmission, Drury says.
Cayenne ranked eighth-best in terms of improved fuel efficiency, with a 24.8% gain to 18.3 mpg from 14.7 mpg. Cayenne is a five-seat midsize luxury crossover. Porsche sold 657 units in February. Drury says the fuel mileage improved because in 2008 "buyers were gravitating toward performance variants," but now "a new hybrid makes up 10% of sales." The 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid was introduced in the U.S. in November 2010.
Sonata, another midsized sedan, ranked seventh in terms of improved fuel efficiency, with a 25.8% gain to 27.7 mpg from 22 mpg. In February, Sonata sales rose 11%, to 17,425 units. Drury says a 2010 redesign eliminated the six-cylinder version of the car and that now all versions have four cylinders.
Ford's ( F) Explorer ranked sixth in terms of improved fuel efficiency, with a 27% gain to 19.5 mpg from 15.4 mpg. In February, Explorer sales rose 8%, to 10,440 units. Drury says Ford "went over it every possible way" for a 2011 redesign that, among other changes, eliminated an eight-cylinder engine and abandoned a boxy SUV look in favor of a more aerodynamic crossover look. Options include engines with four cylinders and turbocharged, direct-injection EcoBoost engines.
The SLK Class Mercedes, a convertible with a retractable hardtop, ranked fifth in terms of improved fuel efficiency, with a 28.3% gain to 23 mpg from 17.9 mpg. In February, SLK Class sales totaled 286 units. Drury says a 2012 redesign moved the car to a single option of a six-cylinder engine with direct injection.
The Dodge Challenger ranked fourth in improved fuel efficiency with a 30.3% gain to 19.5 mpg from 15 mpg. In February, Challenger sales rose 14%, to 3,369. "This one is playing well for Dodge," Drury says. "It looks good because in 2008 you could only purchase an eight
The Kia Sorento midsized crossover ranked third in improved fuel efficiency, with a 30.4% gain to 22 mpg from 17 mpg. In February, Sorento sales fell 2%, to 8,386. Drury says the mileage improved largely because a four-cylinder engine option was restored after being eliminated for the 2007 through 2010 models. Also, the newest model has unibody construction, rather than a truck frame.
The Chevrolet Equinox midsized crossover ranked second in improved fuel efficiency, with a 32% gain to 25.1 mpg from 19 mpg. In February, Equinox sales rose 16%, to 17,851. In a 2010 remodel, a four-cylinder engine became available, Drury says.
The Audi A3 ranked first in improved fuel efficiency, with a 38.5% gain to 29.1 mpg from 21 mpg. February sales of the A3 rose 15%, to 469. Drury says a 2009 changeover replaced a six-cylinder engine with a four-cylinder version and made a diesel engine option available. In February, he says, 54% of A3 sales were diesel-powered. -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/tedreednc. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.