Sexy Concept Car, But Disappointing in Other Areas
Saab has introduced the PhoeniX AWD hybrid concept car in Geneva, saying that its architecture is the same as the one the next Saab 9-3 model will use. The all-wheel-drive hybrid features what Saab calls "aeromotional" design (I hope they don't use that word with a straight face -- I'm so tired of made up words created by soulless marketing committees) and various fuel-saving technologies that will hopefully make their way into production models. But in the end, all of it doesn't quite satisfy. Read on to find out why.
Under the Hood of the Saab PhoeniX AWD Hybrid Concept
The PhoeniX is powered by an all-aluminum 1.6-liter turbo gasoline engine (200 hp / 147 kW) mated to the front wheels. This gas engine has variable valve timing and lift control, as well as start/stop functionality, minimal parasitic losses and a fuel cut-off function.
The AWD comes from a 25 kW (34 hp) electric motor that drives the rear wheels and provides regenerative braking.
What Kind of MPG Does It Get?
According to Saab, "combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions are projected to be just 5.0 l/100 km and 119 g/km." In US MPG, that's about 47 MPG, though they're probably using a European test cycle, so it could actually be lower. And that's the problem...
Come On! Aim Higher
It's great that Saab is thinking about hybrids and stop-start systems and all that, and it's not nothing that a car this sporty can get in the mid-40 MPG range, but for a concept car that is supposed to be forward-looking, it's not enough. It just doesn't cut it these days.
There are already a few production electric cars and plug-in hybrids on the market (f.ex. Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, soon the Ford Focus EV, etc), and while they are still a bit rough around the edges, many car makers are working on the second and third generations of EVs and PHEVs which will no doubt be better and cheaper, and as the electrical grid gets progressively cleaner, they'll do better environmentally.
I wish Saab would make concept cars that don't need oil at all, or very little. Not concept cars that get a few MPG more than the regular versions. But that's just my 2 cents...
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