TOPGEAR Top 9

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Contents -

FISKER KARMA

En­dorsed by Leo DiCaprio, this stun­ning low-slung 4dr saloon, paired two 160bhp e-mo­tors with a 2.0-litre turbo range-ex­ten­der. It drove nicely, but was be­set by re­calls, and folded after many were

wrecked by Hur­ri­cane Sandy.

SMART FORTWO CDi

Six years ago, the most eco­nom­i­cal

car money could buy was the diminu­tive Smart, com­pete with an 800cc, 3cyl diesel en­gine good for a claimed 3.3L/100km and 83g/km CO2. Great on a long run – but who

cruises con­ti­nents in Smarts?

HONDA FCX CLAR­ITY

The Clar­ity was, and is, a good car: quick to re­fuel, silent to drive, easy to use. But the is­sue of har­vest­ing, stor­ing and trans­port­ing hy­dro­gen

in suf­fi­cient quan­ti­ties has kept Honda’s – and ev­ery­one else’s – pi­o­neers a cru­elly niche in­ter­est.

VOLK­SWA­GEN GOLF ECOMATIC

Long be­fore stop-start be­came the norm, VW de­vel­oped a non-turbo diesel MkIII Golf with a man­ual ’box and an auto clutch, so the en­gine

could de­cou­ple and switch off when cruis­ing or stationary. Good,

but it was painfully slow.

GM EV-1

Back in 1996, GM be­gan a lease scheme of this 135bhp elec­tric coupe in LA and Phoenix. The car was well-re­ceived but bean

coun­ters, fear­ful of soar­ing main­te­nance costs, re­pos­sessed

and crushed all but 40.

DETROIT ELEC­TRIC

From 1907 to 1939, Detroit Elec­tric built 13,000 elec­tric cars. OK, they only did 32kph, but they were ideal for cities, less smelly than a horse and even Henry Ford owned one. His cheaper Model T and the Great De­pres­sion killed off the com­pany.

RIVA G-WIZ

Oh, EVs, how far you’ve come. This

quadri­cy­cle at­tempted to take ad­van­tage of Lon­don Con­ges­tion

Charge ex­emp­tion. But a 80-km range, golf-cart per­for­mance and ap­palling safety put paid to this

gawky elec­tric run­about.

OLDSMOBILE

DIESEL

Oldsmobile’s oil-cri­sis-led gam­ble on diesel in the late Seven­ties had an anaemic 120bhp V8 that shared parts with small­block petrol V8s. Watery fuel com­bin­ing with weak com­po­nents made them less re­li­able than a Trumpian tweet.

AUDI A2

The all-alu­minium, ul­tra-aero Audi A2 TDI was the first 5dr car ca­pa­ble of us­ing un­der three litres of fuel to travel 100km (94.2mpg). But the sheer ex­pense (£13–16k new in 2000) meant it lost the sub­com­pact

war to the Mercedes A-Class.

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