Piston Slap: Go Blue, Wither the Long Range Cruiser?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap go blue wither the long range cruiser
Rick writes:

Hi Sajeev:

With the demise of diesel cars and 21 gallon fuel tanks, I am on the hunt for a true long-range cruiser. The “old” diesel cars were big, comfortable and had a freeway range of over 800 miles. Not that I would actually drive 800+ miles in one sitting.

But, with highway construction and traffic delays being what they are nowadays, an 800 mile range boils down to a usable 500 or 600 miles or so of real range-free worries. And yes, I have been known to do a single day 1,000+ mile trip. So, a sedan or coupe (van maybe?), comfortable on a long trip, and reasonably reliable. I do a lot of overnight driving.

And, no “add a fuel tank.” Lets keep it stock. Suggestions?

Sajeev answers:

I can’t mention LS1+ super tall T56 swaps either? Fine.

Tough question, but perhaps the answer is a CPO 2016 Mercedes E250 Bluetec with its impressive 675 mile range. Slightly worse is the 2015 six-speed manual VW Passat TDI with 629 miles per tank. Which should do better than its 2014 automatic counterpart with 2 mpg less on the same fuel tank, though the EPA says otherwise? But I digress…

If a new ride is mandatory, the Cruze diesel looks pretty good with a robust 500 mile range. Except tall geared, large tank’d Jaguar and BMW luxobarges go further with more comfort … at least until they are regulated out of existence in their homeland? No matter, there’s competition from plug-in hybrids from the usual suspects (but don’t forget Hyundai!) and they aren’t likely to be banned from urban centers in Europe.

But who’s the real winner in the long-range cruiser battle?

Unless I perused fueleconomy.gov incorrectly, the 59 mpg Hyundai Ioniq Blue wins with a stunning 690 mile range. It’ll never be a Bluetec Benz on the highway but is it comfortable enough to drive for that long? If only your favorite automotive journalist (wink) was on the press car circuit, he’d drop everything and make a road trip from Houston to El Paso to find out!

EDIT: Looks like I did indeed peruse fueleconomy.gov incorrectly! You can get a seriously big fuel tank in trucks, how about 792 miles for a 2.7L Ford F-150?

[Image: Hyundai]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.


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  • Salguod Salguod on Jun 04, 2018

    Previous generation Accord Hybrid. With an EPA combined of 47 MPG and a 15.8 gallon tank, that's a theoretical range of 742. Our 2015 regularly goes 600+ miles on a tank and has gone as far as 680.

  • CaptainJon CaptainJon on Jun 05, 2018

    I'll never see 700 miles on a tank, but my wife's 4-cyl 2015 TLX is always good for mid-500's on the highway cycle, and it's a wonderful highway cruiser. The 17" wheel / tire combo makes for very comfortable cruising, the seats are wonderful, and the car is very quiet at speed. We live in Sacramento, and due to a sick family member in SoCal, I'm frequently making the 420 mile trip down I-5. The range allows me to make the trip without stopping, and leaves enough gas for most of my time down there. This car is incorrectly marketed as a "sport-sedan" It's truly a high-way cruiser of wonderful capability.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
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