Germany is famed for its autobahns. But today it's about good sense, not speed. For the 15th time, readers of two popular German magazines have chosen their 'Most Sensible Cars' of the year.
Publisher Heinz Scheiner defines a sensible car as one that's economical and safe. It uses less fuel but is still fun to drive.
The winner in the compact class is the Opel Corsa. When it comes to the smaller and compact cars, buyers are particularly fussy. They want a car that's extremely fuel-efficient and yet spacious, and state-of-the-art when it comes to safety. Opel's new Corsa lives up to all those expectations. The newly developed gasoline engines offer high performance with a smoothness normally associated with cars boasting more than its three cylinders.
The most sensible SEDAN for readers was the VW Passat.
It offers the very latest headlights, assistance and entertainment systems. Should the driver stop responding, for example in a medical emergency, the car automatically comes to a stop. Even with the added technology, the new Passat has shed 85 kilograms, saving on fuel as well. A new plug-in hybrid drive has been announced for the summer, which can power the Passat GTE up to fifty kilometers on electric power alone.
Top dog among station wagons is another V-W: the Golf Sportsvan, with its roomy, variable interior combined with the compact design of a VW Golf. The Sportsvan is only marginally longer than the regular model. INSIDE it's so spacious that it can easily accommodate a family of four and all their holiday luggage.
A minister from the local state, Thüringen, also graces the event as a guest speaker.
He cites the enormous challenges facing the automotive industry. For one, the world is moving away from fossil energy sources and fuels. For another, production sites are re-locating, with Asia growing stronger, and the markets are shifting. South America and, above all, Africa are entering the arena. But what it comes down to is that people's behavior is changing. Young people, in particular, crave mobility, while the growing ranks of older people in society have different needs. These are great challenges that the automotive industry has to respond to.
The award for innovation went to the Sunfire company for its pioneering development in fuel technology. Now, gasoline can be produced without using crude oil.
CHRISTIAN VON OLSHAUSEN
The process itself is not innovative, explains co-founder and CTO Christian von Olshausen explains. It's the use of electrolysis and steam instead of water to achieve seventy percent efficiency – the highest so far. Sunfire hopes to use it in industry.
The "Sensible cars" awards do not feature exotic niche products. It's about the winning combination of fuel-efficiency, safety and nice prices.