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What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

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  • What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

    To open the thread with this question there must first be some criteria established to have a foundation for discussion.

    I submit the following as standards by which we can give an opinion on what defines “best” These are not necessarily in a particular order.

    1. Miles per gas gallon equivalent.
    2. Traveling range.
    3. Capacity to carry both passengers and cargo.
    4. Cost of the vehicle adjusted for market value.
    5. Driving performance, handling, and ability to move at traffic speeds.
    6. OEM appearance, overall aesthetics, and amenities.
    7. Bi-fuel capability.

    Numbers 1,2, and 4, are pretty objective values. But when trying to evaluate them in relation to the other three standards then even their value can be debated and subject to opinion. Number 6 can be especially difficult to quantify because some amenities may only be on certain models and individuals may even have their own personal additions to a vehicle. However, there is a certain value to a vehicle having the ability to accommodate the individual tastes of the owner and still give the appearance that it could have been manufactured that way at the factory. If we can assign a numeric value to these criteria then we can actually score the car, truck or suv and have a basis for judging them. We will never get away from subjectivity in some areas, but it will be interesting to see how owners score themselves and others. This could also help someone to see positives and negatives about a vehicle which they were otherwise unaware of. It might be best to have 3 catagories car, truck, and suv.

    I will submit a 10 point value break down for each standard and see if you think it is suitable.

    1. Miles per gas gallon equivalent.

    A. 1-4 MPGGE = 1 pt
    B. 5-8 MPGGE = 2 pts
    C. 9-13 MPGGE = 3 pts
    D. 14-17 MPGGE = 4 pts
    E. 18-21 MPGGE = 5 pts
    F. 22-25 MPGGE = 6 pts
    G. 26-29 MPGGE = 7 pts
    H. 30-33 MPGGE = 8 pts
    I. 34-37 MPGGE = 9 pts
    J. 38 + MPGGE = 10 pts

    2. Traveling Range

    A. 1 – 80 miles = 1 pt.
    B. 81 – 120 miles = 2 pts.
    C. 121 – 160 miles = 3 pts
    D. 161 – 200 miles = 4 pts
    E. 201 – 240 miles = 5 pts
    F. 241 – 280 miles = 6 pts
    G. 281 – 320 miles = 7 pts
    H. 321 – 360 miles = 8 pts
    I. 361 – 400 miles = 9 pts
    J. 401 and up = 10 pts

    3. Capacity to carry passengers and cargo. There is some subjectivity here because we are defining minimal and expanded cargo. I would say that based on comments on the forum that the Honda GX has minimal cargo. If you have about twice that capacity then you have expanded, anything in between is your own opinion, so call it as you see it.

    A. One person (driver) only and minimal cargo. = 1 pt.
    B. Two people and minimal cargo = 2 pts.
    C. Two people and expanded cargo = 3 pts.
    D. Four people and minimal cargo = 4 pts.
    E. Four people and expanded cargo = 5 pts.
    F. Five people and minimal cargo = 6 pts.
    G. Five people and expanded cargo = 7 pts.
    H. Six people and minimal cargo = 8 pts.
    I. Six people and expanded cargo = 9 pts.
    J. Seven people and up = 10 pts.

    4. This one will be difficult to quantify. The real goal of this number is value, and value is not a static thing by itself and when you add the individual preferences of people it becomes even more complex. Additional consideration to value is useable remaining years and the mileage. Lets try using a 20 yr lifespan and 200,000 mile driving potential as functions of value.

    A. $50,000 and above = 1 pt.
    B. $45,000 – 49,999 = 2 pts.
    C. $40,000 – 44,999 = 3 pts.
    D. $35,000 – 39,999 = 4 pts
    E. $30,000 – 34,999 = 5 pts
    F. $25,000 – 29,999 = 6 pts
    G. $20,000 – 24,000 = 7 pts
    H. $15,000 – 19,999 = 8 pts
    I. $10,000 – 14,999 = 9 pts.
    J. $9,999 and below = 10 pts

    The goal is current value. So try to figure what is the current market value of the car, then deduct points for used up life and mileage. Deduct which ever point value is higher.

    A. 2 – 3 yrs or 20,000 – 39,999 miles – 1 pt.
    B. 4 – 5 yrs or 40,000 – 59,999 miles – 2 pts.
    C. 6 – 7 yrs or 60,000 – 79,999 miles – 3 pts.
    D. 8 – 9 yrs or 80,000 – 99,999 miles – 4 pts.
    E. 10 – 11 yrs or 100,000 – 119,999 miles – 5 pts.
    F. 12 – 13 yrs or 120,000 – 139,999 miles – 6 pts.
    G. 14 – 15 yrs or 140,000 – 159,999 miles – 7 pts.
    H. 16 – 17 yrs or 160,000 – 179,999 miles – 8 pts.
    I. 18 – 19 yrs or 180,000 – 199,999 miles – 9 pts.
    J. 20 + yrs or 200,000 + miles – 10 pts.

    If you are under 2 years or 20,000 miles there are no deductions. Now you maybe thinking your are being penalized for owning a nicer car, however, don’t despair, points for the better features are about to come. If you have a negative point value just consider it as a zero.

    5. Overall driving performance. This comes back the slogan in the Cadillac commercial, “When you turn your car on does it return the favor”. This becomes more subjective, but if you're out of line on your point value let the rest of the forum help you.

    A. It runs and can generate forward motion. – 1 pt.
    B. Runs and has basic maneuverability – 2 pts.
    C. Moves in town traffic, doesn't scare anyone in/out of car. – 3 pts.
    D. Has reasonable amount of handling & runs highway speeds. – 4 pts.
    E. Actually is a little bit fun to drive sometimes, pretty normal – 5 pts.
    F. Beginning to be little above average now. Definitely fun – 6 pts.
    G. Gets up and goes. Can lead traffic on Interstate. – 7 pts.
    H. Vehicle really handles, fast, can’t believe runs on cng fuel. – 8 pts.
    I. Now we are getting edgy, high end, chase scene material. – 9 pts.
    J. What just passed me. Non-existent in cng, (yet) – 10 pts.

    6. OEM appearance, overall aesthetics, and amenities. Again it is subjective and no car has everything. But I think there will be some consensus here within a point or so after we all discuss and evaluate. This is not limited to the features that are only provided by the manufacturer, but also includes what the individual owner may have added in terms of performance or creature comforts.

    A. Vehicle is an embarrassment and probably in EPA violation. – 1 pt.
    B. Not a looker but runs, even if some stuff doesn’t work.. – 2 pts.
    C. Things are functional, basic, the AM radio works. – 3 pts.
    D. Something to be said for clean and cared for. – 4 pts.
    E. Cutting edge of average. Anyone will ride with you. – 5pts.
    F. Power equipment standard. Nice features start to appear. – 6 pts.
    G. Owner pride apparent. OEM looking add ons. Good detail. – 7 pts.
    H. The neighbors are impressed. Can’t believe it is CNG. – 8 pts.
    I. Total package, marriage of metal, paint, machine, & tech. – 9 pts.
    J. Car show material. Car ready for Barrett-Jackson auction. – 10 pts.

    7. Functional bi-fuel vehicles get additional 6 pt. bonus for versatility.

    Alright, there is the starting point for our NG vehicle evaluations Let’s see if we have some agreement before we start. Is this a go or not. If you like it go ahead and evaluate your ride.
    Last edited by rgliedt; 12-01-2008, 09:14 PM.

  • #2
    Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

    Sorry I'm not going to read all that, but I'd have to say the Toyota Camry. (The old one, as well as the new concept hybrid).

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

      Id have to dispute your selection criterion; yours seems biased to single function econobox cars. Your ideal is geared to a Honda comparison (nothing wrong with that if it is what you want); I'd prefer a bifuel TownCar or Escalade. CNG is so cheap round here that GGE mileage is insignificant.

      My most important factor is bi-fuel capability (unless you like getting stranded or tied to a small local driving range).

      Second is comfort-

      Third (tie) is utility, and
      initial + operating costs as measured in miles per dollar (not GGE).
      Last edited by rtry9a; 12-03-2008, 10:27 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

        I have to second the Camry.
        • It seats 4 adults comfortably and 5 without anyone feeling pinched.
        • It has a huge trunk for a CNG car, although not quite as large as a Crown Vic without ext. range tanks.
        • FWD for the snow.
        • Toyota quality. I would feel comfortable driving one 300k+ miles.
        • Decent fuel economy. ~25mpg
        • 11gge tank for 200-300 mile range.
        • Nice amenities. Power everything, cruise, CD/Cassette standard. Comfortable.
        • When new it wasn't too much more than the gasoline Camry. The car has held its value pretty well, but the prices have come down recently.
        • Scarcity. It's fun to drive a rare car. I've never seen another one on the road while driving mine around. It was a prototype car and Toyota supposedly only made 300 of them. Here in Utah where a lot of people are familiar with CNG I've actually seen people (in other CNG cars) pointing and staring at what to most people looks like a normal white Camry.

        For my small family it's the perfect car. We already had a gasoline Camry before getting the CNG one and it's been great for us. I have access to about 20 different CNG cars and trucks and the Camry is the one parked in my driveway.

        To go by your rating criteria, I give it a: 34
        1)6pts
        2)6pts
        3)7pts
        4)4pts
        5)5pts
        6)6pts
        www.CNGUtah.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

          Ditto " The 1999-2001 Toyota Camry"
          Mario
          AAA CNG SYSTEMS
          CSA Certified CNG Cylinder & Fuel System Inspector

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

            I don't understand on how to calculate the value for #4. Give me an example.
            Jared.
            Mountain Green, Utah
            2003 CNG Cavalier
            2003 CNG Silverado 2500HD

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

              Rating my 1999 Crown Victoria

              1. MPGGE 5 points: I achieve 18-21 mpgge on a regular basis; sometimes I exceed 24.

              2. Travelling Range 6 points: My average fill-up is 245-250 miles.

              3. Capacity 8 points: Six seat belts, and even with extended range tanks my trunk is larger than the Civic’s.

              4. Current Value Net Value: 6 points.

              During early 2007 I paid $6,300 for my 1999 Crown Vic: 10 points

              Depreciation: Despite being low mileage, I have to deduct <4 points> for age.

              5. Overall Driving Performance 5 points: Pretty normal. Good torque off the line; lower high-end hp.

              6. OEM Appearance 4 points: Something to be said for clean and cared for.

              Total 34 points.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

                I second the need for a 'bi-fuel' adder. Very convenient.

                Also, there should be an HOV adder for those models which qualify (obviously also a state-by-state issue).

                But, even more important to me is Repair Cost/Parts Availability. It seems that most models have an Achilles Heel here. Among OEMs, Ford's Compuvalve, Chevy's Mass Gas Flow Sensor, and Honda's CVT, Coil Packs, Gas Sender, HPR, and fuel filter. I don't know if aftermarket kits have similar issues or not.
                02 GX
                01 GX
                03 Crown Vic
                06 GX
                Home Fueler

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

                  Agreed, regarding bi-fuel vehicles. There needs to be a credit for the versatility of being able to switch to gas and finish the trip, extend the range, or self rescue oneself back to the mother fuel. Let's give a 6 pt.
                  bonus for a functioning bifuel system. If that point value is satisfactory
                  we will proceed. I was actually hoping to get some review of the Town Car and Escalade and hadn't considered the bifuel factor. I'm curious about the
                  tank set up, mpg, and trunk.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

                    With a family of 9, my bi-fuel Chevy Express van rocks my socks. Three times as large as a Prius and much cleaner.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

                      Originally posted by Highmarker View Post
                      I don't understand on how to calculate the value for #4. Give me an example.
                      The goal is current value. This is a reward to the car that is least expensive in todays market and still has years and miles of driveability remaining. Let's take a 2002 Cavalier Sedan on Autotrader. The add says it has 3,500 miles on it, and it is bifuel. From a value to driving life standpoint, #4 gives the owner credit for cheap transportation with useful life left. Price is $10,995, so owner gets 9 pts. Miles are great (in fact this car hasn't been driven enough), but 6 years of useful life is gone deduct 3 pts. Net for the car is
                      6 points.

                      My thought for the thread is a launch point for discussion, comparison, and education about vehicles. This system will not find and reward every possible combination fairly, but is it gives it a try.

                      Another consideration I hadn't thought of was regarding the mileage. Should it be highway, city, or average of the two? I may do it both ways on my Impala.
                      Last edited by rgliedt; 12-01-2008, 10:41 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

                        I realize that it's not available in the US but the new turbocharged Opel Zafira has got to be a contender for best CNG vehicle available in the world. Seats 7, 150hp engine, has a top speed over 200km/h, only uses 5.3kg per 100km (approx 29mpg). It was designed as a CNG vehicle so the tanks are all underneath - full-size passenger compartment and storage area. Another nice feature is that it's a dual-fuel but optimized to run on CNG. There is about a 4 gallon gasoline tank and it needs to be the highest octane available.
                        And I love the little methane logo on the side of the car.
                        http://www.4wheelsnews.com/wp-conten...y.php/472/1/3/

                        It's amazing what GM builds in other parts of the world but won't bring into the US. Saturn division is bringing in some re-badged Opels. Maybe they could bring in the Zafira.

                        With the stronger dollar and fall in crude prices, gasoline was down in Germany from a high of over $8/gal to $5-$6/gal range in November. CNG has been tracking at roughly 50% of the price of gasoline and it has been legislated to receive favorable tax treatment until at least 2018. No wonder they're selling almost 100,000 CNG passenger cars in Europe this year.

                        http://www.wikio.com/article/78874003

                        Ich tanke Erdgas !
                        2004 Toyota Avalon bi-fuel
                        2013 Tesla Model S 85

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

                          The hybrid camry gets my vote for a dedicated unit.

                          Bi-fuel would go to the new VW turbocharged CNG passat.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

                            Good luck finding a Camry!

                            I've seen dedicated F250's with 250k miles that are still in excellent running condition, plus they're easy to find and cheap. It's too bad Ford also makes the worst vehicle, the "Ford Contour".

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What Is or Was the Best All-Around CNG Vehicle Available in the US or the World?

                              Well I have one for sale any interested buyers would just have to negotiate the price with me as these ARE hard to find let alone mine with only 42,000 miles
                              Mario
                              AAA CNG SYSTEMS
                              CSA Certified CNG Cylinder & Fuel System Inspector

                              Comment

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