Good mileage has also a lot to do with weight/mass of a car.
As does performance, either way you go performance or economy...you're still dealing with the exact same factors: Power to weight ratio, max combustion efficiency, and (as you bring up later) wind resistance at speed.
Acceleration of a mass requires exponential input of energy, not linear amount of input. Moving a mass through air makes sure of that and aerodynamics cannot fix that, only partially negate it.
Friction on the surface that enables acceleration is always a problem, but you need it else you'll loose grip. And all of these negatives become more prevalent above 55 to 60MPH.
Stay below that speed and your engine can be a lot smaller and more efficient without giving up too much acceleration capacity. 50 to 60 miles per gallon is quite attainable even with current day tech.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding..! Bingo! Precisely my point. The engine can be
a lot smaller...but it doesn't have to be
smaller (or the size of a weed whacker for that matter.
My wife has an 07 Dodge Caliber - sure great mileage but... I worry about her driving it because it doesn't have enough ass to get out of its own way. The spastically peaky little 4 cyl is geared so low in first that it's jerky to launch on a good day and impossible to launch in the rain.
OTOH I took a 13 Ford Fusion for a drive a few months ago and found its performance to be quite acceptable. It felt solid, handled well, launched very smoothly, accelerated reasonably well (for a car), and with its 35 mpg rating I'd say it's a damn fine balance.
And you'll get even more MPG's if you trade your lead foot in for a plastic one.
Agreed, as obvious as this point should be ... it ain't.
In short: people want their cars to go too fast too quickly and then complain that they have to spend so much on gas bills.
Every one likes to go to their destination as fast as they can, myself included. When you take a look at the amount of energy that has to put into your vehicle of choice to cut 5 minutes of travel time, or leave home 5 minutes earlier and see how money that already saves, you would be amazed.
Um... not so fast there friend. You see even in the hypermiling crowd one of the primary rules is acceleration cost money, don't do it. best way to avoid is? Stay. Off. The. Breaks. Once again...(in both performance and economy)...consistency rules...because top speed is less important than average speed.
Sadly cars just like computers suffer greatly from stupid people syndrome. They say just give me something that will magically use less gas without making me think
about (my role in the process) what I'm doing. Enter the Eco-gelding.
Ford Fusion 0 to 60 mph and Quarter Mile Times
2006 Ford Fusion SEL (V6) 0-60 mph 7.3 Quarter mile 15.5
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid 0-60 mph 7.8 Quarter Mile 15.8
2011 Ford Fusion Sport AWD 0-60 mph 6.6 Quarter Mile 15.02013 Ford Fusion Titanium 2.0L EcoBoost 0-60 mph 6.7 Quarter Mile 14.9
(Now THAT's what I'm talking about - Balance)
2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid 0-60 mph 8.5 Quarter Mile 16.2
2013 Ford Fusion SE 1.6L EcoBoost 0-60 mph 7.9 Quarter Mile 15.9
Toyota Prius Hybrid Car 0 to 60 mph and Quarter Mile Times
2001 Toyota Prius Hybrid 0-60 mph 12.9 Quarter Mile 19.0 (I think I'm gonna be sick...)
2004 Toyota Prius Hybrid 0-60 mph 10.1 (test clock didn't count that high)
2007 Toyota Prius Touring Edition Hybrid 0-60 mph 9.9 (test clock didn't count that high)
2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid 0-60 mph 9.7 (test clock didn't count that high)
2011 Toyota Prius Hybrid 0-60 mph 9.7 Quarter Mile 17.1
2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid 0-60 mph 10.9 Quarter Mile 18.5 (make it stop mommy!!!)
2012 Toyota Prius V 0-60 mph 10.2 Quarter Mile 17.8
2013 Toyota Prius C 0-60 mph 10.7 Quarter Mile 18.0 (for those that can't translate these numbers properly 18 seconds is approximately 1 calendar week)