The Toyota Prius had better watch out. While the country’s top hybrid is capable of 50 mpg in combined driving, a completely stock 2012 Volkswagen Passat just bested that mark by almost 35 mpg during a three-day jaunt from Houston, Texas, to Sterling, Va. By traveling 1,626 miles on a single tank of fuel, the Passat also set a new world’s record for total distance traveled without having to refill its tank, beating the old benchmark—also set by a Passat TDI—by almost 100 miles. The bottom line here: An incredible 84.1 mpg.
The new record-setter showcases an MSRP that starts at $25,995 and was equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. It was piloted by John and Helen Taylor, two of the country’s top hyper-milers, and while they no doubt drove carefully, they also took along 120 lbs. of luggage, only traveled in the daylight hours (so they dealt with “normal” traffic conditions), and spent no more than 14 hours on the road each day.
"The Passat TDI was the perfect car for the trip,” said John Taylor. “It offers plenty of interior and cargo space, yet is frugal enough to help us achieve this record."