The Consumer Guide to E85 Ethanol Vehicles

President Bush and Detroit's automakers say that using E85 ethanol fuel puts America on the road to energy independence. If you agree -- and want to show your support with your checkbook -- you're in luck.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Image Gallery

Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class C230 gets 14/18 EPA mpg city/highway on E85 ethanol. See more alternative fuel vehicle pictures.

­The number of models that can run on the E85 ethanol is at an all time high. Choices include cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks. General Motors leads the industry in E85 ethanol-capable vehicles, with more than a dozen models for 2007. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ford also field a selection, with Mercedes-Benz and Nissan represented as well.

E85 Ethanol Vehicles: Flexible in Price
and Power
There's a choice for nearly every budget on the 2007 roster of E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles. And with 320-horsepower V8s among today's E85 ethanol flex-fuel engines, you won't have to give up muscle to go green.

In this report, two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive versions of a vehicle are counted as variants of the same model. Under that formula, our report on 2007 E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles contains 27 entries: seven midsize and full-size cars, nine SUVs (all with V8 engines), eight pickup trucks (all with V8s) and three minivans.

Pricewise, the lineup starts with the $19,520 Touring-model edition of the Chrysler Sebring sedan with a 190-horsepower V6. At the high end is the $43,050 Nissan Armada full-size sport-utility vehicle with a 317-horsepower V8. (Prices quoted do not include destination charges.)

Horsepower ratings range from 201 in the V6 Mercedes-Benz C230 sedan, to the 320-hp V8 in General Motors' full-size pickup trucks and SUVs.

As for fuel economy, the most fuel-efficient E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicle for 2007 is the Chevrolet Impala sedan and its Monte Carlo coupe counterpart with the 211-horsepower V6. Their EPA rating is 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway. Trailing the pack is the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck with the 235 horsepower V8. It's rated at 9 mpg city/13 highway. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, fuel economy suffers by some 20 percent running on E85 ethanol versus conventional pump gasoline.

In all, 27 different 2007 models are E85 ethanol-capable. That's up from 20 for the 2006 model year, and more than triple the number available in 2000. Regardless of make, model, or engine all these vehicles can run on conventional gasoline or the E85-ethanol blend with no modification and no difference in performance.

It's this flexibility that gives them the nickname, flex-fuel vehicles.
No manufacturer charges extra for E85-ethanol capability versus a model's gasoline-only counterpart. And E85 ethanol fuel costs about the same per gallon as conventional 87-octane gasoline.

That's not to say that climbing aboard the E85 bandwagon is without some sacrifice. As we'll see in subsequent sections of this report, the benefits of using E85 ethanol are balanced by reduced fuel economy, scarcity of E85 ethanol fueling stations, and a flex-fuel vehicle fleet made up mostly of full-size trucks and SUVs.

E85 is shorthand for a blend of combustible motor-vehicle fuel that's 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent conventional unleaded gasoline. Ethanol is derived from plant material, corn mostly. Because its raw materials come mostly from U.S. farms and are distilled in U.S. refineries, ethanol is touted as a renewable energy source that has the potential to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

E85 ethanol produces fewer harmful exhaust emissions than conventional gasoline. Proponents add that utilizing this renewable energy source helps stretch the earth's finite supply of fossil fuels. They also position E85 ethanol as a support for American jobs and agriculture. They also argue that the home-grown fuel helps the nation's trade balance and reduces tax dollars and military resources needed to secure our supply of foreign oil.


American automakers, stung by criticism that they lag their Japanese rivals in production of gas/electric hybrid vehicles, have embraced E85 ethanol under the umbrella of energy conservation and independence. Already having built several million E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles over the last decade, GM, Ford, and the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep group say they plan to put a combined total of 2 million more on the road each year, starting in 2007. Their top executives have lobbied for increased government support of ethanol production. And the companies fund campaigns to promote the use of E85 ethanol and the installation of more E85 ethanol pumps at gas stations.

But not everyone is so enthusiastic about E85. Critics deride the millions of dollars in tax subsidies provided ethanol producers, labeling them government handouts that go primarily to giant agricultural interests and big-corporation refineries. Detractors doubt the environmental benefits, noting that lots of nonrenewable diesel and gas is consumed to grow, transport, and process corn that becomes ethanol. Some maintain it requires more energy to produce ethanol than ethanol itself provides. Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges that putting more E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles on the road could raise levels of some types of harmful air pollution.

That's just a sampling of a growing debate over E85 ethanol and flex-fuel vehicles. For anyone considering the purchase of an E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicle, still other questions may hit closer to home. Here are the topics we cover in this article:
  • The Pros of Buying an E85 Ethanol Vehicle
    There are a lot of pros to running your vehicle on E85 ethanol and many reasons to consider switching from a vehicle that runs on conventional to a flex-fuel vehicle. You won't pay extra for an E85 vehicle or suffer a performance deficit. Your car will pollute less, and you'll support America's energy independence. Many believe that E85 is one way to end America's dependence on fossil fuel. Read this page to learn more about the benefits of owning an E85 vehicle.

  • The Cons of Buying an E85 Ethanol Vehicle
    While owning an E85 vehicle certainly has its positives, there also are negatives. Miles per gallon suffer when you run on E85 ethanol because it doesn't contain as much energy as regular-grade gasoline. Also, simply finding a place to fill up on E85 ethanol is a challenge because most pumps are located in the Midwest or on private or government property. Lastly, if you're looking for an E85 flex-fuel subcompact or compact car, you're out of luck. Find out more about the cons of E85 vehicles in this section.
  • E85 Ethanol Vehicles for 2007
    We list every 2007 E85 flex-fuel model, including EPA fuel economy estimates for E85 vs. conventional gasoline. If you're thinking of purchasing an E85 vehicle, this page will serve as an important reference tool.

The Pros of Buying an E85 Ethanol Vehicle

E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles have been available for years, but choices are broader than ever for 2007, with 27 different models for sale in the U.S. That's up from 20 for the 2006 model year, and just seven in 2000. GM offers 15 E85 ethanol flex-fuel models totaling about 400,000 vehicles. It offered nine models in 2006. Ford expects to sell 250,000 E85 ethanol flex fuel models this year. Clearly, E85 vehicles are growing in popularity and you might be asking yourself, "What's in it for me?"

E85 Vehicles Are Simple

GM identifies its E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles with "Flex Fuel E85" badges and yellow fuel-filler caps. Ford labels its E85 ethanol flex-fuel models with a tree-and-road logo and a decal reading "FFV," for Flexible Fuel Vehicle. The Chryslers, Dodges, and Jeeps display a silver "Flex Fuel E85" tag. E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and Nissan do not carry any special identification.

E85 fuel door sticker

yellow gas cap

The sticker on the fuel door (top) will let you know if your car or truck is E85
compatible. A yellow gas cap can be found on most General Motors'
E85-compatible vehicles (bottom) and indicates the same.

The surest ways to determine whether you may already have an E85 ethanol flex fuel vehicle is to consult your owner's manual or check for an identifying sticker inside the fuel door. A list of E85 ethanol flex fuel-compatible vehicles is also available from several Web sites, including fueleconomy.gov and e85fuel.com.

Though some estimates say it costs the manufacturer about $150 to make a vehicle E85-ethanol capable, no automaker charges extra for an E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicle compared to its gasoline-only counterpart. Some flex fuel versions of engines are optional at extra cost, but it's the same charge as for the conventional gas version of the same engine. The Ford F-150 pickup is an example. Its base price is $18,220, but that's with a 202-horsepower 4.2-liter V6 engine, which runs only on conventional gasoline. To get E85 ethanol flex-fuel capability, you have to order the 300-horsepower 5.4-liter V8. The flex-fuel-capable V8 is a $1,645 option, but that's the same price as its gasoline-only counterpart.

E85 Is Just as Good as Gasoline

If you purchase an E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicle, or discover you already have one, and choose to run it on E85 ethanol it won't require drastic changes in your driving habits. Any E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicle can run on 100 percent E85 ethanol, 100 percent pump gasoline, or any combination of E85 ethanol and gasoline. The vehicle's on-board diagnostic systems adjust for any of these blends and keep it running according to manufacturer's specifications.

Neither should you notice a difference in vehicle performance using E85 ethanol compared to gasoline. E85 ethanol flex-fuel capability doesn't change the horsepower ratings of any of these engines. Their "flex fuel" capability means they have to run well on either type of fuel, so even though E85 ethanol carries an octane rating of 100-105, versus 85-95 for gasoline, manufacturers do not tune E85 ethanol-capable engines for higher performance than their gas-only counterparts.

Indeed, in a road test of an E85 ethanol flex-fuel Chevrolet Impala on both 87-octane gasoline and E85 ethanol, Consumer Guide's automotive editors could not detect a difference in engine performance, smoothness, or sound.

Some E85 ethanol proponents say the blend keeps fuel systems cleaner than gasoline, for potentially lower long-term maintenance costs. But GM and Ford have no special maintenance requirements for their E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles, but other manufacturers may require use of specific engine lubricants. Check your owner's manual or consult with your dealer. And if you're fueling up with E85 ethanol, share that fact with your dealer service department or parts supplier when ordering replacement parts.

E85 Vehicles Are Eco-Friendly

If your concerns run to America's energy independence and the environment, an E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicle is one way to express it. Every mile you drive on E85 ethanol fuel is a mile you're not driving on conventional gasoline, and that prolongs the plant's stores of petroleum.

Vehicles fueled with E85 ethanol have lower carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions than conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, ethanol is water soluble, non toxic, and biodegradable. E85 ethanol also contains far fewer potential contaminants than found in gasoline.

While these advantages are considerable, there are some drawbacks to E85 vehicles that you should keep in mind. We'll look at some of the negatives in the next section.

The Cons of Buying an E85 Ethanol Vehicle

Added expense and reduced convenience are the primary drawbacks of driving a flex-fuel vehicle on E85 ethanol, and you also may feel limited in the variety of vehicle types available to you. Here are some of the negatives you need to consider if you're thinking of buying an E85 ethanol vehicle:

Fuel Efficiency

In the expense category, E85 ethanol users need to buy more fuel and fill up more often than they would using 100 percent gasoline. That's because E85 ethanol fuel contains less combustible energy as gasoline per unit of volume.

Overall, using E85 reduces fuel economy by about 20 percent. In other words, a tank of E85 ethanol will take you only about 80 percent as far as a tank of conventional gasoline. Running on conventional gas, the V6 Chevy Impala, for example, is rated at 21 mpg city/31 highway. Running on E85, the same Impala is rated at 15 mpg city/22 highway.

Not only will you consume more fuel using E85 ethanol, you may pay more per gallon. Rising demand, limited supply, and extra costs associated with the transportation of E85 all play a role in its pump price. The EPA in November listed the average price for a gallon of E85 ethanol nationally at $2.41, compared to $2.23 per gallon for regular-grade gasoline. However, some Midwest service stations were pricing E85 ethanol as much as 30 cents per gallon below regular-grade gas.


General Motors used the 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche to launch its
"Live Green, Go Yellow" E85 campaign.

To help defray fuel costs, GM, as part of its "Live Green, Go Yellow" E85 ethanol campaign, gives buyers of its flex-fuel vehicles a $1000 debit card toward the purchase of E85 ethanol fuel. (As of November 2006, the offer was good only to buyers in the Chicago and Minneapolis areas.)

Availability

Convenience is an issue, too. It may be difficult to find a gas station that carries E85. Fewer than 1000 of the nation's 180,000 gas stations have E85 pumps, and most of those stations are in Midwest corn belt states. As of November 2006, Minnesota had the most E85 fuel sites, 300. Illinois had 132, Missouri 63, Iowa 56, and South Dakota 50. Most states had fewer than a dozen. Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont had none.

A list of stations that carry E85 ethanol can be found at E85refueling.com. And if you drive a GM flex-fuel vehicle equipped with the OnStar assistance system, the OnStar advisor can direct you to the nearest E85 refueling station.

Limited Selection

Choice is a hallmark of today's automotive landscape, but that's not necessarily so for E85 ethanol vehicle shoppers. The list of flex-fuel vehicles includes such popular models as the Impala and Chevy Tahoe, Ford F-150 pickup, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. But it does not include two vehicle classes gaining favor with fuel economy-conscious buyers: subcompact and compact cars.

The automakers have decided, for now, to concentrate their E85 ethanol flex-fuel programs on larger vehicles, which are less fuel-efficient to begin with than small ones. Their strategy holds that the E85 ethanol campaign is designed to reduce America's consumption of gasoline, so the greatest good comes from using E85 ethanol in the vehicles that burn the most gasoline.

"It's all about reducing the amount of petroleum that vehicles use," said Dave Barthmus, GM's spokesman for environmental and energy matters. He said GM's calculations show that over 15,000 miles, "a small [gas/electric] hybrid car" will consume 120 more gallons of gas than an E85 ethanol flex-fuel Tahoe full-size SUV with a V8 engine.

Barthmus said GM acknowledges some of the disadvantages of flex-fuel vehicles, such as less range per tank of fuel than on 100 percent gasoline. "We're trying to be as up front about that as possible," he said. However, he added, GM is optimistic that increased production of ethanol would lower E85 pump prices, and that more refueling stations would come on line to address the issue of convenience. Still, he acknowledged, using E85 ethanol fuel may be "more [an expression of] altruism than economic sense."

For some people, altruism may be incentive enough. Whatever your motivation, the next page has a comprehensive look at your 2007 E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicle choices.

E85 Ethanol Vehicles for 2007

Here is a comprehensive look at your 2007 E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicle choices:  

Buick Terraza
Class: Minivan
Base price range: $26,510 - $30,630
Engine: 240-horsepower 3.9-liter V6
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 18/25
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 13/19
Terraza is the Buick version of the GM minivan also sold as the Chevrolet Uplander and Saturn Relay. It seats seven and comes with ABS and traction/antiskid control. Side curtain airbags are unavailable. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 3.9-liter V6 is Terraza's only engine. Note that Buick says 2007 is the final model year for the Terraza.

Chevrolet Avalanche
Class: Large Pickup Truck
Base price range: $31,965 - $35,670
Engine: 320-horsepower 5.3-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 15/21 (2WD), 15/20 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 12/16 (2WD), 11/15 (4WD)
Shopping for a pickup truck primarily for passenger use? Check out this Recommended pick. No other pickup offers Avalanche's blend of useful passenger accommodations, expandable cargo room, big-truck muscle, and friendly road manners. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.3-liter V8 is Avalanche's standard engine.

Chevrolet Impala LS and LT 3.5
Class: Midsize Car

Base price range: $20,830 - $21,440
Engine: 211-horsepower 3.5-liter V6
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 21/31
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 16/23
Chevrolet's top-selling car is affordable, relatively roomy, and has competent road manners. But this sedan still feels dated compared with midsize-car class pacesetters, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 3.5-liter V6 is the base engine in the Impala line.

Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS and LT
Class Midsize Car

Base price range: $20,830 - $22,440 
Engine: 211-horsepower 3.5-liter V6
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 21/31
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 16/23
Monte Carlo is a throwback to the era of the midsize domestic coupe, trading passenger space and cargo room for a sporty profile. It is affordable and has competent road manners, and is the only two-door vehicle available with an E85 ethanol flex-fuel engine.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Class: Large Pickup Truck

Base price range: $24,345 - $38,090
Engine: 320-horsepower 5.3-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 16/21 (2WD), 16/20 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 12/16 (2WD), 12/15 (4WD)
Chevrolet redesigns its half-ton pickup trucks for 2007, giving them a new look, more power, and additional features. The 2007 Silverado is being sold alongside carryover 1999-2006 designs marketed as Silverado Classics (see separate report). Silverado shares a design with the GMC Sierra. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.3-liter V8 is standard or an $800 option, depending on the Silverado model ordered.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Classic
Class: Large Pickup Truck

Base price range: $24,515 - $35,160
Engine: 295-horsepower 5.3-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 16/21 (2WD), 15/19 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 12/16 (2WD), 11/14 (4WD)
The 2007 Silverado Classic and its GMC Sierra Classic sibling are based on a design introduced for 1999 and are sold alongside redesigned versions that debuted this year. Despite their relative age among large pickup trucks, Silverado Classic and Sierra Classic offer models to fit most every need. Hospitable interiors and the advantage of 4WD that can be used on dry pavement earn them our Recommended nod. With redesigned versions on the horizon, look for dealers to discount their already competitive prices.

Chevrolet Suburban LS, LT and LTZ
Class: Large SUV
Base price range: $36,465 - $ 40,040
Engine: 320-horsepower 5.3-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 15/21 (2WD), 15/20 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 12/16 (2WD), 11/15 (4WD)
Suburban is the stretched companion to the Tahoe. It's about 14 inches longer in wheelbase, 20 inches longer overall, and has nearly 30 cu ft more cargo volume. Suburban offers rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive that can be left engaged on dry pavement and includes low-range gearing. As in the Tahoe, passenger capacity ranges from five to nine. Like its gas-only counterpart, their E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.3-liter V8 includes GM's Active Fuel Management, which shuts down four cylinders while cruising to save fuel.

Chevrolet Tahoe LS, LT and LTZ
Class: Large SUV

Base price range: $33,470 - $38,035
Engine: 320-horsepower 5.3-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 16/21 (2WD), 15/21 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 12/16 (2WD), 11/15 (4WD)
Chevrolet's 2007 redesign of this large SUV addresses the most egregious flaws of its predecessor: sloppy steering and subpar interior appointments. Third-row accommodations are still best suited to children, but for smooth power, utility, and surprising overall refinement, Tahoe is a Best Buy value among large SUVs. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.3-liter V8 is optional on the 2WD Tahoe LS and standard on LT and LTZ models.

Chevrolet Uplander
Class: Minivan
Base price range: $20,005 - $32,850
Engine: 240-horsepower 3.9-liter V6
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 18/25
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 13/19
Uplander, along with Buick Terraza and Saturn Relay near twins, trail most rivals in many key areas. Absence of curtain side airbags is their biggest deficit. However, fair prices and a comfortable ride make Uplander and its siblings worth considering if you're watching your budget. Uplander is the only one of this trio to offer regular- and extended-length bodies, and is the only one not slated to be discontinued after the 2007 model year. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 3.9-liter V6 is Uplander's only engine

Chrysler Aspen Limited
Class: Premium Midsize SUV

Base price range: $30,745 - $33,520
Engine: 235-horsepower 4.7-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 14/19 (2WD), 14/18 (AWD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 10/14 (AWD), 9/13 (AWD)
Aspen debuts for 2007 as a dressed-up Dodge Durango to give Chrysler an entry in the premium-SUV field. But a smoother ride, reduced noise levels, and markedly upscale cabin trim make it a more enjoyable vehicle than the Durango. Aspen's reasonable pricing means it costs only about $1000 more than a comparably equipped Durango, as well. Aspen is worth a look for luxury shoppers who can use the towing and hauling utility of a truck-type SUV, but don't covet the mass and excesses of some larger premium SUVs. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 4.7-liter V8 is Aspen's standard engine.

Chrysler Sebring Touring
Class: Midsize Car

Base price: $19,520
Engine: 190-horsepower 2.7-liter V6
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 22/30
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 15/22
The redesigned 2007 Sebring is a vast improvement over the 2001-2006 generation, and prices are attractive, with well-equipped V6 models starting below $23,000. Unfortunately, the '07 Sebring also lacks the powertrain refinement and interior roominess to merit serious consideration in this segment. Conventional gas or E85 ethanol flex-fuel, the 2.7-liter V6 is a $1,350 option.

Dodge Durango SXT, SLT and Limited
Class: Midsize SUV

Base price range: $26,280 - $35,925
Engine: 235-horsepower 4.7-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 14/19 (2WD), 14/18 (AWD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 10/14 (AWD), 9/13 (AWD)
Durango matches some large SUVs for space and towing capacity. Unfortunately, it matches some for poor fuel economy, too. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 4.7-liter V8 is a $785 option on the 2WD SXT and SLT models and standard on all other Durangos.

Dodge Ram 1500 ST and SLT
Class: Large Pickup Truck

Base price range: $21,160 - $32,595
Engine: 235-horsepower 4.7-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 14/19 (2WD), 14/18 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 9/13 (2WD), 9/13 (4WD)
Ram's "big-rig" styling shouts for attention, but its performance, comfort, and solidity are more important. There are body styles and equipment to meet most needs, plus the praiseworthy availability of curtain side airbags, all-wheel drive, and an antiskid system. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 4.7-liter V8 is standard on SLT models and standard or optional on STs, depending on equipment level and cab choice.

GMC Sierra 1500
Class: Large Pickup Truck

Base price range: NA
Engine: 320-horsepower 5.3-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 16/21 (2WD), 16/20 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 12/16 (2WD), 12/15 (4WD)
This redesigned 2007 Sierra with fresh styling, more power, and new features is sold alongside a carryover 1999-2006 version called Sierra Classic (see separate report). As with the redesigned 2007 version of the Silverado, this Sierra offers regular, extended, and crew cab body styles and 2WD and 4WD. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.3-liter V8 is standard or optional, depending on the Sierra model ordered.

GMC Sierra 1500 Classic
Class: Large Pickup Truck

Base price range: $24,515 - $35,520
Engine: 295-horsepower 5.3-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 16/21 (2WD), 15/19 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 12/16 (2WD), 11/14 (4WD)
What we say for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Classic holds for this GMC version, and both merit Recommended status despite a design that dates to the late 1990s. As on the Silverado Classic, the E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.3 liter V8 is standard or optional, depending on the Sierra Classic version ordered.

GMC Yukon SLE and SLT
Class: Large SUV

Base price range: $34,165 - $38,750
Engine: 320-horsepower 5.7-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 16/21 (2WD), 15/20 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 12/16 (2WD), 11/15 (4WD)
All of GM's redesigned 2007 large SUVs improve on their 2000-2006 predecessors in handling, refinement, comfort, and interior design. Yukon is pitched as an upscale alternative to Chevrolet's Tahoe, and like the Chevy, is a Best Buy value. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.3-liter V8 is an $800 option on 2WD SLE models and is standard on other Yukons.

GMC Yukon XL SLE and SLT
Class: Large SUV

Base price range: $37,270 - $40,845
Engine: 320-horsepower 5.7-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 15/21 (2WD), 15/20 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 12/16 (2WD), 11/15 (4WD)
As Suburban is to Tahoe in the Chevy lineup, Yukon XL is the longer wheelbase version of the GMC Yukon. And like all of GM's large SUVs, Yukon is redesigned for 2007. Yukon XL seats up to nine and offers curtain side airbags for all three seating rows. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.3-liter V8 is standard. All Yukons offer rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive that can be left engaged on dry pavement and includes low-range gearing.

Ford Crown Victoria
Class: Large Car

Base price range: $24,510 - $27,505
Engine: 224- and 239-horsepower 4.6-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 17/25
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 13/17
Large-car traditionalists may have lingering affection for the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis. But these cars are ancient in design terms, so they're far less nimble and efficient than the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Toyota Avalon, and Ford's own Five Hundred and Mercury Montego. However, among these, only the Crown Vic and Grand Marquis offer E85 ethanol flex-fuel capability. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 4.7-liter V8 is the standard engine.

Ford F-150
Class: Large Pickup Truck

Base price range: $18,220- $39,225
Engine: 300-horsepower 5.4-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 15/19 (2WD), 14/18 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 11/14 (2WD), 110/13 (4WD)
Without available curtain side airbags and 4WD that can be left engaged on dry pavement, the F-150 lacks some important features available on its rivals, all of which are newer designs. This Ford earns its Recommended label for passenger room, refinement, and on-road composure. Already competitive retail prices are lower by as much as $1400 for 2007, depending on model. This is Ford's response to the redesigned 2007 competition from General Motors and Toyota. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.4-liter V8 is standard or a $1,645 option, depending on the F-150 model ordered. 

Jeep Commander Sport and Limited
Class: Midsize SUV

Base price range: $27,790 - $38,520
Engine: 235-horsepower 4.7-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 15/19 (2WD), 15/19 (AWD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 10/14 (2WD), 10/13 (AWD)
With its square-rigged styling and seating for seven, Commander gives Jeep buyers an alternative to the sportier Grand Cherokee, even if the two are similar under the skin. These Jeeps have a decent balance of comfort and utility, but they can get pricey with options. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 4.7 liter V8 is optional on Commander Sport models and standard on Limited versions.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo and Limited
Class: Midsize SUV

Base price range: $27,540 - $37,195
Engine: 235-horsepower 4.7-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 15/20 (2WD), 15/20 (AWD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 10/14 (2WD), 10/13 (AWD)
Rear-seat room and comfort may disappoint, and fuel economy is poor on models we tested. But Grand Cherokee is solid, rides comfortably, has fine ergonomics, and is tenacious off-road. It's also competitively priced. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 4.7-liter V8 is optional on Grand Cherokee Laredo models and standard on Limited versions.

Lincoln Town Car
Class: Premium Large Car

Base price range: $42,055 - $50,525
Engine: 239-horsepower 4.6-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 17/25
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 13/17
Town Car blends old-school American luxury, space, and isolation with surprisingly good road manners, all things considered. Cadillac's rival DTS is a far newer design with better performance and handling, but doesn't offer E85 ethanol flex-fuel capability. This elderly Lincoln still makes sense to some buyers. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 4.7-liter V8 is the only engine.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class C230
Class: Premium Compact Car

Base price: $29,650
Engine: 201-horsepower 2.5-liter V6
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 19/25
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 14/18
The C230 is the least-expensive Mercedes-Benz, and is the entry-level version of the German automaker's compact-car lineup. It's rock solid, refined, and well-engineered. Ride and handling are of high order, though 201 horsepower is conservative for this price level. Rear-seat room in these sedans suffers from the car's tidy size, but accommodations are otherwise top-notch.

Mercury Grand Marquis
Class: Large Car

Base price range: $24,780 - $29,435
Engine: 224- and 239-horsepower 4.6-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 17/25
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 13/17
Like the Ford Crown Victoria that shares its design and powertrain, Grand Marquis is a nice enough big sedan, but suffers from Reagan-era engineering. We prefer the Toyota Avalon, Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger, and Mercury's own Montego as more-modern, more-satisfying choices in this class, though only the Grand Marquis and Crown Vic offer E85 ethanol flex-fuel capability.

Nissan Armada SE and LE
Class: Large SUV

Base price range: $34,950 - $43,050
Engine: 317-horsepower 5.6-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 13/19 (2WD), 13/18 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 10/14 (2WD), 10/13 (4WD)
Armada and its luxury cousin, the QX56 from Nissan's Infiniti division, don't lead their respective classes in any area. They also trail key rivals in third row comfort seat and ease of entry/exit. Still, the E85 ethanol flex-fuel 5.6 liter V8 is standard, performance is laudable, and prices generally undercut those of similarly equipped competitors.

Nissan Titan
Class: Large Pickup Truck

Base price range: $23,700 - $36,200
Engine: 317-horsepower 5.6-liter V8
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 14/18 (2WD), 14/18 (4WD)
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 10/13 (2WD), 10/13 (4WD)
Limited to just one engine, two body styles, and relatively short cargo beds, Titan's appeal is narrower than that of its large-pickup competition. But Titan is strong in performance, comfort, utility, and available safety features. If you need what it's got, this brawny Nissan is worth a look.

Saturn Relay
Class: Minivan

Base price range: $21,375 - $27,650
Engine: 240-horsepower 3.9-liter V6
EPA mpg city/highway (gasoline): 18/25
EPA mpg city/highway (E85 ethanol): 13/19
Relay's performance and accommodations mirror those of similarly equipped Chevrolet Uplanders and Buick Terrazas, minivans with which it shares its design and powertrain. All are aging minivans, but are comfortable and competitively priced. Relay is in its final model year of production. The E85 ethanol flex-fuel 3.9-liter V6 is Relay's only engine.


Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks E85 Ethanol vehicle you can make an informed decision that meets your driving needs.