There’s a lot that the 2012 Infiniti M35h does right. Infiniti’s first hybrid impressed me with its luxurious interior and 27/32 mpg city/highway fuel economy estimates from the EPA. The M35h also proves that slapping the H-word on a car doesn’t mean it’s going to be sluggish. With 360 horsepower coming from the M Hybrid’s 3.5-liter V6 and electric motor, the M Hybrid has 30 more horses than the gas-only M37.
The M Hybrid can also propel itself on electric power alone. I was able to navigate parking garages without the gas engine firing up, and one day, I crossed the bridge from Virginia to D.C. solely on electric power. Sometimes, the M35h would also coast down the highway on electric power if I was gentle with the accelerator.
I was beyond impressed with the M35h’s performance, but then I checked the fuel economy after my first 100 miles. During this period, the M Hybrid saw frequent stop-and-go traffic. That congestion, combined with my active right foot, meant that the M missed its city fuel economy estimates by a long shot. I only averaged 21 mpg.
I decided to alter my driving habits to see if I could do better. During my last two days with the car, I only drove it in Eco mode, which maximizes the Infiniti’s fuel economy. I also adjusted my driving style, using a lighter touch on the gas and coasting on electric power as much as possible. Under these conditions, I averaged 27.9 miles per gallon in city driving.
In my case, the M35h required deliberate attention in order to meet its fuel economy averages. If you’re trying to save money at the pump, driving a green car isn’t the only way to save. You need to drive green as well.