Why? This truly is the most remarkable vehicle ever made from an economy standpoint. No need to drag around heavy electric motors and batteries. Go with the obvious formula, ultra light weight.
This baby only weighed a little over a ton, and had the ultra lean burn vtec-e motor. I have no idea why they stopped making these engines. And this car for that matter. I would buy another right now if I could find a new one.
There really was never any better balance of practicality, economy and dare I say fun. The Prius could never touch it for acceleration or handling let alone fuel economy. Neither the two cars that actually could do better sipping gas; the Insight or the Geo Metro 3 cylinder.
Here's my ultimate fuel economy story. Back in 95 we had a drop in gas prices that allowed me to fill (10 gallon tank, but rarely will it take much more than 8 when the gage is on E) up without about 8 gallons of 6 dollars and 40 cents. I drove from Northern California to Southern California, just short of 400 miles and still had at least a gallon to spare. I drove a majority of that jaunt above 80 miles per hour, making that distance in less than 5 hours. Just awesome.
The car is quite a marvel of packaging, being quite roomy inside despite it's diminutive external dimensions. I've carried some ridiculously large items in it with the seats down.
It was also fairly quick with the leading magazines testing it to 60 in a little more than 9 seconds. It probably would have been quicker as the previous poster implied the gearing is to tall. Which helped it's very miserly city driving MPG. They could have at least given it a lower first gear.
It's handling was pretty awesome as well, having double wishbone racing style suspension all around. This is a pretty pricey setup for an economy vehicle, and later Civics went away from it to save costs.
My car was completely, and I mean completely, trouble free up to 260000 miles. Requiring only gas, brakes, oil, and tires. At 260 the tranny went, though the clutch was still fine.
Unfortunately I have since ruined it by turning it into a performance machine. It's a ton of fun, but now has racing suspension big brakes and a 200 horsepower Acura GSR engine. The problem is it is now unfit for commuting as it now rides worse than a truck and is very fatiguing. On the poor roads I drive it on 100 miles a day, I'm sure most of the components will wear out, but now with 280k I won't be upset. It has been an incredibly trusty old friend and I love it to death.
My only regret is this car is not replaceable by anything remotely comparable. Truly the best 10000 I will have ever spent.
I also had a 93 VX but sadly it was stolen. When it was found later that day it was stripped of it's body parts and a few interior pieces yet the engine bay was only missing the plug wires. I hated to let it go so I bought it back from the insurance company. I quickly became discouraged when I saw the replacement cost on the missing parts. And if you can believe it, some kid woke me up one morning asking if I'd sell it. I said no to his $500 offer even though it was just a shell of a car with the engine and wheels. (stock 14", 9 lbs each) I just couldn't come to terms with taking a 50mpg car off the road for so little money. I caved when he went all the way up to $1550.
I got 50.5 mpg commuting to work in that car which was 70% interstate driving. Since they're so hard to find, (and when you do they're rarely stock) I've given up. The only worthwhile alternative seems to be the Geo/Suzuki Metro/Swift and it's variants. Nowhere near as nice or powerful and has slightly less fuel efficiency. I sure won't have to worry about THAT one being stolen. Still, either a VX or a Metro is more practical than biking to work. It's nice to ride when it's a beautiful day, but it's only about $2 in gas (@3.72/gal) to/from work in the 96 Metro, so it's hardly worth my time to bike, much as I love it.