Oh no we can do WAY better than 35MPG. Hell I was getting 42MPG beating the living crap out of a Chevy Sprint I owned YEARS ago. Poorly tuned, had a carburator, and the AC would slow it down 5MPH on the highway. Try selling one of these today - it won't fly. You see everyone wants SUV to "survive an accident" and "see better". That car weighed nothing, didn't cocoon me in airbags, wasn't full of impact bars, and didn't have bumpers that could stop a Sherman. Hell I got hit in that thing from behind pretty good and it survived with nothing but a wrinkle in the rear quarter but that's not good enough these days. In an effort to "save everyone" we all drive around in techie wonders that weigh a metric shit ton!
I drove one of the new Ford Cobra, makes 500+ HP and can spin the wheels if you so much as sneeze! Drives like a fat pig because it has so much damned mass to it. Must be at least 4Klbs so while the HP number is stunning it's acceleration is far worse than it should be because it's trying to shove all that fat down the road. 300HP in a Miata would probably give it a run for the money. Speaking of which, the Miata has also blown up like a Macy's balloon. Seen the new "Mini"? They ought to call them Maxi they've grown so fat.
So can we make high MPG cars? Sure we can! Drop some of the safety standards and let manufacturers build smaller lighter cars. No one will buy them because they all want heyuge boats they can drive like bumper cars but they sure as hell could do it. Shit in my state they want to drop the damned gas tax and raise sales tax. Penny wise and pound foolish all the lemmings are cheering. If I were king for a day I'd double the damn tax and watch the piles of SUV hit the sales lot for pennies on the dollar. A friend of mine has just been handed a monster commute, he did the math and it's CHEAPER for him to buy a damned Prius than it is to drive his gas guzzler to and fro - the savings will likely pay for his car payment - seriously!