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darin AT metrompg D-O-T com,
The government lies, and my car is fat
Posted Monday, September 12/05 in Suzukiclone info
My suspicion that the official mileage figures for the Firefly are overly optimistic are gradually being confirmed.
Just got back from a weekend away, having put around 750 km on the car over a couple of days. Ideal conditions were had for a high mpg run: warm temperatures (25 C), calm winds, relaxed highway driving (95 km/h average).
A very enjoyable weekend, but just 4.9 L/100 km (57.9 mpg IMP / 48.2 mpg US). This is significanly lower than what my government says the car should get.
Now, I know the government-approved figures are mostly lies. Consumer Reports recently revealed that fully 90% of 303 cars and trucks they tested for model-years 2000 to 2006 fell short of their EPA mpg figures. "Average" drivers, they say, will rarely see the figures posted on the stickers in new car windows.
But my driving style is decidedly not average. Fact is, I'm used to exceeding the official mpg ratings on a regular basis. Over the 8 years that I tracked mileage in my carefully maintained 1989 Honda Accord, I beat the ratings on almost every tank of gas, in both city and highway driving. I've also confirmed my ratings-beating driving habits in several trip-computer-equipped cars owned by a friend (VW Passat 1.8 turbo) and a relative (Cadillac Seville V8).
So why am I having so much trouble in my Firefly? Are the ratings that far out of whack? The evidence is pointing that way.
One clue: Someone seems not to have taken some basic physics into account. Just have a look at the ratings between the 3rd and 4th generation models. From the previous body style to the current one, they packed on a few extra pounds - 1650 lbs vs. 1808 lbs.
Yet despite the relative corpulence of my car compared to the previous generation, the NRCan fuel economy ratings actually increased by over 3%. Huh? Not what I would have expected to see.
Better aerodynamics? Excessive optimism?
Or is my particular car an economy dud? A gas hog among Metros? The mystery deepens.
[Update: October 2/05 - 69 mpg: I beat the Canadian rating]
Tip of the hat: to evconvert.com for the Consumer Reports item
darin AT metrompg D-O-T com, or here