My Pontiac Firefly / Chevrolet Metro / Geo Metro / Suzuki Swift welcomes fuel efficiency nerds everywhere

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Latest fuel economy stats
for my '98 Firefly 1.0L 5-speed
  best: 2.3 125.1 104.2
 worst: 6.4  44.1  36.8
prev.3: 3.3  82.3  68.6
   all: 3.8  73.4  61.1
L/100km | mpg IMP | mpg US
Jul 28/07: more, graph, calc.
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Best non-hybrid MPG: Mitsubishi Mirage
Highest MPG for a new car: Mitsubishi Mirage?
Mitsubishi's 1.2L, 3-cylinder Mirage is the first new non-hybrid car that can match an old Metro's mileage. The company says 44 mpg (US) highway, 37 city. (Some drivers are already beating that in various economy driving contests.) How? An efficient engine, very light weight and aerodynamic design.

Cheapest to own? 2015 Nissan Micra Forum
2015 Nissan Micra Forum
The Micra's fuel economy isn't its most notable feature -- the $10,000 price is. That makes it one of the cheapest cars to own. And its 109hp, 1.6L engine and good power-to-weight ratio means it's fun to drive too.

Latest 10 posts:
1. Recipe for getting 99.7 mpg from a Geo Metro
2. - famous aerodynamic Honda Civic gets a web site
3. Snapshot: effect of tire pressure on rolling resistance
4. 65+ vehicle modifications for better MPG
5. Metro mania: forget stocks, put your money in old Geos!
6. 100+ Hypermiling / ecodriving tips for better gas mileage
7. Experiment: how long should a block heater be plugged in?
8. Everything old is new again: Car and Driver magazine modifies an econobox to improve MPG
9. Project Convertible XFi: alfresco efficiency
10. The floor is yours: MetroMPG opens a fuel efficiency forum
11 ... 64. Show all posts

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Good MPG forums: I spend a lot of time at and have also been known to lurk around

Chevrolet Aveo forum - discussion of the Chevrolet Aveo and its siblings (Pontiac Wave, Pontiac G3, Suzuki Swift+, Daewoo Kalos).

> Lots more Metro links...
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Send me a note:
darin AT metrompg D-O-T com,
or here

MetroMPG has opened a fuel economy forum
Read about the project here, or go straight to
ScanGauge fuel economy computer Save fuel with a ScanGauge II fuel economy computer.
I personally recommend this tool. I've owned both versions (I and II) and can't say enough good things about it. If you're serious about saving fuel, get one.

For more information and to order, visit EcoModder.

A tale of two Metros

Posted Wednesday, November 23/05 in Suzukiclone info


Imagine it's late 1997. Two almost identical Pontiac Fireflies roll off the CAMI assembly line near the picturesque town of Ingersoll, Ontario. One is built in October, the other in November, both for the 1998 model year. They could practically be twins.

Fast forward eight years to 2005 and there's a reunion of sorts: both cars ultimately end up in my driveway with me as their owner. But their paths to this point couldn't have been more different.

Separated at birth

The first (brown) Firefly left the factory and entered service as a dutiful runabout and freeway commuter around Hamilton, Ontario for a succession of four owners. By the time I became its 5th owner in April '05, it had gone 141,000 km (87,613 mi).

The second (black) Firefly was bought by an elderly woman in Ottawa, Ontario. She drove it very little before moving back to her home in France, intending to have the car shipped after her. Unfortunately, she fell ill before shipping it, and was never well enough to drive again. So the car remained in Ottawa, parked in a relative's garage ... for 7 years.

That's right, in storage for 7 out of 8 years.


When I bought it this month, it had just 2,468 km (1,533 mi) on the odometer. Talk about a "barn find"!

A "new" 8-year-old car

Essentially it's a "new" 8-year-old car. It still smells new inside, runs and shifts beautifully, is virtually rust-free, and is devoid of squeaks and rattles. When I went into the back seat to clean the windows, I was probably the first person to sit there.

The car needed a new battery, an oil change, and the rust cleaned off the brake rotors. Oh, and it still had a full tank of gas from 1999, which I drained out before driving home. If it weren't for some scratches in the black finish (because the car basically served as a shelf in someone's garage for 7 years), it could be in a showroom.

When I bought the first Firefly, I was taking a bit of a gamble. I wasn't sure if I would be satisfied with it - the small size, its lightweight (arguably flimsy) construction, the meagre but growly 3 cylinder motor.

Blackfly front

I suppose the fact that six months later I just bought my second one answers that question.

I really grew to enjoy Suzukiclone v.1.0. And surprisingly (though in just 6 months it may be hard to tell), it has proven to be one of the more reliable used cars I've owned. From a cost of ownership perspective, it beat the pants off my old Accord.

Under the skin, we're all the same

Other than the colour, the two Fireflies are nearly identical. Same frugal motor, same DIY transmission, same interior. A few very minor differences on the new car are side body moldings, and a little handle to adjust the passenger side mirror from inside the car. Oh, and there's no radio (though, oddly, it's factory wired with four speakers). That's easily fixed.

I spent the last week or so transferring all the efficiency mods over to the black car, and last night I spent an aggravating 3 hours contorting myself around the back of the engine to add a new one: a block heater.

Blackfly rear

Ah, yes. Winter. I am reluctant to subject the little car to the season. It's not the cold and snow I'm concerned about. It's the road salt. We're in the rust belt here in Ontario, and it seems a bit of a shame to drive the Blackfly through the briny mess. To mitigate as much as I can, I got a couple of cans of undercoating and did my best to protect the bottom of the car. Next year I'll look into getting a professional rustproofing package.

They're out there

The moral of the story? Wish ill health on old ladies? No.

Keep an eye on the trader. No matter what kind of car turns your crank, if you're patient, a good one will eventually turn up.

You could start by keeping an eye out for a brown '98 Firefly. Know anyone who wants one?

(Update, Dec 15/05 - sold the brown one to a neighbour.)

EcoModder fuel economy forum Note: MetroMPG has opened a fuel economy forum
Read about the project here, or go straight to

darin AT metrompg D-O-T com, or here