MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

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Thread: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

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    MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    I won't go into too many detail, but recently I really had to kill about 1.5 hours at home, and had access to all of our cars (Focus, Avenger, and Sonic) as well as a brand new Escape (1.6t) from a relative. I was particularly interested because the Escape is we recentl test drove and are going back and forth on it as far as a potential next vehicle. Anyway, I decided to do as scientific of a mileage test as I could from someone without professional equipment.

    There is a highway right near us, it is in a nearly rural type area, and there is very little traffic on it at all. From where I started the test , there is 1 turnaround (I did the test round trip to negate the effects of wind and elevation) and the total loop is almost 13 miles. I got the vehicle up to speed, reset the mileage guage, and then drove the loop. I took the readings at the same point (used a roadsign on the way back) before slowing down. The only stop was one time to turn around, and the gas was let off at the same point (a road sign for reference) and when getting back up to speed I used the resume button (or tab) on the cruise control. The vehicles were all 'warmed up' for a couple minutes before starting, and I let them sit for 3-5 minutes after each run to let the engine and tires cool slightly. I began the test with the car up to speed already so no acceleration to speed at the start of the test was needed.

    The test conditions were a smooth highway road, 62 degrees, 92% humidity, a light wind (6mph according to the internet weather station) out of the SSW, and elevation is about 300 feet above sea level. Under such good conditions, and cruise controll set at pretty low speed (and not much elevation change at all along the route), I expected to handily beat the EPA numbers, it is just a matter of how much and at what speeds.

    So here are the first grouping of the results:

    2013 Ford Focus SE 6-speed auto, 2.0 (2500 miles on the car) EPA highway 38:
    -at 45mph, rpms at 1700, 51.7 mpg for the loop (36% above highway rating)
    -at 55mph, rpms at 2000, 46.2 mpg (21.5% above highway rating)
    -at 65mph, rpms at 2400, 39.7 mpg (4.5% above highway rating)

    2011 Dodge Avenger 6-speed auto, 3.6 (50,000+ miles on the car), EPA highway 29:
    -at 45mph, 1150 rpms, 41.0 mpg (41.4% above highway rating)
    -at 55mph, 1500 rpms, 36.2 mpg (24.8% above highway rating)
    -at 65mph, 1700 rpms, 30.5 mpg (5.2% above highway rating)

    2013 Ford Escape FWD, 6-speed auto, 1.6t (2000 miles on the car), EPA highway 33:
    -at 45mph, no rpm reading taken, 44.9 mpg ( 36.1% above highway rating)
    -at 55mph, 36.5 mpg (10.6 above highway rating)
    -at 65mph, 31.7 mph (-3.9%, BELOW highway rating)

    The Sonic numbers I will post later (the paper I recorded them on is in the car, and the car is not at home now) but I can tell you they are similar in percentage terms to the Escape....the drop-off from 45 to 55 to 65 is much more drastic in the Sonic (just like the Escape) than it is in the Avenger and the Focus.

    While not scientific, this does support something I have heard other people talk about.....the modern Turbo engines do well in EPA testing where highway mileage is kept at a lower speed for most of the test, but when they are 'under load' at higher speeds (like most of us drive) they will be more likely to underperform the EPA results than non-turbo engines.

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  3. #2
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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    For my Sonic, I normally average 35-36 mpg on 300+ mile trips. I usually set it to cruise and just drive.
    On the plus side, I normally get 29 in town.
    I average 31 with combined, but I-35 in Minneapolis is a parking lot.
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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    Old post but somewhat on topic. On the inbound leg, I reset the DIC and ran on cruise:

    Just for fun, I did my own EPA/NRBGMR (Neanderthal Reality-Based Gas Mileage Report) Monday on a quick freeway Soul trip.
    I reset the MPG calculator each time and ran some steady and varied speeds, using cruise.

    Outbound, flat road, 60 degrees F, speeds 55-75: 36.3 MPG indicated, which given the DIC's appx. 2.0 MPG optimistic view of the world, comes to about 34 MPG.

    Inbound,
    55 MPH = 45 MPG indicated = true 43 MPG;
    60 MPH = 39 MPG indicated = true 37;
    70 MPH = 36.5 MPG indicated = true 34.5;
    65-75 MPH = 33.5 MPG indicated = true 31.5 long upgrade and downgrade here, they balance out.

    Each reading covered two miles or better. Car has about 1200 miles on it.
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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    Neat test! My only concern is how accurate the DIC MPG's are. I know they are optimistic on all GM's I've owned. I know others on GMI say they exceed them regularly, but I've had GM cars that calculated the MPG's since 1994 and I have NEVER once exceeded the MPG the DIC reported. I think the best I've ever done is within a .5 mpg. Being an accountant I calculate the actual gas milage every time I fill up.

    So are they all equally optimistic is the question.
    Last edited by BlackGTP; 05-22-2013 at 03:59 PM.

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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTP View Post
    Neat test! My only concern is how accurate the DIC MPG's are. I know they are optimistic on all GM's I've owned. I know others on GMI say they exceed them regularly, but I've had GM cars that calculated the MPG's since 1994 and I have NEVER once exceeded the MPG the DIC reported. I think the best I've ever done is within a .5 mpg. Being an accountant I calculate the actual gas milage every time I fill up.

    So are they all equally optimistic is the question.
    I find ours to be pretty close---certainly not as off as many others say they are---when they say multiple mpgs.

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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    The Ford Focus trip computer seems spot-on (I just tested it last week with 2 fillups, recording the mileage and comparing it to re-setting the trip computer. The nearly full tank calcuation in the Focus had the trip computer very close, actually 0.1mpg better than what I calculated (I think it was 37.8 to 37.9.)

    The Avenger trip computer, on frequent tests I have made, also seems correct for short trip. When I reset the computer and do a half tank or less, it is spot-on. When you let it go for multiple fill-ups, it seems to be both a little high and low. My guess is with the Avenger, it 'weights' recent driving more than driving a long time ago, regardless of the resets? I don't now, but what I do know is when I test it on less than a full tank, the numbers are very close.

    The Sonic and Escape (Escape not being my vehicle) I cannot attest to the accuracy of the trip computer, but I would assume the Escape would be the same as the Focus. The Sonic I cannot speak for, other than I trust GM's for the most part (going back to our HHR, our Malibu, and Traverse, when I calculated MPG over time, they were very close...sometimes a bit high, sometimes a bit low...but within 1mpg, never off by that much.)

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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by mjd1001 View Post
    So here are the first grouping of the results:

    2013 Ford Focus SE 6-speed auto, 2.0 (2500 miles on the car) EPA highway 38:
    -at 45mph, rpms at 1700, 51.7 mpg for the loop (36% above highway rating)
    -at 55mph, rpms at 2000, 46.2 mpg (21.5% above highway rating)
    -at 65mph, rpms at 2400, 39.7 mpg (4.5% above highway rating)

    2011 Dodge Avenger 6-speed auto, 3.6 (50,000+ miles on the car), EPA highway 29:
    -at 45mph, 1150 rpms, 41.0 mpg (41.4% above highway rating)
    -at 55mph, 1500 rpms, 36.2 mpg (24.8% above highway rating)
    -at 65mph, 1700 rpms, 30.5 mpg (5.2% above highway rating)

    2013 Ford Escape FWD, 6-speed auto, 1.6t (2000 miles on the car), EPA highway 33:
    -at 45mph, no rpm reading taken, 44.9 mpg ( 36.1% above highway rating)
    -at 55mph, 36.5 mpg (10.6 above highway rating)
    -at 65mph, 31.7 mph (-3.9%, BELOW highway rating)
    Here are the Sonic's numbers: 6 speed auto, 1.4t, 5500 miles on it, 37 epa highway:


    -at 45mph, 1400 rpms, 48.8 mpg ( 32% above highway rating)
    -at 55mph, 1800 rpms, 40.4 mpg (9.2% above highway rating)
    -at 65mph, 2100 rpms, 35.4 mp6 (-4.3%, BELOW highway rating)

    Once again, of the 4 cars I tested, under the same conditions on the same route, it was the turbo car that didn't do as well compared to their epa numbers...when compared to the non-turbo cars. The higher the speed, the greater the advantage (compared to epa numbers) that the non-turbo cars had over the turbo cars.

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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    Chrysler Pentastar gets good mileage for a 3.6 with 280+ hp---but when the engine came out almost 3 years ago we were all told it was what it was, but it was designed that it could easily add direct injection or other technologies. I think its now time, 3 years later, for it to get those upgrades that it was designed to 'easily' get.
    Last edited by Smellhound; 07-04-2013 at 12:51 AM.

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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    Update with a first run of our new Mazda 6 automatic (about 400 miles on the car now) EPA highway 38:

    -at 45mph, 1300 rpms, 52.6mpg (38.4 above epa highway rating)
    -at 55mph, 1600 rpms, 46.4mpg (22.1 above epa highway rating)
    -at 65mph, 1800 rpms, 40.4mpg (6.3 above highway rating)

    Test was done at similar conditions to the tests of the other vehicles except outside temp was about 10 degrees warmer. I have not had the chance to test the accuracy of the mileage computer, after I get a chance to put a few full tanks of gas into the car and calculate the mpg manually vs the trip computer, I'll post those results.

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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    I hate to come in here and be a negative Nancy, but 13 miles of DIC data isn't worth the time it took to do this. You need to fill up the tank, drive for at least 200 miles and then refill to get accurate mileage. You've even got to shut the pump off the same way to try and get some accuracy. I once got 36MPG out of a '13 Impala over a 40 mile trip across the city using the DIC, but I doubt that it would have come close to that had I done a real economy test.

    My personal experience with my modified Turbo Sonic is between 30MPG and 33MPG around town and 35MPG on the highway. Before I did the performance mods I took a trip to Dallas and back and got 42MPG.
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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewGS View Post
    I hate to come in here and be a negative Nancy, but 13 miles of DIC data isn't worth the time it took to do this. You need to fill up the tank, drive for at least 200 miles and then refill to get accurate mileage. You've even got to shut the pump off the same way to try and get some accuracy. I once got 36MPG out of a '13 Impala over a 40 mile trip across the city using the DIC, but I doubt that it would have come close to that had I done a real economy test.

    My personal experience with my modified Turbo Sonic is between 30MPG and 33MPG around town and 35MPG on the highway. Before I did the performance mods I took a trip to Dallas and back and got 42MPG.
    I actually think it was worth the time because of a few things. 1. The 10-15 mile loop gave comparable mileage in some of the cars to driving them on the highway for longer stints. I didn't scientifically test it for long drives, but when I drove the shorter loop and then hit the highway for a longer drive (40-50 miles at least) in similar weather conditions at similar speeds and similar elevations (and change of elevations), the results were similar. 2. I have done many, MANY test of how accurate the trip DIC computer is, and with the exception of the Avenger, the trip computers in the other cars that I have tested with multiple tanks of gas proved to be pretty accurate. 3. The exact numbers wasn't really the point of the test...the point was to show how 1 car compared to the other under similar conditions, and to see the difference in driving at different speeds.

    So, as I said, it isn't scientific, and I agree a larger sample size would be better, but to say it isn't worth the time to do this is 100% wrong. And we did take the sonic on a couple trips lately (over 400 miles) where the car was only on the highway (once we got to a hotel, the car really didn't even move until we got back on the highway) and even going no faster than 68 mph (and most of the time the cruise control set right on 65), we got just over 36 mpg, wich is within 3% of the results of the test (with the same car under round trip...elevation neutral...conditions.))

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    Re: MPG test (user review), Focus, Avenger, Escape, and Sonic

    even if it's anectodal it's interesting


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