FIAT 500 USA MPG

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FIAT 500 USA MPG

sam500
So I've been reading up on the 28 city/37 highway MPG figures for the American Fiat 500. Looking at other cars in its class (like Mini's 29/37) and early speculation of 40+ MPG with Multi-Air technology, I wanted to start a discussion on these figures. What does everyone think?
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Vlad92
I was reading that post on Facebook, but did not see a source...  Do we know these numbers are correct?  Also, I wonder if these numbers are for the auto or the manual?  I would think the manual would get a bit higher.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Fiat500USA
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In reply to this post by sam500
sam500 wrote
So I've been reading up on the 28 city/37 highway MPG figures for the American Fiat 500. Looking at other cars in its class (like Mini's 29/37) and early speculation of 40+ MPG with Multi-Air technology, I wanted to start a discussion on these figures. What does everyone think?
I would say these figures are official. The "Key Elements " were taken from training information given to me by an anonymous source.  

The figures were a little surprising, but wait. Here are the Euro cars mpg:

1.4L 16V gasoline engine:

Fuel consumption (combined urban/Hway): 6.3 l/100km (37 mpg)

Fuel consumption is figured differently in Europe, but it's in the same ballpark.

Here's what I wrote on the Facebook page:

Here are the competitors: A Yaris is rated at 29/36, Versa 28/34, Honda fit 28/35, Fiesta 28/37-29/40 (super fuel economy package), Mini 29/37, Smart 33/41. Fiat's right in there, not the best but not the worst. I'm sure someone who wants fuel economy can better those figures. The 500 is about the whole package and not just gas mileage, so I wouldn't worry too much.

Isn't having all the features, style and safety worth 1 or two mpg's?



I'm sure folks that are all about mpgs will be upset, but this car isn't for everyone. It's a special car for special people;)


Prima Edizione  29
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

ScarGo
I'm assuming this mileage was quoted for the manual transmission?  The 6 speed automatic may squeeze out a little higher highway mileage as the automatic Honda Fit  (28 city -35 hwy) does. The Manual Honda Fit gets EPA 27 city 33 hwy.  

When the MINI came out in 2003 and the EPA mileage was less than expected,  MINI said it was not an economy car , but a premium small car and left it at that.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Fiat500USA
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In reply to this post by sam500
Sam500,
By the way, this is a great topic you posted .  I've moved it to its own forum category.
Prima Edizione  29
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Fiat500USA
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In reply to this post by ScarGo
ScarGo wrote
...When the MINI came out in 2003 and the EPA mileage was less than expected,  MINI said it was not an economy car , but a premium small car and left it at that.

That's what I'm thinking. Besides, I can't wait to play with the eco:Drive.  I've pretty much given up on speeding (and driving like a jerk), I'm into being smooooth.
Prima Edizione  29
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

cinquecento
In reply to this post by Fiat500USA
Of course, the main reason I wanted the 500 wasn't for the fuel economy, but once I saw that the Cd was .35 I pretty immediately figured it wouldn't get EPA'd anywhere near 40.  However, where I am surprised is the city rating.  Yes, it's a couple hundred pounds heavier than the Euro/world version extant, but I thought the multi-air tech would have mustered maybe a city rating of 30 or so.

It's still going to have a good range with the enlarged fuel tank, but this car probably isn't going to be the top choice for eco-maniacs (and that I am just fine with!), for that we'd have to get either the Multi-Jet II or, to a lesser extent, the Twin Air.

As far as we know this is taking 91 octane, right?
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Fiat500USA
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cinquecento wrote
Of course, the main reason I wanted the 500 wasn't for the fuel economy, but once I saw that the Cd was .35 I pretty immediately figured it wouldn't get EPA'd anywhere near 40.  However, where I am surprised is the city rating.  Yes, it's a couple hundred pounds heavier than the Euro/world version extant, but I thought the multi-air tech would have mustered maybe a city rating of 30 or so.

It's still going to have a good range with the enlarged fuel tank, but this car probably isn't going to be the top choice for eco-maniacs (and that I am just fine with!), for that we'd have to get either the Multi-Jet II or, to a lesser extent, the Twin Air.

As far as we know this is taking 91 octane, right?
The new EPA ratings are definitely lower than I'm used to seeing. My wife just bought a Jeep, so the Fiat will get twice the mileage she gets.

I'm sure premium will be the best gas to use. You could probably use regular, but won't get the best out of the engine.
Prima Edizione  29
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

jdjefferson
This post was updated on .
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Fiat500USA
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jdjefferson wrote
I wouldn't read a whole lot into the EPA ratings. I haven't found them to be very accurate over the years. Our '09 Fit is EPA rated 27/33, but easily gets more like 33/40. As they say, "your mileage may vary."
They rated the Nissan Leaf 99mpg-- this of course is an all-electric car.
Agreed...
Prima Edizione  29
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Spektor
In reply to this post by sam500
Sorry to be a buzzkill, but if true, it's actually extremely disappointing.  High mileage was to be the big consollation prize for our not getting Europe's Abarth turbo or a diesel fitted in the U.S. 500.  The issue shouldn't be whitewashed over -- this is a very, very small, light, 4-passenger vehicle and the engine displacement is extremely small.  I would have expected the 500's MPG would be far higher than 38 -- at least over 40 mpg hwy.  A mid-size 2011 Hyundai Sonata stick has a 2.4 L direct-injection 4-cyl, that produces 198 hp and gets 24/35 mpg.  A Toyota Yaris manual gets 29/36 with a basic 1.5 L DOHC engine making 106 hp.  The new Chevy Cruze ECO sedan gets 28/42 with a 1.4 L turbo gasoline engine (36 mpg hwy on the base, non-turbo version). Even, dear Gd, the Hyundai Accent hatchback 1.6 L gets 110 HP and 28/34 mpg.  So the 500, smaller than almost all the other vehicles above, and equipped with the fancy-shmantzy 1.4 L FIRE/Multiair engine everyone is raving over for some reason, can only eek out 101 hp and 28/37?!?!?!?!  That's just plain ridiculous.  Numbers don't lie.  The 500 is a great car, but honestly, the power and mileage numbers are beaten by even the Yaris and Accent, which have comperably old, inexpensive engine designs.  Somebody at FIAT/Chrysler owes a big explanation as to why the 500's U.S. mileage and/or power numbers are so mediocre.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

cinquecento
I agree with you wholeheartedly Spektor, but this is a very special car, and I still have yet to see a full press release with all the final numbers and specifications, i.e., full brochure.  I have no idea why there would be a faulty MPG figure floating around, but there's still a chance that this isn't final, indeed, it would be rather low (but this matters a lot more for marketing than real world performance).

For instance, the Chevy Equinox with its (awful) 3.0 direct injection V6 is, I believe, rated at, near or above 30MPG, but my aunt has one, drives like a granny and gets around 24MPG.  Manufacturers have been gaming the system for a while now, for instance the Corvette which will automatically force the manual shifter to go from 1st to 4th gear when not accelerating hard off the line (this is a ridiculous device, especially when you consider it's on a manual transmission, performance car!).  The Corvette gets great fuel mileage numbers by the EPA, but significantly worse in the real world (believe me, unless you hate driving).

In short, the 500's going to get great mileage with its cutting edge, low displacement powerplant, but there's a possbility that Fiat didn't go out of its way to inflate the numbers beyond what the (terribly flawed) EPA test gave to a normal car in normal driving.  My guess is that the combined mileage will be very close to the highway number reported.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Spektor
Well I appreciate the sentiment, and I do understand its a great car. However, I'm also not blind to reality and FIAT/Chrysler shouldn't expect (all) U.S. consumers to buy a car like we buy an iPhone -- many of us do care about product's internal specs and those of comperable vehicles.  Comparing an Equinox mpg to the FIAT is like comparing apples to cranberries.  By that argument, we should worry that the 500 will actually have LOWER mpg than the 37 rating, not higher.  If the non-turbo U.S.-spec 500 is going to get bested by, gulp, a Yaris, vis a vis HP and mileage, well that's just plain pathetic.  It must be a mistake, this 37 mpg rating being floated.  101 hp and so small?  It should be nearing 50 mpg IMO.  What good is such a high tech, more expensive (to both build and maintain) engine when it performs on par or worse than older, cheaper DOHC designs from Toyota or Hyundai, etc.?  Like I said before, if accurate, if 37 is the real E.P.A., MPG test rating, (under the new, less-forgiving test standard) then it's a pretty mediocre mileage number and FIAT/Chrysler owes a detailed explanation why.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Small Car Lover
Spektor, I can understand your disappointed with the numbers.  However I think the point being made by others here is that comparing EPA numbers between two different vehicles is NOT representative of how actual fuel consumption will compare in real world driving.  No one is comparing a 500 to a Equinox or a Corvette for that matter.  Those vehicles are examples of high EPA numbers yet much lower real world numbers.

As others have said here, many manufacturers have been "gaming the system" for quite a few years now.  This gaming seems to have gotten worse with the introduction of the new, "tougher" EPA test methods.  I personally believe many vehicles' automatic transmission shift programs are specifically tailored to maximize the EPA test number with no regard to real world fuel consumption or drive-ability.  This is why many automatic transmission versions of the same car have better EPA numbers than the manual versions.  Not because automatic transmissions are more efficient than manual (gear) transmissions.  They aren't.

Fiat is new to the US market and more importantly new to the Unites States EPA testing game.  I suspect they don't have the experience "gaming the system" other manufactures have.  In short, I think the numbers do lie.  They only way to get a reasonable comparison of fuel consumption between several vehicles is for the individual driver to drive the vehicle themselves and make their own comparison.  Sadly, EPA numbers are nearly meaningless, IMHO.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Spektor
The argument that the official EPA score is irrelvant is like a certain political party saying the CBO budgetary scoring of a certain new law is 'inaccurate' or 'opinion' when it contradicts the party's particluar political platform.

The new EPA test is what it is, and should be and is standardized for everyone.  To say that FIAT is offering only 'honest' mpg numbers when Toyota or others are not is quite a stretch in logic.  By that argument, the EPA mileage testing is not standardized, and should not be considered accurate by any automaker at all.  It's like saying that crash testing isn't standardized and applied equally for everyone.

I would hope to chalk this 500 mileage problem up to a preliminary, unofficial mileage number hastily being released.  However, again, if it is the actual EPA test result, then something must be seriously wrong.  Perhaps the US 500 has had the exhaust or intake system restricted, or the 5-speed manual transmission is inefficient, or some other engineering problem is causing such mediocre mileage/horsepower numbers.

If anyone knows the real numbers, (or the reasons for them), I sure hope he says something soon.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

cinquecento
The test is standardized, but that doesn't mean it's fair.  Throttle responsiveness plays a monumental factor in the EPA tests--cars that do disproportionately well tend to have very lazy power tip-in.  

I guarantee it's not the manual transmission that's inefficient, that's not how it works (there's little or no fluid in a manual to act as a parasitic energy drain like old slushboxes).

Personally, I'd wait for EPA official release.  If mileage is absolutely your number-one criterion, I'd recommend getting a Volt, Leaf, or waiting until Fiat gives us an oil-burner 500.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Small Car Lover
In reply to this post by Spektor
I agree the EPA test is standardized and it is what it is (ie a defined set of test conditions).  As with any standardized test, a car can be optimized to achieve best performance with the specific test conditions.  Change the conditions and the car may no longer be operating "optimally".  So while one vehicle can be optimized to perform better at a specific set of conditions, another vehicle could be optimized achieve a lower performance but over a wider range of conditions.  If you drive exactly like the EPA test, then the EPA results would be perfectly relevant.  I'd venture a guess that most people don't drive EPA test cycles

The example of crash tests is appropriate.  That is another test in which a vehicle can be optimized to offer maximum protection at one set of conditions while compromising performance at another.  For example in a low speed crash a vehicle optimized to perform well in a high speed crash would under perform a similar vehicle optimized for the low speed crash.

Politics no withstanding, no one is saying one manufacturer is "honest" and others are not.  A manufacturer must decide if they want to optimize their vehicle to a specific test (be it EPA or crash or anything else) or if they want to optimize their vehicle to their own choosing and accept a compromise with respect to government standard tests.  Or perhaps Fiat has not learned how to optimize to the EPA test as well as other manufacturers.  Or perhaps the 500 is inefficient with respect fuel economy compared to competitive cars.  We can't make a conclusion either way.

To hold that EPA numbers (rankings if you will) absolutely define the real world fuel consumption performance of one car versus another is somewhat naive.  They offer a rough estimate of ranking, at best.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

Fiat500USA
Administrator
In reply to this post by Spektor
Hi Spektor,

Welcome to the forum and your perspective.  There are two points that I see.  The 500 isn't being marketed as the fuel "economy king", and it is certainly competitive in fuel economy in its class. The other is MultiAir isn't about peak HP, it's about puting torque where you need it, to make it more drivable and fun to drive.



Prima Edizione  29
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

sketch
In reply to this post by Spektor
In no world are the differences between 1.4 and 1.6L and 101 and 110 horsepower large differences, and the FIAT 500 is not an economy car — it's a premium small car just like the MINI Cooper.  It is designed not for the utmost economy but for entirely competitive economy whilst offering more luxury, style, and panache than its "competitors", if you can even call them that.

Further, the 500 performs on par with every car you listed.  MultiAir is not a huge revolutionary technology.  It's just FIAT's name for their variable valve timing system.  Toyota calls it VVT-i, Honda calls it VTEC, BMW calls it Valvetronic, and so forth.  All the cars you listed have it, even the Accent.  The Sonata (which is in an entirely different class, mind) has the further advantage of direct injection.

And the 500's engine isn't this brand-new, revolutionary design, either.  The reason the 500 is so popular in Europe is its combination of style and price.  It uses the platform and engine from the Panda, which is certainly at least part of the reason that the base price of the Lounge, the most expensive model, still undercuts the base price of the MINI Cooper by nearly $1000.

Oh, and here's a funny story: Consider the Honda CR-Z.  This is a car that is less practical than the 500, having only two seats.  It's a hybrid designed to be sporty and efficient.  How efficient?  With the CVT, the EPA rates it at 35/39 city/hwy MPG.  ...Oh, that's not that great.  And with the manual, it's even worse, at 31/37.  Not much better, and it's a hybrid.

If you want fuel economy, buy a Prius.  EPA rates it at 51/48, and that's with a 1.8L making, combined, somewhere around 130hp.  Hell, buy a used one, with EPA ratings of 48/45, 1.5L, 110hp if you want.  I'll have one for sale once my 500 gets here.
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Re: FIAT 500 USA MPG

ScarGo
Sketch. I think you need a smiley... or two...
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