Today's Rant: Disappointing MPGs in the Chevrolet Cruze

Discussion in 'In the News' started by msirach, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    [​IMG] 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that delivers 138 horsepower

    [FIMG=LEFT][/FIMG]Jill Ciminillo - CHICAGONOW - January 05, 2011

    What could you get in the Cruze in the same conditions? --Ed.

    I had such high hopes for the Chevrolet Cruze. But I suppose that's when you get let down.

    The test car, a Cruze LTZ model, came equipped with a 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that delivers 138 horsepower. Fuel economy estimates on the all-new compact car ring in at 24 mpg in the city and very beautiful 36 mpg on the highway.

    Well it it would be beautiful if it actually worked that way. During the time that I tested the Cruze, I had primarily highway driving. Without traffic. I had maybe one or two days of city driving, but overall, the majority of my driving was pleasant highway driving.

    And at the end of the week, I only managed 23.5 mpg.

    OK, I should point out a couple factors probably played into some of this. It was at or around 20 degrees for 5 out of 7 of the test days. And on at least 4 occasions, I did use the remote start. But I just don't think that should combine to create mileage that is completely below EPA estimates. Especially when a couple weeks prior, I managed to get 22 mpg in an AWD SUV.

    All that being said, I'm seriously hoping this was a fluke. And I'm looking forward to giving it another go in the Eco model.

    ... [RM][/RM]
  2. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Re: Today's Rant: Disappointing MPGs in the Chevrolet Cruze Read more:

    There are several factors that she is leaving out. Yes it was cold, but how long and how fast was he driving the car. What was the psi in the tires at the time. I could easily see a 10 mpg drop in gas mileage with this Cruze under the right conditions.

    Example I had my Volvo wagon with snow tires set at 36 psi at my local garage two days before leaving on a trip. Temperatures out side were around 20 degrees compared to 70 degrees in that garage. When I checked my tire pressures in Virginia due to the large drop in my fuel mileage I found them all around 10-12 psi low. I would normally would have been getting over 28 mpg in the wagon and I was getting 22-23 during the first leg of my trip. :( Bumped up the tire pressures and my gas mileage jumped back up into 27-28 mpg as the temperatures also climbed into the thirties on the next leg of the trip.

    I'm betting these factors contributed to the lower fuel mileage.

    1. E10
    2. Low air temperatures
    3. Low tire pressures related to low ambient temperatures.
    4. Higher than normal highway speeds?
    5. Remote stater probably worth a 1-2 mph loss in fuel economy
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2011
  3. Nevyn

    Nevyn Well-Known Member

    I drove one on a short stint test drive. It was abysmal. Cold day, cold engine, mostly 40-55 mph driving. 9.9 miles, 28.9 MPG. I can get that in my 4AT non-turbo Elantra.
  4. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    And at the end of the week, I only managed 23.5 mpg.

    OK, I should point out a couple factors probably played into some of this. It was at or around 20 degrees for 5 out of 7 of the test days. And on at least 4 occasions, I did use the remote start.

    The man is a complete idiot.

  5. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Jill is a woman!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2011
  6. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    Okay, I didn't bother to read the report once I read the part about using remote start.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2011
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Harry:

    I know Jill and she is far from what you called her!!! In fact, she is probably one of the most down to earth and straight shooting Chicago area auto writers out there. The reason why she usually pulls such poor FE is she drives like most do in downtown and the suburbs of Chicago. Meaning both feet on the pedals at the same time, remote start if it is available, lives in downtown Chicago in the worst area imaginable to pull decent FE from and finally, she spells it out like she sees it. She has a great working relationship with GM yet laid out her review as experienced and as you can tell, it was not complimentary thanks to the poor FE by any means…

    Al, all her reviews occur from the same starting location using the same garbage Chicago based E10 winter/summer RFG (depending on season). In addition, the Vehicle handlers are all very careful to send the Press Vehicles to us with tires at placard + or - 2 or 3 pounds. Her winter FE is wicked bad no matter what she drives due to her location but when she said she drove an AWD SUV at almost the same FE as the Cruze, she means it!

    All, you will see and hear more about Jill during an upcoming event drive beginning later this spring if the schedule is accepted per our discussions with the major auto manufacturer.

    Jill C. with our 2011 F-250 Super Duty Press Vehicle last Spring in the Chicago Suburbs.​

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  8. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    A broken-in vehicle counts too. My last two bought-new cars really didn't start improving their MPG until at least the 9000 mile mark.
  9. saturnsc2

    saturnsc2 Well-Known Member

    Haha isn't it lovely that epa ratings and estimations are done based on straight gas, but yet the predominate fuel available in the u.s. is crappy ole e10...:D
  10. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    23.5 is just barely below the EPA city rating. In the dead of winter. I'd call that "not bad". It's just a shame the car is so low to start with.
  11. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member


    Ok lets have Jill do this again around April 15 or later and we can get a pretty good idea of what this car will get in real world driving. Testing in 20 degree weather isn't what I would call great conditions for a fuel mileage test unless your testing a snow mobiles fuel economy. Those air pressures were probably set in a warm GM dealers garage and here is Jill riding around on tires probably at least five or six psi lower than place-card.

    Not arguing the point just pointing out a flaw that I see in the fuel mileage numbers Jill is reporting. Nothing wrong with Jill's report at all on the Cruze's fuel mileage that she saw during her week with the car. GM should have let her do this test back in late October or early November, not during the harsh winter in Chicago.

  12. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    It could be that Jill's driving style may change a bit by April 15th.;) If not, she may be WELL exposed to the possibilities of maximizing fuel economy. :)
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Al:

    All of Jill's winter review drives occur in the same conditions including tire pressures. She is simply reporting the FE as she received it. It was not a fuel economy drive or review as that is not her audience. It simply is what it is and she darn near pulled better FE from an AWD FSP just a few weeks prior in similar conditions and the Cruze received a lot more highway then the AWD vehicle!

    Similarly, I requested of some way up there GM PR reps that they not release a Volt into the Chicago Press Fleet until after April 15th due to the notoriously low FE Chicago area Journalists usually produce. I actually mentioned a review of a TwoMode SUV that Jill tested last winter allowing a whopping 12.x mpg over her week with the FSP as a reason you do not want to bring your fuel efficient offerings into the Midwest (Chicago being the worst) in mid winter.

    We will see if they listen but why would they listen to us when it comes to fuel economy capabilities :rolleyes:

    Al already has seen the initial planning for it and as Mike and I have hinted, Jill will be exposed to an unusual drive in the very near future and will surely learn some things about high FE in a vehicle not known for high FE... Stay tuned ;)

  14. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    There are times when I have to run my Prius with the heater on, forcing it to run continually, to defrost the windows so I can see where I'm going. And that's only under extreme conditions, where scraping the outside of the glass won't get the job done.

    But I certainly would not characterize any fuel economy readings I got under those circumstances as representive in any way of the fuel economy of my car, and she should recognize that. Using a remote start just so she won't feel a chill getting underway is nice for her, but certainly unfair to the car she is rating.

  15. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Harry you should own my Prius in the winter. It's not the glass on the outside that is the problem it is the inside of the windshield that freezes up. I have to run the car until the water temperature gets warm enough to melt the ice on the inside. Talk about killing my fuel mileage. This is the biggest culprit that is causing me to have a 35.2 mpg tank going right now. :( My heat shield helps a little if I put it up if the car is sitting. Sun heats up the black dash, and then the dash radiates that heat to the inside of the windshield. Sun goes down windshield cools, condensation forms inside and freezes :rolleyes:
  16. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    I live about 125 miles north of you, so I do own a Prius "up north." Most days I walk to work, and walk home for lunch. By the time I drive the car, it has usually de-iced itself.

    I've never been accused of being a GM fan-boy, but GM put an honest effort into making a fuel-efficient car when they designed and built the Cruze, and to have a reviewer trash it's fuel-economy ratings by running it in her driveway for who knows how long while she sips coffee and allows the car to get toasty is dishonest and unfair to GM.

    Worse yet, people will get the idea that the Cruze is not fuel-efficient based on her biased review, and decide to buy something else that is less efficient. If you take on the task of reviewing a vehicle, your first responsibility is to be fair.

  17. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    You'd think she'd use a scanguage to see what it gets in different conditions...
  18. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Whooa, many here are attacking other journalists as bad as the way we are attacked at places like Auto Weak and Road and Track. Pull back your horns because the way the rest of America sees it, Remote starters and heated seats are installed as “features” in today’s cars and Joe and Jane Q. are damn well going to be use them whether we like it or not!
    Harry, that is exactly the types of FE that the average guy living in any urban center is getting in winter and in some cases, they are getting far worse! The average FE across the entire US light duty fleet is only 21.5 or so mpgUS and do you know how that comes about? Idling in front of the Wal-Mart while Joe and Jane Q. go in for 30-minutes of shopping, idling in the drive through for 10 minutes while waiting for two happy meals and a Sundae, driving into a stop light at 40 mph and then mashing the brakes and accelerating from the same at 4,500 RPM + because you can and driving at 72 mph in a 55 mph PSL because “everybody” else is…
    Jill reviews cars, not walks to her PC so she can write about the car(s) without driving it.

    CGautomotive just got done with the same Cruze just a few weeks ago and their FE was not much better! IIRC, it was 26 mpg but maybe somebody can go look it up?

    This is not a case of trashing a vehicle because they can or are willingly doing it. It is simply driving the way the unknowing Joe and Jane Q. drive. Each and every one of us see it every time we get on the road so do not bash a reviewer for distorting the actual. She is driving it just like anyone else living in a congested urban center in the winter months and the FE results are what they are.

    As far as I am concerned, Jill is a work in progress and one of the reasons I invited her along on an upcoming event drive. Nobody has a worse location to drive from or to. In addition, few have as heavy a foot as she does in the kinds of traffic she deals with which makes her a prime candidate to go through a patented "Hypermiling clinic." In fact, some of this may be imparted to some of her readers someday. And trust me; she has a big reach in and around the Chicago area.
    That is not how the review business works. You are lucky if you get a car for a week and you drive it around your area for said week to write about its strengths and weaknesses. While we at CleanMPG do extra long drives to figure out any number of details many gear head publications could give a damn about, I have to plead with manufactures well in advance to do a 400 + miler because the more miles on a press fleet car, the less they receive when the vehicles are auctioned off.

    In addition, do you know how many vehicles in the real world are ScanGauge equipped? We are by far in the minority by a long shot. Again, average Joe and Jane Q. do not even know what their FE is let alone care other than to bitch that it costs $90.00/week to fill their FSP.

    Good Luck

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    I am reposting a tweet Jill uploaded a few minutes ago in response to this discussion with more detail of her Cruze drive. It was not all that tough and seeing the other Chicago area group (CGautomotive) tweet similar results, the 1.4L Turbo equipped Cruze in the winter simply appears to suck? "Suck" in the fuel consumption sense of the word that is :D
    Saying all of this, she is looking forward to driving the 2011 Cruze ECO this spring as much as we are in order to experience better FE then what was just achieved.

    Good Luck

  20. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Just as an aside, a desiccant in the car will go a long way toward preventing internal ice-up. One of our members once suggested that a cheap alternative to commercially available desiccant is cat litter. He recommended putting some in a Tupperware knock off with holes punched in the lid to allow air circulation... then put it under a seat. I haven't tried it but may yet -- I've got two cats so there is plenty of (clean!) litter to play with.

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