Volvo mpg blues...

Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by AlanS, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. AlanS

    AlanS New Member

    I am the new owner of a 2009 xc70 AWD. One could say that I didn't do my homework, and now find that I have a combined mpg of 18.8. I guess I expected more, but then again, it's a heavy vehicle and AWD. A fellow Volvo owner suggested I stop in here to see if I can improve my mpg's.
    I live on Long Island, about 30 miles a day (to/ from work)...suburban area. On weekends I hit the highways for longer traveling.
    I approached the dealer about the mpg's, they said "That's about all you will get. You bought a large vehicle and it is a guzzler". Not much support.
  2. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Alan,

    I asked a few years ago what the AWD's were getting and I was told nineteen. I said city? he said no nineteen period, by a dealer tech. I've owned Volvo's since 1981 mostly turbo fours except for my 97 960.
    Volvo's are simple for getting better mileage. (A) keep the rpms under 2,500 and best to keep them at 2,000 or less. Once you head north of 62 mph or 100 Kph you will see the fuel mileage dump. The sweet spot is pretty much the same as other vehicles between 45 and 50 mph. IPD did a performance build on a AWD S70Turbo and they saw on the dyno that the AWD system was draining almost 30% of the power between the engine and the wheels.

    And yes the AWD system adds somewhere around 500lbs to the weight of the car.

    The upside is you are driving one of the safest cars on the road as one of the most reliable when properly maintained.

    A good start would be to read the CleanMPG Primer.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  3. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Glad you made it! What is your commute like? Lots of lights and traffic, or decently open roads? If it's LI I'm guessing more of the former than the latter. What kind of speeds are you driving on those highway trips?
  4. AlanS

    AlanS New Member

    Yep..stop and go traffic. Luckily I just changed jobs and, instead of a 25 mile one way commute, it will be 10...that's a savings right there. I was at the dealer today...asked if I could disable the AWD...he said, without hesitation...NO. Darn.
  5. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm. Chris Bernius (MaxxMPG) is a Long Island mileage magician so maybe he'd be able to give you a clinic.
  6. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Lots of snow in Long Island?
  7. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    Welcome to CleanMPG, and stick around and read and learn. Ask lots of questions - we're happy to help.

    Herm - Not too much snow on LI, as in not too often, but we do get hit from Nor'Easters every couple of years. A normal winter will bring 2 or 3 larger storms, and maybe a dozen measurable snow events.

    You can beat the EPA on LI. I do it consistently. And you're not the first LI driver to find out that our local roads are far worse than the EPA's fantasy "city" road. You can read The Sonata On Trial to see how one test worked out well in the end.

    For daily commuting, a Volvo XC70 is not the best tool for the job. It's big and heavy, so the main goal will be easy acceleration, and avoiding the brake pedal altogether. At longer lights, shift to neutral and cut the engine. Best results come from light timing, letting the rabbits run ahead to trip lights, and rerouting as needed to minimize stop signs and red lights. Needless to say, *never* use any sort of drive-thru window, and use potential parking and face-out parking whenever possible. Practice DWL on the highways. There are a lot of hills - especially on the parkways - and it takes a change in mindset to keep the pedal locked in position and allow speed to change. But it makes a difference.

    You can't disable the AWD on the Volvo, and you wouldn't see much benefit if you could, since I has (I believe) a Haldex unit that has fairly low internal friction and drive losses - at least for an AWD system.

    Your initial goal should be to beat EPA city on your commute and EPA highway on the weekends. Then work from there to improve your skills.
  8. worthywads

    worthywads Don't Feel Like Satan, I am to AAA

    EPA combined is 18, you are getting 18.8, off to a good start.
  9. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Yup, they use a Haldex system.

    I think the transmission is the one bright spot on my similar (but AWD-less) V70. If I just put it in "D" and accelerate gently, it will shift below 2,000RPM on its own unless I'm climbing a hill. The only shift point I don't really like is 5-6, which happens no sooner than 47mph even if I'm just cruising along at 43 and don't need the engine spinning at 1700RPM under essentially no load.

    Fortunately it also has a manual shift gate that will let you do essentially anything you want. If I want to shift to 6th at just above 40 on a flat road, that's no problem. The only caveat is that I'm pretty careful to watch the load value on the ScanGauge to make sure I'm not giving it a boot-full at essentially idle RPMs. The straight six engine just doesn't tell you when it's lugging the same way a 4-cylinder does, and I don't think it's especially good for the bottom end to do that.

    Finally, torque converter lockup seems to be heavily dependent on how much throttle I give it. (I did a little reading to confirm that this is on purpose.) Under very light load and after it has warmed-up, the torque converter locks-up during the 2-3 shift (about 15mph). Under harder acceleration it delays, and can stay unlocked most of the way to highway speed if you really cane it. Under moderately heavy acceleration, the tach droops by a couple hundred RPM in the middle of 5th (I think...don't do it much) gear when the clutch engages.

    I'm not sure if all that will translate exactly to the XC, since they might have changed the programming to compensate for extra mass. But it should work essentially the same way.

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