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Thread: Gas mileage/MPG test: 2014 Mirage CVT vs. 5-speed (sub/urban Ottawa route)

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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Gas mileage/MPG test: 2014 Mirage CVT vs. 5-speed (sub/urban Ottawa route)


    (The actual cars used: entry level 5-speed ("ES" trim in Canada); up level CVT ("SE" trim) on the right.)

    Mirage 5-speed vs. CVT fuel economy test...

    In my first impressions of the 5-speed and CVT Mirage, I mentioned one of my goals in trying out the cars this weekend was to compare their fuel economy in city driving over the same route. (Yes, I'm a fuel economy nerd.)

    As a refresher, here are the car's urban ratings, according to the U.S. EPA (currently the most "realistic" rating system, regardless of where you live):

    2014 Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 L U.S. EPA city rating
    5-speed manual 34 mpg (US)
    6.9 L/100 km
    14.5 km/L
    40.8 mpg Imperial
    CVT automatic 37 mpg (US)
    6.4 L/100 km
    15.7 km/L
    44.4 mpg Imperial

    Despite the CVT's excellent rating, I suspected that the 5-speed would outperform the automatic's mileage in the hands of a motivated eco-driver. (See: Mirage CVT or 5-speed: which should you get for best gas mileage/fuel economy? )


    Eco-driving results ...

    The numbers, from the cars' factory fuel consumption gauges (how accurate are they?):

    2014 Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 L Observed fuel economy
    5-speed manual 48 mpg US
    4.9 L/100 km
    20.4 km/L
    58 mpg Imperial
    CVT automatic * 42 mpg (US)
    5.6 L/100 km
    17.9 km/L
    50 mpg Imperial

    * Caveat: I'm not certain the CVT was as warmed up as the manual car, and a colder car would have used more fuel. I still have my doubts it could match the 5-speed, but I think it may have been able to do a little bit better than it did. More details on that, below.


    Driving techniques used: plain vanilla eco-driving ...


    The route was was plain eco-driving, nothing fancy: The engine stayed on at all times, and I drove with traffic -- with the exception of when approaching stops ahead, like a fresh red light. I typically let off the accelerator significantly earlier than drivers ahead of / beside me. So, while they continued to burn fuel to rush up to stops & slowdowns, I coasted in behind them, sometimes arriving just in time to keep moving when they started up again.


    • The primary technique: plenty of following distance and looking well ahead to avoid rushing into situations where I would be forced to brake sharply (eg. red lights, cars in my lane slowing to turn, etc.).
    • Minimizing brake use & maximizing coasting opportunities are the key methods for getting great city fuel economy.
    • 5-speed: upshifting to the highest possible gear once up to speed; downshifting again if/when power required. Sometimes that meant I was in top gear at speeds as low as 50-60 km/h (30-36 mph).
    • 5-speed: early upshifts (not past ~2700 RPM) under moderate engine load
    • 5-speed: coasting in neutral towards some stops & turns when strong deceleration was not needed (otherwise, left in gear to take advantage of stronger deceleration under fuel-cutoff/engine braking)
    • CVT: under acceleration, keep RPM as low as practical
    • CVT: once up to speed, I would lift the throttle slightly to ensure the transmission had upshifted to provided the lowest cruising RPM.


    Corey, the sales rep from Donnely Mitsubishi (who was very good about showing me the cars -- plug! plug! - go see him if you're in Ottawa) said I drove like a grandma.

    But I want to emphasize that I drove with traffic. No rolling road blocks.


    Conditions & 10 km / 6 mile route ...


    • Saturday, October 26 between 4-5 PM
    • 5C (41 F)
    • windy: 24 km/h (14 mph) from SSW
    • damp roads
    • humitidy: 93%
    • pressure: 100.56 kPa




    Route, on Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/e5TLa


    • 10.6 km (6.6 mi.) clockwise loop (to avoid sitting at traffic lights for left turns)
    • sub/urban area (commercial & residential)
    • various speed zones, from 40 through 70 km/h (25 - 44 mph)
    • 7 stop signs
    • 18 traffic lights (which were very consistent between laps)
    • moderate traffic (cars all around, but no "stop & crawl" situations)



    Vehicle details/set-up ...

    Cold CVT: The biggest potential difference between cars was the manual transmission car had been driven earlier that afternoon. ("A couple of hours ago," said sales rep Corey. The fuel economy display showed the previous driver(s) got 7.1 L/100 km (33 mpg US = 14.1 km/L = 40 mpg Imp.)

    The "cold engine" light was not on when I started the manual.

    The CVT showed the "cold engine" light on start-up, so before driving the test route, we took a 5-7 minute detour to warm up the drivetrain. The light was out when we started.

    Odometers: The CVT had just under 300 km (186 miles) on it. The 5-speed had about half that.

    Tire pressures: (checked cold, the next morning)
    • 5-speed: ~33 PSI all around
    • CVT: ~33 PSI on two; one at ~36 PSI; one at ~45 PSI (giving this car a slight rolling resistance advantage over the manual)



    There's even better MPG where that came from ...

    There's significantly better fuel economy available without much more effort, by shutting off the engine at stops longer than ~10 seconds (my time preference).

    How much better? Around 8% on this specific route. Here's what that would mean compared to the laps with the engine always on...

    Observed fuel economy
    Engine always on Engine off, longer stops
    (+8%, projected)
    5-speed manual 48 mpg US
    4.9 L/100 km
    20.4 km/L
    58 mpg Imperial
    52 mpg US
    4.5 L/100 km
    22 km/L
    62 mpg Imperial
    CVT automatic * 42 mpg (US)
    5.6 L/100 km
    17.9 km/L
    50 mpg Imperial
    45 mpg US
    5.2 L/100 km
    19.3 km/L
    55 mpg Imperial

    How did I figure 8%?

    After we finished running the Mirages around the test loop, I took my own car around. (It's a 15 year old, 1.0 L, 3-cylinder, 5-speed Pontiac Firefly -- Canadian market Geo Metro). I repeated the "plain vanilla eco-driving" I did with the Mirages, then went again using "plain vanilla eco-driving plus shutting off the engine at long stops". That second lap was 8% better than the first.

    FYI, my modified Firefly/Metro returned 55 and 59.4 mpg (US) on those two laps. Though it has been modified to get better economy than stock (through minor weight reduction, higher tire pressure, modified gearing, multiple aerodynamic improvements). Oh, and there was one less person in my car.


    Attached Images Attached Images   

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member grsupercity's Avatar
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    Very nicely detailed

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    so you only got 1 liter on 20km with the manual and less with the cvt.....

    i hooped for higher numbers....

    anyway good review!
    edit:
    yes highway would be nice...
    and a middel speed run to ~70kmph
    Last edited by spacester; 10-29-2013 at 09:31 AM.

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    Senior Member jamiec's Avatar
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    very good thanks Metro. I would love to find a comparison on highway driving between the auto and manual sometime as most of my driving is this type.

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    great review!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2012 Mirage GLS 1.2 automatic: 37.0 mpg (US) ... 15.7 km/L ... 6.4 L/100 km ... 44.4 mpg (Imp)


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    I drive basically the same route you do - lot of right hand turns, avoid the left hand turns as much as possible... maybe a manual will be a better investment. I'd rather save the $1,000... I do MOSTLY city (but not heavy traffic) so I keep a constant 35-45mph with some minor stops and 2-3 minute idles per 10 miles driven. If the manual is the same or better in MPG I think I will get the manual!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2010 Yaris 1.5 manual: 36.9 mpg (US) ... 15.7 km/L ... 6.4 L/100 km ... 44.3 mpg (Imp)


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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Bretts - for that kind of driving, I'd get the manual.

    To match/beat the CVT, you just have to use the techniques I did: get into the highest gear you can when up to speed (downshift when you need more power), leave lots of space, and look well ahead to anticipate stops/slowdowns so you can avoid having to brake sharply.

    Even if you "only" get the rated mileage from the 5-speed, it still makes financial sense given the price difference for the CVT. (See the payback calcs here: Mirage CVT or 5-speed: which should you get for best gas mileage/fuel economy? )

    Quote Originally Posted by spacester View Post
    so you only got 1 liter on 20km with the manual and less with the cvt.....

    i hooped for higher numbers....
    I think the CVT could have returned better results, as I mentioned. It was a cold day (5 C), and the CVT may not have been as warmed up as the 5-speed when we started out on the route. Both cars would have gotten better numbers in warmer weather. (And both will get significantly worse numbers when winter temperatures arrive.)

    Regardless of what transmission you like, the results can be excellent with careful driving. And I still suspect the CVT will win at higher speeds on the highway.

    I hope to be able to compare the 5mt and CVT on a highway run some day.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    In that case I may be looking to jump into one of these babies soon. I really want the navi/back up camera. I think I'll try to find an ES 5spd near tax time. Sell my wife's SUV and keep our Honda Civic (which I love) and we'll both save enough gas to make trading the Civic for a Prius not worth it!

    I will need to teach my wife to drive stick, though. Last time I tried was in a hyundai tiburon with a worn out clutch...I drove it for over a year before having the clutch finally replaced and she just couldn't get it. Hard to learn when you depress the clutch and the car doesn't move at all!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2010 Yaris 1.5 manual: 36.9 mpg (US) ... 15.7 km/L ... 6.4 L/100 km ... 44.3 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
    Bretts - for that kind of driving, I'd get the manual.

    To match/beat the CVT, you just have to use the techniques I did: get into the highest gear you can when up to speed (downshift when you need more power), leave lots of space, and look well ahead to anticipate stops/slowdowns so you can avoid having to brake sharply.

    Even if you "only" get the rated mileage from the 5-speed, it still makes financial sense given the price difference for the CVT. (See the payback calcs here: Mirage CVT or 5-speed: which should you get for best gas mileage/fuel economy? )



    I think the CVT could have returned better results, as I mentioned. It was a cold day (5 C), and the CVT may not have been as warmed up as the 5-speed when we started out on the route. Both cars would have gotten better numbers in warmer weather. (And both will get significantly worse numbers when winter temperatures arrive.)

    Regardless of what transmission you like, the results can be excellent with careful driving. And I still suspect the CVT will win at higher speeds on the highway.

    I hope to be able to compare the 5mt and CVT on a highway run some day.
    And both will get significantly worse numbers when winter temperatures arrive............... how significantly do you think?

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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    In an eastern Canadian winter? A 10 - 15% loss compared to summer wouldn't be unusual. Some drivers lose a lot more than that (especially if they idle the engine to warm up the car).


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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