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sam500
01-20-2011, 11:33 PM
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?

Vlad92
01-20-2011, 11:53 PM
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.

Fiat500USA
01-21-2011, 03:36 AM
author="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?



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;)

http://fiat-500-usa-forum-archives.965414.n3.nabble.com/file/n2300219/POP.jpg

ScarGo
01-21-2011, 07:35 AM
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. <smiley image='anim_working.gif'/>

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.

Fiat500USA
01-21-2011, 11:01 AM
Sam500,
By the way, this is a great topic you posted . I've moved it to its own forum category.

Fiat500USA
01-21-2011, 11:02 AM
<quote author="ScarGo">
...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.
</quote>


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.

Chris
01-21-2011, 11:19 AM
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?

Fiat500USA
01-21-2011, 01:45 PM
author="cinquecento">
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. <smiley image='smiley_happy.gif'/>

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.

jdjefferson
01-21-2011, 02:37 PM
- deleted -

Fiat500USA
01-22-2011, 01:39 AM
author="jdjefferson">
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...

Spektor
01-22-2011, 01:05 PM
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.

Chris
01-22-2011, 04:13 PM
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.

Spektor
01-23-2011, 10:33 AM
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.

small car lover
01-23-2011, 12:04 PM
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.

Spektor
01-24-2011, 10:02 AM
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.

Chris
01-24-2011, 10:35 AM
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.

small car lover
01-24-2011, 04:14 PM
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.

Fiat500USA
01-25-2011, 04:40 AM
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.

sketch
01-25-2011, 01:22 PM
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.

ScarGo
01-25-2011, 02:21 PM
Sketch. I think you need a smiley...<smiley image='smiley_grin.gif'/> or two...<smiley image='smiley_happy.gif'/><smiley image='smiley_happy.gif'/>

sam500
01-25-2011, 03:21 PM
I second that!! <smiley image='smiley_grin.gif'/>

Fiat500USA
01-25-2011, 08:41 PM
Ok, some news is coming that will make all smile... Sit tight for the OK. <smiley image='smiley_cool.gif'/>

sketch
01-26-2011, 05:00 AM
Haha! Well, thanks! I ain't mad, just keepin' it real ;)

Chris
01-26-2011, 12:35 PM
Let me guess: actual EPA numbers?

sam500
01-28-2011, 03:12 AM
Just read your official post on the main page! 30/38 is great news!! Better yet, that the car is lively and quintessentially italian :)

Thanks Chris!!

Fiat500USA
01-28-2011, 04:29 AM
<quote author="sam500">
Just read your official post on the main page! 30/38 is great news!! Better yet, that the car is lively and quintessentially italian :)

Thanks Chris!!
</quote>

There was an embargo on all info so I couldn't say anything. Laura told us about the fuel economy during her presentation.

The car is a blast to drive. The MultiAir engine has no throttle valve so it sounds super throaty. I was constantly on the gas to hear it pull. I read somewhere a journalist couldn't do 65 mph in 3rd gear. As these cars were pre-production maybe he had one low on power. I hit 90mph before I had to back off for a sanity check. That's with 2 people with a combined weight of 410lbs!

ciddyguy
01-28-2011, 11:02 AM
I read that and it sounds more and more like the car I would be happy in.

Sounds like this car might come closest to the little '83 Civic I once had that I had such a ball driving, it was the 1500cc 4 pot motor, cranking out all of 67hp, but it was SO. MUCH. FUN to drive and I didn't feel wanting in power because it was what, 1800# n curb weight but brought great mileage and was super practical too and if I'm not mistaken, it had an 88" wheelbase so was a bit shorter than the 500 (mine was the 3 door hatch w/ 5Spd)!

The mileage, getting 30 city is almost unheard of still and this car seems to be achieving it even though the highway mileage seems about what has been reported, now if one drove sensibly, kept the revs to around 3000rpm at cruising speed, I bet the highway mileage would be a bit better, prolly closer to 40 there.

It's the city mileage that has been the achiellies heel of fleet mileage for many.

This keeps getting better and better!

Springer2011
01-28-2011, 04:51 PM
I posted questions in another thread but here is a summary of my EPA mileage rating questions.

Question 1 - Manual = 30/38, Automatic = 27/34
Why is automatic version 3-4 mpg less than manual when the current EPA ratings in 2010 and 2011 are within about 1 mpg?

Question 2 - I agree with poster that in reviewing all the European mileage data, why is the City rating so much lower than the European versions when the multiair technology is used for EPA rating and previous engine used for European version?

Question 3 - If the US uses multiair technology and the european versions tested use the previous generation engines why is the US mileage so much less than the European cycle test data. European test data is Cty/Hwy/Comb for Manual = 33/47/41, Automatic = 35/47/42.

Background Info - The European test cycle for City/Highway uses top speeds of 31 mph City and 55 mph Highway. The EPA test cycle uses different top speeds and more acceleration/deceleration cycles.

Jim McKenzie
01-28-2011, 08:04 PM
I do admit that the low estimates for the automatic transmission have me disappointed as well. I know that the US version supposedly does not use the exact same Duo-Logic used in Europe, and wonder if this new US transmission is the culprit?

A shame if true...my girlfriend and my daughters all want me to buy an auto this time around, they cannot drive either my X1/9 or my 850 Spider and are wondering if I am buying stickshifts on purpose :) Next car MUST be an auto...

sketch
01-28-2011, 09:32 PM
Well.... yes. You answered your own question.

The numbers in Europe and in America cannot be compared and will (and should!) be different for the same car. The test cycles are different, and they are adjusted differently. On top of that, the figures published by the EPA are calculated in a way that makes them something like 22% lower than the figures as-tested, because this yields a figure that is much closer to real-world.

Big changes in EPA numbers came in 2007; that's why the Prius's ratings, for the same car, went from 60/51 to 48/45. I'm not sure about the Euro cycle, but I'm sure that it's different.

As for the automatic, I'm not sure, but I'm confident it has at least something, and perhaps everything, to do with the transmission. If they'd used the Dualogic, it would have probably been a bit better; conventional torque converter automatics are simply inefficient, which is more noticeable with a smaller engine, I think.

fiatgal
02-02-2011, 10:40 AM
Finally, a MASSIVE snow day gives me some reprieve to attend to Fiat things... <smiley image='smiley_thinking.gif'/>

I too have been disappointed with the EPA figures. I fell in love with this car 3 years ago, in large part because I was looking at the TwinAir and/or Diesel figures. I want a small car with good to great gas mileage. Oh. And stylish helps. Now, I'm really at a loss. I mean... my 88 Mazda 323 gets almost as good mileage as this car.

I'm trying to process all the great info I've read here. I'm now thinking of holding off. Maybe I wait until the TwinAir or Diesel gets here? Or maybe I wait until our infrastructure can handle the EV for my 40+miles commute to work?

Thoughts?

Oh! one other thing. Are those numbers for the Pop or the Sport?

Fiat500USA
02-03-2011, 12:10 AM
<quote author="FiatGal">
Finally, a MASSIVE snow day gives me some reprieve to attend to Fiat things... <smiley image='smiley_thinking.gif'/>

I too have been disappointed with the EPA figures. I fell in love with this car 3 years ago, in large part because I was looking at the TwinAir and/or Diesel figures. I want a small car with good to great gas mileage. Oh. And stylish helps. Now, I'm really at a loss. I mean... my 88 Mazda 323 gets almost as good mileage as this car.

I'm trying to process all the great info I've read here. I'm now thinking of holding off. Maybe I wait until the TwinAir or Diesel gets here? Or maybe I wait until our infrastructure can handle the EV for my 40+miles commute to work?

Thoughts?

Oh! one other thing. Are those numbers for the Pop or the Sport?
</quote>


Hi FiatGal,

I would wait for real world statistics 'cause I don't trust EPA figures. Don't know what model (might not make much of a difference).

This car isn't a feather weight and is packed with equipment. If Fiat wanted to they could easily decontent the car, strip everything out of it and grab ultra fuel economy tires and go head to head on a fuel mileage war. Who knows, maybe in the future, but right now, i don't see it happening. I just went through the equipment list, it is loaded with features and there is a cost to that in weight, etc.

It's a trade off, and another tough decision :) but maybe, not too tough. With the eco:drive system, I'm sure I'll play with that to see how much MPGs I can get. Of course, that's after I get tired of winding the engine up to hear it sing!

sketch
02-03-2011, 03:24 AM
Well, for one, I doubt you were looking at any TwinAir figures 3 years ago :P

The European and American test cycles really can't be compared. The testing is just too different. EPA numbers can only really be compared with EPA numbers, and so on for other test systems. So when you compare the Fiat 500's EPA fuel economy with the others in its class, I think you'll find it's quite competitive!

Also, remember that there's quite a lot of safety equipment, mandatory and otherwise, installed in the 500 that wasn't even thought of when your '88 Mazda was made. I <i>guarantee</i> you'll have a much, much, much better chance of making it out of a given accident alive if you're in the 500.

I'm also confident the 500 is roomier. Fiat designed for a potential 6'5" driver! My experience shows that Japan didn't really account for that a couple decades ago ;)

No telling whether they tested a Pop or Sport, but I would imagine the MPG would be very slightly higher in the Pop, considering the (I assume) increased unsprung weight of the 16" Sport wheels.

CaliberSRT4
02-03-2011, 07:07 AM
@FiatGal

I really do not understand how you could be disappointed with the fuel economy figure. 33 MPG combined EPA is the highest fuel economy of any 4+ seater gas car. And that is without paying extra for transmission upgrades or special eco packages. True, the 1.4L MultiAir is no TwinAir nor MultiJet II. But look at the competition: I don't see any 2-cylinder engines or small diesels there. Well, VW offers some diesels. But they get 34 MPG combined EPA; and diesel is more expensive than gas here, unlike in Europe, so that ends up being a wash. Though I'm sure the MultiJet II Fiat 500 would get better than 34 MPG, since the gas versions of the VW's get 27-28 MPG.

As for your '88 Mazda 323, I'm sorry to report that its fuel economy is not very close to the Fiat 500's. Based on the current EPA scale, it gets 24 city and 30 highway for a combined 27 MPG. The Fiat 500 also has many more features, is considerably quieter, more refined, faster, better handling, and astronomically safer.

As for deciding between buying a Fiat 500 now or waiting for more powertrains, that is a tough choice. For the EV, you would be waiting a bit less than 2 years. But with an 80 mile commute, the EV would barely cut it. For any other possible powertrains, you would be waiting over 2 years for sure.


@sketch

I highly doubt the Sport wheels are heavier than the Pop wheels. The Pop has steel wheels, the Sport has aluminum. Steel wheels are heavier than aluminum. Generally, you can go at least one inch larger in diameter with an aluminum wheel, without increasing in weight beyond the original steel wheel.

Also, I don't think the Pop is a very good value compared to the Sport. The Sport gets so many upgrades from the Pop that it is almost a no-brainer at $2,000 more. Chrome exhaust tip, sport cloth/vinyl seats, 16" aluminum wheels, wider tires, sport suspension, Bose premium sound system, red brake calipers, sport body kit, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, fog lights, and steering wheel audio controls.

MrJones
02-03-2011, 11:13 AM
Still, you have to be a little disappointed in the MPG numbers on this little car--especially the auto trans. True, EPA numbers differ from real world numbers, but that's true for every vehicle. EPA tests/numbers are used as a rubric by which all manufacturers can be gauged--accurately or not. They are all tested/scored the same. So to say that the Fiat will get better real world mileage (I'm sure it will) and another car will not is unfair.

I believe the success or failure of Fiat will hinge on how the public perceives and interprets the MPG numbers. I personally feel they are disappointingly low for a car this size and HP and will probably shift my car shopping to something more like the Mazda2 or Fiesta.

ciddyguy
02-03-2011, 11:16 AM
Fiatgal,

I tend to agree with both Sketch and CaliberSRT4 on this.

Remember when people only had the Euro car to go by using the Euro mileage figures and converting them? That was for the NON MultiAir 1.4L motor as the MultiAir 1.4 is ONLY available here in the US/Canada at this moment.

And even when converted to US figures, the mileage dropped by at least 5mpg overall and even it was STILL near 40mpg, much like it is now if I recall for highway anyway.

I got great gas mileage out of my 83 Civic and I know it was in the 30's highway and did about 300-350miles on a full tank (I think 10Gals or so was its capacity) back in the day so I guess at best, mid 30's there, the Accord with the larger 2.0L 4 (88 LX-I with fuel injection) got at best low 30's highway, mid to upper 20's city - tops, both 5spds.

And as already been said, the mileage is similar if not a tad more than the competition. To get cars with 40 or more, you had to sacrifice quite a bit more and that was performance, remember the ultra high mileage Civics of the 1990's, the Geo Metro's? The Civic used a very early version of the variable valve system (2 stage) and lower HP to achieve their ultra high mileage, Suzuki who made the Sprint/Metro A segment car did it with a 3 cylinder motor, and again, HP was minuscule.

Here, we have a car with quite decent performance (9.7 sec on this size motor is pretty good, even today) and while it's no lightweight it does weigh in at 2,333# curb weight, which isn't bad by today's standards at all and yet still manages 37 highway, 30 city, 33 combined.

That's considerably better than my truck that's for sure.

ciddyguy
02-03-2011, 11:19 AM
<quote author="MrJones">
Still, you have to be a little disappointed in the MPG numbers on this little car--especially the auto trans. True, EPA numbers differ from real world numbers, but that's true for every vehicle. EPA tests/numbers are used as a rubric by which all manufacturers can be gauged--accurately or not. They are all tested/scored the same. So to say that the Fiat will get better real world mileage (I'm sure it will) and another car will not is unfair.

I believe the success or failure of Fiat will hinge on how the public perceives and interprets the MPG numbers. I personally feel they are disappointingly low for a car this size and HP and will probably shift my car shopping to something more like the Mazda2 or Fiesta.
</quote>

I would research the Fiesta and Mazda2 mileage figures, especially if you intend to go w/ the manual, the 2 only had an antiquated 4spd autobox.

That said, the Mazda has 100 HP too.

MrJones
02-03-2011, 11:48 AM
Just a quick check on the Mazda2 shows the 2011 with 5-speed @ 29/35. Everybody tends to focus a lot on the highway mileage, but most, if not all, of my driving is urban. So, the 500 gets 1 MPG better there. The Mazda is also around $14k ($15.6 for touring trim). Is it as well equiped as the Fiat? Probably not. As mentioned before, everything is a trade-off. The extra $50 or so of gas I save with Fiat doesn't make much of a dent in the MSRP. By the way, I'm curious what everyone thinks the resale value for the 500 will be?

I'm not trying to slam the 500 here--the MPG numbers are indeed good. I still think people are going to balk at the auto transmission numbers when they see them.

small car lover
02-03-2011, 12:34 PM
MrJones, I'm a little confused what you are getting at <smiley image='anim_confused.gif'/>

The Mazda 2 with the auto is 27 city/ 33 hwy vs 27 city / 34 hwy for the 500 with the auto.

So why would a buyer balk at the 500 auto transmissions numbers be fine with the Mazda 2 numbers?

The MSRP prices are similar when comparing similary equipped cars. Quality of interior materials is better on the 500 from the pictures we have seen (IMHO), the Mazda 2 has 4 doors.

Seems like the vehicles are quite competitive. Not sure why a buyer would balk at one and not the other <smiley image='anim_confused.gif'/>

MrJones
02-03-2011, 01:45 PM
Touché-- I did not realize that you could get the auto transmission in the Fiat Pop trim. I thought it was lounge only--and thus I based my MSRP savings on that.

I apologize.

This is becoming a very competitive class of cars and Fiat will have their work cut out for them vs. established brands in the US. Having said that, I think the 500 is a fantastic car (on paper) and has a lot going for it and I will certainly entertain buying my Prima whenever it gets here.

sketch
02-03-2011, 02:25 PM
If you want a car with similar horsepower numbers and better EPA figures, I'll have a 2006 Toyota Prius for sale in (hopefully) a couple weeks. 110 combined horsepower, 48/45 MPG on the 2007-2010 scale. 83,000 miles, beat up on the outside but mechanically it's almost perfect.

http://fiat-500-usa-forum-archives.965414.n3.nabble.com/file/n2416537/s27Yj.jpgLet me know! <smiley image='smiley_wink.gif'/>

Springer2011
02-03-2011, 10:31 PM
2011 Hyundai Elantra, 148 horsepower, 6 speed manual and automatic, no eco package or special transmission charge needed, 2700 lbs curb weight, and 29/40 mpg EPA numbers for all cars. Wow Fiat should be looking at this and how they did it. They are not using direct injection and variable valve lift yet either.

Fiat 500, 105 horsepower, 2200 lbs curb weight, and 27/34 mpg automatic EPA numbers.

Fiat has less weight, less horsepower but much lower EPA rating for automatic.

Just food for thought.

CaliberSRT4
02-03-2011, 11:52 PM
I don't think Fiat needs to take any lessons from the Elantra. The 500's competition is the MINI, Yaris, Fit, Smart, etc. The Elantra is more of a mainstream compact sedan. I think its main competition in terms of the type of vehicle and fuel economy is the 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco, 2011 Ford Fiesta SFE sedan, and 2012 Ford Focus. Of course it isn't cut and dry by any means, and the sedans do compete with the hatchbacks for a lot of buyers. But the 500 is unique, it isn't trying to be an Elantra.

That said, the Fiat 500 does match the Elantra's fuel economy with the 5-speed manual, despite the disadvantage of having one less gear, and a less streamlined shape. The Fiat 500 almost competes well in terms of price and content, while having a lot more options and customizability than the Elantra.

However, the automatic transmission is subpar as you point out. I'm sure Fiat already recognizes this. With a new automatic transmission, the fuel economy performance could easily be fixed. As it stands now, the manual transmission has a big advantage.

Fiat500USA
02-04-2011, 01:20 AM
Hi Springer2011, welcome to the forum!

I think one of the things we have to remember is the engine on the Fiat is 30 years old. It was a ground breaking design and has been updated, and of course, it has MultiAir, but it is still an older design.

The feeling I got was that it was more important that the car drives great than to put extreme fuel economy out there.

sketch
02-04-2011, 01:43 AM
You're leaving out an important fact: the Fiat 500 is <i>not a Hyundai</i>. <smiley image='anim_blbl.gif'/>

CaliberSRT4
02-04-2011, 02:05 AM
The engine on the Fiat 500 is not 30 years old. It is one year old, tops, and is a brand new engine. Saying that it is originally based on a design from 30 years ago is meaningless. By the same token, just about any modern internal combustion engine is based on a design from over 100 years ago, the 4-stroke otto cycle combustion engine. The 1.4L MultiAir does lack direct injection, but so do many other new engines, so it is by no means commonplace. Also, the 1.4L MultiAir will receive a turbo next year (Abarth). So the engine is just as modern as any competitors.

The reason the Elantra gets as good or better fuel economy than the 500 is mostly aerodynamics and better transmissions. The engines themselves are likely on par with one another.

sketch
02-04-2011, 05:03 PM
The Rolls Royce 6 3/4 Litre V8 has been around since WW II as well, but you don't hear people harp on that for being unrefined! ;)

Springer2011
02-05-2011, 03:59 PM
Well I think many people missed the point that I made by bringing up the Elantra. The message was the car is 400 lbs heavier, 43 more horsepower, heavier class, and yet better automatic mileage.

Lets take the emotions out of reading this post and hopefully someone makes changes in the Fiat500 at some time. Fiat did a great job of upgrading the car but missed in the transmission department in my opinion. Here is my logic.

I have a generic beef with US auto manufacturers in general that many of the engines and technology in Europe is not brought to the US. We lag significantly in the diesel area.

The Mini Coopers in Europe and the US use the same or similar transmissions, 6 speeds.

The European Fiat 500 uses a 6 speed manual but the US only gets a 5 speed. It seems to me that keeping a 6 speed would be a better idea for many reasons that I will not get into, it is obvious though. Some of the entry level cars from other manufacturers use 5 speeds with 6 speeds on most other cars. If you already are using a 6 speed though seems it would be easier to keep the car this way. Ask yourself what is the cost differential in a 5 speed or 6 speed to the factory, my guess $100, but I am not an expert. Their are many benefits when upgrading from a 5 speed to 6 speed and if the cost is $100 or less seems like money well spent.

The European Fiat 500 uses the 6 speed dualogic that is efficient. I think this may use an electro hydraulic clutch pak instead of a torque converter. The US though gets an older design automatic with a torque converter. I have a 2009 VW with a DSG transmission and this is a great transmission, not perfect but very nice. I am going to gift this car and get a Fiat 500 auto, but would be happier with a better auto.

Aisin has a six speed automatic available that is more efficient than the transmission selected, why not use this.

I know VW is famous for not bringing in all their engine/transmission combos from Europe. Fiat did a great job updating the Fiat 500 but the transmissions in my opinion are a miss. If they would have used similar trans as in Europe I think they would have even a greater success.

Remember you can make all the excuses you want as a response but it is pretty obvious if you but on your common sense hat and take of your emotions hat, you should see the point made here.

sketch
02-05-2011, 04:33 PM
The six speed manual simply will not fit in the US car due to additional structural reinforcement added to make the car safer for American roads.

I'd rather survive a crash and have one less cog, thanks.

As for the Dualogic, I can imagine it's a strange system. I'm not sure if you guys have watched the videos from the press event, but Laura Soave explained a few things about the Aisin automatic for the US market. She said that they'd given her a car with the robotised manual to take home for a day, and immediately she determined it's not going to be accepted by the American public.

One of the biggest complaints about the Smart fortwo is the automated manual transmission, even in Europe since there is no conventional manual available. I've seen most claim that it's too sluggish and jerky. I'd imagine it's part of the reason they haven't really taken off in the states.

Now, this isn't a huge issue for Fiat in Europe, because the take rate for automatic gearboxes is very low. In America, however, some 7% of new cars are sold with manuals, and Fiat expects no more than 20% of buyers or so to go with the manual gearbox. The Dualogic is a single-clutch system, from what I understand, so I'd imagine it's quite slow.

Volkswagen's DSG is indeed an impressive gearbox, but it's a double clutch system, designed for performance. A side effect of its (almost unbelievably) fast shifts is that it's easier to live with. I've spent some time with the DSG, though, and even it does take a bit of getting used to.

Soave continued to say that the pairing of the Aisin 6-speed unit was done at the last minute, just to make sure the car would be as good as it can be for the market. I'd wager this is why the manual will be the first to market—I doubt that was the plan from the start. No, the 500 is not the most economical car, but that's not its raison d'Ítre. With the automatic, it's more refined, which is an important part of the package.

Don't get me wrong, Hyundai has done quite an impressive job with its new Elantra, but it competes in a different segment. I would contend that the buyer looking purely for an inexpensive high-MPG car will go elsewhere, whereas the style-conscious buyers looking for an inexpensive, small, fun to drive high-MPG car will be eyeing the Cinquecento just as they've been eyeing the Mini all these years.

Springer2011
02-05-2011, 06:20 PM
Sketch - Obviously you agree with me by saying the Aisin was a last minute decision and the 6 speed manual will not fit in the frame.

sketch
02-05-2011, 06:47 PM
I agree that neither transmission is optimal. The distinction is that I don't think it's all that important.

While a six speed transmission by itself might have been $100 more expensive, Fiat simply does not have one that fits. Their options, besides going with the 5-speed, would be either to develop a new transmission which fits around the safety load path or to alter the design of the safety feature. The R&D costs for the former would be, I'm sure, expensive, which would cut into the price advantage the 500 has over its main competitor. The latter is, in my opinion, unacceptable.

The automatic, on the other hand, is purely a good business decision for the market. I would bet that more people would be turned off by the robotised manual than will be turned off by the rather low MPG rating. I still contend that most people will be buying the car because it's stylish, not because it's particularly economical. As for the "more efficient Aisin unit", I'm sure they went with the best one they could source that fit in the car.

If you want the utmost in fuel economy, get a Prius. It's more practical than the Cinquecento in just about every category I can think of. If you want something cheap and economical, get a Yaris or something. It's... well, it's cheap.

If you want your car to be something more than mere transportation from point A to point B, if you're the type who prefers the drive to its destination, if you like to smile every time you walk out of your door and up to your driveway simply because of what's there, well, the Fiat 500 is far and away the most inexpensive and most economical way to do it.

Springer1952
02-06-2011, 12:08 AM
Sketch - If you want the utmost in fuel economy buy a Prius.

You know there are many reasons why GM and Chrysler filed bankruptcy in the past.

Fiat500USA
02-06-2011, 12:54 AM
<quote author="CaliberSRT4">
The engine on the Fiat 500 is not 30 years old. It is one year old, tops, and is a brand new engine. Saying that it is originally based on a design from 30 years ago is meaningless. By the same token, just about any modern internal combustion engine is based on a design from over 100 years ago, the 4-stroke otto cycle combustion engine. The 1.4L MultiAir does lack direct injection, but so do many other new engines, so it is by no means commonplace. Also, the 1.4L MultiAir will receive a turbo next year (Abarth). So the engine is just as modern as any competitors.

The reason the Elantra gets as good or better fuel economy than the 500 is mostly aerodynamics and better transmissions. The engines themselves are likely on par with one another.
</quote>

Hi CaliberRT$,

The engine we have in the US is the evolution of the FIRE series developed in the 1980's. The engine was upgraded in 2003, and we have the significant update with the MultiAir system added, but the architecture is still much older than, let's say the SGE/TwinAir. These newer engine designs have the benefit of the latest technology being developed around them at the concept level, which is much more efficient that upgrading an older design to newer standards.

For example, here is something on the new TwinAir:

"... Last but not least, the new engine was painstakingly optimized and tuned. For instance, the basic twin-cylinder architecture - combined with the low friction of internal parts - makes this engine best-in-class at a world level in terms of low friction. Furthermore, calculated simulations have been used to identify the best possible unit displacement in terms of thermo-dynamic efficiency, and the best fluid dynamic configuration to optimize and get the best out of the MultiAir system."

I use this to illustrate that a new engine has the advantages of being optimized from the beginning, it's something that the 1368cc FIRE didn't have the benefit of, they used the existing design, and that makes a difference.

Now there is no denying some cars get better gas mileage (the Hyundai sounds pretty outrageous). I'm just trying to explore why the 500 mileage is rated what it is. The above is my opinion.

The next time I talk with someone who knows I'll run my theory by them ;)

Best regards,

Chris

small car lover
02-06-2011, 01:01 AM
Gosh, with all the complaining about fuel economy I keep coming back the fact that the 500 and the Smart are the only gasoline, non-hybrid cars in the USA with City EPA of 30 or greater. Is the smart really a close competitor to the 500? I think the Smart is in a class by itself.

No doubt there is room for improvement. That is always the case.

The fact remains the 500 has the best city EPA of any gas non hybrid. Lets give credit where it's due.

Fiat500USA
02-06-2011, 01:03 AM
<quote author="Small Car Lover">
Gosh, with all the complaining about fuel economy I keep coming back the fact that the 500 and the Smart are the only gasoline, non-hybrid cars in the USA with City EPA of 30 or greater. Is the smart really a close competitor to the 500? I think the Smart is in a class by itself.

No doubt there is room for improvement. That is always the case.

The fact remains the 500 has the best city EPA of any gas non hybrid. Lets give credit where it's due.
</quote>
<smiley image='anim_claps.gif'/>

ciddyguy
02-06-2011, 01:39 AM
Yep, essentially what fiat500usa said.

However, Wikipedia (not always true) does show the 1368 (1.4L) FIRE engine having been introduced in 2003, but not noting any iteration of the 1368cc motor prior to that time frame. the motors shown in 2 different lists with the first one being the older 768cc motor from 1986-1992 up through 1108cc, from 1993-2000.

The motors in production currently in the 2nd list begin with a newer 1108cc from 2001 up through the 1368cc (1.4L) with the 1.4L having been the 8V Starjet with sequential multi-point injection when introduced in 2003, with the 16V with port deactivation being introduced in 2005 and the MultiAir in 2009. No mention of the 1.4 prior to 2003 but the Brava/131 shows a 1367cc DOHC motor in its last iteration (1981-1984) before it ceased production according to Wikipedia.

I would imagine if time were taken to root through the Fiat site or Chris' site, we'd be able to get more definitive info/history on the 1.4L motor but we CAN safely guess that this motor has been around since at least 1984, if not much newer.

I DID read very recently that this motor may well see direct injection before long too, but that requires an all new head to accommodate it.

Springer2011
02-16-2011, 06:55 PM
I hope Fiat does more legwork on the automatic transmission version. The final drive ratios auto vs manual seems to be 4.10 vs 3.73. This would give 10% lower mileage for the auto version which is where the mileage differential is.

Since the auto version has a lower first gear and higher sixth gear it appears to me that the final drive ratio for the auto version could be equal at least or lower than the manual version. This small change would improve the mileage.

I also do not agree with the logic that american drivers will not prefer a electro hydraulic clutch and shift assembly on the auto version. My 2009 Dodge 5 speed auto is nowhere near as precise and smooth shifting as the VW DSG auto on my VW. The Dodge transmission hunts and pecks, etc. I think if you had american drivers drive on old slush box auto and then drive some of the new high tech auto's they would choose the new high tech auto's in a side by side comparison. That is my actual experience and that is my choice. Also I am an engineer type who knows and understands the differences.

The Smart car auto is one of the worst out there for smoothness, etc. The worst in my book. The DSG transmissions used in US cars are used on the diesel only versions in some makes since they are extremely efficient as well as being a good performance transmission. Wow two bangs for the buck. The VW DSG's would be a good choice for a comparison. Having a side to side comparison to the Dualogic and current auto would also be informative. Factory costs for an old slush box design vs a high tech auto most likely would be about $100.

Hopefuly when the Fiat body structure was designed they had in mind the manual transmission footprint at the same time. I would hope that there was not an oops moment when the six speed manual would not fit. There are many engineering solutions to the same problem.

sketch
02-16-2011, 07:12 PM
The DuaLogic is not a dual clutch gearbox like the VW DSG. It is a single-clutch model, like the universally panned gearbox in the smart fortwo.

I agree that the DSG is a fantastic transmission, and that's why it's done well here. Similarly, the "automatic" in the Fiesta is a dual-clutch model, and it has likewise been praised for its refinement. Unfortunately, Fiat's single-clutch system (DuaLogic is sort of a misleading product name), almost entirely by nature, cannot provide a quick enough shift to be smooth, since it does not have the "advantage" of the torque converter to transmit some power in between gears. Dual clutch systems are so (unbelievably!) quick that it doesn't matter.

navy48
04-14-2011, 03:02 PM
I've heard from others that they can consistently get 40+ with the 5sp. haven't heard any actual feedback on the autos, but my guess is that the advertised 27/34 is about right. maybe under ideal conditions you might be able to squeeze 1-2mpgs more, but thats about it.

I'm buying one for the mpg's but also for the 'fun factor'. while I like the Mini, it sits way too low for me as I can't get in and out easily. had a smart car and it was really easy to get in and out, just had other issues. the 500 seems to be just right for ME.

a perfect blend of comfort, fun and gas mileage.......:)

navy48
04-14-2011, 03:11 PM
LOL....the smart IS in a class by itself. not that that is a good thing. as a past smart owner, I can honestly say that the "car" was what it is: small, fun, easy to maneuver and fuel efficient. that's about it. basic transportation for to and from work and running a few errands.

as for the 500, much more room, nearly as fuel efficient, just as much fun and well, a REAL car. also, I've compared parts prices and the 500 parts seem to be MUCH less than those on a smart.

while the smart may have been a $15,000 car, you're paying Mercedes $80,000 car prices for parts, not to mention that now service and parts will all be handled through MB dealers. and to go with those prices, you get the MB attitude and snobbyness. THIS is why I dumped my smart and am now ready to get a 500.

sketch
04-14-2011, 03:53 PM
I already have 60 or 70 miles on this tank and yet once I hit the interstate I still see the trip computer going up from 32.0 to 34.7 mpg or so. It's weird coming from a Prius into a car that does better on the highway, like a normal car... :P

panther76
06-23-2011, 05:33 AM
couldnt we merge the first 3 threads in this section??

Fiat500USA
06-24-2011, 12:27 AM
couldnt we merge the first 3 threads in this section??

Hmm... Thanks for bringing this up.

This is an older post and most of the newer posts go to the "real world mileage thread". The other thread is about the 500 getting over 40mpg. I'll close this thread and folks can post their figures on the "real world mileage thread (http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/showthread.php?3001-Real-World-Mileage-Thread)".

I moved the last two posts there...