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Old 02-20-2017, 09:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Satisfaction with MPG is relative! 2003 Suzuki Aerio 5MT ecodriving: 35 MPG US



I've been driving this 5-speed 2003 Suzuki Aerio sedan around the south shore of Nova Scotia this winter, and I've got to say I'm not overly impressed with the fuel economy.

4 fills:
  • 36 mpg = 6.3 L/100 km
  • 37 mpg = 6.3 L/100 km
  • 33 mpg = 7.2 L/100 km
  • 34 mpg = 6.9 L/100 km
Average: 35 mpg = 6.7 L/100 km


And that's using it on some of the most eco-driving friendly routes I've driven.

Ecomods: only one is tire pressure.

Driving style: Probably 10% city, 90% on secondary highways at very sedate speeds 65-80 km/h (40-50 mph) or on the main highway at ~100 km (60 mph) or a little less. Driving with load most of the time, EOC on some hills & toward stops & turns.

The EPA ratings are: 23 city / 29 highway / 25 combined.

Doesn't that kind of suck for a non-sporting, compact, 4-cylinder, 5-speed car?

But satisfaction is all relative, right? I was slightly disappointed with the MPG of my new-to-me junk Miata, and even that was better than this Suzuki! The Firefly would easily be getting 55-65 mpg in similar use.

I also have to say: this is by far the worst car I have ever driven in cross-winds. It's ridiculous how much it gets blown around -- constant steering corrections required. Something funny about the car's aerodynamics.

For its unimpressive MPG and cross-wind oddness, I've nicknamed it the Non-Aerio.

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Old 02-20-2017, 09:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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2628 lbs.
195/55 R15 tires.
2.0 l displacement.
5W30 (or 10W30...)
These all add up.

Throw in a bad alingment, cold weather, high wind (you noticed the crosswinds), dragging brakes, then 35 mpg seems even good for it.
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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All good points. I'd say about 20% of the highway driving has been in windy conditions.

I'll also add: this is the most driving I've done in a decade without fuel economy instrumentation. I should have brought my ScanGauge.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Seems a little low for someone with your skill set. Maybe way out of alignment. I have been driving a Saturn L200 automatic and get 28-30 without trying.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The newer Suzuki's don't seem to get good mileage. Perhaps you can find the reason. Dragging brakes (self adjusting all the time)? Dragging parking brake (again, self adjusting all the time)? Slipping clutch? Bad gearing? I'll bet that you get this (these) car(s) figured out. Wheel bearings too tight? Grease too stiff in wheel bearings? I've often wondered why these cars mileage is nowhere near what it seems it should be. Good hunting!

Just a thought. Unstability caused by bad rear wheel alignment?
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Could be an alignment issue, though the car seems to roll OK at low speed, which would rule that out (and brake drag).

Clutch isn't slipping. The gearing isn't terrible either: ~2500 RPM @ 60 mph, if memory serves.

It's a bit of a mystery.

I searched for drag coefficient and found nothing. I bet it's not good.

EPA combined of 25 is comparable to a 2003 Honda Civic 2.0L 5MT (25) but a 2003 Toyota Corolla 1.8L 5MT is rated 31 combined.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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you get around the same as my WarWagon. It's winter so the consumption hops up quite a lot. WAI could help a lot.
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It's not leaking/evaporating gas somewhere, is it?
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Old 02-20-2017, 03:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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With such terrible numbers, it's a surprise they pulled out of the US. Maybe the mileage was still too good. :P
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Old 02-25-2017, 04:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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First, I would cover the radiator by 75% with cardboard.
A lot of your efficiency losses come from the engine compartment being cooled too much.
If you could only prevent the engine from losing too much heat, perhaps by insulating it?
Especially if you run a heater coil, will you see MPG suffer.

Tire pressure is another.
if you want to surpass 40MPG, you probably would have done better with a 1.6-1.8 liter.
Too bad you can't change gearing on a car easily.

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