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-   -   CNET: your '92 Civic may get far better MPG than a new car, but it still sucks! (

MetroMPG 06-12-2009 05:34 PM

CNET: your '92 Civic may get far better MPG than a new car, but it still sucks!
Stumbled across this one today... It's a doozie...

Looking beyond miles per gallon (rant)


Not a week goes by where someone doesn't approach me with the same smug, "Oh, my '92 Civic hatch gets better fuel economy than the current Civic." or "LOLZ! My Geo Metro XFi getz teh 50mpg!!! PWND!!" This is usually followed by some ill-researched rant about how the gasoline engine hasn't advanced in 40 years or how automakers and oil barons are conspiring to keep gasoline expensive. In reality, compared to their modern analogs, your late-80s vintage econobox is crap. I'm sorry to say it, because I love older compact cars, but you're just not comparing apples to apples.
Worth a read. If only for the sport of finding the holes in his argument. (Yes, it's only an opinion piece.)

In the past few weeks I've noticed more examples of creeping hostility towards the efficiency-minded. Very similar to last summer when gas prices rose. Have prices in the US topped 3 bucks or something?

(And, no, I don't have a persecution complex. STOP BUGGING ME!)

shovel 06-12-2009 05:54 PM

My opinion is that a modern car is much nicer. However nicer isn't necessary.

All reliability and repair-based discussion aside (because it isn't relevant to this discussion) - a 2010 CheapCar is quieter, supposedly safer, handles better in performance driving, and is often faster than a 1985 CheapCar.

But I somehow managed to put 410,000 miles on a 1981 Escort. That was trips to work, trips to school, trips around the country, a trip to frickin Alaska.... Did I have a dozen airbags? Could I do .98G on a skid pad? Did I have a 9 speaker Bose stereo? Nein! Could I maintain 75mph all the way from Phoenix up to Flagstaff? HA! But I went everywhere, didn't die, and got 45+ mpg doing it. The machine did its job - namely moving me and my stuff from where it was to where I wanted it to be. For approaching half a million miles.

It is my opinion that as long as motorcycles are legal to own and drive with their lack of airbags, antistop brakes, dynamic diddlyturd controls and whatever... so should 4 wheeled vehicles without 900lbs of "nice to have, but not necessary" safety equipment. As long as it's still legal to drive a 65 horsepower 1980 slowmobile on the road, it should be legal to sell a brand new version of the exact same thing. Why the hell not? There should be no LEGAL difference whatsoever between restoring a 30 year old "unsafe" car to brand new condition, and building a brand new "unsafe" car.

Ryland 06-12-2009 05:59 PM

But I don't like the power junk, at 6 feet tall I still fit in my VX's back seat without issue, I can fit 9 foot steel rod or 8 foot lumber in my VX but not most new cars and the two weeks that I spent mixed with pulling a trailer of stuff around or hauling around 800+ pounds of lead acid batteries I still got 39mpg (that made my civic as heavy as the current day civic), his arument is basically saying that we are getting so well that we can afford to be wasteful, computers do seem to do the same thing with their operating systems, things get more efficient so they find new ways to make them bog down, sure we can make 90mpg passenger cars OR we can add 30 more cup holders, 4 zone A/C, DVD players for each seat that is never used, power sliding doors, 3 sun roofs, it's crazy, I want a car that works and will last 15 years or more.

Christ 06-12-2009 06:34 PM

I prefer simplicity... less to go wrong.

If simplicity is what gets me the best gas mileage, then it's a win-win for me.

There are certain things that I do believe most people would be completely uncomfortable without... such as stereos and the like.

I don't agree that you should never have passengers... that just means those people have to find another way to get somewhere, which actually burns MORE fuel. On that same note, I don't agree that people NEED SUV's for every drive they need to make. In fact, I believe that "modern" cars make people WAY too comfortable, and they likely are paying less attention to what needs to be minded.

joey 06-12-2009 08:24 PM

As shovel said, it's almost Orwellian that motorcycles, which offer *zero* protection, are street-legal, while cars are expected to pass dozens of safety tests and carry dozens more "features". Virtually any car made in the last 100 years will fare better in an accident (and will do more for its inhabitants) than any motorcycle in existence. It's flat out ridiculous.

Regarding the article, I didn't read it; there's a steady amount of garbage in any capitalistic society that urges people to buy things they don't need simply for the sake of having them. Asking people who value mpg to "look beyond it" is like asking people who tow horses to "look beyond" low-end torque. And yes, gas is going back to $3/gallon. I hope it's above $4 by the end of the year, though I doubt it will be.

SVOboy 06-12-2009 10:11 PM

The fact that modern cars are much nicer, faster, powerful etc should not be an excuse why they dont get better mileage. All it does is demonstrate that they could but are ill-designed to do so because in the last 20 years no one has really cared to make efficient cars.

Hybrids exist because of the novelty of new technology, but in the US efficiency for the sake of efficiency has all but gone off the scene.

MetroMPG 06-12-2009 10:50 PM

This made me chuckle:


So, the 2,900-pound tech-laden 2009 Honda Civic EX is about 32-percent heavier than the scrappy and eager 2,200-pound 1992 Civic EX. But at 34 highway mpg and 41 highway mpg, respectively, there's only a 17-percent deficit in fuel economy. Pound for pound, I'd say the 2009 engine is more efficient.
Using his figures:

'92 Civic: 41 mpg / 2200 lbs = 0.019 mpg per lb
'09 Civic: 34 mpg / 2900 lbs = 0.012 mpg per lb

"Pound for pound, I'd say the 2009 engine is more efficient."

Nuh uh!

tjts1 06-12-2009 11:52 PM


your late-80s vintage econobox is crap.

Originally Posted by MetroMPG (Post 109627)
This made me chuckle:

Using his figures:

'92 Civic: 41 mpg / 2200 lbs = 0.019 mpg per lb
'09 Civic: 34 mpg / 2900 lbs = 0.012 mpg per lb

"Pound for pound, I'd say the 2009 engine is more efficient."

Nuh uh!

I don't see any 1992 honda civic that got 41mpg highway on the new revised testing cycle. We are using the 2008+ system for both cars, right?
Pound for pound, the modern Civic is far more efficient no matter which way you look at it.

shovel 06-13-2009 12:15 AM

Nobody's saying a 1980mobile is awesome.

Personally what I'm saying is as long as adults in the so-called land of the free are free to choose to buy a no-safety-features motorcycle, adults are free to choose to drive a 40 year old car with lap belts, adults are free to choose to buy a convertible, adults are free to drive a beat-up car with sloppy worn out suspension and brakes, not to mention free to do a billion other things that are more likely to kill them (like live the kind of lifestyle that makes one obese for example) - then those same supposedly free adults should also be able to choose to buy a brand new car that isn't saddled with a million features they may not need. Tata should be allowed to sell the Nano over here without having to $$$ nerf it up for the US market.

By the same token, consumers who insist on a safer car can go buy one, there are plenty on the market. Consumers who don't want to ride in someone else's less nerfy car are always free to say no thank you to a ride. See how easy that is?

bgd73 06-13-2009 12:51 AM

I found modern to be nicer via the steel (unibody gentle), as facts unfolded, an inside anger of facts emerged...along with my knowledge earned from public service of many many machines...
a beeline to subarus last tractor trailer wagon: a 1987 dual range AWD stiff as a spring board carbed subaru, still "playing" with hypermilers on its rally gnarled tread, oversized wheels, original engine, and ready to cross the continent, with 100feet of weld crossing the thresholds of grinding tolerance (unless you got half a day, let the dangles dangle) and probably worlked into that tricky uinibody weight of nearly 3000 pounds...with less than 1.8 liters, I cruise in the 80s to singing alloys on bad tread (it still sings that boxer balance).
To each thier own.

I have made a prediction, it will build a bridge from yesterday to today, fools can no longer play with billions of dollars and peoples lives. If you got an old civic tinkered into wonderful that is stll doing better than opinions, you are truly driving the facts.:thumbup:

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