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#1 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 02:42 PM
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MPG - please report

Real world MPG is very important to many, including me. The Edmunds and Motor Trends road tests were quite low - around 23. I am hoping that was due to lack of break in and heavy driving.

Please post other road test reports and - most important - personal use reports from new owners. Don't forget to note what country you are driving in. Thanks.
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#2 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 03:57 PM
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I am interested too. Motor Trend stated openly that they drove it aggressively, so I would throw that number out. But if someone is a more aggressive driver and has the AWD, I wouldn't be too surprised if the Edmunds 23.6 wasn't close.
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#3 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 11:16 PM
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If you mean rav4 2013, I just drove 170 miles highway today and the mpg I got is around 26. Thats far from what I expected...
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#4 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 12:08 AM
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Re: MPG - please report

I get 26mpg highway @ 70mph with my V6. Maybe you were heavy on the pedal?

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#5 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 03:50 AM
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26? Boo......Glad I jumped for a 2012 V6 when I did.
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#6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by veliksam View Post
I get 26mpg highway @ 70mph with my V6. Maybe you were heavy on the pedal?
I have seen 26 MPG highway @ about 70 MPH with my 4.3 V6 AWD, too. Any vehicle has a certain amount of mass and friction and drag, and there's only so much energy in gasoline (and only so much that can be improved with a redesign like this).

Maybe there's winter blend gasoline in play here? Or perhaps tire inflation levels weren't optimal? Was it windy? Maybe headwinds come into play? Was it at altitude, e.g. in the mountains?

I wonder if even air temperature and humidity come into play? Synthetic oil vs. dino oil? Brand, octane and quality of the gasoline used?

Break-in of the vehicle? Proably most all 2013s are not yet considered "broken in." I know my RAV's performance "felt differently" after about 500 miles, and then again after about 1000 miles, but I don't know how to explain it.

How heavy was the payload? (Was the vehicle full of people and/or cargo?) What was the actual average speed? I believe drag goes up with velocity at something like a cubic rate. It's the drag that really gets you on the highway, I think.

Then there's the "heavy on the pedal" question (driver input...every driver is a little different, very difficult to quantify), and now for the 2013 RAV4's: "were you in Eco, Normal or Sport mode?" One would certainly think that "Sport" mode would have a negative effect on MPG. EPA ratings are only supposed to be for "Normal" mode, so I've got to believe that's the mode in which Toyota published estimates.

Was the 2013 that got 26 MPG on the highway a 2WD or AWD? (the poster's signature did not say). The 2013 AWD version is "EPA estimated" at 29 MPG highway vs. 31 for the FWD.

That's the trouble with relying on "real world" numbers: so many outside factors come into play that you have to call into question the numbers presented vs. what you can expect. Basically, you don't know if the test conditions reasonably match your situation. You'd just about need a whole table of test conditions associated with each result in order to get a decent expectation. It's things like this that make me question the value of the numbers reported at sites like Fuelly.com

They also make me call into question the ability to reasonably expect to often get the EPA estimates for a vehicle, mostly as I don't know how those estimates are calculated. But I just don't see how one single number can cover the myriad situations that exist in the real world.

I quit worrying about MPG-for-the-sake-of-MPG a long time ago. There are much more important things in life to worry about! True, choosing Vehicle A that can meet your needs over Vehicle B that can meet your needs when Vehicle A gets better mileage is a good thing, and more environmentally friendly.

I do monitor MPG as a relative indicator in case something starts to go wrong with the vehicle, but otherwise I simply trust that the engine and computer are doing the best they can to maximize fuel efficiency as conditions change (that's what they were designed for), and instead I focus on enjoying my ride for what it is, and what I bought it for.

That's what really counts.

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Long live the RAV4 V6!
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#7 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVS View Post
I have seen 26 MPG highway @ about 70 MPH with my 4.3 V6 AWD, too. Any vehicle has a certain amount of mass and friction and drag, and there's only so much energy in gasoline (and only so much that can be improved with a redesign like this).

Maybe there's winter blend gasoline in play here? Or perhaps tire inflation levels weren't optimal? Was it windy? Maybe headwinds come into play? Was it at altitude, e.g. in the mountains?

I wonder if even air temperature and humidity come into play? Synthetic oil vs. dino oil? Brand, octane and quality of the gasoline used?

Break-in of the vehicle? Proably most all 2013s are not yet considered "broken in." I know my RAV's performance "felt differently" after about 500 miles, and then again after about 1000 miles, but I don't know how to explain it.

How heavy was the payload? (Was the vehicle full of people and/or cargo?) What was the actual average speed? I believe drag goes up with velocity at something like a cubic rate. It's the drag that really gets you on the highway, I think.

Then there's the "heavy on the pedal" question (driver input...every driver is a little different, very difficult to quantify), and now for the 2013 RAV4's: "were you in Eco, Normal or Sport mode?" One would certainly think that "Sport" mode would have a negative effect on MPG. EPA ratings are only supposed to be for "Normal" mode, so I've got to believe that's the mode in which Toyota published estimates.

Was the 2013 that got 26 MPG on the highway a 2WD or AWD? (the poster's signature did not say). The 2013 AWD version is "EPA estimated" at 29 MPG highway vs. 31 for the FWD.

That's the trouble with relying on "real world" numbers: so many outside factors come into play that you have to call into question the numbers presented vs. what you can expect. Basically, you don't know if the test conditions reasonably match your situation. You'd just about need a whole table of test conditions associated with each result in order to get a decent expectation. It's things like this that make me question the value of the numbers reported at sites like Fuelly.com

They also make me call into question the ability to reasonably expect to often get the EPA estimates for a vehicle, mostly as I don't know how those estimates are calculated. But I just don't see how one single number can cover the myriad situations that exist in the real world.

I quit worrying about MPG-for-the-sake-of-MPG a long time ago. There are much more important things in life to worry about! True, choosing Vehicle A that can meet your needs over Vehicle B that can meet your needs when Vehicle A gets better mileage is a good thing, and more environmentally friendly.

I do monitor MPG as a relative indicator in case something starts to go wrong with the vehicle, but otherwise I simply trust that the engine and computer are doing the best they can to maximize fuel efficiency as conditions change (that's what they were designed for), and instead I focus on enjoying my ride for what it is, and what I bought it for.

That's what really counts.
I think you made your points very well. Thank you so much for the detailed analysis to all the factors affecting MPG in the really world.
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#8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 06:50 PM
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That list is not exhaustive. Other thoughts that come to mind (some are very small, others not so):
  • In cold weather, do you allow your car to "warm up" before leaving?
  • How well tuned the engine is
  • How clean the air filter is
  • Whether or not the vehicle has roof rails/racks (not to mention if there's cargo up there!)
  • The existence of a sun roof / moon roof might affect turbulence/drag, especially if it's open
  • Whether or not any brake shoes are dragging
  • Whether or not you're towing anything
  • Whether or not the air conditioner is on, and how much/often
  • Flat road vs. hilly/mountainous road / unpaved road? (terrain, in general)
  • Weather can affect mileage, too. For example, if it's raining the car also has to push through some water that otherwise wouldn't be there.
  • Even small differences in manufacturing can make one vehicle perform differently than "an identical model."
And there are probably even more factors I haven't thought of.

While obviously some won't apply when comparing to EPA numbers (e.g. towing) I'd say to wait until you have about 5,000 miles on the car to get it reasonably broken in, and then check again if you're concerned about it.

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#9 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DVS View Post
Other thoughts that come to mind (some are very small, others not so):[*]Whether or not any brake shoes are dragging
Brake shoes? On a RAV4?

You wouldn't want a customer walking in to a service dep't saying "my mpg's suck because I may have dragging brake shoes."
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#10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 08:31 PM
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Brake shoes, brake pads, whatever...call it "extra friction on the rotors" if that helps.

Way back when I was a student I once had an old '70s car in the winter, when I put the parking brake on because I had parked on a fairly steep hill. I didn't know that slush had built up on the parking brake cable and it froze there while I was parked.

I disengaged the parking brake (or thought I did) but the frozen slush had kept it engaged, at least partially. It took me quite a while to figure out why it took noticeably more power to get going!

Stuff happens. And I'm sure my MPG suffered for it that day.

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