Chevrolet Cruze: CleanMPG vs. Drive, She Said


So, a friendly discussion has popped up on a Chicago-based forum regarding my rant on the Chevrolet Cruze fuel economy. One of my auto friends posted my entry to the CleanMPG forum, and thus the conversation commenced. Take the two comments on my original blog post and add 3 pages of comments. Many of them lambasting me for the stupidity of using a remote start and accusing me of poor driving habits.

Because I didn't give all the details below, let me add a couple of facts that explain why I think my rant is valid, and to give a little more perspective:

  • I'm a real person who writes reviews like a real person. Not a
    hyper miler. Not a geeky enthusiast who wants to talk about gear ratios.
    A real person who commutes from Chicago to Hoffman Estates every day.
  • Two of the days during the test period were in the 40s and 50s. Yes, in Chicago. Yes, in the winter.
  • I had no traffic during the test week, which was during Christmas
    and New Years, and thus was able to keep my speed even on the highway. I
    put in more than 200 miles of highway driving at around 65 to 70 mph,
    and each highway drive was at least 25 minutes long.
  • Yes, 23.5 is only .5 off of the EPA fuel estimate ... for the
    CITY. But since the highway MPGs are estimated around 36 mpg, I would
    have expected something more than 30 mpg for the test week. Even in the
    winter in Chicago.
  • Yes, I did use remote start. Sue me, it's cold. Did you miss the part about me being a real person? And the car actually ran better when it was pre-warmed than when I started it cold. I felt like I got better MPGs quicker this way. 
  • I have actually been practicing good driving habits because I do have a project on the horizon with the folks at CleanMPG where I'll need to be on my game. So, I wasn't a lead foot during the test week, and haven't been for a couple months now.

I'm sure I'm missing a couple of points that were addressed in the 3 pages of comments left on the CleanMPG forum, but I think this gives a little more information to make the conversation a little less one sided.

I would love to have you weigh in -- either here or on their forum. So, be sure to check out their entry, and join the conversation.

Just don't call me a man (Cough, Harry).


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  • Jill, I guess that my take on most car reviews is that the reviewers try to get the best 1/4 mile times, the best 0-60 times, top speed, but no-one tries to get the best mileage. It seems to me that mileage is more relevant to the average driver than top speed. The best analogy I can come up with would be that if I did a report on a Corvette and wrote that it has a top speed of 70 MPH because that's as fast as I drove it. It's misleading and unfair to the Vette. I left a lot of speed in the un-used throttle. Likewise, it unfair to the Cruze to not try to show what it's capable of.

  • In reply to Southerncannuck:

    believe me ... i was trying to show what the car is capable of. and i am the antithesis of the typical car reviewer. i'm all about being the average jill with a city to suburban commute every day. other than the few times i used the remote start, i tried to be careful without turning off the heat, pulling in my mirrors and doing the hypermile thing.

  • Jill, I agree that your FE with the Chevy Cruze is pretty low. I just got 214 miles out of 7 gallons in the 2011 VW Jetta with a larger 2500 cc I-5 engine that delivers 30 more hp. That translates to 30.5 mpg, which nears the EPA highway FE estimate. Wonder if you got some bad gas (low octane) which atomizes and burns less thoroughly under cold starts.

  • In reply to glslaw:

    you know ... i hadn't thought of the bad gas theory. but you're quite right. that could absolutely have made a difference. an engineer at GM is checking out the car, i'll hopefully get an update soon.

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