By on October 21, 2010

Welcome to the 40MPG beach. The diesel crew is playing volleyball back near the parking lot, there’s a Smart ForTwo showing off its tiny bikini, and Ford is kicking sand in GM’s face.

The much-ballyhooed Cruze “ECO” isn’t really that economical, returning 36mpg on the highway with an automatic. GM swears the manual will hit 40mpg, if you’ll just give them a chance to get it worked out. Meanwhile, Ford has announced that the 2011 Focus will hit the 40mpg target with a 2.0 Duratec Ti-VCT while delivering more power than the Cruze’s 1.4L turbo.

The new Duratec is direct-injected, runs a 12:1 compression ratio, and has VVT on both cams. Oh, and it will run on E85, just in case you take particular joy in helping America’s trade balance by running up the price of foodstuffs. With 160 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque, it should also make the Focus non-trivially quicker than the relatively porky Cruze.

Last but not least, the 40MPG rating will be achieved with an automatic… as long as you consider the dual-clutch “Powershift” transmission an automatic. Given the typical distribution between manual and automatic sales in this market, Ford will be able to claim a fuel-economy victory over GM even if the Cruze ECO manual makes it to the 40MPG mark.

This is all well and good, but it makes me wonder: What would this engine do in a Fiesta? The mileage couldn’t be any worse, and the power-to-weight ratio would be improved…

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87 Comments on “2011 Focus Claims 40MPG… With An Automatic?...”


  • avatar

    Needs to be tested in the flesh.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Sounds reasonable based on other mfrs’ experiences with dual-clutch autos, but I’ll stay skeptical until it happens.
     
    GM: I highly doubt you’re going to gain +4mpg with the manual, especially on the highway where the manual advantage is minimal at best. If so, that would be the largest manual vs auto economy number I’ve ever seen, especially unusual in a time where autos and manuals are rarely more than 1mpg apart (if not identical).

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      ash78,
      Manuals typically get worse fuel economy in city driving.  On a highway is usually where manuals have a advantage in fuel economy.
       
      Lately, that advantage has been getting smaller and smaller.  With cylinder deactivation technologies on the highway, autos can get more efficient there.  Look at the current Accord.
       
      But you can have very tall final gears in an manual to lower rpms at highway speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Manuals haven’t had an advantage on the highway since lockup torque converters became common.
       
      In-city they can, if you shift properly.  Many people don’t shift for economy.

    • 0 avatar

      The revised fuel economy for the 2004 Pontiac GTO is 15 city/20 highway with a 5-speed automatic, and 16/26 with a 6-speed manual. The highway fuel economy was possible due to an very tall overdrive ratio.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    This engine in a Fiesta ST instead of this turbo? Makes sense.
     
    http://www.worldcarfans.com/110032225243/2011-ford-fiesta-st-turbo-spied-in-dearborn

  • avatar
    Zackman

    40+ mpg should be a no-brainer in cars like this – if it’s true, it’s about time. They’re catching up with the past, for Geo Metros achieved that and more, along with many other small cars. Of course, the caveat is content/size = weight. The prodigous weight gain that has affected all makes and models has severely counteracted efficiency gains from drivetrains achieved over the last ten years.

    For my money, on these small cars, 35 mpg city should be absolute MINIMUM. 40 – 50 mpg highway should be expected.

    • 0 avatar
      econobiker

      Exactly. All this bushwack about high mileage cars. I have a 1995 Neon (admittedly a 5sp) that used to get 37mpg average and then developed an engine miss and now gets 33mpg average- city and highway at 75mph. And it also has 265,000 miles on it.
      So 35mpg should be the minimum an ~economy~ car now gets city. I was disappointed looking at Honda Fits in that they listed 27mpg city/33mpg hwy as mpg for what seems like a smaller car than the first gen Neon.
      And that weight gain is from safety stuff- airbags- is difficult to get rid of.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      Agreed.  We still have our 95 saturn, and it still kisses 40 MPG in highway driving, and averages >30 MPG.  And refuses to die after ~180K+ miles, damnit.  (We want to replace it with a gas-guzzling Mazdaspeed3, but as long as it lives…)
       

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      I am with you on the fuel mileage.  I bought an 07 Honda Fit in late 2006.  The EPA numbers were 31 & 37 before the revision in 08 or 09.  Still, the gas mileage is the only real disappointment I have had with my car.  To routinely get under 30 mpg in city driving with a 1.5 liter engine and a 5 speed auto is just rediculous in a car of this size.  I have only hit the upper 30s on highway trips where the speed is kept down to 65 or under.  A friend’s Acura TL does as well on the highway as my Fit.  Cars of this class ought to hit 30 in city/suburban driving and 40+ on the highway.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Airbags aren’t heavy.  You want to know what is heavy?  Wheels and tires are.  Those 14″ donuts one a Neon (or the 13″ on a Metro) have next to no flywheel inertia.  The 17+” on modern cars are much heavier.  The dubs on your average crossover?  Don’t ask.
       
      Next up: frame, engine, seats, soundproofing.  Airbags don’t weight much, and stability control weighs nothing.
       
      Never mind that, say, the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta or Toyota Yaris pack about as much useful space as a 90s compact and get similar mileage. They’re much faster, too. I know it’s fun to complain, but I’m sure that if Honda put the European-spec 1.3 in the Fit and added a taller final drive it’d hit 40mpg on the highway, just a Metro. It’d also hit 0-60 in 12 seconds like a Metro.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Weight gain and the 1990s horsepower wars redux are both to blame for the backsliding on fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Those 1990s Saturns and Neons were also noisier, less refined and less safe than today’s porkier small cars. A Geo Metro is an ox cart next to today’s small cars.

      The Best and the Brightest may long for very high mileage, minimalist small cars, but the bulk of new car buyers do not.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      geeber:

      I never longed for, nor owned any of those cars. My brother-in-law did own a first-gen Neon, and it did its job. I always owned larger cars except for a Gremlin and a K-car. They did their job, too.

      I was implying that the automakers would have found a way to make lighter and stronger materials more cost-effective before now to keep the weight down, creature-comforts notwithstanding.

      Otherwise, you’re dead-on. I, for one, enjoy my nostalgia, but I always look ahead too, eager for what’s next!

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      The Geo Metro got over 50 mpg and weighed about 1500 pounds.  Even adding “just” a hundred pounds to it was adding a significant proportion of weight.
       
      My brother had one.  It was a blast.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      “Those 1990s Saturns and Neons were also noisier, less refined and less safe than today’s porkier small cars”.

       
      That’s a large part of those crapboxes’ anecdotal good mileage.  The driver of that 20 year old heap isn’t doing 60 in the right lane because he’s hypermiling, it’s because at 65 you can’t hear the radio and at 70 the car feels like it’s about to break.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      As John said, it’s a combination of weight gain and the modern horsepower race.  My 1st generation, rear wheel drive, Mazda 626 got 48 mpg on the highway.  Of course, it only had about 80 horsepower and the truck engine was geared so that it was almost idling on the highway. Got about 42 mpg with similarly powerful Mercedes 190 diesel too.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Jack, Yes!
    Why wouldn’t they start off with this in the Fiesta.
    Unless it was further down the reality line at the time the Fiesta was signed off on.

    Doesn’t matter to me in the long run as I think the Focus is the all around better choice.
    And the Focus hatch will be more practical inside, faster with ecoboost and affordable.
    It seems the cost of the Fiesta is rather high since everybody buying one is getting it fully dressed.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Sounds pretty sweet. dual-clutch transmissions sound like they’re just all around better. Does anyone know of any drawbacks to the dual clutch design?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Complexity.
       
      It’s a robotic manual transmission with two clutches and duplicated outputs: there’s a world of things that could go wrong versus a regular manual transmission or a CVT.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      I thought the point of the complexity, partially, was to relieve the main point of failure in manual transmissions which was “fools riding the clutch” and wearing it out. I would think that this design would wear out significantly more slowly than a standard gear-box.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Considering that most decent drivers can get 150k+ from a clutch, I don’t think it represents a significant cost over the life of the car. However, a dual-clutch is expensive up front, expensive to service, and very expensive to fix.
       
      It has its advantages (fast shifting, great economy), but from a cost POV, true manuals still win by a nice margin…even if their economy is a wee bit worse.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      In theory, automatic transmissions do that, too, but are far more failure-prone than manuals in reality.
       
      I’ve spent some time in transmission hell and it’s made me appreciate the CVT and the “regular” manual.

    • 0 avatar
      RGS920

      http://auto.howstuffworks.com/dual-clutch-transmission2.htm
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      That link doesn’t really list any cons besides the initial cost.
      My brother just picked up a 2010 TDI. I don’t know how much of it is to the turbo, and how much of it is the DSG transmission, but between them, I’m about ready to trade in my 06 civic for something with one or both of those.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Isn’t transmission hell due to it being new and that they will end up more reliable in 20 years time just as CVT, automatic and manual did

    • 0 avatar
      benzaholic

      @stryker1
       
      I don’t have any time with dual clutch units, but many of the automated manuals can be lurchy when you’re stuck in stop-and-go traffic.
       
      A conventional slushbox automatic is still the smoothest in that environment.
       

  • avatar
    mxfive4

    Wow this is interesting. While I am generally dubious of manufactures claims, Ford seemingly was accurate with their assessment of the v6 Mustang so I give them a little more credence.
    Still, 40mpg out of the box… wow. Our 2005 Prius manages ~45mpg (albeit in in mixed mode). So this is interesting.
    Now why exactly were all of these companies lobbying against and bitching about the upped CAFE numbers?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      That 40mpg is highway.  Anyone can get big highway numbers without a lot of effort, especially if the car is reasonably aerodynamic and the gearing tall enough.   Weight doesn’t really factor into it, and you don’t need much in the way of costly technology.
       
      Now, getting 45mpg combined, that’s much harder.  Getting 40mpg city effectively requires a hybrid powertrain and a lightweight body, both of which add cost,
       
      Manufacturers fought this stuff because achieving the combined (and thusly the city) numbers is expensive, unless you want to forfeit things like safety and space.

  • avatar
    Rusted Source

    GM: I highly doubt you’re going to gain +4mpg with the manual, especially on the highway where the manual advantage is minimal at best.

    I agree.  I’ve seen very few manuals in the last few years that had better fuel consumption than their automatic counterpart on the same vehicle.  Usually if it is a victory, it’s only in one situation (city or highway).

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Much of the reason automatics have “won” recently is that they seem to have a different overdrive ratio and/or final drive versus the manual.
       
      I had an automatic Honda Fit out a while ago; it revved a good few hundred RPM less than the manual in top gear.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      psarhjinian is right…automatics have several ways to “cheat” their way to competitive economy numbers. Namely a very tall overdrive, and holding overdrive while decelerating (for as long as possible).

      My wife and I have two near-identical cars, one auto and one manual. Definitely different gear ratios across the board, especially 5th.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      An automatic can have a higher final drive ratio while still having good acceleration from a stop because the torque converter is roughly equivalent to another gear set. Modern lock up torque converters have a clutch which essentially bypasses the torque conversion function during steady state cruising, thus getting the best of both worlds.
       

  • avatar
    segfault

    So the Focus will get better mileage than the Fiesta?  Kind of like the Civic getting better mileage than the Fit.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It makes sense if you think about aerodynamics: the Fit has much more frontal area and a higher Cd than the Civic.  That, and the idiot gearing, handicap it’s highway performance.  It’s possible the longer, lower Focus does the same.
       
      The situation in-city is often reversed: weight and drivetrain efficiency become more important, aerodynamics and top-gear less.

  • avatar

    Somewhat related – Since I haven’t driven the Fiesta but have driven Mazda2, I’d love to see a MazdaSpeed2: DCT trans (which mazda doesn’t have), small turbo on the existing motor, LSD, speed3 brakes, upped suspesnion, sticky rubber. They’ll never make it cuz it would kill MazdaSpeed3 sales and wouldn’t be “worth it” on a small/cheap car but…

    Which brings me to the Honda Fit. Imagine it with RD-X turbo-4 and DCT trans. Or hell, Honda manual transmissions are probably best of its kind. Maybe AWD? Nah.

    all of those would have sub-40mph potential. Maybe. probably not, but who cares?

    Damn I miss small sporty cars… can I have my Integra back?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      There is an AWD Fit in Japan, but yeah, the K23A1 would kick ass in that car.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      “Damn I miss small sporty cars… can I have my Integra back?”
      Sure, there are lots of them on the used car market. Finding an unmolested one might be tough though.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      can I have my Integra back?

      Can I have my avatar (yellow 1964 Chevy Impala SS convertible) back? Sure – at $30 – 40K! Not so appealing anymore, but makes for great memories! I conveniently forget all the negatives about that car, but it was the absolute most beautiful vehicle I have ever owned.

  • avatar
    BDB

    The only thing for Ford to be nervous about here is the new Focus being so good it cannibalizes the Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      That’s a good thing. They should be able to make more money on the bigger, more expensive Focus.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The Fiesta is taking the place of the current Focus. The Focus is moving up a notch in amenities, refinement and price from the current generation.

      Note that the current Honda Civic is more expensive than the previous generation. It’s also considerably more stylish and available with more upscale features. Ford is taking a note from Honda’s playbook.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Jack,
    I don’t believe the Cruze ECO is available with an automatic.  It isn’t only a manual transmission GM hopes to get 40mpg with.  They have a very different aero package on the car, slightly lowered ride height, lighter wheels, and different tires.  Does that add up to 4 mpg more than the regular Cruze with an auto, I don’t know.

  • avatar

    My Jetta TDI has a DSG transmission – without question the best “automatic” I’ve ever driven, I have over 100K on the car in less than 5 years and so far it’s been bulletproof.  The driving dynamics are different than a conventional automatic, but you get used to it.  My understanding is Ford’s dual clutch isn’t as crisp as VW’s, but it works well and given my experience with the technology I’m more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
    I agree 40 mpg shouldn’t be such a breakthrough – and that many of today’s small cars return MPG that’s embarrassingly low – but today’s cars are heavier, more powerful, more refined, and have government required safety and customer demanded comfort features that weren’t common if available at all back then.
    The new Focus seems to be a step in the right direction.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      As Psarhjinian mentioned earlier, today’s “small” cars are significantly bigger than the fuel-sippers from the past. And have quantum improvements in power and refinement as well. There’s just no comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      My Jetta TDI has a DSG transmission – without question the best “automatic” I’ve ever driven, I have over 100K on the car in less than 5 years and so far it’s been bulletproof.  The driving dynamics are different than a conventional automatic, but you get used to it.  My understanding is Ford’s dual clutch isn’t as crisp as VW’s,
       
      VW’s DSG is like a $300 bottle of champagne…Ford “DSG” is like box wine.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      FJ20ET

      why because one is horrifically expensive?

  • avatar
    340-4

    I know someone who has rented the current Focus for a long road trip and he got 40+ on the highway.
     
    I don’t know why 40 mpg on the new model would not be attainable.

    Anyone else remember reading about how Ford built a Focus as en experiment to get maximum mpg, and to do so had to build the entire thing out of aluminum to cut weight? I think I recall it got 50 mpg, was much lighter, and hideously expensive to produce.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      I averaged 36mpg in a 2008 Focus automatic over 1000 miles last summer. With better aero, a 6 speed auto and DI, 40mpg should be no problem.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      I don’t know about the mileage they experienced, but it was an all-aluminum Taurus. IIRC, Ford said they chopped 1300 pounds –and this was a circa-1995/6? Taurus– so it’s likely that this new Focus would be heavier than the alu-Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      I own ’05 Focus with a manual, and have managed almost 45 mpg on the highway, albeit using an Imperial gallon as opposed to a US gallon which still translates into over 40 mpg.

      In mixed driving sometimes we’ve managed over 36 mpg, although I’m driving far more gently than normal.

      As anecdotal evidence only, our Focus has been damn near bullet proof, is fun to drive, and lived up to all of the hype from Ford (sorry Silvy, not all Fords are bad!). In fact, our experience with this car has led to two family members and three friends buying new Ford products.

      The new Focus is going to be better by a magnitude, I think, and should be the segment leader by a long shot, even without 40mpg.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I am really interested in seeing the new Focus.  Anyone know if this is going to be the base model with an auto that gets 40mpg?

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      It’s a special SFE model (like the “ECO” Cruze) that will get the 40MPG…
       
      And remember…automakers test their cars on the equivalent of E00.  What you put in your car is E-10 or E-15…drastically lowering your MPGs.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    Fuel mileage took a big hit in 2007 when the new EPA emission standards kicked in…About 5 MPG…You need to burn more hydrocarbons in order to cut down on NOx and CO.

    the 12:1 compression should give this engine lots of low-end torque so RPM can be lower whilst cruising. The power-shift is just an automatically shifting manual tranny like the old Hondamatics which has lower friction loses. I think this engine is the new Mazda Sky-G engine…12:1 in a gas engine is a great achievement…Next stop…HCCI!

  • avatar
    nonce

    Beating the EPA estimates on the highway, even while running AC, isn’t that hard.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I’ve been seeing automatics getting the same or higher fuel economy ratings from the EPA tests.  I am curious, however, if these advantages hold up in the real world?  In other words, do the EPA tests favor automatics for some reason, but real drivers in the manual transmissions can often exceed the EPA ratings while automatic drivers rarely match them?

    I consistently exceed the city and highway fuel economy ratings in my 2.5l VW Golf with a manual transmission… and I’m not trying particularly hard to drive efficiently.  I’m even running the A/C and easily matching the EPA figures. 

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      IMHO, yes, automatics only really have an advantage on the test. In the real world, every time you need to speed up, you step on it and the thing downshifts, revs rise, and you waste gas. Any manufacturer that makes the thing shift early and often gets lambasted by the Buff books for making “unresponsive transmissions”.

      Under acceleration in the real world, especially on a turbo-charged car, you can accelerate at near wide open throttle but minimal revs, which is far more efficient. An automatic will just let the revs soar. I very rarely have any reason to exceed 2500 rpm with my ’08 Saab 9-3 – I can leave most traffic in the dust from the lights shifting at that point. If I am not in a hurry I shift at around 2K rpm. The 2.0T makes it’s full torque from something like 1800rpm, so the car will scoot right along. And it is geared such that 75mph equals 2200rpm in 6th gear. 2500 is somethng over 80mph.

      I usually get ~27mpg around town (which is suburban, not stop and go for me), ~32 on the highway. I was in a hurry on my current road trip – I managed to AVERAGE per the trip computer 75 mph including stopping for gas and the last 30 miles of two-lane between Portland Maine and Ithaca, NY, and still got 29mpg. This on the 91 octane 10% corn juice crap that is all I can get in Maine. 6hrs and change for ~450 miles. On the rare occasions I can fill up with 93 octane with no corn crap I see 3mpg better.

      I just wish I could buy this car as a diesel – I find that I use a similar level of performance on average to the ’02 Golf TDI I used to have, but that car averaged 42mpg around town and 50+ on the highway. Obviously if you get on it the Saab is in another league performance-wise, but how often do you actually do 0-60 in <8 secs and a 146mph top speed in the real world. Useless.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      One detail I know of that negatively affects manual transmission fuel economy ratings in EPA testing is the mandated shift points:

      1-2 at 17 mph
      2-3 at 25 mph
      3-4 at 40 mph
      4-5 at 45 mph
      5-6 at 50 mph

      This means they accelerate my Mazda3 to 3300 rpm in 1st, and then barely use 2nd.  4th is also barely used (as is 5th if it’s a 6-speed).  Who would actually shift like that?  No wonder my total average fuel economy is higher than the EPA highway rating.  If I were shifting for fuel economy the way an automatic does, my shift points would be something like this:

      1-2 at 7 mph
      2-3 at 15 mph
      3-4 at 25 mph
      4-5 at 35 mph

      Even with those shift points I wouldn’t be lugging it as much as the automatic rental Focus I had.  But I drive far more aggressively than that, and still exceed EPA mileage estimates.

  • avatar
    NN

    That Focus is going to piss all over the rest of the competition, save for maybe the new Elantra, which looks to be a Sonata repeat (way more car and better styling for less compared to competition).  Those two may unseat the Corolla and Civic from the top of the sales charts in a few years.  Honda and Toyota need to wake up and realize that someone is stealing their lunch.
     
     

  • avatar
    carguy

    It’s at this point that I would like to remind all readers that the MPG scale is not a linear scale and that any gains beyond 35MPG do not really have much of a significant impact on your hip pockets. i.e. much more is gained by going from 15 to 20MPGs than from moving from 35 to 40.
     
    However, this 40MPG beach so I guess eco-vanity is all the rage.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Mileage gains above 35 mpg will have a significant impact when my commute more than doubles to 48 miles each way next year. My Impala’s highway mileage has gone down slightly since 60k miles, now 75k. Used to get 33 & above straight highway, A/C on. Now? 31 – 32 mpg. I may have to buy something else.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      If you commute 100 miles a day, 200 days a year, moving from 35 to 50 mpg would save you a little over 3 gallons per week.
       
      If that’s a significant impact I’d suggest not buying a new car.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      aspade:

      You may be right. Stay tuned, as I’m sure this subject will still be in vogue next year. In any event, I have to try it, as I love my Imp and its comfort, but I’m getting older, too. You know I will keep mileage records of the experiment.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Problem is the typical new Focus is probably going to sticker for $22-23,000. Yikes!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Why is this a problem, you get what you pay for? If you want a crappy tin box that gets good mileage because it is light and unpleasant, you can probably get one cheap. If you want a nice, refined car with a pleasant interior and all the mod-cons that gets decent gas mileage through modern technology, you need to pay for it. Why should a car be 1/2 the price because it is all of 10% smaller? Small cars cost MORE to engineer and build than larger cars – the savings in materials is more than offset by the expense of the technology involved.

      Some of us actually LIKE small cars for various reasons. I’ve had both a Saab 9-5 and now the rather smaller 9-3, I much prefer the smaller more nimble 9-3. Any suffering of those seated behind me is thier problem, not mine. If they don’t find the accomodations satisfactory they can drive thier own damned car. :-)

  • avatar

    EPA numbers are worthless. I drive a 2009 5-speed Honda Fit. My long-term average in a mix of suburban and local-highway driving is just under 36 mpg (its EPA highway number is 33). You won’t see that in a car the size and weight of the Focus.

  • avatar
    StevenJJ

    Direct Injection.
     
    All those lovely carbon deposits waiting to transfer some silver from the owner to the dealership at an unspecified time in the future. Don’t worry about the ££££ bill – you saved a few pennies on fuel consumption!

  • avatar
    umbabaru

    What’s the status of the 5 door version of this? I thought about a Fiesta, but the small backseat, and lack of power (especially with the AC on) eliminated it from my list.

  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    To the average automatic driver, the big handle shift thing between the seats is a ‘stick shift’.
    This perception-is-reality is why manufacturers don’t use sensible buttons or a small lever near the steering wheel (a few minivans and CUVs excepted).

    This annoys the enthusiast who obsess about fractions of mileage differences of true manual transmissions.

    The almost desperate need by drivers to feel sporty will likely keep the big Tonka-like shift levers on the floor far into the future.
     

  • avatar

    Whatever GM does, Ford does better. I love life right now, competition is awesome.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Ford says a lot of things…most of which are lies.
     
    Remember when Volvo and Mazda weren’t for sale? Remember when the Flex was going to sell 100K copies a year?
     
    In other words…until it’s confirmed by an independent (ie:  not paid by Ford) 3rd party…it’s all vaporware.

    And the clearly biased article (purposely?) omitted the fact that the Focus that achieves this estimated 40MPG…is an ECO (SFE Package) version of the Focus…specifically tailored to get better fuel economy. Just like the SFE Fusion that Ford got rid of because it didn’t sell.

    Oh…and…

    Cruze 1.4 = 98.6HP/Liter
    Focus 2.0 = 80HP/Liter.

    But yeah…let’s keep comparing a 1.4 to a 2.0…that’s a good apples to apples compairson.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      You’re having serious trouble pissing on Ford’s victory this time.

      Sales projections are nowhere near the same thing as mileage estimates; one is based on the volatile, fickle market while the other is actually based on some sense of scientific measurement, so it’s much less of a shot in the dark.

      The Cruze gets more horsepower per liter. So? The Focus achieves the same gas mileage – crucially, WITH AN AUTOMATIC – while making 22 more horsepower. The Cruze Eco and Focus SFE are being marketed as direct competitors (fuel-miser variants of a mass-market C-segment car) so what engines they use are really irrelevant; it’s the results that matter. And they don’t lie. Ford wins this round.

    • 0 avatar
      FJ20ET

      GM has lost it’s place as “America’s” Car manufactuer(A title it has not deserved since the late 70’s, and even then Fords were better), so their fanboy base will grow louder and more obnoxious.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    The My MPG is bigger than Yours is getting funny.

    And productive.  Amen.  Well needed.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The Cruze is going to be Camaro part 2.  Both look great until the competition releases their updates.
     
    Fuel economy is getting to be a bit of an issue with GM lately. The mileage on the Regal and Cruze is disappointing, and, AFAIK, no one has independently been able to get the high numbers claimed for the Equinox/Terrain.
     
    GM needs to stop making vehicles that are way, way too heavy.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    The Cruze ? Daewoo come and me want to go home . And they all need to stop making cars that are way too heavy . Doubt if the Focus or the Cruze will get anywhere near 40 mpg with their respective horsepower figures and weights . But it sure makes for some good marketing hype !

  • avatar
    hurls

    I should start by saying that I love small/lightweight cars (I’ve owned a Miata for >20 years, for chrissake).
    But people are using their own anecdotal mileage figures here to give the older cars perhaps a bigger advantage than they had in real life.  I’m assuming that Ford is talking Hwy MPG here, EPA test results.   Compare that to a car I used to own (well, my wife/then girlfriend) that got super mileage (a 90 CRX, easily beat 40 on the highway) but is rated 27/32 on the revised EPA number scale.  EPA ratings were revised dramatically downward a few years ago, and the fueleconomy.gov site has the old numbers normalized to the new scale, so you can check out the ratings of your favorite old iron (or notsomuch iron, as the case may be).
    Obviously real world deviates a lot from EPA, but at least EPA is done under some strict conditions that are repeatable and make more of an apples<-> apples comparison possible (Yes, I’m sure manufacturers tweak to do well on those tests..)
    My point being? Only that if Ford pulls this off on the EPA cycle that it’s pretty impressive (never owned a Ford in my life, so no bias towards them from me..). If you just pull out a “well I got 48 MPG uphill in my CRX way back when) that doesn’t make this a non accomplishment.
     
    (Oh, 1990 metro 5spd, 38/45, manual 31/36… pretty impressive, but literally half the car a new Focus is)
     

  • avatar
    dbrusiee

    The purpose of this article is to help potential drivers to better understand the shortcomings of the upcoming automobile called the Volt which will soon to be released by GM. The focus of this document is on driver usage, projected maintenance and total cost of ownership.
     
    OVERALL DESIGN: The car is basically a pluggable hybrid (electric/gas) with very little dual mode operation capability that has become standard with all other hybrid cars. It either operates in electric mode or gas mode which GM labels as “extended range” and is NOT user selectable; this is determined by the amount of charge left in the battery. When the gas engine is running it is NOT allowed to recharge the battery and the driver is basically driving around with an extra 400lb weight in this mode. It is NOT an electric car; electric cars do not have gas tanks, mufflers, gas engines, radiators etc. There is not one other automobile in the world being produced with this design after more than 100 years of research and production.
     
    APPLICATION: It appears (opinion) that the Volt is targeting families that can only afford one vehicle that must serve
    as the commute car during the week and as longer family trips on weekends. However there soon will be numerous true electric cars that can travel much farther distances such as the Leaf from Nissan and loads of other true hybrids that get better mileage when used for long weekend trips. GM now admits that the amount of miles the auto can be driven in electric mode can vary from 25 to 50 miles depending upon weather, terrain and driving habits. When in gas mode the vehicle is expected to get about 40mpg using the small 71hp engine and be to be driven for about 300 miles if the 12 gal gas tank was full.
     
    OPERATION: Since the Volt is being advertised as an electric car all accessories are electrically driven. This puts an extra load on the battery during the winter and summer with either the heater or A/C operating thus shortening the amount of miles that can be driven. It is also questionable as to performance when climbing hills etc. when running the small 71 hp gas engine. It is now known that when in “electric mode” the gas engine is allowed to cut in to provide extra power when needed. The battery is not allowed to assist the car when being driven in extended range (gas mode).
     
    ELECTRIC MODE: It has an electric drive system that may provide only 25 miles of drivability as mentioned previously. This will NOT meet the needs of many drivers who have longer daily trips to and from work with no place to recharge it. And it becomes a real negative when using the Volt for a long weekend trip since the 400lb battery can’t be easily removed.
     
    BATTERY: weighs about 400 pounds with all of the mounting hardware and cables and is estimated to cost over $10K. It appears that the primary reason for this large size is to provide a long useful life by never allowing it to discharge to less than 30% capacity. However this weight reduces the mileage, increases the cost and creates a high risk of obsolescence. There are a number of alternative designs being worked on at this time. GM has recently stated that it provides a 100K mile and 8 year warrantee but has not provided any further details at this time such as pro-ratings etc. when the battery can no longer provide the advertised miles per charge.
     
    GASOLINE MODE: GM defines this mode as “extended range” when in fact it can be driven up to 10 times farther in this mode than in the initial electric mode. If when the electric system is exhausted  a gasoline driven system is allowed to cut in which lets the driver to take up to 300 miles trips assuming a full tank of gas. When operating in this mode power is provided by a small gas engine which turns a large alternator which then supplies electricity to the main drive motor. This is part of what GM calls the Voltec system but it is not clear that this is more efficient than using an automatic transmission to deliver the power directly to the drive train.
     
    PRICE: The Volt is going to sold for about $41K with a US Government discount available at this time. It does not qualify for a California rebate as does other electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf. This is priced too high for most Americans especially those who are seeking an inexpensive economy automobile.
     
    MAINTENANCE: this car will require all of the upkeep as any other hybrid vehicle which is primarily focused on the gas engine system and body. In fact there is a risk of the gas tank gumming up if not used frequently in addition to replacing plugs, oil, muffler, radiator, belts etc. It does not compare favorably with the upcoming family of electric cars which will NOT have a secondary power system and offer very low maintenance costs.
     
    COST OF OWNERSHIP: the biggest risk is the battery which may decline in its ability to hold a full charge due to heavy use and harsh weather conditions in summer and winter. All of the expenses attributed to other hybrid cars apply such as changing the oil and antifreeze, spark plugs, radiator, water pump, muffler etc.  
     
    OBSOLESENCE: GM has taken a big risk by developing a hybrid vehicle that operates basically in two separate modes without achieving any real gains in each. It is well know that batteries for automobiles are in their infancy and will change radically in the years to come. The Volt battery will be totally obsolete long before the car has reached its end of life. This does not bode well for the owner who expects to trade one in and recoup any significant portion of their original investment.

  • avatar
    hurls

    Wrong article.. or….?
     
    First mention of a Volt on the page (besides an article link in the header) was this :)

  • avatar
    nathan thurber

    This should be completely feasible as the current gen focus does very well on the highway.  The epa is 24 / 34 but i easily get 35 – 38 mpg on highway with an old tech engine and transmission.  I look foward to the new focus as i have enjoyed my ’10 model and see many nice improvements for ’12 model year.

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