By on August 8, 2018

Image: GM

The EPA’s getting quite a few mentions on TTAC today, but it’s not because of the agency’s planned rollback of corporate average fuel economy standards. No, it’s because of odd fuel economy rollbacks seen among 2019 Chevrolet models.

We told you earlier about the yet-unexplained drop in city and combined fuel economy for the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon diesels. Now you can add the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro to the list of models with missing MPGs. It seems that in one area of performance, 10 speeds isn’t better.

First noticed by Motor Trend, the refreshed model doesn’t gain newfound fuel economy with the addition of a multi-cog automatic. In fact, it loses some. For 2019, V8-powered SS models trade the previous eight-speed automatic for a smooth 10-speed unit. Given that a greater number of cogs means a wider ratio spread and thus greater efficiency, you’d think the 2018 SS would go a little further between fill-ups.

Image: GM

Instead, the automatic-equipped 2019 Camaro SS keeps its 27 mpg and 20 mpg highway and combined ratings, but sees its city rating fall from 17 mpg to 16 mpg. Understandable, you say. After all, the GM 10-speed sees lower gearing in around-town gears — a first-gear ratio of 4.70:1 replaces the eight-speed’s 4.56:1 first gear, for example. You have to get up to seventh gear in the 10-speed to match the ratio of the eight-speed’s sixth gear, and, while the new tranny moves up through the gears at a quicker pace, it’s not enough to offset those lower ratios.

Fine, but that doesn’t explain the MPG discrepancies between the 2018 and 2019 Camaro V6 equipped with either an eight-speed auto or six-speed manual. The powertrains are carryovers for the new model year. With the automatic V6 model, city and highway economy stay at 19 mpg and 29 mpg, respectively, but combined economy drops from 23 mpg to 22 mpg.

Image: GM

With the manual V6, city and combined fuel economy remains at 16 mpg and 20 mpg, but highway economy falls 1 mpg to 27 mpg. Maybe the Camaro’s new face has something to do with this, but GM claims the model’s reworked visage is slipperier than before.

If the EPA tweaked its testing for the 2019 model year, we weren’t informed. Pouring cold water on that theory is the fact that the automatic and stick-shift 2.0-liter turbo models retain their previous EPA ratings for 2019. No change at all.

[Image: General Motors]

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24 Comments on “2019 Chevrolet Camaro: More Speeds, Fewer MPGs...”

  • avatar
    R Henry

    As I understand the situation, the transmissions with more than 6 ratios were developed as response the “rubber band” feeling present in CVT’s, yet retaining the CVT’s fuel efficiency.

    While I don’t own a vehicle with such a transmission, I rented a 2018 Jeep Compass recently, and put 1500 miles on it.

    That 9-speed transaxle failed to address the faults of CVT’s… When a burst of power was needed for passing, it bogged…bogged…bogged…hunted…..and provided little forward thrust. It wasn’t as fuel efficient as a CVT, and it didn’t appreciably improve the driving experience.

    As far as I am concerned, 6 ratios is the upper limit of what ordinary cars need in the hands of ordinary drivers.

    • 0 avatar

      You picked literally THE worst example of a 7+ speed automatic transmission on the market and assumed the rest work the same way.

      • 0 avatar

        I am with Derekson on this one. It is well known that the 9 speed transmission shared by Jeep/Honda/Acura is generally crap. I drove a 10 speed F150 and it was unbelievable.

        • 0 avatar

          As do I. The ZF 9HP (which is what that Compass uses) has long been derided for sloppy shifting, hunting, etc. Its a common complaint in every vehicle its used in, although my understanding is that it is not nearly as bad as when first introduced.

          That’s one reason that I would pick a manual in the Renegade should I ever seriously consider one. The other reason is i simply prefer a manual most of the time.

          Saying any transmission with over 6 gears is analogous to the ZF 9HP’s behavior is like saying every 4 cylinder engine is noisy, rough and gutless because you drove a 1997 Escort sedan and it was in that car.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve owned and driven 4 cylinder vehicles almost exclusively and I’ll say the only one that ever struck me as being particularly unrefined was my 93 Escort with a 1.9. Other than that car the rest have been either 2.4 or 2.5 litres. They’re fine.

            As for >6 speed transmissions, one need look no further than the 8 speed Chrysler uses in the 300 for a good example of a good transmission, just leave it out of sport.

    • 0 avatar

      GF has a BMW X3, twin turbo, with an 8-speed automatic. Finest automatic transmission I’ve ever driven. Snick snick snick go the gears, you’ve shifted through three of em before you exit the intersection. Combined with gobs of torque the X3 accelerates at double the rate of the average car, effortlessly. Press the brake pedal and the transmission automatically downshifts a gear and engine brakes. Wow! Who taught it to do that? No hunting, downshifts once, twice as necessary (as commanded by accelerator pedal pressure). It’s mind blowingly good, especially combined with a motor that has torque out the wazoo.

      So I”ve got to concur with other writers, you drove a vehicle with a lousy transmission.

      Anyone who hasn’t driven a twin-turbo, 8-speed BMW of some flavor; I’m not sure how you go back to “ordinary” cars (Honda, Toyota) after you’ve experienced a well behaved rocket sled. Seriously.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes the zf 8 speed is fantastic. I’ve owned two versions. One in an Audi A4 and one in my grand Cherokee srt. It is wildly tunable as normal mode is smooth and polished. Put it in track mode and it moves gears incredibly quickly causing the rear to dip with each shift.

    • 0 avatar

      Go drive a new F150 with the GM/Ford common design 10 speed. You will quickly sing the praise of the power of 10.

  • avatar

    ” Given that a greater number of cogs means a wider ratio spread and thus greater efficiency” It doesn’t necessarily mean that- the differences between 4.56 vs 4.7 and .65 vs .64 are basically rounding errors for mileage. It’s just tighter steps.

  • avatar

    Well outside of Mileage I wonder how the 10 speed slush box will do in acceleration? Will it put the SS solidly into the 11’s?????

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Maybe they just got caught overestimating fuel economy last year. Isn’t it true that manufacturers are allowed to submit their own data?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes the mfgs self certify and the EPA only checks a small number of models each year focusing mainly on the models they recieve the most complaints about and at one point all new diesels.

      Of course the EPA has very strict testing specifications, along with some loopholes.

      It is a complex calculation where they do coast down testing to determine the drag setting for the dyno.

      When Hyndai was forced to retroactively change their ratings it was claimed because they made a mistake in the drag calculations.

      When Ford walked back the C-Max numbers it was because they exploited a loop hole which allowed them to certify a power train in one application and apply it to all applications. That loop hole made perfect sense back when for example GM had 4 or 5 brands selling a car that only differed in the grille and taillights. However the C-Max was an entirely different body with more aero drag than the Fusion that was the basis for the drag calculations.

    • 0 avatar

      Here is the EPA page on how the system works.

  • avatar

    I think there must have been some kind of readjustment. My car’s highway rating dropped from 29 (2014 model) to 25. No explanation. I can easily reach the 29 rating, and even exceed it by a few mpg if I make the effort.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes there have been some changes in how the monroney numbers are calculated, actually a couple of times, most recently in 2017 model year.

  • avatar

    Oh no, more GM book cooking. What a sad sad pathetic company.

  • avatar

    CAFE rollbacks = less gaming the system on tuning to the MPG test loop? CAFEgate? I’d be shocked if there WASN’T gaming the ECU to the MPG test loop.

  • avatar

    EPA mileage tests are useless. I’ve found Fuelly to be much more in line with real life mileage. Test needs an overhaul for real life

  • avatar

    There are losses associated with shifting. For a passenger car, once you have enough ratio spread to have the engine operate at peak efficiency at highway speed, adding gears is counterproductive. There was a study a few years ago that said that more than 9 gears did not provide a benefit on passenger cars.

    But this transmission was developed for trucks. In that case, more gears to get up to speed has benefits, like on a Semi.

  • avatar

    I was getting an oil change in the Civic last week, and the lady next to me was having her 10-speed AT Odyssey serviced, and while I know dealership service centers should be renamed profit centers, the guy writing her up for service told her that she needed to flush and fill the AT, I think she said the vehicle had about 20k on it.

    The dude told her, “yes, it’s a great transmission, but it uses a more expensive fluid and needs to be changed more often”. I’m wondering, has anyone else heard that?

    Keep in mind the service dude on my left was trying to sell a remanufactured alternator for $900…

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay


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