Sunday, April 20, 2008

In Search of More MPG - Subarus are not Green!

I have decided I want to get rid of my Subaru Forester XT in favor of a vehicle that gets better fuel economy. I average 20 to 21 mpg depending on the temperature and driving conditions. That’s just not cutting it for me anymore.

I owned an Impreza and wanted more power and a little more room. The 2006 Impreza was naturally aspirated and averaged 23 mpg around town and 27 mpg on long all highway trips. It was very difficult to part ways with the car, but I really wanted more room in the back for my dogs. At first, the Forester XT seemed like a logical choice. It is a repackaged Impreza. I test drove the XT, liked it, and then bought one. After owning the car for 8 months, I rate the vehicle a complete dud.

My grievances with the car start with how it runs. I run high test fuel and the car (5500 miles on it) is always coughing and sputtering at low RPMs. Personally, I feel the engine ECU is improperly mapped and overly constricted. There are some companies out there that offer devices to remedy that dilemma, but it is costly at the tune of $695 (COBB). With no other mods, their AccessPORT will increase the stock 225 bhp by 35 and also add 45lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot. It should have come with that boost from Subaru. I might not be writing to my blog if that were the case. But one question still remains: would the power boost increase fuel economy? With the turbo, I doubt it. Can anyone out there answer that?

Further grievances with the car are the front underspoiler kit which broke when I had 2100 miles on the car and costs $500 to replace and the steering ratio. The car turns like a bus which is an issue that was evident with my Impreza but not nearly as bad. I have no idea what broke the underspoiler – a puddle or deep snow is the cause – which speaks volumes about the quality of the part. Save your money: don’t buy one. It’s about the cheapest plastic I have ever seen. All wheel drive Subarus are supposed to be winter cars and this one couldn’t handle a puddle or 8 inches of snow. Lastly, the fuel tank is the same size as that on the Imprza. The tank is about 14 gallons (I don’t feel like being very technical today) which means I can go 280 miles or on a tank of gas. That’s pretty weak. Subaru could have integrated a bigger tank onto the car.

I hunted around on the web for ideas that could help boost my fuel economy and found 2 suggestions:
1) Acetone – some people out there claim you can add acetone to your gas and you will get great fuel economy. Does anyone out there want to try that and then let me know how it works? Frankly, there is something fundamentally wrong with pouring acetone in the tank of a $1000 vehicle let alone something that cost over $20000.

2) Oxyhydrogen – also known as Brown’s gas or HHO. Check out You Tube or Google HHO and you will find dozens of people and videos that swear you can attain better fuel mileage by supplementing your gasoline with HHO. I don’t believe it. I think anyone peddling information or selling HHO generators are con artists. All I can say about it is that if it sounds too good to be true… I’ll wait for Mythbusters to try one before I spring for one.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the solution to my problem is to sell the Subaru and buy a Toyota Yaris. I can downsize my gas bill, my payment, and my insurance bill in one swoop. I would prefer a MINI for performance, but they are expensive. I hear the Yaris gets about 36 mpg. It’s too bad Toyota doesn’t sell the diesel in the US. If that were the case, I would convert the car to run on Fry-O-Diesel.


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