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  1. #1

    Unhappy Poor mileage?

    Hi, new here. I have a 2010 sportwagen S and am not at all happy with my fuel economy. I downsized from a minivan in order not to waste so much gas, and I'm getting only about 4 Mpg better than the van did. At my 90 day service check they told me I had to break it in, get up over 5000 miles. I'm over 7000 miles now and I took it in today because it is no better. They ran a check and say they can find nothing wrong. No surprise there, it's not an easy issue.

    I average 19-21 mpg mixed city/hwy. The minivan averaged almost 17! We've tried changing gas brands, filling the tank more frequently... Some theorize it's my driving style, but my husband drove it on a mostly hwy trip recently, then filled it up from just under half a tank and it got just under 21. Also, my last minivan, a 2005 Sienna, was purchased used at 60,000 miles. The computer gas average read 15.5. I drove it another 40,000 miles and upped the average to 16.8 miles, implying that I'm not too awful.

    I'm looking for input, tips, recourses? I guess I can report to NHTSA, or is there a different overseeing body for fuel, like the EPA? And of course VW corporate.

    If I recall correctly, the car was sold to me with a 23(22?) city and 30 hwy claim, as well as a 27 average. I'd be happy averaging 24-25 overall, but 20 is not acceptable.

    One good thing: I purchased it late in 2010, and got a 0% loan. So my payments are straight on principal and I can probably trade it in within 6-12 mos and get something else. But that hopefully is a last resort.

    Lori

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  3. #2
    LIFETIME VIP billh1012 is on a distinguished road billh1012's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    Is your check engine light on? if so do you know what the codes are? My wife's 2008 just had a recall/service bulletin about the fuel system so you might want to make sure that all the recalls/service bulletins have been completed on yours. Which engine do you have?
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    Thanks but no, no check engine light and dealer just ran a full diagnostic, all neg. I have the S model, the most basic, no idea what kind of engine but I didn't have choices. I'm one of thoes people who doesn't understand cars, I just drive them. And barely that- I don't even test drive a car before buying it, just do my research & usually have my husband test drive once. As long as they go forward, backwards, right, left & stop they all feel the same to me.

    Lori

  5. #4
    GLI-VR6 vwguymi is on a distinguished road vwguymi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    Go to autozone and buy a can of seafoam. It works wonders even on low mileage cars.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    We just picked up our TDI Sports wagon and have been getting in the 40's on all highway trips. We live in a hilly area of East TN and wife said she got 48 mpg coming home from work and 43 going. So far I am very happy. We have not done much around town driving yet so will see how things turn out with that.

  7. #6
    Senior Member VWSteven is on a distinguished road VWSteven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    sorry to say this, but you got the Jetta Sportwagen S Model... it is NO TDI... but your 2.5L I5 should be doing better than that. Are you in Hill Country or flat lands? If you are in a hilly area and you have the auto, you may notice the thing downshifting a lot. You are in a wagon, which is heavier than the standard Jetta Sedan. But I agree 20 MPG is pathetic. My 2011 SE sedan is averaging 28 in TOWN, no highway mixed in at all... If you are doing any jack rabbit starts, or if it is going at all above 3,000 rpm, then you are wasting a lot of fuel... the six speed autos will pull just fine under 3000 rpm. If you are a stick, then it is all about driving habits. But again, are you in Hill country or Flat Lands? THAT makes a huge difference alone.

  8. #7
    not your typical air ride DasBohan is on a distinguished road DasBohan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lori View Post
    I just drive them. And barely that- I don't even test drive a car before buying it, just do my research & usually have my husband test drive once. As long as they go forward, backwards, right, left & stop they all feel the same to me.
    ^this makes me so sad. I have 18, 21 mpg avg in a jeep rated to only 15, 18, its all in how you drive em and take care of em. something is very fishy here.

    I would suggest a stop at your dealership.
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  9. #8

    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    Too bad you did not go for the TDI version. Why they don't sell more diesels in the US is beyond me. We are still getting 43 on the high way and 38-39 around town (but we are in in big city type traffic). I do not think I will ever buy another gas vehicle especially if gas keeps going up in price and it will. Sure hope you can find out why the mileage is so low. You really can not rely on EPA listings and they are not enforced.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    Quote Originally Posted by CHEROKEEJETTA View Post
    Too bad you did not go for the TDI version. Why they don't sell more diesels in the US is beyond me. We are still getting 43 on the high way and 38-39 around town (but we are in in big city type traffic). I do not think I will ever buy another gas vehicle especially if gas keeps going up in price and it will. Sure hope you can find out why the mileage is so low. You really can not rely on EPA listings and they are not enforced.
    The obvious reason one would not go for a TDI version is the price. SE and S models sell for $6,000 - $8,000 less. Comparing the mpg of 30 for SE or S model to 40mpg for TDI, an average driver like myself would have to wait about 15-20 years to break even. (Based on 12,000 miles per year, $3.75/gallon for gas). Factor in the cost of diesel is about 25% more, and you're well into the 2040 decade before you start saving money on fuel.
    And just to give some real world numbers, I purchased my 2009 SE with 44,000 miles back in January for $13,400, which has every option besides navigation. Similarly equipped 2009 TDIs run $21,000+. Of course, new sportwagens cost $20k vs $26 for tdi.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    i run a 2012 SE 2.5 SW
    and get 30 if im real careful with the throttle

  12. #11
    Senior Member MagicGLI is on a distinguished road MagicGLI's Avatar
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    I have older model jetta - 2005 mk4 GLI trim. It's 1.8t, manual 6 speed transmission. It's completely stock. I drive currently mostly city and get on average between 14mpg (heavy bumper to bumper traffic) to 25mpg (light traffic). Occasionally I'd go on a trip, recently 150 miles, all highway I was able to get 41.7 at steady 55mph on 6th very light traffic. All mpg numbers are read outs off of dash computer display thingy
    I'm not totally useless, I can be used as a bad example...

  13. #12

    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lori View Post
    Hi, new here. I have a 2010 sportwagen S and am not at all happy with my fuel economy. I downsized from a minivan in order not to waste so much gas, and I'm getting only about 4 Mpg better than the van did. At my 90 day service check they told me I had to break it in, get up over 5000 miles. I'm over 7000 miles now and I took it in today because it is no better. They ran a check and say they can find nothing wrong. No surprise there, it's not an easy issue.

    I average 19-21 mpg mixed city/hwy. The minivan averaged almost 17! We've tried changing gas brands, filling the tank more frequently... Some theorize it's my driving style, but my husband drove it on a mostly hwy trip recently, then filled it up from just under half a tank and it got just under 21. Also, my last minivan, a 2005 Sienna, was purchased used at 60,000 miles. The computer gas average read 15.5. I drove it another 40,000 miles and upped the average to 16.8 miles, implying that I'm not too awful.

    I'm looking for input, tips, recourses? I guess I can report to NHTSA, or is there a different overseeing body for fuel, like the EPA? And of course VW corporate.

    If I recall correctly, the car was sold to me with a 23(22?) city and 30 hwy claim, as well as a 27 average. I'd be happy averaging 24-25 overall, but 20 is not acceptable.

    One good thing: I purchased it late in 2010, and got a 0% loan. So my payments are straight on principal and I can probably trade it in within 6-12 mos and get something else. But that hopefully is a last resort.

    Lori
    Lori,

    There are a few things you can check. Tire pressure being the most important. Even if the selected car has a monitor, it might have a fault should one, or several tires be low on air. A tire at 17psi wil increase drag by a whopping ~75% than if the tire was at 32psi.

    Be sure to get fuel at high volume stations. These stations are better maintained (fuel/water/sediment filters) and the fuel is consistently fresh. Slow stations may have tanks capable of holding 10K gallons and they may only get refilled once every few weeks.

    VW Corporate won't intercede here. No manufacturer will unless it was a warranty or drive ability concern, or safety related. VW doesn't test their vehicles for mileage, the EPA does. VW then takes the EPA rating and publishes it just like every other manufacturer. Even 7K miles is nothing. My 5.9L V8 Durango at 135K is finally broken in and getting 16mpg highway! - although I didn't buy it for mileage.

    Keep in mind that the EPA tests vehicles under certain conditions to obtain a city driving. The highway test includes running the air conditioning and steady state cruising at 60mph. Yes, 60mph. The pre-2008 ratings were highway tested at 55mph, which is why some older vehicles look as if they get better mileage when they may utilize a similar power train combination.

    NHTSA won't care, like VW, they'll just forward you to the EPA. The EPA will then forward to you the test criteria from the vehicle they tested and will tell you to adhere to similar driving techniques to obtain similar mileage. Needless to say, the government bodies don't care as long as they get their CAFE money from the manufacturers.

    Once you double your mileage you'll knowingly see a gain.

    Factors in mileage:
    Tires - more aggressive tread design will increase drag and rolling resistance
    Tire pressure - make sure tires are checked at least once a month, more in winter or during high variations in outdoor ambient temperature
    Weight - if the vehicle has regularly more than one passenger in it (EPA tests with a ~150lb driver, no passengers) then take that into consideration; junk in the trunk? - leave it at home
    Elevation - If the atmosphere is thinner where you live, the engine will have to compensate and use more fuel due to the lower effective power output of the engine at a specified height
    Cleanliness - A car consistently covered in mud, and road debris adds to the drag and can lower mileage, especially at higher speeds
    Speed - anything over 65mph will drastically lower EPA rated mileage, especially when carrying passengers
    Heat - heat from the road in 100F weather adds to the ambient heat already that the drive train components have to endure and lowers the overall efficiency of the drive train
    Brakes - dragging pads or sticking caliper will lower mileage; along with not taking off the parking brake

    Needless to say there are several factors involved in obtaining 'real world mileage', and why the EPA states 'your mileage may vary'. They don't say 'will vary', just 'may vary'. In most cases, EPA estimates are close to real world conditions, but the EPA doesn't take into considerations many of the above factors.

    Hope that helps...otherwise, drive on.

  14. #13
    Senior Member 0S1R1S is on a distinguished road 0S1R1S's Avatar
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    How is it my VR gets better mileage than all these fancy new cars? I can get 28-32 MPG combined city and highway driving. And this is on short trips of 20 miles or less.

    On topic. As stated above, tire pressure is a MUST to check. Also, you WILL need to wait for the engine to break in, and the 9,000 miles they say is only
    A generality. All motors are not created equal. Small imperfections create minute differences that will collaborate to make one motor very different from another. I would also recommend using only 93 octane fuel no matter what. And dump a can of Seafoam in the tank at your next complete fill up.


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  15. #14

    Default Re: Poor mileage?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0S1R1S View Post
    How is it my VR gets better mileage than all these fancy new cars? I can get 28-32 MPG combined city and highway driving. And this is on short trips of 20 miles or less.

    On topic. As stated above, tire pressure is a MUST to check. Also, you WILL need to wait for the engine to break in, and the 9,000 miles they say is only
    A generality. All motors are not created equal. Small imperfections create minute differences that will collaborate to make one motor very different from another. I would also recommend using only 93 octane fuel no matter what. And dump a can of Seafoam in the tank at your next complete fill up.


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    Older VWs weigh less. Period. The engines were smaller, less powerful and often had a lower power to weight ratio. Factor in the transmission here too. The more speeds an automatic has, the more weight it carries and the more fluid the parts have to turn through which increases friction and slightly lowers overall economy. Manual transmissions are direct. Even getting poor mileage with a manual is not unheard of. Gear oil changes should be done every 60K miles if not sooner, and riding the clutch can also lower mileage.

    93 octane isn't necessary on engines requiring 87. You'll just waste your money as more modern engines will compensate for any engine knock and you won't see a performance benefit. There is no mileage benefit unless you are running a turbo, or have a super high mileage engine.

    Not that it overly matters, but the 2.0 and 2.5L gas engines are manufactured in Mexico, the 2.0 diesel is manufactured in Poland, which explains some of the price premium on the TDI models.

    Someone told Lori she should have went 'diesel'. However, if you look at the long term maintenance costs, you'll have to drive 140K miles to break even with the cost of the diesel. The TDI still utilizes a timing belt, which can be costly to replace at the manufacturer recommended intervals and throws the 30% fuel savings almost out the window over either gas engine. A lot of folks look at the initial mileage an engine will give, and fail to look up the associated future operating costs.

    Not to reign on anyone's parade, but if my mother weighed 400lbs and complained to me her car was getting bad mileage, essentially she answered her own question as vehicles are EPA tested with a 150lb driver. Smaller cars lose nearly 1mpg for every 125lbs of additional weight over that 150lbs.

  16. #15
    Senior Member 0S1R1S is on a distinguished road 0S1R1S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by htwo View Post
    Older VWs weigh less. Period. The engines were smaller, less powerful and often had a lower power to weight ratio. Factor in the transmission here too. The more speeds an automatic has, the more weight it carries and the more fluid the parts have to turn through which increases friction and slightly lowers overall economy. Manual transmissions are direct. Even getting poor mileage with a manual is not unheard of. Gear oil changes should be done every 60K miles if not sooner, and riding the clutch can also lower mileage.

    93 octane isn't necessary on engines requiring 87. You'll just waste your money as more modern engines will compensate for any engine knock and you won't see a performance benefit. There is no mileage benefit unless you are running a turbo, or have a super high mileage engine.

    Not that it overly matters, but the 2.0 and 2.5L gas engines are manufactured in Mexico, the 2.0 diesel is manufactured in Poland, which explains some of the price premium on the TDI models.

    Someone told Lori she should have went 'diesel'. However, if you look at the long term maintenance costs, you'll have to drive 140K miles to break even with the cost of the diesel. The TDI still utilizes a timing belt, which can be costly to replace at the manufacturer recommended intervals and throws the 30% fuel savings almost out the window over either gas engine. A lot of folks look at the initial mileage an engine will give, and fail to look up the associated future operating costs.

    Not to reign on anyone's parade, but if my mother weighed 400lbs and complained to me her car was getting bad mileage, essentially she answered her own question as vehicles are EPA tested with a 150lb driver. Smaller cars lose nearly 1mpg for every 125lbs of additional weight over that 150lbs.
    How is a 2.8 liter V6 smaller than a 2.5 liter?
    As for power, it may have less, but it also has less in the way of modern advances in fuel efficiency.
    Also, my car weighs 2927 pounds, versus an automatic weighing in at 3015. 90 pounds won't make that big of a difference, and I doubt fuel economy is much different with an automatic transmission. Automatic transmissions with more gears don't increase the weight that much either. A few extra pounds here and there, maybe.
    I also notice a boost of 5-8 MPG on 93 octane versus 87. For a 25˘ increase per gallon, it's well worth it.


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