Last post on Mar 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM
You are in the Toyota Corolla
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Toyota Corolla, Fuel Efficiency (MPG), Sedan
#236 of 411 Toyota Corolla MPG experience
Aug 26, 2008 (5:45 pm)
I purchased a used 2006 Toyota Corolla (with 17,000 miles) this last Jan 2008 and have been following some of these discussions with interest and tracking my own results. This is my first post since it seems I have enough data now to make some comments. I certainly haven't reviewed all of these interesting posts, so excuse me if I am repeating some well known minutia.
First of all, I think it does make a meaningful difference to drive a manual transmission. Just a little bit of coasting in city traffic has improved my MPG. Tucson is cursed with no useable interstates, so most of my tanks are pure city driving. And I always buy the least expensive Costco gas I can.
My first few tanks (again pure city, no highway) I was getting between 32.2 and 32.7 MPG without too much effort - just going to neutral when you can see the light turning red up ahead. Looking through the web threads for any meaningful path to improvement (beyond the obvious stuff - correct tire inflation, good tuning) I decided to try a couple.
Tried the Lucas Oil Upper Cylinder Lubricant fuel additive which purports to clean your injectors and improve MPG. After a few tanks, I recorded an average improvement of about 0.5MPG. This was probably just more careful driving and more coasting as it has dropped back to where it was after I lost focus on this. The car did seem to run a bit smoother on those tanks with the additive and it may well make a more meaningful difference in a larger engine. But with such a small engine in already good condition, it is not too surprising it didn't help much (trying it now in my Suburban, but that car is sort of permanently parked right now so slow to get data)
Next I tried replacing the stock air filter with a K&N Filter - Nothing fancy here just the one that drops into the same spot as the paper one. Doing this seemed to pick up another 0.5MPG so I was getting about 33.4MPG in pure city driving after doing both (and I did not add the Lucas product to each tank, just two tanks actually). Again, this might also be just more focused driving to see if it made a difference. Have sort of dropped back to my more normal driving style over the last few months and see about 32MPG on average - still real good. Again, the K&N product probably doesn't hurt and might certainly have more impact in a larger engine.
Now for the interesting part.
In pure hwy driving in Arizona, I was getting about 36MPG - frankly dissappointing looking at the EPA estimates. However, I recently took a 2200 mile roundtrip to Estes Park CO with a lot of mountain driving. Seemed the higher altitude I got, the better my MPG. Going from Durango to Estes I got 44MPG going up and down mountain roads. Does anyone know if this is an altitude issue, temperature issue, different gas in CO or what?? Coming back down from Santa Fe to Las Cruces, I got 42MPG - pretty respectable and consistent with the comments above.
Anyway, like the other people posting, I am very pleased with the Toyota Corolla MPG. I don't know of any other car this size that comfortably breaks 30MPG city and (sometimes) 40MPG highway. Strangely, you don't see it mentioned too often in the high MPG car summaries. Maybe too boring or not a new enough model, but the 5speed Toyota is the best bang for the buck I can find. If there is a better (or comparable) one out there (in a four door sedan) I would sure like to know about it since my teenage son is now looking and wants the same MPG but not the same car as his old man got.
#237 of 411 Re: Toyota Corolla MPG experience [tucson_mike]
Aug 26, 2008 (10:04 pm)
Seemed the higher altitude I got, the better my MPG. Going from Durango to Estes I got 44MPG going up and down mountain roads. Does anyone know if this is an altitude issue, temperature issue, different gas in CO or what??
You use less gas at altitude for the same reason you have less power - there is less oxygen in each "gulp" of air the engine grabs. The computer leans out the mix accordingly, and voila! You are saving gas!
I have read of some fantastic mileages people have managed on road trips in their Corolla 5-speeds - yours seem to be about what I would expect based on those other accounts - and what you say is true: it makes a significant difference going with the 5-speed vs the 4A.
#238 of 411 Re: Toyota Corolla MPG experience [tucson_mike]
Aug 27, 2008 (6:14 am)
You may be gaining mpg by coasting in neutral but your taking your life in your own hands also by the lack of control you have on the car. When moving, your car should always be engaged in a gear other than neutral to ensure engine braking and ultimate control. Your most likely eating through brake shoes and pads with this habit of coasting to stops and not using your engine braking and downshifting when approaching stop signs and stop lights also. For ultimate control your cars manual will tell you to keep your cars transmission engaged at all times except when at a complete stop. Is the minimum gas savings worth the risk?
#239 of 411 Re: Toyota Corolla MPG experience [terceltom]
Aug 27, 2008 (7:18 am)
I should have been more specific - if a need to stop in city traffic is looming up ahead, I actually just put the clutch in and shift down through the gears as needed (keeping the clutch disengaged) as my speed drops until a complete stop is made and then go to neutral to relax that left leg. As several people have noted, the goal is to smooth out your accel/decel profile to minimize braking.
Also, that 42MPG I got from Santa Fe to Las Cruces was pure I-10 driving with no stops and the cruise set at 78MPH. I did earlier try a reduced speed in Arizona on I-10 (78 down to 69 - any slower is a hazard on that road) and saw no real difference in highway MPG). All of this is with the AC running as needed.
#240 of 411 Re: Tremendously better for Corolla highway ratings?????? [hoopitup2000]
Aug 27, 2008 (7:24 am)
I figured by the :"old fashioned way" and the computer was off about 1.5-2 mpg on the plus side. I will still take 40 mpg on the hwy.
As far as the Prius goes, I could never justify the difference in cost in my own situation
#241 of 411 Re: Toyota Corolla MPG experience [tucson_mike]
Aug 27, 2008 (7:34 am)
Less wear and tear on the drive train to just leave the tranny in 5th, or what ever gear you were in, and coast "in Gear" until necessary to use the clutch and the brake.
Down shifting, to slow down, looks wonderful in the movies or on the race track, but real world indicates that every time you operate the clutch, and force the engine to rev, results in less longevity on the associated parts. Compared to engines re builds, clutches, and CV joints, brakes are cheap to replace.
Learn the characteristics of your car and let off the throttle so that the car has slowed to a reasonable speed before having to apply the brakes. Once you get use to it, it becomes 2nd nature.
#242 of 411 Re: Toyota Corolla MPG experience [kipk]
Aug 27, 2008 (8:06 am)
I think tucson mike was saying he shifted the gears but kept the clutch out. That way he can be in gear in a second if he needs to, but doesn't wear the clutch by engaging every gear going down.
I do the same thing you are recommending: allow my speed to drop in the gear I am in, almost until it bogs, then clutch out and use the foot brake the rest of the way.
This is one of the ways a manual-shift car saves gas vs an automatic car.
#243 of 411 Re: Tremendously better for Corolla highway ratings?????? [gizzer777]
Aug 27, 2008 (8:42 am)
Just roughly, what is the cost difference between comparably equipped Gas Corolla and the Prius.
#244 of 411 Re: Tremendously better for Corolla highway ratings?????? [kipk]
Aug 27, 2008 (9:18 am)
Price difference: It was over $7000 for me.
Hard to say...check edmunds. The wait list for the Prius was over 500 in this area and it depends on how you equip them
#245 of 411 Re: Toyota Corolla MPG experience [nippononly]
Aug 27, 2008 (9:42 am)
I think tucson mike was saying he shifted the gears but kept the clutch out. That way he can be in gear in a second if he needs to, but doesn't wear the clutch by engaging every gear going down
True, but he is still wearing the synchronizers in the transmission when he does this, especially if not rev-matching.