Looking for top FE in GM sedan/compact.

Discussion in 'GM' started by pdw, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. pdw

    pdw Well-Known Member

    Since the only dealership in town is a GM, I've often tried to make to make a purchase there.

    Is it known which new choice with at least 5 total seats will work best for extending milage to new heights .... any preferred choices that are/will-be manufactured in North America ?
  2. c0da

    c0da Well-Known Member

    The Chevy Cobalt XFE will be coming out in late 2008 as an 09' model. It has a rated highway FE of 37mpg which is th best Chevy has had in a long time.
  3. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    The 2008 Malibu with the 4 cylinder and the 6 speed automatic transmission BEATS both the Camry and the Accord in EPA mpg. It is rates 22/32 vs 21/31. By all accounts it is a good car, and the new EPA figures underestimate what you can expect , especially highway. I would expect 35 mpg or more with the cruise control set on 70 mph , and maybe 40 mpg at 60 mph.

    The Malibu is a lot bigger(interior room= roadtrip capability) than the Cobalt , and has a newer chassis etc ,so it should ride better. You also get the good EPA numbers with an AT, not the MT that gives you the best numbers with the Cobalt.

    The Cobalt is nice, but the Malibu is nicer, and maybe easier to buy since anything with mpg numbers over 35 mpg is in short supply.

    PS I'm not sure where the Malibu is built; all of the Big 3 have plants in Mexico/Canada.
  4. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    Most fuel efficient GM small cars and the location of their assembly plants:
    Chevy Aveo - built in Bupyoung, South Korea
    Chevy Cobalt - built in Lordstown, Ohio
    Chevy Malibu - built in Fairfax, Kansas, and some at Lake Orion, Michigan
    Chevy HHR - built in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico
    Pontiac Vibe - built in Fremont, California
    Pontiac G6 - built in Lake Orion, Michigan
    Saturn Astra - built in Antwerp, Belgium as an Opel Astra
    Saturn Aura - built in Fairfax Kansas
    Saturn VUE - built in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico

    For "country of assembly", look at first character of VIN. 1,4,5=USA, 2=Canada, 3=Mexico, J=Japan, K=South Korea, W=Germany
  5. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    My brother just picked up a new HHR in the past week, thanks to the 0%/72mo offer. He has an '06 Silverado 2500HD with gas V8 and automatic. With basic hypermiling techniques, he's average 20mpg with much of it in urban NYC traffic. Knowing what he can do with the Silverado, and considering that he was using the big truck even for short trips to the market or Blockbuster, he wanted to "trim the fat" from his overall fuel usage. Getting a small runaround car will save quite a bit of fuel, if driven properly.

    He decided on the HHR for a few reasons. 1- It's very tall so you don't have to crawl down into it. 2 - With auto-trans (a virtual requirement for anyone with long legs who drives in gridlocked NYC), it gets the same EPA numbers as the Cobalt. 3 - With the flexible seating arrangement and large cargo area, it can be used in place of the big truck much more often than a small sedan.

    Although the HHR is assembled in Mexico, its engine comes from Tonawanda, NY or Spring Hill, TN. Much of its content is from the US. And the money "stays here" in a country based in North America.

    So far, with the EPA quoting 22/30 (new 08 estimate), he's already in the mid 30s and it's not even at 100 miles on the odometer. The little Ecotecs start to really shine after breakin, so I told him he has no reason to expect less than 40mpg (double the truck's usage) in the daily grind.

    Out of the current GM lineup, built in Canada/USA/Mexico, the fuel sippers with the most "room for five" would be Chevy Cobalt/HHR/Malibu, Pontiac Vibe/G6, and Saturn Aura. With the simplest of hypermiling techniques, GM vehicles will usually deliver the EPA's highway number for an overall combined average.

    If you can wait about a year, there is a new "Chevy compact" coming that will be assembled at the Cobalt's Lordstown, Ohio plant. It will not be named "Cobalt", but will be about the same size. Built in the next generation Delta-II platform, it will have a 1.4L turbo engine that is said to get "over 40mpg easily". So unless the car purchase is urgent, it may pay to wait for that upcoming new model.
  6. bomber991

    bomber991 Well-Known Member

    My advice is to take a trip outside of town to a city that has more options than just Chevy.
  7. pdw

    pdw Well-Known Member

    We had to take the trip into the city when the Saturns first came out in the 1990's. It was hard to beat its 49 (Imperial) mpg (41 mpg USA) back then. We came close to a decision on an Accord ... just down the street from the Saturn dealer. At that time we went quite a few times before we finally bought one of their 5speed sedans.

    The local GM dealer has seen quite a bit of me ... but its been tricky deciding on the right vehicle to replace the old for best economy-potential. Given that we are now accustomed to a 1.9L naturally aspirated single-cam for so long, ... the 1.4turbo engine might be the ticket to achieve what we are used to or maybe even a bit better; .... the cobalt chasis is something similar in size/weight (slightly roomier) and would seem like something we might be able to graduate into if they come in standard shift as well.
  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi PDW:

    ___What I recommend is that you consider a new vehicle that take you down the road “if” a gallon of fuel reaches $10.00 per gallon within a possible 3 to 5 years. Not saying it will but what if it does? If the 29 combined of the Cobalt XFE doesn’t cut it, I would suggest that you seriously begin to look elsewhere. Loyalty doesn’t mean anything when gas prices rise as the sales of Ford, GM and Dodge P/U’s and SUV’s have proven this year in particular.

    ___Good Luck

  9. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    pdw -you don't say what you currently drive , but the 37 mpg that the manual transmission Cobalt XFE gets is better than any Saturn's mpg (probably any Saturn ever made) .The EPA changed its rating system. 37 MPG is probably 42 or more mpg by the "old system") .The XFE Cobalt will at least match your Saturn , and it will be a much nice car (quieter , better ride, roomier etc) . In fact there aren't more than a handful of cars that rate 37 mph hy in the USA .Maybe you Canadians get some better FE cars , but I suspect you get the same choices we get.


    PS I can only think of the Prius,HCH 2 and maybe that Smart that beat 37 mpg?? There must be others, maybe a Yaris , or Fit ?? None of the TDI VWs will match that FE .
  10. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Waiting a bit is not a bad idea either . Maybe the new GM will get 40 mpg . Besides , if the new Prius and the Volt are big successes then maybe the resale of "old" 2004 Prius will drop a bit . 155" is about the shortest a car can be an still fit 5 adult North Americans -the Fit has the most room smallest car trophy.

  11. pdw

    pdw Well-Known Member

    According to Maxx, Its replacing the cobalt but it's not a cobalt .... similar size .... with a 1.4litre turbo

    must admit it sounds inviting
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  12. pdw

    pdw Well-Known Member

    Hi XCEL
    Loyalty goes out the window pretty quick I agree.

    In Canada EPA stickers have been deceptive. They invoke the Imperial gallon mpg, which is miles per gallon imperial (your 50mpg = our 60mpg) and then, instead of squaring off in kilometers per litre, we get "litres per 100 kilometers" ... completely screwing up for making wise comparisons.

    You are right ... we got basically the same choices.

    (ohh .... and I practised in an old Saturn SL 5speed)
  13. JohnC

    JohnC Member

    I have been drivving a 04 Pontiac Vibe (same as toyota matrix) for 4 years/102,000 miles and it has been a great car.
  14. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    Article elaborating on a press release from 6/3/08
    "Today Rick Wagoner, CEO of GM, announced a range of strategic moves for several GM brands. Most notably, Chevrolet will see a new compact car in its ranks besides the Cobalt and Aveo powered by a new 1.4 liter turbo engine producing between 120 and 140 hp.

    In a desperate move to please US consumers, this new engine will find its way into the new and yet unnamed Chevrolet compact car which will be built at GM's Lordstown, Ohio plant starting mid-2010.

    The new 1.4 liter turbocharged engine will be built at GM's Flint plant and boasts a 9 mpg improvement over GM's current offerings in the segment, the Cobalt for instance. Whether this new compact car will replace the Cobalt is unclear at the moment, and they may just co-exist side-by-side."

    The Chevy Cobalt and HHR and former Saturn Ion and current Saturn Astra are built off the same "Delta platform". A revised and updated version hits the factories starting next year, and it's being called "Delta-II" - same basic setup but refined and improved. The Volt will be based on Delta-II as well, so a lot of money is going into making significant improvements over what we see on the roads today.

    So the new 1.4L Ecotec turbo engine will look (externally) like the current 2.0L version we see now in the Saturn Sky Redline and Cobalt SS, but internally will be lower displacement and about half the power, and 50% better FE. The new platform rolls out later this year in Germany and that will be our first glimpse at what the next Chevy will look like.

    They are not saying what the name will be, but the plans at the Lordstown plant suggest they will be producing the new car alongside the Cobalt, at least for a while. Why? I suspect two reasons. First, the Cobalt is cheaper to build, so they can have it on sale at Walmart prices as a modern-day "Rambler" - cheap to buy, insure, and drive, while the new Delta-II car will offer better performance and packaging at a higher price. And second, if they call the new car something else (Chevelle or Nova, for example), then they have more bragging rights along the lines of "Chevy has ### models that are EPA rated at 30mpg or better!" Kill the old Cobalt and bring in the new, and you don't have "more models that get that kind of mileage".

    For people who consider GM products, there is a lot of hope in this updated platform. The Cobalt has never been a bad car, but it's about as interesting as CSPAN. The next car promises more style and performance, and dramatically better MPG. That last promise is the one most people in the US care about right now, and I'm hoping GM delivers on it.
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi MaxxMPG:

    ___I love your avatar :D

    ___PDW, the XFE we are speaking about is the current (latest) Cobalt with a stick and bestowed the XFE model. Available as an 08 with the 09 achieving another 1 mpg on the highway. The 1.4L Turbo is going into something completely new and or different from Chevrolet and I cannot wait :)

    ___Where there were none, now the Cobalt XFE and the Malibu with the new I4 w/ and brand new 6-speed AT are on my list of vehicles of interest. That 6-speed is also flat towable meaning everything is open for use ;)

    ___Good Luck

  16. JohnM

    JohnM Well-Known Member

    PDW, I use a 2005 Cobalt with a manual 5 speed and have averaged 39.7 mpg over the past 12 months. You can check my mileage logs for the past year at http://www.cleanmpg.com/index.php?page=garage&displayunits=MPG(US)&viewcar=1194. This result comes with a Rochester winter.

    It is a lot easier to get the better mileage with a stick shift in this car. Now during this warmer time of the year I am getting a true average of over 42 mpg. Note that I have also calibrated the odometer and lowered the mileage by approximately 3.5%, since the odometer measures distance 3.5% high.

    The fuel economy gage measures over 46 mpg now, but it is somewhat optimistic.

    One problem with hypermiling the Cobalt is that the ride is a little harsh with the tires at 44 psi. The door frame tire pressure is 30 psi.
  17. OokiiMamoru

    OokiiMamoru Active Member

    While it dose not make the list, talked to a customer yesterday who avg 30 mpg going from North GA to Florida, and about 28 mpg going from North GA to Northern Tennessee in a 2008 Impala 3.6lt. Manufactured in Canada. She said she her driving habits were to keep it at the speed limit.
  18. pdw

    pdw Well-Known Member

    Hi Ookii, now that you mention this, I remember the Impala was known to be good on gas, esp for its size.

    Xcel, ... it would be neat to experience a six-speed automatic

    I've worked a lot at trying to figure how much gas my 94 Saturn spends on warming itself up. I figure about 4 times less warm-up gas-wasteage in peak summer than in dead of winter, but only 2 times as much in winter coldspells than on average (at our 42nd latitude).

    I tested this often by filling a litre (empty-tank) and running it out again (got good at handling small fuel containers). Distances achieved are progressively farther the warmer the engine ... best at peak temperature every-time.

    Despite 'thermosing' the engine (in addition to the radiator restriction) the Saturn has taught me how expensive it is to warm up a frigid engine in various sub-zero temperatures, .... but also the every day cost. That's why the prius has the thermos ... I found out later.

    A new car will use less warm up gas than an old one ... because of the great compression for one thing ....

    thanks everyone for all the help
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  19. JohnM

    JohnM Well-Known Member

    PDW, this Fall I intend to get an engine block heater and put the car on a timer for about 2 hours before I start it up each morning. I would like to get a factory block heater, but will probably get a pad. Then, the only problem is somehow heating the block at 3 PM at work each day.

    When you mention 2x and 4x for gas wasteage, what is the value of 1x? How many ml?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  20. pdw

    pdw Well-Known Member

    I would be fairly certain of X=500ml which would be at a morning startup temperature in the neighbourhood of about 70 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale where the engine is approximately that temperature as well. X then represents an average of approx .75 lbs (three quarters of a pound).

    x= .7 lb on a hot tarmac in the summer (expansion)

    x= .8 lb in cold northern climate (shrink)
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008

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