Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: 2015 Micra fuel economy/mileage test: ecodriving a 5-speed and automatic in Montreal

  1. #1
    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    1000 Islands, Ontario
    Posts
    3,711
    Thanks
    1,111
    Thanked 474 Times in 360 Posts

    2015 Micra fuel economy/mileage test: ecodriving a 5-speed and automatic in Montreal

    Name:  micra-ecodriving-test.jpg
Views: 3606
Size:  41.4 KB

    I don't pretend to be a car reviewer. But I do know a thing or two about fuel economy and how to drive efficiently.

    So when Nissan invited me to have a closer look at the Micra during the media launch in Montreal, I decided to use my time behind the wheel to find out what kind of mileage it could deliver using plain vanilla ecodriving techniques that any driver can use in real world conditions.

    The results -- in mixed city and highway driving -- were surprisingly good:
    • 5.1 L/100 km - SV Manual transmission (55 mpg Imperial / 46 mpg US)
    • 5.6 L/100 km - SR Automatic transmission (50 mpg Imperial / 42 mpg US)

    (See below for details and disclaimers about these results.)


    Fuel economy is the top search here

    I'm far from the only person interested in the Micra's fuel economy: it's the number one search of visitors to this site.

    That should come as no surprise, with gas prices near record highs in Canada -- and in Quebec, where the Micra is expected to sell particularly well, prices are perpetually higher than the national average. So fuel economy is definitely top of mind, and people want to know how just economical Nissan's newest economy car really is.

    Unfortunately for Nissan, it faces a double-barrel problem when it comes to talking about the Micra's m.p.g.


    NRCAN ratings changed for 2015

    The first problem is that, as a 2015 model year car, the Micra is one of the first vehicles subject to Canada's updated fuel economy test methods. NRCAN has expanded on the old 2 cycle test which produced "optimistic" fuel economy ratings that many drivers felt were difficult or impossible to achieve.

    The updated test method now puts the vehicle through 5 laboratory test cycles that include faster acceleration, higher speeds, a wider variety of temperatures, and higher accessory loads (eg. air conditioning). This produces arguably more "real world" ratings that many drivers will be able to get -- and even beat -- in every day driving.

    Name:  mpg-lhk-montreal.jpg
Views: 18235
Size:  25.4 KB

    This finally brings Canadian ratings in line with the U.S. EPA, which went to 5 cycle testing for the 2008 model year.

    The Micra's 5 cycle official fuel economy ratings are:

    Transmission City Highway Combined *
    5-speed manual 8.6 L/100 km
    33 mpg (Imp.)
    27.4 mpg (US)
    6.6
    43
    36
    7.7
    36.7
    30.6
    4-speed automatic 8.8 L/100 km
    32 mpg (Imp.)
    26.7 mpg (US)
    6.6
    43
    36
    7.8
    36.2
    30.2
    * Combined = 55% city, 45% highway

    The problem for Nissan is that all of its competitors are 2014 models, meaning they're still advertising the older, more impressive looking fuel economy ratings. So, until the 2015 model switchover and everyone is using the same ratings, the Micra is going to look bad by comparison.

    It's safe to say the general public isn't going to know about this.

    It's already easy to find misinformed online chatter about the Micra's "poor" mileage. And educating the public on the ratings issue isn't something that can be done in a simple sound bite.


    Little car, (relatively) big engine

    Nissan's second problem is that even when comparing the Micra's fuel economy against its competitors on a level playing field, it falls at the thirstier end of the spectrum.

    That's because to keep costs down (the company's primary goal), the car shares its 109 hp, 1.6L engine with the larger Versa sedan and Note hatchback. (In other countries, a less powerful but more efficient 1.2L engine is available, either naturally aspirated or supercharged.)

    With a more powerful engine than most of its classmates (e.g. 82 hp in the Chevy Spark; 74 hp in the Mitsubishi Mirage), it's no surprise that fuel economy is nothing to crow about, relatively speaking.

    But in the hands of a motivated driver, the Micra is capable of decent real world numbers. It's absolutely capable of beating the new ratings.


    Ecodriving in Montreal? C'est impossible, non?

    Montreal drivers have a reputation for a certain "joie de vivre" behind the wheel. Let's just say they are not known to dawdle. So is it even possible to keep up with normal traffic and also drive efficiently?

    Of course it is!

    Riding shotgun and acting as navigator and general Micra encyclopedia during this test was Andrew Wilton, Nissan's marketing manager for the company's small car line up. I think he would agree that our Micra was definitely not a rolling road block. I went with the flow. (Right lane flow on the highway portion of the drive.)

    Wilton himself is no stranger to ecodriving techniques: he told me he and a co-worker have been known to engage in friendly mileage competitions when they happen to be driving the same Nissan model on their similar commutes. And Wilton says he typically scores better numbers, even with similar travel times.


    The route


    We drove the exact same route twice, first in a Micra SV with the 5-speed manual transmission, next in an SR automatic.

    The almost round trip covered 34.1 km and included a mix of downtown traffic, ex-urban and highway driving.

    Name:  micra-fe-map-s.jpg
Views: 2101
Size:  24.9 KB
    Click image to enlarge. Or see Google Maps, Montreal - http://goo.gl/maps/EB60t

    - Starting in the Old Port area, to Rue Notre Dame E
    - Rue Dickson to Av. Souligny
    - Trans Canada/25 to Exit 1 on Ile Charron
    - Return to Rue Notre Dame E by the same route
    - Except finishing at W Hotel instead of Old Port, via a short hop on 720 W / Ville Marie


    The test: conditions & ecodriving techniques

    Conditions:

    • were admittedly pretty ideal
    • warm weather (around 25 C / 77 F) and dry roads
    • comfortable for windows-down motoring at city speeds
    • minimal A/C needed with windows up at highway speeds
    • mid-day traffic (on a weekday)
    • the cars were both warm at the start of each loop (which helps the numbers, because cold starts mean higher fuel consumption until the drivetrain has completely warmed up)


    Ecodriving techniques used:
    • no fancy hypermiling here -- no pulse & glide or switching off the engine to coast
    • in fact, the engines stayed on at all times, even at long traffic lights
    • just basic, plain vanilla techniques that anybody can use, like...
    • smooth, moderate acceleration;
    • early upshifts with the manual transmission (including into top gear where possible, even in the city);
    • anticipating traffic and choosing the best lane to avoid unneccessary slowdowns (preserving momentum);
    • watching ahead for slowdowns & stops to avoid rushing in and braking hard
    • mostly right lane on the highway (going with the flow of traffic on that side)
    • on this particular route, that meant very fuel economy friendly highway speeds around 80-90 km/h (~50-55 mph)


    Name:  micra-city-driving-montreal.jpg
Views: 2152
Size:  41.7 KB


    Conclusions and caveats

    One of the nice things about the Micra is that all trim levels get the factory trip computer which displays both "instant" and "average" (resettable) fuel consumption.

    However, we don't yet know how accurate that display is (not surprisingly, factory gauges are often optimistic). This test just wasn't long enough to be able to calibrate it against a fill-up.


    Clearly though, the numbers are much better than the car's official ratings of 7.7 and 7.8 L/100 km (combined), even allowing for a big margin of error on the display.

    The major takeaway is that the new 5 cycle fuel economy ratings will be easily achievable/beatable by many more drivers in the real world.

    EG: Micra reviewer David Booth, perhaps better known for his leadfooted style than eco-conscious philosophies, reported 6.5 L/100 km with the 5-speed over 100 km of mixed driving.

    Example 2: Reviewer Michael Bettencourt of the Globe & Mail reported 7.0 L/100 km in his review. I contacted him by e-mail for additional info and he replied:

    [This was in the automatic] after two or 3 different drivers behind the wheel of the car on a warm and muggy 28 degree day (32-ish with humidity, so lots of AC use too). And pretty safe to assume no hypermiling/eco-driving techniques used, certainly on my portion with it, though it was not thrashed either. We cruised on the highway for a while at 120 km/h.
    Manual vs. automatic, what's up with that?

    It may seem unusual that the 5-speed Micra got 10% better fuel economy than the automatic despite having almost identical ratings. But it's no surprise when you understand the way manual transmissions are operated during fuel economy testing. The result is it's almost always easier to beat a manual's rating by a wider margin than the automatic's rating.



    "50 MPG Micra" for everyone?

    Does this mean you're going to get 50+ mpg (Imperial) from your Micra?

    Nope!

    • E.G. in the dead of winter, these numbers would have been much worse.
    • E.G. in hotter weather with the A/C on all the time, consumption would have been worse.
    • E.G. if you typically drive short trips from a cold start, your fuel economy will be worse.
    • E.G. if your commute includes a lot of stop-and-go, your numbers will be worse.
    • E.G. if you regularly drive above the highway speed limit your results will be worse.
    • E.G. if you drive on very hilly roads your numbers will be worse (probably).
    • E.G. if you drive like a typical car reviewer, your numbers will almost certainly be worse!
    • E.G. ...


    In other words, your mileage may (will) vary.

    It's probably fair to say the "average" driver (non-eco, non-leadfoot) would have gotten results somewhere in between mine and the other journalists in the same conditions.

    On the other hand... it is also absolutely possible to get even better fuel economy than we saw in Montreal.

    You might have Goldilocks-style "just right" driving patterns, or you could use additional driving techniques beyond just the basics used during my drive. I'm hoping for some more seat time in a Micra to find out more.

    ---

    See also: Head to head: 2015 Micra manual vs. automatic MPG/fuel economy comparison

    ---


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra S manual: 5.0 L/100 km ... 56.5 mpg (Imp) ... 20.0 km/L ... 47.0 mpg (US) ...


  2. The Following User Says Thank You to MetroMPG For This Useful Post:

    AlphaMicra (05-20-2014)

  3. #2
    Administrator Daox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    764
    Garage empty: add car
    Thanks
    213
    Thanked 84 Times in 63 Posts
    Very nice review of the Micra's fuel economy. Thanks Darin.

  4. #3
    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    1000 Islands, Ontario
    Posts
    3,711
    Thanks
    1,111
    Thanked 474 Times in 360 Posts
    Relevant to the updated for 2015 NRCAN ratings, here's an Autos.ca analysis of the change from 2 cycle to 5 cycle estimates:

    Analysis: Natural Resources Canada’s 2015 Fuel Consumption Revisions

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra S manual: 5.0 L/100 km ... 56.5 mpg (Imp) ... 20.0 km/L ... 47.0 mpg (US) ...


  5. #4
    Senior Member aftica's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    370
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 67 Times in 47 Posts
    Great post Darin. Good to see another guy that gets the smooth thing. Won't be hard to spot you on the road if we ever cross paths... I will actually honk and thumbs up

    I'll be easily beating the new ratings on whatever I buy, as I'm normally within 1-2 mpg of the old ones, and that's without butt sniffing the semis, coasting down hills or shutting off at red lights.
    Ten Grand Tin Can

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra S manual: 5.3 L/100 km ... 53.2 mpg (Imp) ... 18.8 km/L ... 44.3 mpg (US) ...


  6. #5
    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    1000 Islands, Ontario
    Posts
    3,711
    Thanks
    1,111
    Thanked 474 Times in 360 Posts
    Thanks. Yeah, I typically beat the ratings on everything I drive too (though to beat the old ratings is harder on the highway -- no speeding).

    that's without butt sniffing the semis, coasting down hills or shutting off at red lights.
    I NEVER draft, but regularly use those other techniques in my own car. Every little bit helps!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra S manual: 5.0 L/100 km ... 56.5 mpg (Imp) ... 20.0 km/L ... 47.0 mpg (US) ...


  7. #6
    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    1000 Islands, Ontario
    Posts
    3,711
    Thanks
    1,111
    Thanked 474 Times in 360 Posts
    Another auto journalist, Michael Bettencourt, reported in his review that he got 7.0 L/100 km during his test drive. Didn't say which transmission, though I'm guessing automatic. I've emailed him asking for clarification.

    Update: he replied, and I added his info to post #1. Essentially: automatic transmission, 3 drivers, lots of A/C, no ecodriving, speeds up to 120 km/h on the highway.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra S manual: 5.0 L/100 km ... 56.5 mpg (Imp) ... 20.0 km/L ... 47.0 mpg (US) ...


  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    142
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 26 Times in 15 Posts
    still a lot better than my 16l/100km in my jeep.

  9. #8
    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    1000 Islands, Ontario
    Posts
    3,711
    Thanks
    1,111
    Thanked 474 Times in 360 Posts
    Oh yeah, you'll cut your consumption in half using the Micra instead, easily.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra S manual: 5.0 L/100 km ... 56.5 mpg (Imp) ... 20.0 km/L ... 47.0 mpg (US) ...


  10. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    142
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 26 Times in 15 Posts
    I know. The jeep will still be used, but just not as much. I get into other vehciles besides my jeep and I need to drive the jeep....just something about it...I guess there is such thing as a jeep thing. ha ha.

  11. #10
    Member nichol's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Mission BC
    Posts
    55
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by aftica View Post
    I'll be easily beating the new ratings on whatever I buy, as I'm normally within 1-2 mpg of the old ones, and that's without butt sniffing the semis, coasting down hills or shutting off at red lights.
    Have you ever taken a video of your driving? Somehow your mileage smokes mine, despite my bad habit of drafting semis, coasting down hills, and shutting off at red lights.

    There are a few things working against me mileage-wise, most obviously my fatter, taller tires, that are probably more roll-resistant than the stock ones.

    That said, thinking about it, with the bigger tires on I am actually travelling further than the computer reports. Maybe my mileage is better than I think it is?


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Micra SV manual: 6.5 L/100 km ... 43.2 mpg (Imp) ... 15.3 km/L ... 36.0 mpg (US) ...


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •