What Consumers Get Wrong About Fuel-Efficient Cars

February 28th, 2017 by

University Mitsubishi Wrong About Fuel Efficient Cars

With Mitsubishi reducing their lineup to focus on crossovers, many wonder the fate of their sedans, the Mirage and Mirage G4. Would Mitsubishi Motors turn their back on these fuel-efficient models? With the best fuel economy in their class, they’re here to stay … for now at least. It raises the question though – what about the Mirage and Mirage G4 contributes to their fuel economy?

Some consumers have misconceptions about fuel efficient cars. Oh, it’s “Because they’re so small,” they say, “They have such low horsepower, of course they burn less gas.” These are just some of the popular statements made about fuel efficient cars. Yes, it’s true, both the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage and Mirage G4 are run by a 1.2-liter MIVEC DOHC 12-valve Inline 3-cylinder engine that only generates 78 horsepower. However, that’s not the only reason they’re so fuel efficient. Before we discuss the truth though, let’s debunk the myths.

Smaller Cars = Better Fuel Economy

Yeah, maybe at first when automobiles were still a new thing. With all the mechanics that go into the mix, losing extra weight was the only way to make a car faster. This myth continues to stick around, even in the face of hybrid vehicles, much larger than a subcompact vehicle, that can travel 500 miles on a single tank, with up to 43 mpg on the highway – just as much as the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage. Plus, the auto industry has started to change things up – aluminum body components, aluminum wheels, fuel-saving technology, direct injection of gasoline, and of course all the other ways they tweak the engine has helped to increase fuel economy in vehicles today.

Fuel Economy Decreases with Time

This is like calling a duck a duck. Yes, as something ages it does work less efficiently, and even an engine with wear and tear will lose the same fuel efficiency from when it was brand new. The more strain on en engine, the less well it will perform. So when most cars may choke up a bit after seven years or so, one has to wonder if it’s any coincidence most powertrain warranties last only five? In contrast, Mitsubishi has the best warranties in the auto industry, with their powertrain going up to seven years; if there is any clunking by then, drivers can exchange those powertrain components to get the engine running like new. Plus, according to the EPA, “Vehicles that are 10 or even 15 years old will experience little decrease in fuel economy if properly maintained.”

Manual Transmission Versus Automatic

Maybe in the old days manual transmission was more favorable and offered better fuel efficiency … because it was the only kind out there. We won’t hide the truth, Mitsubishi has manual transmission set as the standard for the majority of the Mitsubishi Mirage and Mirage G4 lineup. However, upgrading to their automatic continuous variable transmission (CVT) does wonders for the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. More on that later, because there’s one other thing that helps with this. The “ECO status indicator light”, standard in all trims of the Mirage and Mirage G4. This little light indicates when the vehicle is making the most out of its fuel and mileage, and the fuel consumption gauge displays the driver’s current mileage so they can tweak their driving to make the most out of it.

Safe to say myths like these are wrong. Now let’s look at what actually does help Mitsubishi make such fuel efficient vehicles. As noted, all trims on the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage and Mirage G4 are powered by a 1.2-liter MIVEC DOHC engine.

That acronym, “MIVEC” is the brand name given to Mitsubishi’s take on variable valve timing (VVT) technology, the process of optimizing how an engine’s cylinders handle the intake and exhaust of fuel and air. Done right, not only can horsepower increase but so can fuel economy. The other acronym, “DOHC”, stands for “Dual OverHead Camshaft”. It sounds complex, but it’s just a separation of the intake/exhaust valves by splitting the intake and exhaust valves into their own camshaft instead of cramming both into one. This takes tension off the engine, and we already discussed how an engine not working at its peak efficiency will hinder a vehicle’s fuel economy.

Lastly, Mitsubishi’s optional CVT – Continuous Variable Transmission is actually one of the best types of transmission out there for fuel economy. This automatic transmission seamlessly changes through a continuous range of gear trains so that the vehicle wheels may maintain their rotational speed while changing gears without a loss of power and/or putting tension on the engine. Now think of the energy and fuel lost when changing from a high speed to a slow speed. CVT is an effort to decrease that loss as much as possible.

There you have it. Myths about fuel efficient cars and the technology behind them are completely two different things. If you would like a very fuel-efficient vehicle though, we’d like to suggest the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback or Mitsubishi Mirage G4 subcompact car.

Photo Source/Copyright: fueleconomy.gov