Sunday, March 7, 2010


I haven't blogged in a while, but I just had to intervene on this infuriating commercial Chevrolet keeps running about how their Malibu is so much better than the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord in fuel mileage ratings. They also run equally annoying ads about how their cars and trucks have better fuel economy than Toyota and Honda and that they are first in class. Now, I didn't get the chance to read the miniscule writing that clarifies their statements but allow me to challenge this since I'm of the mind, correctly or not, that non-American cars are superior in every way, not the least of which is fuel economy.

First, the Malibu claim.

I don't bother looking at manufacturer's claims of fuel economy because they're notoriously unreliable. So I look at two references: the Government of Canada's Energuide ratings and Globe Auto's ratings. According to Globe Auto, on Highway Fuel Economy, which Chevrolet claims is the best on Malibu, Malibu equals Accord and is bested by the Camry. It is better than Accord on combined fuel economy but is slaughtered by the Camry. Energuide looks like maybe Malibu slightly edges out both in their tests on highway.

Next, the "best-in-class" claim. For this I will use Energuide because they rank by class. The ONLY Chevrolet vehicle that has best-in-class fuel economy is the Chevrolet Express Cargo Van. Top seller for sure. The Impala has a decent showing at 4th in its class. So if Chevy doesn't top the classes in combined fuel economy, who does? (For this I have looked only at 2010 models with automatic transmissions and gasoline engines just to avoid bias toward the diesels and manual transmissions)

Two-seater: Smart Fortwo

Subcompact: Toyota Yaris; Chevy Aveo comes in behind Yaris and Honda Civic

Compact: Top 4 cars are hybrids; top non-hybrid is VW Golf GTI Clean Diesel; Kia Rio (my car!) is #1 of compact regular gasoline cars; Chevy falls at 14th behind Hyundai Accent, Toyota Corolla, and Kia Rio.

Mid-Size: Again, top 4 are hybrid, including Prius (our car!); top gasoline car is Nissan Versa
The illustrious Chevy Malibu is beaten by the following foreign cars: Nissan Sentra, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Elantra. In fairness to American car makers, Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid make respectable showings.

Full-size: Chevy's best showing, with a 5th place Impala behind the superior Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accords with 2 different trims. Toyota Avalon is left in the dust in this case.

Station-wagon (if you're so inclined): Audi A3 TDI wins if you can afford one; VW TDI Clean Diesel for real people; Chevy has no cars in this lineup but the Pontiac Vibe gets creamed by the Honda Fit, Nissan Cube, and Kia Soul. Toyota again makes a poor showing. Wondering if bad brakes and stuck accelerators are all they need to worry about?

Pickup Trucks: For the smaller engines, Chevy Colorado got beat by Toyota Tacoma, Mazda B2300, and Ford Ranger.

Minivans: Mazda5 leaves everyone else so far behind it's hard to compare. But Chevrolet Uplander is way behind even their domestic competition.

Too bad some people believe what they see in commercials.