We purchased a 2012 Kia Soul last year to take advantage of its advertised 26/32 mpg. In 10 months the best mileage I've gotten is 20.5 in the city and once, only once, 27 on the freeway. I do mostly city driving. I took the car into the dealer in July (my odometer was almost at 5,000 miles) and asked about the low mpg. I was told that the car hadn't been fully broken in, that I had to wait until I reached 7,500 miles and then I would see improved mileage. Will I ever see close to the advertised 26 mpg in the city?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it normally takes 3,000 to 5,000 miles of driving to get optimal mpg. Some experts and owners say it can take 2,000 additional miles or so beyond that. So I'm hoping you're seeing improvement by now.
I often hear from readers who are dissatisfied when their vehicles don't live up to expectations. There are many explanations: how and where you drive (uphill and stop-and-go uses more fuel); heavy use of the air conditioner and even variations in fuel can impact your numbers.
The EPA numbers are determined with very standardized routines and parameters. Not all real-life city driving is created equal, of course. If you're idling a lot, and if there's quite a lot of slow down-speed up activity to accommodate traffic, that will cut into your figure a great deal.
I wish I could offer you a solid yes or no about the future. You may still be within the break-in period and the possibility exists you will see something of a bump for that reason. Or not.
Closely examining your in-city driving realities and adjusting your driving habits could help. One of my friends altered her regular five-day-a-week driving route to avoid traffic lights and stop signs and other slow-downs, and she claims to have gained an additional 2 mpg. There are many such stories circulating.
(c) CTW Features
E-mail email@example.com. Due to volume, not all questions may be answered.