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Subaru Forester MPG-Real World Numbers

PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
With the price of gas being what it is, your real world mileage is becoming more important than the estimates on the sticker. This is the place to talk about your real world on the road results!


Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles



  • carlv1carlv1 Posts: 2
    I'm a little disappointed with my new Forester's mileage. I'm on fill up number three and I get a little over 18 MPG in the city. Does that seem right?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's low, however the engine is still very green. Note that I didn't hit my peak mileage until I hit 15,000 miles!

    My average improved by about +3mpg after a year or so, that would put you in the low 20s at least.

  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,350
    That sounds low. The mostly city/some highway tanks on my 06 X (almost 2500 miles now) has been 25-26, with a high of 29 for mostly freeway. First tank, which was near all city, was 25 right away. But mine is a manual so that may make a difference.

    Stop racing those CRVs :P
  • smittynycsmittynyc Posts: 291
    I'm a little disappointed with my new Forester's mileage. I'm on fill up number three and I get a little over 18 MPG in the city. Does that seem right?

    Let's define "in the city," first -- are you talking about going 95%+ of a tankful driving on actual city streets? You know, stoplights at every intersection, rarely traveling above 30 mph, lots of idling?

    If that's the case, I'd actually be pretty happy with 18 mpg. I live in New York City, and on those occasions where we go a whole tankful w/o ever leaving the city limits, driving exclusively on local surface streets (no intracity jaunts on the highway), I've gotten as low as 15-16 mpg in the summer (AC).

    I have a 2004 Forester, which lacks throttle-by-wire and a couple of other refinements that yours has, so I wouldn't imagine you'd ever end up that low. But if you're talking about extreme conditions like the ones I outlined above, then 18 mpg doesn't shock me.

    FWIW, I get about 27-28 on all-highway driving (rare for us) and 23-25 on "mixed" (almost every tankful we drive will be at least 50% hard-core urban mileage). I had one tankful just over 30 mpg, driving 45-55 on rural back roads in Ohio. EPA for my model is 22/28.

    Hope that helps. I'm not thrilled with my urban mileage, either, but I think it's got more to do with the conditions than with the car.
  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 216
    I also have an '06 LL Bean. Only has 1,000 miles on it and filled it up three times. So I'm getting 15 MPG on hilly rural back roads. I'm hoping MPG's gets better after break-in.
  • I just bought a 2006 Forester, automatic, premium. I've been a little disappointed too on MPGs, about 21 on a daily commute that is 6 miles, 3 being open hiway, 3 45 MPH streets, usually hit 2 or 3 red lights per trip. Funny thing, after the second fillup I drove it very mild for the next 200 miles and it seemed like mileage worsened just a bit, to 20.0 mpg.

    I think an engine should be fully broken in within 2-3000 miles, really there isn't that much lapping/wear-in happening. I'm not unhappy with the 20-21, was just hoping for 25ish with careful driving.
  • growler5growler5 Posts: 67
    A 6-mile trip is barely enough to get the engine and other moving parts warmed up. If you kept on driving, you'll see the MPG go up, but you'll have to drive a long distance to make up for the poor MPG from the first few miles. Do keep in mind that the EPA numbers assume the car is already warmed up. They are not cold-start numbers.

    Two real-life examples:

    I have a commute that occasionally goes 28 miles one-way. In my prior car (an old BMW), I could see the difference in economy by watching the range (miles to empty) number during the commute. This number would drop steadily over the first 10-12 miles, then start holding steady and then increase slowly over the second half of the trip.

    Wife has a Prius with an LCD display with MPG charting capability. It shows the MPG in a bar chart. Each five minutes another bar pops up with the previous 5-minutes measurement, and so after 30 minutes you'll see 6 bars showing the MPG for each 5 minutes during that span. The first bar always shows about 25 MPG, the next one is about 40 MPG, then each succeeding bar shows 45-55 mpg depending on the terrain. Should it be any surprise that said wife gets under 40mpg for her 2-mile commute when I get 50 or better on weekend jaunts over longer distances? (EPA for '02 Prius - 52 city/48 hiway). Granted, the Prius is an extreme example since the gas engine doesn't run all the time, so it should take a bit longer to get to maximum operating efficiency. (It runs for a minute or two at startup to heat up the cat converter, then it runs as needed afterwards.)

    Bottom line, you really need to be driving longer distances in order to see MPG numbers approaching the published EPA numbers. Say, 15-30 miles at a time, not 6 miles.

    Break-in. 10,000 to 15,000 miles is a more realistic break-in period. You'll see a gradual rise over that time, I'd say about 1-2mpg, eveything else being equal.
  • Cool, so us Forester newbies can count on better to great MPGs with breakin and more hiway in the mix.

    I love this car, it just feels unusually solid and smooth. When your biggest gripe is that the radio blanks for a half second coming off "scan", I'm really having to stretch to find anything to not like :-)

    The big moonroof, feel like I'm just a notch down from a convertible.

    First few days with the new Forester, had this weird feeling that I could almost forget that it needed to be driven. The old 92 Loyale never felt that way, kept me on my toes.

    Do boxers minimize thermal mass, standing coolant in the engine? Warm up time is amazingly fast, the old Loyale was great that way too.
  • growler5growler5 Posts: 67
    Dunno about the thermal mass, but yes, the Forester does warm up rather quickly if you are watching the temp gauge. I have a 1-1/2 mile drive to a highway on-ramp, and by the time I go up the ramp, the gauge is ready to hit its normal position, and in cold weather I'm ready to dial in some heat.

    The car it replaced (old Beemer 525i) took an extra 2 miles to get to the same point. Dunno why, I'm thinking the Beemer had a bigger radiator. 2.5 liter engines in both.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mine warms up fast. Within 2 miles of driving it produces enough heat to make me comfortable. My Miata takes about the same distance. No complaints with either one.

  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I'm seeing an average of 26 to 28 mpg on my 06 Forester premium with 2500 miles on it. First tank was 22 but after I crossed 1000 miles on the odo, it jumped to 25. Now I'm consistently seeing 27 to 28 with it barely broken it. 90% highway driving for me, 80 miles a day.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Or was the Subaru Crew MPG-Real World Numbers topic not specific enough for you :P

  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    Breaking it out by make/models ;)

    It's a Tuesday, how could I be bored???


    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    50 posts in a year hardly qualifies but I suppose you're trying to make the forums easier to search.

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110

    tidester, host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    25.1 mpg lifetime average.

    Peak of 30.4 mpg on a trip.

    Low of 17.3 mpg while towing a 1500 lb trailer the entire time.

  • growler5growler5 Posts: 67
    '05 FXS, manual 5 speed, 31k miles in 19 months. Usually 380-410 miles between fill-ups, wait for low-fuel light to go on.

    October thru April - 28 mpg
    May thru September - 30+ mpg
    (difference due to seasonal temp variation (eastern Pennsylvania) and winter gas additive changeover at refineries)

    Best mpg - 32.3 on 440 miles (same tank of gas) mostly long distance. Last month.
    Worst - first tank, at 24.5
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sweet, the EPA rated yours at 23/30 and it looks like those numbers are definitely possible.

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    Averaging about 20 miles per day or about 7,300 miles per year. Mostly short trips, but I make my commute a bit longer to allow the engine to warm fully. Steady diet of 92 octane from Super America. Reformulated fuels and winter oxygenated blends (10% ethanol year-round). Shifts almost always between 3-4k rpm and not afraid to let the rpm's go higher if/when necessary.

    best: 26 mpg (all highway at 75 mph)
    worst: 18 mpg (winter)
    average: 21 mpg

    Average mpg up until this past winter was 1 mpg better than my Outback. Partial thanks to winter fuel, no doubt.

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    (my first Subie and was prior to my '04 F-XT)

    Averaged 26 miles per day, or about 9,500 miles per year. 87 octane from Super America. Reformulated fuels and winter blends both with 10% ethanol.

    best: 28 mpg (highway trip)
    worst: 17 mpg (again, winter)
    average: 22 mpg

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