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Toyota Corolla Real World MPG



  • vtsteve2vtsteve2 Posts: 10
    My gas mileage started to deteriorate when E10 was introduced here back in December/January. I was getting a pretty standard 37/38 mph on my daily commute of nearly 100 miles. About 80% highway. My mileage didn't vary that much whether I wen 68 mph or 75.

    By April, the mileage was getting worse, so I suspected more was amiss. I recently had the plugs replaced, air filter, and a complete injector and fuel system cleaning. The only thing left is the fuel filter, in the gas tank, which would prove to be a little costly. My last tank mileage was 32 mpg, which is about equal to my worst tank achieved through stop and go city traffic.

    Currently I'm at 121,000 miles, the car is not quite 4 1/2 years old. What's the next tep here?
  • You are more than likely experiencing better mileage because of the switch to the summer gasoline blend. My average mileage in the colder months is 34. When the changeover to summer gasoline occurs; the average jumps to 41. The winter blend; along with extended periods of choke operation will reduce your cold weather mileage quite a bit. All newer cars are already set up to be as efficient as possible. Other than driving habits, and meticulous maintenance; the only way to improve mileage is changing to harder/smaller tires to reduce your car's rolling resistance.(I did see a slight improvement with synthetic oil and a Fram air filter though) Please report back to us when cold weather arrives and let us know your findings.

    Good luck!!
  • Bought the S manual on Saturday in St Louis and reset the avg mpg to zero after I reached highway speed on interstate for the 130 mile drive home. I varied the speed between 55 and 70 to assist the breakin. I was rather amazed to see 46 mpg when I arrived home. If I had kept the speed at 55 or 60 I would guess it would have much closer to 50. I traded in a Prius with 55k and was given cash back on the new Corolla. If I can keep mpg in this "40" range, I will be very happy with the deal.
  • You may want to compare your computers mileage results to what you get figuring it out with a calculator the old fashioned way. Many cars I have rented returned a higher number than what was actually true. I have "never" acheived 46 MPG in 3.5 years with my 2005 manual. The 2005 is 140 lbs. lighter and smaller than the '09. I doubt the '09 manual would outdo the '05 with basically the same drivetrain. The even much lighter Echo is the only Toyota gas only car that can achieve those kind of numbers.

    You may want to verify your odometers accuracy also. Mine is off almost 2 miles every 100 miles. :)
  • Filled up my first tank and headed home on interstate driving on cruise at 60mph. This was over 90 mile trip and was the car readout. Even if its not 100% accurate, I didn't expect this. I've always been at or a little above the stated highway mpg...but this is way beyond what I expected. We got 42.3 on the first tank combined city/highway. I may have picked up some habits driving the Prius 2 1/2 years...but this is great.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Just because one person has never achieved a certain mpg does not mean that another person cannot. People drive different speeds and under different conditions.
  • Trust me, I know how to get the maximum mileage out of a car. I've driven this car under all kinds of conditions; at the most efficient speeds. I even know exactly how inaccurate my odometer is. No car is going to get tremendously better "highway" mileage than the EPA says it will get. All I was saying is to check the accuracy of the computer. I know from experience that they are not always accurate. For example,I once rented a Chevy Malibu with a 3.5 liter V-6 (automatic) and drove 900 miles in one weekend. The route was very mountainous; and we hit a "lot" of stop and go traffic. The air conditioner was on for most of the trip. The trip average showed up as 35 MPG on the computer. Would anybody in their right mind believe this was possible?? ? Not me.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    No car is going to get tremendously better "highway" mileage than the EPA says it will get.

    What do you consider "tremendously better"? My current car is EPA rated 29 mpg highway, but I can easily get upper 30s, and sometimes break 40, when crusing under ideal conditions: little headwind, mild temperatures, and speed no more than 65 mph (it does best at 55-60). It will do mid-30s under much less ideal conditions. But I agree it's a good idea to check the accuracy of the mpg computer with manual calculations, just in case there's a big difference.
  • Under the newer EPA ratings; above 6-7 more MPG. Under the older ratings; above 2-3 more MPG. Slowlearner1 was indicating 11 more MPG. That is tremendous IMO. Some people may be misled by unrealistically high numbers and think the Corolla is capable of Hybrid like results. Not gonna happen. You'll need an Echo, Yaris, or Prius to get those higher numbers. The Corolla is too heavy for 45 plus MPG. :)
  • I did not intend to imply that one should expect to get 48mpg on a regular basis. I did get 68mpg once on my Prius...but on average got about 48 in winter and 52 in summer. I haven't had the Corolla long enough to get a feel for what average I'll get, but I wanted to let people to know that under certain conditions it is possible to achieve high mileage. Our first tank did average out to about 42mpg using the dash mpg avg. That was city and I don't think it is so hard to believe it could be 48 driving slowly on the highway? Let me tell you, everybody was passing us. All I can say is that I'm extremely happy with the Corolla.

    Also, I must add that I use safe hypermiler coasting downhill.

    I'm not trying to mislead anyone. I did get 48.8 and if I can, others can too under similar circumstances.
  • gizzer777gizzer777 Posts: 335
    My 09 is pretty new and the hwy mileage is running at about 42+ on decent hwys, flat surfaces, and 32 lbs of air pressure and doing between 60-70 mph.

    Confirmed the old fashioned way When I decided to check it I even used the same pump at the same station...NO TOPPING OFF EITHER!

    (the station is only about 1/2 mile from the hwy ent/exit).In the city it only it gets about 27 MPG(I guess where the EPA rating is) I LIKE IT! The difference would buy a bunch of Prius' for me! :)
  • Was just reading these discussions and thought I would share my experiences in my 2009 corolla le, I have been posting about it at ecomodder.:

    Posts: I have had my 09 corolla le for about a month mileage I have gotten is 49, it was hilly terrain and so I purposely coasted down the hills and stayed under 2500rpm to climb them.

    average hwy miles is 44

    when my wife drives it , she averages around 38...she does not try like i do.

    anyway this car seems to far exceed the epa ratings....I am guessing that anyone who just remembers to coast down hills will get in the 40's

    I have not even read that much on the different techniques used by ecomodders yet but I really enjoy seeing what I can get.

    btw mine is an automatic and we have been in a heat wave here since I got it, so all these numbers are with the a/c wide open

    Last edited by mercury7; 07-31-2008 at 10:18 PM.

    Yesterday, 09:14 PM #11 (permalink)
    EcoModding Lurker

    Join Date: Jul 2008
    Location: powdersville sc
    Posts: 4 just an update, still at around 44mpg average, I got 47 on the way to work today, I have been experimenting shifting in to neutral down long hills, this helps keeping my speed up while eccomodding but does not seem to help in overall mpg, I guess the corolla does the fuel shut off thing when coasting in gear is the main really seems like a 5 speed would have made this a 45mpg car without even trying.....also of note is the excellent scan guage feature....if this car had a small electric assist on take offs and climbing hills then I would easily be getting 70 to 80 mpg.....makes me wish I was a mechanic....there is definitely plenty of room in the trunk a mod like that.

    Today, 09:16 PM #12 (permalink)
    EcoModding Lurker

    Join Date: Jul 2008
    Location: powdersville sc
    Posts: 4 well it looks like I am doing this thread myself more update though, increased my tire pressure to 40psi today...up from 35, result on the drive to work today was 49mpg vs the 47 I got yesterday. I am coasting as much as possible while trying to keep my speed up to at least 40 so it looks like 49 may be the best I can do. Happy but wanted to break 50
  • gizzer 277,

    Just curious how the computer readout compares to your own calculation??? The 42 plus sounds great!!. I'd take the Corolla over the Prius anyday. I've always wondered what the long term cost differences would be over 10-15 years between the 2 cars?

  • bimmer4mebimmer4me Posts: 266
    Recently returned from a round trip road trip from Palm Springs, CA to Santa Cruz, CA approxiatmaly 1200 miles and average according to the display reading on the instrument panel, 41.8 mpg. Old school method I averaged 39.9. This is mostly highway miles, crusing 70-75 however...lots of stop and go through Santa Barbara and L.A. with the A/C on the whole time. In the end, I'm very pleased with the MPG and the money I saved on not purchasing the Prius, my primary goal inictionally.
  • gizzer777gizzer777 Posts: 335
    The Corolla's trip computer was about 1.1 miles per gallon better than the "REAL "old school" method. (HWY ONLY for the test) A Prius made no sense at this stage in life! What will impact me, will be the dumping of my 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe (space wise) in favor of the Carolla. I was really getting to like that car until Gas brought some sense back into my skull! Not to sure about their small offering I bought "a gimme" quality wise (I hope).

    The Hyundai was a crap shoot, although who knows these days. I bought the Carolla just before the first real gas price spike Who knows what the cost of ownership is on either these days. I figure that trade ins on the Rolla MUST be better in 5 yrs or so. The Sante Fe was like a smaller tank w/ 18" wheels!!!

    BTW: changing out a timing belt must run $5-$600 on the smaller interference type engines these days.Smaller Hyundai all have belts). (The 3.3 LITER Santa Fe had dual timing chains). MORE $$ TO FUEL THE CAROLLA...BESIDES, I AM BEGINNING TO LIKE THE LITTLE BUGGER, especially at the pumps! :shades: The 1st month was almost $1k additional depreciation as the public REALLY GOT NERVOUS as we breezed through $4!!!!I LIVE IN A SMALL TOWN AND SEE IT EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE (put a scratch in the rear the 1st month I owned it!)

    My first economy car...EVER! It has VSC/.Trac and we will see how I do this winter. This is not a whim either. I sold off the Santa Fe plus my purely fun car....a 2004 Mini Cooper "S", and went for the Carolla!!!!!!!!! One less check to the Chevron company and one less check for the Insurance Company for me!

    I will not be going back to an SUV type of auto again. At my age, ya get to change your thought process less often!

    With gas TEMPORLARILY imho, down about $.50 off it's high (per gal)that also is of little consequense. Events such as what is happenning in Russia at present, could send prices moving once again. This time a movement of $5 per gal of crude in a single day will not have the "impact" that it had 1st time around!!!!
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576

    Is your Corolla Manual or Automatic transmission?

  • bimmer4mebimmer4me Posts: 266
    2009 LE Automatic.
  • rvsslcrvsslc Posts: 2
    The product is available at
  • I purchased a used 2006 Toyota Corolla (with 17,000 miles) this last Jan 2008 and have been following some of these discussions with interest and tracking my own results. This is my first post since it seems I have enough data now to make some comments. I certainly haven't reviewed all of these interesting posts, so excuse me if I am repeating some well known minutia.

    First of all, I think it does make a meaningful difference to drive a manual transmission. Just a little bit of coasting in city traffic has improved my MPG. Tucson is cursed with no useable interstates, so most of my tanks are pure city driving. And I always buy the least expensive Costco gas I can.

    My first few tanks (again pure city, no highway) I was getting between 32.2 and 32.7 MPG without too much effort - just going to neutral when you can see the light turning red up ahead. Looking through the web threads for any meaningful path to improvement (beyond the obvious stuff - correct tire inflation, good tuning) I decided to try a couple.

    Tried the Lucas Oil Upper Cylinder Lubricant fuel additive which purports to clean your injectors and improve MPG. After a few tanks, I recorded an average improvement of about 0.5MPG. This was probably just more careful driving and more coasting as it has dropped back to where it was after I lost focus on this. The car did seem to run a bit smoother on those tanks with the additive and it may well make a more meaningful difference in a larger engine. But with such a small engine in already good condition, it is not too surprising it didn't help much (trying it now in my Suburban, but that car is sort of permanently parked right now so slow to get data)

    Next I tried replacing the stock air filter with a K&N Filter - Nothing fancy here just the one that drops into the same spot as the paper one. Doing this seemed to pick up another 0.5MPG so I was getting about 33.4MPG in pure city driving after doing both (and I did not add the Lucas product to each tank, just two tanks actually). Again, this might also be just more focused driving to see if it made a difference. Have sort of dropped back to my more normal driving style over the last few months and see about 32MPG on average - still real good. Again, the K&N product probably doesn't hurt and might certainly have more impact in a larger engine.

    Now for the interesting part.

    In pure hwy driving in Arizona, I was getting about 36MPG - frankly dissappointing looking at the EPA estimates. However, I recently took a 2200 mile roundtrip to Estes Park CO with a lot of mountain driving. Seemed the higher altitude I got, the better my MPG. Going from Durango to Estes I got 44MPG going up and down mountain roads. Does anyone know if this is an altitude issue, temperature issue, different gas in CO or what?? Coming back down from Santa Fe to Las Cruces, I got 42MPG - pretty respectable and consistent with the comments above.

    Anyway, like the other people posting, I am very pleased with the Toyota Corolla MPG. I don't know of any other car this size that comfortably breaks 30MPG city and (sometimes) 40MPG highway. Strangely, you don't see it mentioned too often in the high MPG car summaries. Maybe too boring or not a new enough model, but the 5speed Toyota is the best bang for the buck I can find. If there is a better (or comparable) one out there (in a four door sedan) I would sure like to know about it since my teenage son is now looking and wants the same MPG but not the same car as his old man got.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Seemed the higher altitude I got, the better my MPG. Going from Durango to Estes I got 44MPG going up and down mountain roads. Does anyone know if this is an altitude issue, temperature issue, different gas in CO or what??

    You use less gas at altitude for the same reason you have less power - there is less oxygen in each "gulp" of air the engine grabs. The computer leans out the mix accordingly, and voila! You are saving gas!

    I have read of some fantastic mileages people have managed on road trips in their Corolla 5-speeds - yours seem to be about what I would expect based on those other accounts - and what you say is true: it makes a significant difference going with the 5-speed vs the 4A.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    You may be gaining mpg by coasting in neutral but your taking your life in your own hands also by the lack of control you have on the car. When moving, your car should always be engaged in a gear other than neutral to ensure engine braking and ultimate control. Your most likely eating through brake shoes and pads with this habit of coasting to stops and not using your engine braking and downshifting when approaching stop signs and stop lights also. For ultimate control your cars manual will tell you to keep your cars transmission engaged at all times except when at a complete stop. Is the minimum gas savings worth the risk?
  • I should have been more specific - if a need to stop in city traffic is looming up ahead, I actually just put the clutch in and shift down through the gears as needed (keeping the clutch disengaged) as my speed drops until a complete stop is made and then go to neutral to relax that left leg. As several people have noted, the goal is to smooth out your accel/decel profile to minimize braking.

    Also, that 42MPG I got from Santa Fe to Las Cruces was pure I-10 driving with no stops and the cruise set at 78MPH. I did earlier try a reduced speed in Arizona on I-10 (78 down to 69 - any slower is a hazard on that road) and saw no real difference in highway MPG). All of this is with the AC running as needed.
  • gizzer777gizzer777 Posts: 335
    I figured by the :"old fashioned way" and the computer was off about 1.5-2 mpg on the plus side. I will still take 40 mpg on the hwy.

    As far as the Prius goes, I could never justify the difference in cost in my own situation
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Less wear and tear on the drive train to just leave the tranny in 5th, or what ever gear you were in, and coast "in Gear" until necessary to use the clutch and the brake.

    Down shifting, to slow down, looks wonderful in the movies or on the race track, but real world indicates that every time you operate the clutch, and force the engine to rev, results in less longevity on the associated parts. Compared to engines re builds, clutches, and CV joints, brakes are cheap to replace.

    Learn the characteristics of your car and let off the throttle so that the car has slowed to a reasonable speed before having to apply the brakes. Once you get use to it, it becomes 2nd nature. ;)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I think tucson mike was saying he shifted the gears but kept the clutch out. That way he can be in gear in a second if he needs to, but doesn't wear the clutch by engaging every gear going down.

    I do the same thing you are recommending: allow my speed to drop in the gear I am in, almost until it bogs, then clutch out and use the foot brake the rest of the way.

    This is one of the ways a manual-shift car saves gas vs an automatic car.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Just roughly, what is the cost difference between comparably equipped Gas Corolla and the Prius.

  • gizzer777gizzer777 Posts: 335
    Price difference: It was over $7000 for me.
    Hard to say...check edmunds. The wait list for the Prius was over 500 in this area and it depends on how you equip them
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    I think tucson mike was saying he shifted the gears but kept the clutch out. That way he can be in gear in a second if he needs to, but doesn't wear the clutch by engaging every gear going down

    True, but he is still wearing the synchronizers in the transmission when he does this, especially if not rev-matching.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    That is true, and I believe he is also wearing out the throwout bearing by holding the clutch on the floor rather than just putting it in neutral and releasing the clutch.

    Once I clutch out when decelerating, I shift it to neutral and release the clutch. I am always below 30 mph at that point anyway, and often below 20.

    One other way I improve my mileage is to accelerate away from a light and get up to speed, then shift it to neutral and let it coast if there is a light in the distance that is red. I do take care, however, not to drop to an unreasonable speed if I am holding up traffic behind me.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Tucson Mike,

    Your mileage improvement has a lot to do with the gasoline formulation used; which changes in the warmer months. With the exact same driving habits my "average" mileage is:

    Warmer months-41-42
    Colder months--34

    I never warm up my car in colder weather. You can warm up the engine all you want; but the transmission and other parts are still cold. It is unecessary in a modern automobile. Driving gently until the heater air starts to warm is your best bet.
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