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Scion MPG-Real World Numbers



  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    Here are the tanks that I have recorded on my manual xB in the 2000 miles since I got it:

    33 mpg - 3 tanks
    Breaking in with constant acceleration and deceleration in 4th and 5th gear, on long drives on mostly country roads, some suburb, very little city, and no Interstate, using 3/4 throttle, shifing at 2000 rpm, not exceeding 3000 rpm.

    40 mpg - 1 tank
    One continuous drive, mostly country roads, some suburb and very little city, no Interstate, shifing at 2000 rpm, not exceeding 3000 rpm.

    35 mpg - 1 tank
    Normal daily driving in suburbs and city, no Interstate.

    32 mpg - i tank
    Normal daily driving in suburbs and some city, no Interstate, but with more acceleration by shifting at 3000 rpm and driving more aggressively

    The mileage is entirely under my control. I can get 40, or 35, or maybe even 25 mpg, depending on where and how I drive.

    If I wanted to compete at every stop light, lead the pack all around town, and eat up the beltway at 80 mph, the xB would aquit itself admirably. I have tried it rather often, and it is great fun. But is is very bad for the mileage.

    However, in consideration of the price of gas, I like to savor the ability of the VVT to take shifts at 2000 rpm, and I lay back from the pack in traffic.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    The xB engine can benefit from high octane gas. The manual says use 87 octane or better. The "better" refers to the knock sensor. The high compression engine detunes itself for regular gas. The ECU (engine control unit) slows the ignition advance when it senses pre-ignition due to low octane gas. Slowing the advance reduces power, which requires more throttle and gas to compensate.

    If you drive gently, the engine will see no benefit from low octane gas. But if you drive hard, using full throttle, high rpms, and cruise at high speeds, the engine can benefit from premium gas. It will make it's full designed power, it will accelerate faster, it will use less throttle pedal, will make more power under full throttle and high rpms, and will use less gas.

    However, a tank of premium costs $2 more than a tank of regular. If premium gas saves 2-3 mpg, it is a wash cost-wise. The benefit of premium gas is not in the wallet, it is in the seat of the pants from better response and more power under full throttle and high rpms.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... if you drive gently, the engine will see no benefit from low octane gas."

    That shoud read:
    "... if you drive gently, the engine will see no benefit from HIGH octane gas."
  • rspellmanrspellman Posts: 4
    Hi all I just bought a 2005 silver xa, on my first complete tank I averaged 36 mpg in mixed city and freeway driving( L.A. freeway traffic jam conditions),for a car with only 300 miles on it im very happy.I traded my Suzuki Aerio for this car,I liked the Aerio but questionable reliability reports caused me to trade it for the Scion.The Scion is a vastly superior car you can feel it the moment you sit in the vehicle.Looking forward to many happy miles ahead. Incidentally it's not just young people that buy these cars im 58. :)
  • cdoccdoc Posts: 41
    I bought mine last March, and haven't gotten below 35 mpg overall, mostly back roads driving. I've also found, since it revs so high, being very gentle on the gas makes the car drive smoother. I keep the rpms no higher than 2000, except in 5th gear, and I start in first by pushing on the gas very gently. And I love how high I sit inside.
  • rspellmanrspellman Posts: 4
    Sorry 2006!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You might want to rev it up more. 2,000 is kind of lugging the engine I think. It is designed to rev up and is happy to do so.
  • rspellmanrspellman Posts: 4
    :) I just completed a 180 mile joy ride in my xa,mostly freeway some fast mountain and all with air conditioner use. The verdict 40.8 mpg! I have read complaints that the car is underpowered and rough riding I disagree the ride is much better than my Suzuki Aerio,that car had alot of power but this car is perfectly adequate.
  • carfanatic007carfanatic007 Posts: 267
    Sorry aatherton, everything I have read says there is absolutely NO BENEFIT from getting premium fuel. Your just wasting your money.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    Sorry carfan, what you read is saying "there is no benefit to high octane gas IF your engine can't use it." We have all been reading that for decades. For that reason, I would never put high octane gas in our Buick Regal or Mazda truck. Waste of money.

    But the xB owner's manual says the xB engine can use high octane gas. Read it -- it says use 87 octane "or better". With its high 10:5 compression ratio, the xB engine uses its computer management system to retard the ignition on 87 octane gas whenever you use full throttle or high rpms, to avoid pre-ignition (aka knocking or pinging). Retarding the ignition reduces power. If you don't drive hard, you won't mind 87 octane. But if you are trying to pass a car on a two-lane road and need the most power the engine can make, you will want full ignition advance from high octane gas.
  • js34js34 Posts: 4
    Sorry but aatherton's right. No monetary gain but perhaps performance gain.

    I've owned 4.6L with 10.0 compression and knock sensors, and 9.0 without KS.

    The 10/KS required 93 octane and did horribly without it. Always better mileage with it but still cost me more $ overall.

    Is this absolute lab-tested proof? No. But aatherton's explanation is sound.

    I'm treating the car as it was designed. High fuel economy. There's no sense ricing the hell out of it (including 93-103 octane) to tweak out the extra 5 hp.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    I have gone to using 93 octane all the time. I generally drive easy. But maybe half-dozen times a day, I like to boot the car up a hill or scoot ahead of someone, using heavy throttle and high rpm. At those times I want to enjoy the full power that the great little engine is capable of, without the inteference of the knock sensor.

    On the usual ten-gallon fillup, 93 octane costs an extra $2. I fill up once a week, so if I make use of the high octane 6x7=42 times per tank, the cost per kick is 200/42 or less than 5 cents. Cheap thrills for this 63-year old.

    The only possiblity of monetary gain from 93 octane is high speed cruising. If at 80 mph on 87 octane the knock sensor should be working continuously to prevent maximum ignition advance, then the engine would use less throttle at that load if it were able to burn 93 octane and make more power. Less throttle means less gas.

    In this ideal situation, can 93 octane then pay for its extra cost? People have reported that trips at 80 mph result in poor sub-30 mpg. Suppose that is not only due to the high wind resistance of the box, but also to the knock sensor reducing power on 87 octane and causing more throttle to be used to maintain the speed.

    Suppose using 93 octane at 80 mph reduced the amount of throttle enough to save 2 mpg. On a 300-mile tank, that would save .7 gallons of 93 octane, worth about $2. That is the same as the extra cost of the gas. So in reality, it's a wash, with no monetary gain from high octane.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    The new little BMW F800 motorcycle has 800cc and 85 hp with a high compression ratio of 12:1. The review in the BMW News says:
    "... according to BMW, the fuel mileage is 47 mpg on premium fuel, with the option to convert to regular with a loss of 2 hp and a few mpg."

    Unlike the xB, the cheapest BMW motorcycle does not have costly sophisticated electronic engine management that senses knocking on the fly and retards the ignition as needed. To use 87 octane, the BMW bike's engine computer must be converted (i.e. "flashed" or reprogrammed) by the dealer.

    If the penalty is proportional to displacement, the xB would lose almost 4 hp and 5 mpg on 87 octane gas.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... If the penalty is proportional to displacement, the xB would lose almost 4 hp and 5 mpg on 87 octane gas."

    This would only occur at high load on the engine - full throttle demanding full power, hard acceleration, high speed riding. Puttering around town, or crusing down the road, using only a little of the engine's potential, there would be no penalty.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I've tested regular and premium on the Scion xA and wasn't able to record any MPG difference beyond statistical variation. I did feel more spunk in the engine though, but that was just butt-o-meter, and may be an illusion, I don't know. My toyota factory rep said to run a tank of premium through the engine every now and then, so I do that.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "...I've tested regular and premium on the Scion xA and wasn't able to record any MPG difference beyond statistical variation. "

    You would have to run a lot at high load, full throttle, high rpms, high speed, to see the difference. In ordinary driving, not invoking the knock sensor, there is no difference to record.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    yep, that's the only way I drive, mostly full on. I really didn't notice any difference in MPG, perhaps because I was enjoying what felt like a bit more power. I may try another test sometime and will let you know.
  • rspellmanrspellman Posts: 4
    From my house in Azusa Ca. to Primm Nevada sometimes caught in traffic,50% air conditioner use,most of the time above 70mph, 87mph top speed ---- 40mpg!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    that's great!

    I just did the 8,000 mile averaging, for all kinds of driving, all kinds of weather, all kinds of gasoline....and the answer is: 34 mpg!!
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    Manual xB with 3,000 miles. Been using Chevron 93 octane for the past three fillups, so it's all unmixed 93 by now. Just filled up today at my usual gas station after 268 miles of driving in and around Louisville. Mostly errands on suburban streets, some interstate hops downtown, and one 50-mile trip in the countryside. I drive at a normal pace, using minimum necessary rpms, with occasional 3/4-throttle bursts to accelerate around people or get up hills.

    The fillup was 7.29 gallons, for 36.75 mpg.
  • altavistaaltavista Posts: 19

    With two adults, one infant, car seat, portable crib, stroller, weekend luggage for all three, food for the trip, diapers, etc., all highway miles averaging 75mph, some tolls with EZPass, some traffic slow downs, in a 2004 Scion xB automatic, 33mpg. Regular fuel.

    I suspect that is worst case scenario.
  • manxedoutmanxedout Posts: 5
    Thank you all for posting your mpg findings. But I'm in the process of deciding which to buy (xA or xB. I really think the xA will be too small for us if needed to haul 3 adult sized people any distances, but it gets a bit better mpg, and I love the extra room in the xB but it has a guesstimate rating of 33mpg, and was wondering what others are getting in the real world mpg for the xB.

    I live in SoCal and average 3400 miles a month, yes you read it right, 3,400 miles per month, mostly freeway, going with the flow @ approx. 70mph, or get run over. I'm not affraid to mingle in traffic (used to drive a Bug) but was concerned about real mpg numbers that xB owners might be getting here on the SoCal Raceways.

    Is there anyone out there that has any SoCal freeway at speed mpg info? Most is flat and level but some trips north to beautiful Visalia/Bakersfield and up the coast to Cambria and anywhere in between.

    Other than slowing down to 50 mph is there ways to improve the xB's mileage. No extra weight, just the driver.

    Thanks for any real mpg info
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's pretty hard to improve fuel mileage when you're basically pushing a brick-like shape at high speed. The xA no doubt gets better mileage because it is more aerodynamic.

    If you had only 3 adults in an xA, and the rear passenger sat behind the front passenger, it's not uncomfortable back there. But 4 people for long distances, no, I don't think so.

    What seems to happen with both the xA and xB is that once you punch past 70-75 mph, the mileage is going to drop significantly.
  • manxedoutmanxedout Posts: 5
    I understand the brick concept and that the xA is more aerodynamic, and I agree. But the problem out here in SoCal is that you have to go with the flow on the freeways. Think of something along the idea of the running of the bulls, you either stay ahead of them or they move you out of the way.

    Size does not scare me, cars vs. xA/B, but a upset semi vs. the xA/B is a bit intimidating. Having driven VW Bugs and MG Midgets and Mini's, I have determined that it's better to stay out of there way than to be moved out of their way by them. Also the frewway speeds out here in SoCal are from 55 mph to 70 mph and frequently being passed by both at more than 80 mph.

    What could I expect mpg to average realisticly if it was held at a max of 70 mph and minimum city driving and stayed out of the way, and did not drive the xA/B like a mini racer. LOL


  • tundradudetundradude Posts: 588
    Since its geared low, it revs high. The xB has a 4.30 axle ratio. Otherwise, as said above, it declines in mileage as you go faster, but you still get decent gas mileage. I have never gotten below 32 ever.

    For constant highway driving, a Corolla or equivalent would be better served. However, the Corolla doesn't have the Scion's stereo, handling, and back seat room.

    I have found out that by not over gearing and cruising at whatever speed the road is, you are fine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think 32-35 mpg is a realistic assessment for any xA or xB doing freeway driving below 80 mph with some stop and go, and with AC on. If you add up 10,000 miles worth, that's about where it's going to fall. Sure a couple of tankfuls will do better or worse for various reasons (climate & temperature, altitude, traffic, calculation errors, etc.) but I betcha overall that's where you'll end up in that range.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... Other than slowing down to 50 mph is there ways to improve the xB's mileage..."

    In 3000 miles with my manual xB the worst I have gotten is 33, and mostly it's 35 to 36. That includes hops on the urban Lousville Interstates at a steady 65 mph, not during rush hours.

    SoCal Interstate commuting, as I understand it, is 70-80 mph combined with frequent letting up and getting back on accelerator to jockey with the traffic. This is the worst kind of driving for mpg in the xB. I have heard it results in 30 mpg or less.

    If you could drive at a steady 50 mph as you suggest, you could get in the low 40's. I got 40.5 mpg by driving very gently on one tank, in mixed rural and suburban conditions.
  • manxedoutmanxedout Posts: 5

    "SoCal Interstate commuting, as I understand it, is 70-80 mph combined with frequent letting up and getting back on accelerator to jockey with the traffic. This is the worst kind of driving for mpg in the xB. I have heard it results in 30 mpg or less".

    Yes that is the norm in SoCal but that is usually before or after the normal work times (everone trying to get to or leave work at the same time)

    The commuting that I do in SoCal is usually not in stop & go variety. I average 3,400 miles a month and most of it is long distance driving. Like LA to Bakersfield Calif or up the 101 from LA to Santa Maria Ca. or any where in between. I try to group my stops, either all in the same areas or in a round trip type of arrangement. Rarely do I end up on the "world's largest parking lot" and not moving. When planning my stops I try to consider what traffic is usually doing at that time. Like heading into LA when the rest of the world is headed out of it or skirting the major cities and avoiding the traffic if possible.

    I would venture that 80% of the time I'm just rolling with the cruise on and holding 65 - 70 mph, but then there are times when the only way to get out of traffic would be to use a helicopter. So far I have managed to keep all four tires on the ground. The long distance runs usually involve some frwy thru the "hills" like the "grapevine" which is the 5 frwy from north east of LA to Bakersfield approx 40 miles of 2 - 3 lane up hill and down roads but it's a major trucking route with a elevation of up to 4,000 ft asl. and then down to the flatlands.

    Last week I paced several xB's over the grapevine, they held approx. 70-75 mph but I'm positive that they did not come close to 35-40 mpg while doing it. I'm cool with that as long as when I average the mpg for the 3,400 miles of mostly flat and frwy miles I can realisticly reach 33 or higher mpg (without racing hard). And I realize weather and my foot will determine my mpg fate, but was curious if there were real world mpg numbers from the faster end of the country. I have no problem rolling at 65 mph but other people around me on the frwy would.


  • We bought our 2006 xb in January, with the Automatic transmission, alloy wheels. I burn 87 octane gas, we do not have the reformulated gas up here. In SE Georgia we drive on a lot of two lane roads through rolling hills but manage to run 55-60 mph between home and Athens, GA. 36 miles, and Anderson, SC. 42 miles. We are averaging 32.5 mpg. On a trip to Corpus Christi, TX in April running at 70 mph most of the trip and passing speeds 75 to 80 still averaged 32.5. That was with the AC going most of the time. A trip to Augusta this past week end at 65 mph and up to 70 mph on the interstate averaged 34.5 for the 187 mile round trip. I keep a log in all my vehicles and record service performed and each fill up including miles between. The best individual fill up was 37 mpg the worst was 29 mpg. Just hit 5000 miles and first oil change. Check oil every other fill up , not a drop of oil used in the first 5000 miles. Some say the car has no pep but I have to disagree, plenty of pickup to pass on the interstate no problem merging into traffic at speeds up to seventy mph. We have cruise control which I use except when on hilly curved roads. To date we couldn't be happier with the car.
  • heldmywheldmyw Posts: 1
    My Xb is regularly getting 32-35 mpg... unless my girlfriend drives it. Her last manual trans car was a Ford Probe, and apparently, revving the engine like a turbine in first and second gear is the only way to get the thing to move.

    Done with a Scion, your mileage goes into the toilet.

    I grew up with Triumphs and MG's, and, first gear was only to get you off the line. Moving into second at the earliest possible moment gave much longer 'legs' and far better mileage.

    Just a matter of driving style.
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