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The Civic Hybrid is an Advanced-Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. (Dewhurst)
The Civic Hybrid is an Advanced-Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. (Dewhurst)

You & Your Car

Mileage is all about driving style Add to ...

QUESTION: I bought a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid about a month ago. My fuel consumption is about 6 litres/100 km. I drive from Oakville to north Toronto every day and, since I am in "fuel savings" mode, don't consider that I do much in the way of aberrant fuel-inefficient driving.

I've read the National Resources Canada Fuel Guide that quotes approx 4.5 L/100 km for highway and city driving. Although my fuel bill has more than halved from my Bimmer days, I'm still a bit miffed that the fuel use is not as advertised.

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Is the difference I am experiencing just par for the course because I'm not dealing with laboratory driving conditions, or should I be heading back to the dealer to have it checked? - Alan

ANSWER: I suspect you are experiencing "real world" conditions.

I recently had a Honda Insight for a few months and averaged 6.2 litres/100 km over a 2,800-km period and a mixture of driving conditions, roads and drivers within my household.

When I drove the car, the average was slightly less than 8 L/100 km. My wife, on the other hand, averaged about half that - the routes and conditions were similar but she is a much less aggressive driver.

A similar disparity showed up when my daughters and I drove the Insight over the same 350-km highway loop. Here, the difference was less dramatic but significant, as they have different driving styles and, although both did better than me, there was a 20-per-cent difference between them.

I have just returned from a technical session in Germany where part of the program was driving a heavily instrumented vehicle while attempting to simulate the driving cycle used for the European fuel mileage ratings.

The test consisted of three start-accelerate-stop cycles of different speeds and durations. In this particular vehicle, I saw a difference in mileage of about 10 per cent between different attempts although in each of them I was doing my best to featherfoot and maximize mileage.

The point is that fuel mileage numbers generated in a laboratory are difficult if not impossible to duplicate in the real world, even if your driving habits are fuel-efficient.


QUESTION: I recently purchased a new vehicle, a Toyota Venza. It seems to me that the manufacturers do a lot better at rustproofing now. I declined the dealer's electronic rustproofing package.

I live in Sudbury, Ont., where a lot of sand and salt are used in winter on the roads. I Krowned my last car yearly and kept it for nine years. Rust appeared in year eight on the front door sills.

I hope to keep this new vehicle eight or nine years. Do you recommend any aftermarket products? Electronic or oil-based (e.g. Krown )? - Ed

QUESTION: We have a 2010 Ford Flex that I would like to rustproof. Is there any type of product, brand or procedure that you feel is superior? - Mike

ANSWER: I am not a big fan of rustproofing a new vehicle.

Ed, you are correct in that today's vehicles are much less prone to the dreaded rot when steel is turned into iron oxide.

The chief reason for this is the use of galvanized steel for body panels. This coating provides the protection previously achieved through rustproofing.

Cases such as your door sills still occur, likely where water or moisture has been trapped and air not allowed to circulate (i.e. plugged drainage holes in your case).

Having said that, my only positive experience with rustproofing has been with Rust Check - a product and system closely associated with Krown.

I believe the biggest benefit of such applications is that they are done annually, ensuring some coverage. I am not aware of any professional, independent and verifiable tests that prove electronic systems work.

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