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What MPG are you getting on your 2020 Subaru Forester (Combined MPG = 55% city + 45% highway)?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2020 Subaru Forester Touring, a little under 2,000 miles of driving, primarily on the highway, we're seeing highway MPG of ~27.5 MPG and city MPG of ~23 MPG for a whopping EPA equivalent combined MPG of 25 MPG. We bought the car anticipating a couple hundred thousand miles out of her and when you translate the MPG problem across those miles, it feels like we've been cheated out of well over a thousand gallons of gasoline or in real terms: $3,862 (math links at the bottom). I'm a little surprised by the magnitude of this problem -- I'm confident some of this could just be attributed to my driving style, but I'm searching for clearer reasons for this kind of incredible difference.

And a part of me wonders if Subaru has simply lied about these numbers. Here's why: Subaru Admits it Manipulated Fuel Economy and Emissions Data in Japan

My math on gas mileage: Fuel Cost Calculator vs Fuel Cost Calculator (short links go to Fuel Cost Calculator with the variables I used to calculate cost)

Are any of you seeing this kind of problem as well?
 

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1999 A/T - 235,000 mi. WA state
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Welcome to the forum. Your first post.

That mpg is slightly better than what I could get with my oldie when it was brand new. What mpg were you hoping for? Suggestion: adjust your extra gas cost ($3800) over the months of anticipated ownership (you don't say, maybe 200 months?), and see if it's worth getting excited about in $/month.
- I'm confident some of this could just be attributed to my driving style, but I'm searching for clearer reasons for this kind of incredible difference.
Well, if you're commuting, or highway in traffic at > 65 mph, you're going to pay a bit more ...
 

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2019 Forester Base CVT
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My wife and I drove a 6,500-mile loop out to the southwest last year running the A/C almost continuously, and a pretty good load of luggage (enough for 30 days) in the back. We had interstate running at 70+ MPH, LOTS of mountains (up to 12,000 feet in the Rockies), LOTS of idle time while we took photos, and LOTS of stops for roadside views. Over 6,574 miles, our overall average was 32.9 MPG. Our highest was level ground at 55 MPH, where we bounced between 38-40 MPG on the dash display. Our lowest was in the Rockies with lots of photo stops, where we averaged about 22 MPG on one tank. Overall, I'm very pleased.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That mpg is slightly better than what I could get with my oldie when it was brand new. What mpg were you hoping for? Suggestion: adjust your extra gas cost ($3800) over the months of anticipated ownership (you don't say, maybe 200 months?), and see if it's worth getting excited about in $/month.
I agree the cost per month (assuming 1000 miles a month) is $19/mo which isn't wholly awful, but there's something that feels fishy here. Even trying to "hypermile" on the highway (following a truck closely, right lane, near zero acceleration/deceleration, air conditioning off, and a completely stock 2020 forester), driving 55 mph, we were unable to exceed 29 MPG on the highway. Perhaps something unique is going on with this new car?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My wife and I drove a 6,500-mile loop out to the southwest last year running the A/C almost continuously, and a pretty good load of luggage (enough for 30 days) in the back. We had interstate running at 70+ MPH, LOTS of mountains (up to 12,000 feet in the Rockies), LOTS of idle time while we took photos, and LOTS of stops for roadside views. Over 6,574 miles, our overall average was 32.9 MPG. Our highest was level ground at 55 MPH, where we bounced between 38-40 MPG on the dash display. Our lowest was in the Rockies with lots of photo stops, where we averaged about 22 MPG on one tank. Overall, I'm very pleased.
That's fantastic! Has your gas mileage improved over time? Maybe I'm just jumping the gun here -- your gas mileage is precisely what I'd be expecting. And I'm talking about driving this car on near level roads right now out here in California.
 

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Dash display is for entertainment purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary.
Mileage isn't going to change much more than a couple of mpg's (or at all in many cases) after the proverbial "break in" period.
Mostly, it's how you drive. With your (OP's) speed limited to 55, the mileage seems quite low..
Still aerodynamics (or lack of same) still affect the Foz. It's rather tall and boxy which makes it more subject to wind induced drag.
Tires can have a fairly large effect if underinflated, and aggressive tread tires or oversized will also make a difference.
A roof rack is good for a significant drop in economy, especially when occupied.
 

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For tangible real world MPG, I refer to the Fuelly website. I personally use the app from before I had this car. I’m in the 23’s for economy but part of this is due to seasonal climate as well as an urban drive. No matter how efficient you make a vehicle, you’re still with physics: this is a heavy vehicle with full time all wheel drive. This adds more friction and generally lowers economy.

That being said, the Forester gets better mileage than my 2009 Legacy sedan did despite weighing more.

Also, if you’re in an area of the country that gets snow or bad weather, I would hold out until the winter months hit - Subaru is well known for its excellent AWD system.

Smiles per gallon over miles per gallon for sure, but I came from a Honda Civic into the Subie family back in 2008 and never looked back.

Welcome to the forum
 

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How fast are you accelerating....? Tailgating a truck for some mpg seems silly, especially with the road debris they throw ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@Possiblefuturebuyer Oh yeah, this is not an ideal driving scenario, but I wanted to test the hypothesis that the car may have been operating poorly. In the case of this test, I reset the MPG read on the dash, and minimally decelerated/accelerated with no air conditioning and a stock car (with two adults in the car ~250 lbs total). I did this when the car had just over 1000 miles and still failed to find a read above 29 MPG...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
For tangible real world MPG, I refer to the Fuelly website. I personally use the app from before I had this car. I’m in the 23’s for economy but part of this is due to seasonal climate as well as an urban drive. No matter how efficient you make a vehicle, you’re still with physics: this is a heavy vehicle with full time all wheel drive. This adds more friction and generally lowers economy.
I was totally unaware of Fuelly! This is actually a GREAT tool -- I guess it requires a LITTLE bit of diligence updating the website, but it seems like a very smart move. I've been doing all of this super manually. I'll start using this going forward regardless of the car. Thank you for the recommendation.

Interestingly, there is data on the 2020 Subaru Forester Touring here: 2020 Subaru Forester Touring MPG - Actual MPG from 25 2020 Subaru Forester Touring owners and based on Fuelly data, it looks like the car gets substantially worse gas mileage than their esimates:
Based on data from 25 vehicles, 310 fuel-ups and 90,017 miles of driving, the 2020 Subaru Forester gets a combined Avg MPG of 26.80 with a 0.48 MPG margin of error.
As it stands, my petty manual calculations are leaving me with a MPG estimate of 25 MPG which is surprisingly in line with what others are reporting. That seems quite low and casually looking at other cars, it seems like Subaru is under-performing the pack on this reduction from the EPA combined mpg estimate..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dash display is for entertainment purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary.
I'm going to test this over the next week or two. I've noticed it is off by a little bit when I run my little fuel-up+odometer calculations. The average MPG does seem off, but I bet I can get concrete numbers on this. Honestly, @RidingWV's performance is something I'd truly love to find, but I simply can't seem to do anything to get even close to what s/he's reporting. Fuelly numbers seem to put his/hers report at the far far end of the reported efficiency numbers....
 

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As it stands, my petty manual calculations are leaving me with a MPG estimate of 25 MPG which is surprisingly in line with what others are reporting. That seems quite low and casually looking at other cars, it seems like Subaru is under-performing the pack on this reduction from the EPA combined mpg estimate..
Remember the AWD Subaru has more weight due to its system alone. Also its built like a box.

Check your tire inflation and look for abnormal wear on tires indicating that alignment is out. If you let go of the steering wheel will it track straight without eyesight?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Check your tire inflation and look for abnormal wear on tires indicating that alignment is out. If you let go of the steering wheel will it track straight without eyesight?
Still brand new(ish) tires and the alignment is still perfect. I wonder if there are settings on Subaru to make it even more economical than it the "I" mode might indicate?
 

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So far, my worst tank has been 28 MPG. We've been very impressed with it so far compared to our SG Forester which would get around 24 on average in the Summer. It's currently showing 33 MPG and the reading has been fairly close whenever I've done the math to confirm.

I haven't messed around with the transmission settings much as we just leave it in full auto mode so the CVT can do its thing. Are you using manual mode at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I haven't messed around with the transmission settings much as we just leave it in full auto mode so the CVT can do its thing. Are you using manual mode at all?
Despite those paddles being massive, I've never used them. I did wonder for a hot second if clever human anticipation could yield better gas mileage with those paddles, but that wouldn't be sustainable even if it was true...
 

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Manual mode seems like a bad idea. The CVT already keeps you at the peak efficiency all the time. The only time I used MM on my Outback was in snow when I wanted the engine braking to help me slow down.

Winter blend gas won’t help economy either so you need to figure out the yearly aggregate and go from there.

If you’re someone that remote starts you’ll have a lower economy. Etc.

When we drove NYC area to Boston last year we hit close to 33 mpg round trip which included sub freezing temperatures and heavy city traffic briefly.
 

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My only experience with cvt vehicle is a Suzuki Burgman 400 scooter. I find if you feather the throttle it helps a lot. Meaning get out of the power band sooner vs later. It all comes down to driving style. If I twist the throttle on the scooter hard the MPG drops. However if I gradually twisted the throttle MPG increased. So maybe training the right foot is needed.
 

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Dash display is for entertainment purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary.
Yes, all are optimistic, some more than others.

In my case, I did the calculations from our Fuelly site and the actual, honest to goodness tally for the trip was 31.3 MPG, a difference of 1.6 MPG (or about 5% optimistic). Not as bad as some I've seen.

BTW - my 2 best tanks on that trip were right at 38 MPG (actual).
 
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