Lousy mileage 2007 Forester

I bought a 2007 Forester with 5000 miles on it from a Subaru dealer. I’m getting 16 mph in the city. This is considerably less than the 23 in city they advertise. I know when I go to the dealer they’re going to tell me it’s driving conditions (or me) since there can’t possibly be anything wrong with the car(I’ve only put about 400 miles on it since they sold it to me).

I have been injured so I’ve driven only very short hops – no more than 10 miles at a stretch, and usually more like 3. I’m not lead footed.

If the dealer tells me it’s driving conditions, might they be right? Any other ideas about what might make an almost new Forester get such crummy mileage?


I’ve got an automatic transmission.
I have been using the air conditioner part of the time.

Yeah, 16mpg is about right for a city-driven, A/C using, all-wheel drive Subaru. The EPA estimates are just that - estimates. Real world driving has show they are way too optimistic. Many cars barely get their estimated city mileage when driving on the highway.

For the 2008 model year, the EPA has revised it’s testing to better reflect real world driving, and as such, their estimates are closer to mileage people actually see. From what you’ve said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your car. But keep checking the mileage over another few hundred miles (3 or 4 tankfulls of fuel) and see what it is. I bet it’ll still be between 16 and 18mpg.

If you are only taking it on short trips then most those miles are when the car is still warming up, running in a richer open loop mode.

The Subaru Forester gets 22 MPG overall. Consumer Reports reports this every year in the annual auto issue dated April. 16 is what you get for short trips. The thing is kind of a boat for city driving. Hate to see what happens when it snows. It does snow where you drive, doesn’t it?

The mileage that you are currently getting sounds about right for the conditions under which the vehicle is currently being driven. Short trips do not allow the engine to reach full operating temperature, and the fuel/air mixture will be biased toward a “richer” mix of fuel. Then, when you factor in the stop and go nature of city driving, gas mileage really suffers.

I would not draw any conclusions about your gas mileage until you are able to take a fairly long ride at constant highway speeds. Once you have been able to determine your mileage at highway speeds, you will likely come much closer to the government estimates–at least for highway driving. City driving has so many variables that many people are unable to match the EPA figures for that type of driving.

However, don’t get upset if you can’t quite match the EPA highway mileage estimates, as the EPA estimates have been notoriously inaccurate–until very recently. If you look for the mileage estimate on your same model vehicle for the 2008 model year, you will see a somewhat lower mileage estimate. That is because the EPA is finally revising its methodology to reflect “real world” conditions more closely.

I would suggest that you compare your mileage to the 2008 Forester figures, and see if this is not closer to what you are experiencing once the car is driven for trips of more than your current 3-10 mile jaunts.

I know Boston city Corolla driver disappointed with their 21 MPG. Given your mileage and driving it sounds right.

Whats the cause for concern? Its sound like you barely drive…

Have you seen a Subaru Forester? Its a pretty short vehicle for city driving and easy in/out. One of my good friends drive a beat to h*ll 98 Forester and loves it for Boston city driving. Never an issue getting those snowy spots nor getting in/out. Incdidently I pinged her and she gets about 19-20MPG with nearly 90% city driving.

Considering the short trips and the fact that it’s all city driving, the mileage you report is not too far off the mark. The 23 mpg advertised was determined under controlled conditions, on a dynamometer, inside a building. The advertised mileage is NOT tested under real-world driving conditions, which is why so many vehicles fall short of the mileage on the window sticker.