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MPG for my WRX

My 2002 WRX is great but is a gas hog. It’s never gotten better than 28 hw. Has anyone gotten better than that? Anything I can do to improve the mpg? Does the type of gas make a difference?

Thanks! - Seth

You’re stuck. A turbo engine tuned for power will always be a bit of a gas hog. Not much you can do about it, except trade it. Of course, you can improve the worst milage by driving it very gently, but where’s the fun in that?

The 2002 WRX is EPA rated for 27 hwy. You cannot expect more than what you’re getting. Sorry.

I have to chuckle at the idea that thinking a vehicle that gets 28 MPG is a “gas hog”. Anyway, since the WRX is turbocharged, it would behoove you to use 91 octane or better.

28MPG is excellent for a WRX. Who makes the gas is indifferent however using octane 91 or better is required.

I own a 2004 WRX and gave up on MPG calculations. I love mine when I get to drive it. (6000 miles/year).

Seth - what do you get in day to day, around town driving?

You get great gas mileage for a WRX. Enjoy the car or buy a little economy car. But you won’t enjoy it nearly as much as the WRX.

Does the type of gas make a difference?

What does the owner’s manual say about gas? Does it say

  • Use premium

  • Should use premium

  • Nothing

    Use premium means you must use it or you may suffer engine damage.

    Should use (recommends) premium means it will not harm the engine, but it likely will result in lower mileage and less power.

    If it does not say, then I might try a tank of premium and a tank of regular and see if I saw a difference.

28 is quite good for a WRX. I average about 23 commuting out of Boston.
The issue is that turbocharged cars have lower compression so they can handle the boost pressure. This lower compression makes them less efficient when you are not on boost. The WRX gets great mileage for a car that can do 0-60 in a little over 5 seconds and a 14 second 1/4.

If by type of gas you mean octane, I tested a Subaru 3.0R (91 Octane is “recommended” but not required) and there was no difference in mpg over 4,000 miles. Doubt there’s any difference by brand either.

In 2003 my son was looking for a new car, his choices came down to a WRX or a Civic. I advised him to get the Civic because it got much better mpg. He got the Civic and at first seemed to think it was a mistake, as the WRX was cooler faster and more powerful. Today he still has the '03 Civic and loves the car, no problems and over 36 mpg over the life of the car. At about 130K miles he bought an '09 4 Runner and put the Civic up for sale. Then he decided to keep the Civic because the 4 Runner uses a lot more gas. He has the 4 Runner, but can’t part with the Civic.

You just bought a car that is tuned for performance. Your 28 mpg is very good. If you really want and need better mpg, you really need to get another car. If you want performance and mpg you are have just about the best car to give you both right now.

28mpg is better than I would expect out of a WRX and certainly not in the realm of what I would call a gas hog. I consider sub-20s to be a gas hog. If you want better mileage, you will have to get something a lot more boring.

That’s what I get for my 2002 WRX (5spd manual) on the highway. I’ve hit 29 and change a few times but that requires not engaging the warp drive for making those light speed jumps from the toll booths. You have a Turbocharged All Wheel Drive (LSD in the rear) Group A rally car that puts out 113.5 hp per liter stock. Back in 2002 you could not find anything with that performance with that gas mileage with AWD for the price. That said, paying $3.42 per gallon for 92 octane is a real bummer. There are some posts on the WRX boards about the 2002 knock sensors not being all that great so I’d be real careful about buying 87 octane. That could turn out to be penny wise pound foolish.

I’d love for my 2002 WRX to get 28 MPG. Right now, day-to-day, I average around 18 MPG. Of course, modifying the turbo and other components could make the difference with that. Enjoy the WRX!

edmunds lists the 02 WRX as 18/25 for manual and 17/24 for the automatic