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Disappointing gas mileage

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Old 04-03-2014, 11:30 AM   #1
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Default Disappointing gas mileage

Late last year I traded in a 2008 Mazda CX-9 with a 273-hp/263 ft-lbs torque 3.7L V6 engine for a 2011 Q5 Premium+ 2.0T. The Mazda weighs about 500 more lbs. and I was getting around 15 mpg in city driving, 18-19 highway, and averaging 16 mpg overall.

Last night I went to refuel the Q5 and put just under 18 gallons in the tank just shy of the 300-mile mark. By my calculations that's just slightly less than 17 mpg -- only 1 mpg more than a much larger, heavier vehicle with significantly more power! Needless to say I'm a bit frustrated, especially since the Mazda took regular and the Q5, premium -- meaning I'm actually LOSING money! I was expecting to achieve 20-22 mpg in mixed driving. A few points:

-I live in CA and we get crappy "winter gas," so that might be part of the problem. But it would have been the same for the Mazda so that's a wash.
-Car is CPO with just about 39,000 miles and had its 35K mile service done by the dealer prior to purchase, including new spark plugs (I made sure to ask) and tires.
-I don't drive sportily except on occasion (80% D/20% S); same as the Mazda. I only really gun it when merging onto freeways or when I see a spot I need, such as preparing to exit the freeway.
-Driving mix is 80% city/suburban and 20% highway -- again, same for the Mazda.
-According to TPMS and my Audi tire gauge, tire pressures are at spec.

I'm baffled that a much smaller and less powerful engine hasn't resulted in the 5 or so mpg gains I was expecting. What gives oh Q5/SQ5 experts???
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:14 PM   #2
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Default Same driving as you.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalancroft View Post
Late last year I traded in a 2008 Mazda CX-9 with a 273-hp/263 ft-lbs torque 3.7L V6 engine for a 2011 Q5 Premium+ 2.0T. The Mazda weighs about 500 more lbs. and I was getting around 15 mpg in city driving, 18-19 highway, and averaging 16 mpg overall.

Last night I went to refuel the Q5 and put just under 18 gallons in the tank just shy of the 300-mile mark. By my calculations that's just slightly less than 17 mpg -- only 1 mpg more than a much larger, heavier vehicle with significantly more power! Needless to say I'm a bit frustrated, especially since the Mazda took regular and the Q5, premium -- meaning I'm actually LOSING money! I was expecting to achieve 20-22 mpg in mixed driving. A few points:

-I live in CA and we get crappy "winter gas," so that might be part of the problem. But it would have been the same for the Mazda so that's a wash.
-Car is CPO with just about 39,000 miles and had its 35K mile service done by the dealer prior to purchase, including new spark plugs (I made sure to ask) and tires.
-I don't drive sportily except on occasion (80% D/20% S); same as the Mazda. I only really gun it when merging onto freeways or when I see a spot I need, such as preparing to exit the freeway.
-Driving mix is 80% city/suburban and 20% highway -- again, same for the Mazda.
-According to TPMS and my Audi tire gauge, tire pressures are at spec.

I'm baffled that a much smaller and less powerful engine hasn't resulted in the 5 or so mpg gains I was expecting. What gives oh Q5/SQ5 experts???
I'm doing 80% city/20% highway and got 17-18 mpg all winter. That will get up to 20-22 mpg when the summer gas blend comes back. So this is in the range that Audi specifies. Now I only drive in sport mode with the 2.0T as the trans shifting characteristics in D mode really sucks. I'm an agressive driver. If there wasn't any S mode I think I would have dumped the Q5 a month or so after owning it. It sure isn't like my older A4s.

I just want to say that Audi Q5 is all hype. My faily owns a 2014 Q5 and a 2011 Subaru Outback, plus we have owned 2 A4's. The family all agrees that the Outback feels like a Porsche (gets 25 mpg around town) and the Q5 drives and rides like a old truck. We have only 3000 miles on the Q5 in a year because nobody likes it. They all want me to trade it for a Cherokee Grand Laredo or Lincoln MKX. I'm impressed with the Lincoln's ride, handling, and power.
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Petruska View Post
The family all agrees that the Outback feels like a Porsche (gets 25 mpg around town)
I would respond your family all agrees they've never driven a Porsche. My wife recently traded up from a 2005 Audi S4 Cabriolet to 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cab, and the difference is night and day. Interior materials, handling, acceleration, overall build quality ... the S4 was a great car but can't hold a candle to the 911 except maybe in the area of comfort.

If you're so down on your Q5, why don't you just sell it???

BTW, equating a Subaru -- SUBARU! -- to a Porsche is the best laugh I've had all week. I had to check the date to make sure it wasn't still April 1.

Last edited by Dalancroft; 04-03-2014 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:40 PM   #4
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Not too long ago CR did a report on how various drivetrains did in their Road Tests vs. their EPA estimates. 20% of the small turbo engine cars tested missed their EPA estimates by 10% or more.

50% of hybrids tested missed theirs by 10% or more.

In the write up they mentioned that small turbos and hybrids need certain driving techniques to maximize MPG's where regular gas engines not so much.

The Q5 with the 2.0t is mid-pack at best vs. competitive CUV's.
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:53 PM   #5
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The winter gas blend gives us around 350-360 a tank and in summer consistent 390-400. Sounds like you have a lead foot or a fuel issue.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Petruska View Post
The family all agrees that the Outback feels like a Porsche

You should refrain from posting on auto blogs based on that comment
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:38 PM   #7
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OP, something doesn't add up. Is this your first fill up? If you drive in sport, drive aggressively, and have stop and go traffic it makes sense but otherwise you should be getting better MPG for the 2.0T. Are you sure your trip odometer was reset correctly?

Regarding the Q5 vs Outback, the Subie is 600 lbs lighter and lower to the ground so it will feel more nimble (although not Porsche nimble). Just get an APR tune and you'll feel a LOT better about the 2.0T power.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:42 PM   #8
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If the Subie is preffered over the Q5, maybe the Allroad would have been a better choice...
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Old 04-03-2014, 02:43 PM   #9
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My Q5 2.0T just passed 1.2K miles and one thing I do notice is that I do not get the best MPG on the freeway speed because I am normally driving 70+ mph. However, cruising on the back-roads at speed between 45 to 60 mph, I do get close to 30 mpg reading from the trip computer. My last fill up clocked at 374 miles with ~16 gal (35% back-roads, 40% freeway, & 25% local). I've been following the break-in recommendations. Most I've push was about 2/3's WOT on the tachometer.
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:08 PM   #10
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I had the same issue with my 2.0t vs the old 3.2 v6. THe 3.2 had way more power and character than the 2.0t.

The 3.2 would average about 16-17 city, 18-19 combined 21 highway sometimes higher.
The 2.0 would average about 16-18 city, 19-21 combined 23-24 highway

Now the diesel i get 24 city, 27 combined and 30 highway....oh and loads of torque.

Small turbo engines need to constantly boost to make power. they may be cleaner emissions wise but the trade off is decreased fuel mileage.
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:12 PM   #11
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Default I did state that we are looking at 2 other vehicles...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalancroft View Post
I would respond your family all agrees they've never driven a Porsche. My wife recently traded up from a 2005 Audi S4 Cabriolet to 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cab, and the difference is night and day. Interior materials, handling, acceleration, overall build quality ... the S4 was a great car but can't hold a candle to the 911 except maybe in the area of comfort.

If you're so down on your Q5, why don't you just sell it???

BTW, equating a Subaru -- SUBARU! -- to a Porsche is the best laugh I've had all week. I had to check the date to make sure it wasn't still April 1.
we will definitely rent the next vehicle from the dealer for a few days before we buy as not to make a mistake.
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:16 PM   #12
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Default Probably true, but we need the higher cargo space.

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If the Subie is preffered over the Q5, maybe the Allroad would have been a better choice...
I'm just disappointed that this Q5 didn't follow the past A4 trend. My relative just bought an A6 and when I drove it I wasn't excited. I think this electo-steering assist is the problem, just lack of good road feel, and not tight.
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dalancroft View Post
I would respond your family all agrees they've never driven a Porsche. My wife recently traded up from a 2005 Audi S4 Cabriolet to 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cab, and the difference is night and day. Interior materials, handling, acceleration, overall build quality ... the S4 was a great car but can't hold a candle to the 911 except maybe in the area of comfort.

If you're so down on your Q5, why don't you just sell it???

BTW, equating a Subaru -- SUBARU! -- to a Porsche is the best laugh I've had all week. I had to check the date to make sure it wasn't still April 1.
and is responsive, and also doesn't transmit every little bounce in the road.
The Q5 electo-steering is just not tight as the Subie is.
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:25 PM   #14
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Default Unreal Gas Mileage

On my way back north from FL and getting 29 mpg with my Q5, 3.0 at 70-75 mph. This car is unbelievable, lots of power and 29 mpg. Can't be beat.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by MonzaAvant View Post
The winter gas blend gives us around 350-360 a tank and in summer consistent 390-400. Sounds like you have a lead foot or a fuel issue.
Naw, pretty gentle most of the time as I stated earlier. "D" mode 80-90% of the time. 76 Premium gas, but keep in mind Cali emission restrictions are the country's most stringent. The gas you get in Chicago, even in winter, is probably way better.

I'd been getting closer to 320-340 but this last tank (which admittedly was 95% city) just astounded me.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:09 PM   #16
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I've been getting 21-22 mpg in Wisconsin this winter with about 50/50 city/hwy driving on my Blizzaks. One big advantage I might have is not living in a large metro area where I can get gas without ethanol. If I'm not mistaken, the winter formulation gas is only required in metro areas. I also don't warm up my car... I just get in and drive. I'm hoping I will average about 24 mpg in the warm weather.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:13 PM   #17
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On my way back north from FL and getting 29 mpg with my Q5, 3.0 at 70-75 mph. This car is unbelievable, lots of power and 29 mpg. Can't be beat.
That's awesome! I'm jealous.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:38 PM   #18
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Default Your mileage doesn't surprise me actually, when CA location is focused on.

On the Q5 2.0T, your calc. honestly does not surprise me. Like you I live in CA--the Peninsula of the SF Bay Area more specifically. From reading many MPG posts on this board, I shake my head often thinking, that's just not the world in which I live.

First, being sober, the stats now say I live in somewhere between the first and third worst metropolitan traffic area of the country, contending with LA and NY. Even within the Bay Area, there is Fremont or Hayward or other places with some faster streets as "city/suburban" and then there is creep and crawl like SF, a lot of Berkeley, and a variety of other places. Thus even the "local" yardstick varies from locale to locale, but the traffic here is statistically among the worst in the country.

Another data point are some loaners I got from Rector in Burlingame. Each one has had a few thousand miles, and the mpg reading was never cleared. Yes, the computer if anything is marginally optimistic, but so far I have been in a 19mpg A4 2.0T quattro and a 17mpg Q5 2.0T. So a set of drivers over six to ten tanks found those kind of mpg's per the display in Peninsula driving in low mileage 2013's and 2014's.

Relative to your Mazda, I can only speculate. You don't say if it was FWD or AWD. And even if it was AWD, Audi quattro drive is full time while almost all the Japanese designs are part time/on demand, excepting mostly Subaru's as I recall. The full time designs will invariably use more fuel. Also don't know the gearing on each comparatively. Also a bit surprised if I read your post to say the Mazda would weigh in at close to 5000 pounds if I add give or take 500 pounds to a Q5 weight. I could believe the CX 9 weighs around what my old Sienna AWD weighed, which was also in the mid 4000 range and got a similar 16MPG in mixed Bay Area city/suburban w/ modest freeway. Also, are you sure the Mazda is actually as fast as the 2.0T? Our 230HP 3.3L Sienna certainly wasn't. The turbo and the 8 gears give the 2.0T pretty good acceleration, but turbo's just plain burn gas if used.

Net, honestly in the SF Bay Area or other similar "city suburban" CA locales if you were looking for low 20's on the Q5 2.0T, it doesn't tie to what I saw on the loaners or the realities of the traffic issues here. Owning the Hybrid, low 20's is what I'll see with that in everyday local use, and it only gets comfortably to upper 20's if it has a good amount of leisurely freeway and higher speed/expressway type suburban driving. As another data point even on the family 1.6L turbo 2010 Mini S with a six speed stick FWD and easily 1000 pounds less weight and similarly not all that aero, no better than mid 20's around here is pretty common over tens of thousands of miles now.
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Last edited by MP4.2+6.0; 04-03-2014 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:48 AM   #19
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In 2011 I test drove the Subaru Outback 3.6 and the Q5 2.0T. At the time the 4 cylinder Outback was only rated to tow 1500 lbs so not an option. Now I believe it is rated at 3500 lbs. I found the 3.6 Outback to be a sluggish toaster compared to the Q5. And I get a great discount on the Subaru as well, just couldn't do it. It was so boring to drive and hurt my eyes to look at it. The gas mileage ratings were much worse at the time as well and only a 5 speed. I routinely get high twenty's on the display and don't baby it. I have friends with the 4 cyl outback CVT and they get good mileage and like their cars. It's all what you like or not.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:58 AM   #20
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Relative to your Mazda, I can only speculate. You don't say if it was FWD or AWD. Also a bit surprised if I read your post to say the Mazda would weigh in at close to 5000 pounds if I add give or take 500 pounds to a Q5 weight. Also, are you sure the Mazda is actually as fast as the 2.0T?
1) All Q5s are quattro aka AWD.
2) Q5 (2.0T) curb weight 4089 lbs, CX-9 (AWD, which is what I had) 4559. Close enough to 500 lbs. for my math
3) Q5 0-60 7.1 seconds, CX-9 6.8

I think that answers your questions.

Last edited by Dalancroft; 04-04-2014 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:58 AM
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