The big names in the world of automotive journalism provide an invaluable service and great joy to consumers and enthusiasts alike. The instrumented tests are fascinating, revealing and revelations about cars we may never own, or even hardly see. Or for the real world, their reviews tell what we can expect from cars we own or are considering to buy.
But there are a couple of missing measurements, and one is probably more relevant to more owners than possibly any other listed. The first one for most of us is the actual fuel economy at a steady 75mph. The second for thousands of enthusiasts throughout the week, nearly year-round, is the time to the 60 foot mark from a standing start.
A steady 75mph fuel consumption measurement isn’t reflected in the EPA measurement. Who of us follows their specific protocol and procedure? But how many commute or take trips at 75mph? This is a pretty common speed across the US, despite posted 65 or even 70mph zones.
Once established, it would be interesting to see the variance from having the air conditioning on, the weight of a full-size passenger, etc. The magazines do publish “observed” mpg, but their heavy right “feet” and mixed traffic driving shoves this number far below the EPA highway rating. In some cases, it crushes the rating and makes it look unobtainable.
The gear ratios and engine efficiency could possibly mean a big variance in 65mph vs. 75mph, wouldn’t that be interesting to know? More useful than a 0-80mph acceleration time, don’t you think? Will a 270ish horsepower V-6 actually do as well as a 270ish horsepower turbo 4 cylinder? There is an epic segment on Top Gear showing a Porsche 911 GT3 getting better fuel economy than a Toyota Prius following it around a race track.
And for us enthusiasts, what happens if a cold-air intake, cat-back exhaust and a tune is added? How would that affect the highway cruising efficiency of a Camaro, BMW or diesel truck?
The few automotive choices offering 40mpg sometimes have had real world comparison tests, but it sure would be nice if we knew what other vehicles were capable of, including our own.