Hi all, I'm Colin - a 21-year-old guy from St. Joseph, Minnesota. I just finished attending school for auto body repair and now work full-time for my dad (delivering mushrooms for his farm) and part-time as a counter clerk at a local parts store.
I own a multitude of vehicles - got a few interesting ones, including an '82 BMW 320i, an '85 Merkur XR4Ti, a '94 Toyota Previa, and a '90 Subaru Sambar. My involvement on this site will mainly concern the Sambar, I think. The Merkur is hopelessly thirsty (at least until I finish tuning the Megasquirt,) the BMW isn't exactly running right now, and the Previa gets consistantly poor mileage - kind of what you might expect from an AWD minivan with 330k miles.
Aaaaanyway... I was screwing around on Craigslist in late April searching for a cheap Toyota pickup to blow my tax return on when I stumbled upon this tiny little Subaru. It was downright adorable. The price of the truck far exceeded my pathetic budget, but acquiring one of these kei-class trucks had suddenly become job one for me, so I ran down to the bank and took out a loan to cover it. Fast forward two months and here I am: daily driving the Sambar, getting 30ish MPG, and looking to log my mileage (and possibly improve it.)
My commute to work is around 15 miles, more than half of which consist of rural highways where a guy can easily exceed 60 mph. Needless to say, Fuji Heavy Industries didn't exactly intend some yahoo in the middle of America to be bombing around at 6,000+ RPM in their little city-oriented work truck. I'm going to run a tank through the truck without exceeding 90 kph (55ish mph) and see how my mileage is affected. I don't plan to modify the truck in order to increase my fuel economy; rather, I would like to change my driving style to do so.
Anyhow, that's a little bit about me and what I do. Thanks for having me.
Fun vehicle. I saw the Suzuki version in Ottawa earlier this month.
If you're doing mainly highway driving, and you won't mod the vehicle, your choices are basically limited to: slow down, or draft, or both. And I don't recommend drafting.
The aerodynamics of this vehicle are horrendous, obviously. That's the biggest problem.
You could easily achieve double digit percentage improvements in highway fuel economy with aero mods. Personally, I think a removable fiberglass aeroshell on the back of this thing wouldn't hurt its looks, and it certainly wouldn't make it any less distinctive! And you've got the skills, by the sound of it. The side aero (between f & r wheels) is also hurting big time.
You may be able to eke out smaller gains with invisible mods, like boosting the tire pressure; always pre-warming the engine (block heater); using the lightest viscosity engine oil you safely can; light synthetic transaxle oil; etc. (Search around for the big mods list elsewhere).