It's been a while, but hey life gets busy. I'm skipping ahead of a few models since of the introduction of a new and exciting device. Expect a new format for vehicle testing reports! With the introduction of the ScanGauge Trip Computer, specific variables can be determined without the guesswork of a simple fill-up, or relying on the tank to be full on Delivery. Here are the parameters:
* Gallons of Fuel Used
* Time Spent Operating the Vehicle
* Maximum RPM Recorded
* Maximum Speed Recorded
* Miles Driven
* Average Speed, and
* Average Fuel Economy
To get to know the device, the author practiced using the ScanGauge on personal vehicles until comfortable operating it for the purpose of data collection. Upon delivery of the rental car, the OBD-II port was located (basically standardized to be located under the driver's side dash in most/all later vehicles), and the device connected. With the key in the "On" position, engine off, the current stats were cleared for the use of the new vehicle. Furthermore, if known immediately, the vehicle's engine size was also inputted. The author would then drive the car as normal (meaning not efficient as with personal vehicles, but as the driving public would). OK, let's get down to some data.
As a trial-run, a short-duration, short-mileage trip was used to establish the viability of the new device. The day's rental vehicle was chosen and would be described as usual, with the "Test Loop" and "Max Cruise Speed" removed from estimates like before. Driving style was further complimented by the "Maximum RPM" and "Maximum Speed" variables (Compaq888, this one's for you).
2005 Nissan Altima 2.5 S
2006 Nissan Altima
Trim Level: 2.5 S
EPA Vehicle Class: Midsize Sedan
Engine: 2.5L, Inline 4-Cylinder rated at 175 Horsepower / 180 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 4-Speed Automatic with Torque Converter
EPA Mileage Estimates (City/Highway/Combined Cycle): 23/29/26
Weather Conditions: Warm and Mild. Temp range: around 85F
Driving Style: Average (Max RPM 3800)
Location Test: Little Rock, Arkansas
* Gallons of Fuel Used = 0.4
* Time Spent Operating the Vehicle = 0.2 Hours
* Maximum Speed Recorded = 72 MPH
* Average Speed = 42 MPH
* Average Fuel Economy = 25.6 MPG
* Miles Driven = 9.1
Conclusion: With a mixed loop, Average FE was close to EPA estimates.
Editor's Notes: Although this was a short trip, I've rented the Altima many times before. I've always enjoyed it's torque and handling, and it seems like the build quality on the interior is better than the Maxima. The seats were comfortable and supportive, and the steering-wheel controls were convenient. The biggest problem: FE. 2.5 Liters are a lot for a 4-cylinder, but it provides the torque America demands. Really, Nissan needs to revamp this car -- it's built on the Maxima platform, so it's really too big. The Sentra, also needs a huge re-design as the entry compact. I think the Sentra and Altima should merge into a smaller car, and introduce a smaller, entry level economy car. The Maxima can compete with the mid-sized segment. Expected reliability is good.
Stay tuned for the Chevy Aveo, Infiniti FX35, PT Cruiser Convertible, and MORE!