Consumers Stand Up For Your Rights: Honda MPG And Recall Issues

Honda MPG Advertised
Misleading Advertisement

Consumers must always stand up for your rights. Don't let bad products get away with being bad products. You deserve the product that was advertised.

One of the main reasons why I bought a 2015 Honda Fit was due to the advertised fuel economy of 32 MPG City, 38 MPG Highway, and 35 MPG overall. My old vehicle was getting 12-16 MPG as a 2000 SUV, and I wanted something more economical to drive around town and to Lake Tahoe.

After going through 8 gallons of a 10.9 gallon tank (fuel light went on), I discovered that Rhino wasn't getting anything close to the advertised 32 City MPG.

Rhino clocked in a paltry 21.6 MPG, or a whopping 32.5% lower than advertised. I've since refueled the tank and driven another 200 miles and am now getting closer to 20 MPG in the city. I don't know about you, but I find this difference egregious.

Here are some examples of getting 32.5% less than you paid for:

* Imagine paying $80 for a 60 minute massage and only getting 40.5 minutes worth.

* Imagine paying $100 for an NBA basketball ticket, and being kicked out 10 minutes into the 3rd quarter.

* Imagine paying $70 for a MLB ticket, and not being able to participate in the 7th inning stretch.

* Imagine paying $170,000 for a private university and only getting to attend for three years.

* Imagine paying $299 for the latest iPhone and only getting 43 GB of storage instead of 64 GB.

* Imagine selling an ounce of cocaine for $1,200 to your neighborhood gangsta who discovers that 1/3rd of the weight is actually powdered sugar. You'd probably get shot.

We buy things based on the advertised features. If the company lies about the feature, then obviously the consumer is being misled and should either get his or her money back, or get a discount based on the shortcomings of the advertised feature. I'm not going to buy the latest Macbook Pro 13″ if it performs like a Macbook from 2007.

Besides the MPG, I also bought the Honda Fit due to its short length of 160″ so I can find more parking spots. The final reason why I bought the Fit was due to Honda's history of producing reliable cars that are hassle free.

I then got a letter in the mail from Honda.

Consumers Getting Screwed Over

Before buying my 2015 Honda Fit I did a ton of due diligence online. The reason why Honda skipped the 2014 Honda Fit version was due to the complete redesign that would better comply with the Insurance Highway Safety Institute for frontal crash tests.

The previous Fits didn't pass, but supposedly the newest ones did. However, I did read that the initial 2015 production vehicles in June and July needed to get recalled for new front bumper beams to improve narrow offset front crash test dynamics, whatever that means.

So before I bought Rhino, I specifically asked Chris, my salesman whether or not Rhino would need to go through a recall if I bought him. He said, “no” and he checked with his manager Adam, who also said, “no.” Fair enough. Another box checked before buying.

I then get a letter in the mail from Honda on September 27, 2014 stating,

“Dear Fit Owner, After production of the 2015 Fit had begun, the design of the front bumper beam was changed to improve narrow offset front crash test dynamics. Because early production vehicles were manufactured with the original bumper beam design, American Honda has decided to provide the owners of those vehicles with the updated bumper beam.

What should you do? Contact any authorized Honda dealer for an appointment to have your vehicle updated. The dealer will replace the front bumper beam with an improved one. The work will be done free of charge.

Please plan to leave your vehicle at the dealer for one full day to allow them flexibility in scheduling.”

Fantastic. I've now got to spend several hours at the dealer and figure out a way to go from the dealer to work or home and back again. Money is not so much the issue, but the time I have to waste doing something I specifically asked about, but was assured before purchase.

Baiting Consumers Into Making A Sale

Real Honda MPG
21.6 MPG City vs. 32 MPG Advertised

I understand the goal of sales people is to sell as much of their product as possible. But I really feel misled by the MPG issue and the recall issue. 21 MPG is so far away from the advertised 32 MPG, it's not even funny.

And the reason why I traded Moose in was to SAVE time, not spend more time dealing with car issues. I gave the SF Honda dealership a call and spoke the manager, Andrew Guzman. I was hoping for some empathy, but here was his response when I asked if I have any recourse.

“Sorry, you've got no recourse. All cars are tested on a tank of gas in ideal conditions to report their City and Highway MPG. It's not just Honda, but every car manufacturer. I don't know how you were driving, but that's how it is. You can try coming back in two months and having our service department check it out after the break-in period. The valves are self-adjusting, so the MPG should get better as they adjust to your driving habits.

Regarding the bumper recall, we don't have a crystal ball regarding recalls. We can't legally sell you a car if there is an outstanding recall. If Honda decides to issue a recall after, then so be it. Toyota does it all the time.”

Andrew was very curt and unsympathetic. He basically told me I had no rights and to just deal with the issues despite precedence for a past MPG lawsuit. At least he is willing to have a service technician check my fuel efficiency in a couple months. I do hope the MPG gets better, because right now I'm very disappointed.

Consumers Shouldn't Let Things Slid

Everybody knows that the advertised MPG on cars is misleading. I have yet to read a single review that has been able to replicate the advertised MPGs on cars. Yet, auto manufacturers still produce such false advertising!

The reason why auto manufacturers do it is because consumers haven't risen up in mass to demand more transparency and honesty. We are letting auto makers take advantage of us for some reason. Is it apathy? Or is it massive lobby dollars to our politicians for sweeping these issues under the rug and allowing for huge compensation packages to companies that have been bailed out?

I'm not at the red line level yet of getting pissed because I'm still holding out for some type of recourse. Maybe SF Honda will throw in a trunk cover they tried to make me buy for $300. Or maybe they'll buy me as much gasoline as it would take to drive 12,000 miles a year based on my real MPG of 21.6 so far? That would only be fair right?

Dropping Rhino off to swap the bumper shouldn't be too much of a PITA, especially since it's a free upgrade. But I do plan to ask for some concessions while I'm there. I'm hopeful the MPG issue will get better within a couple of months.

Update: Hyundai and KIA Motors agree to pay an equivalent of $350 MILLION in fines for overstating their MPG fuel economy on 11/3/2014. The Seoul-based affiliates, which share engines, model platforms and a chairman, will pay a $100 million fine, forfeit $200 million in greenhouse-gas emission credits and will be required to spend $50 million to set up independent tests to certify future mileage claims, according to the settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency.


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101 thoughts on “Consumers Stand Up For Your Rights: Honda MPG And Recall Issues”

  1. I have the 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid. This car was advertised as 48 mpg, but I am only getting 32 mpg. Honda is lying about their fuel efficiency. I spoke with the Vice President of Honda Marketing, and he told me it wasn’t “professional” or “appropriate” to contact him. Honda, and this VP aren’t taking responsibility for their false claims.

  2. I bought a 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid (Touring) and will say the first 20k miles I was getting 48-50 MPG and over 900 miles per tank. I live in So Cal and was extremely happy at the time. Yes I drive like a grandpa (55 MPH) on freeway and drive very conservative on the streets (slow starts and begin breaking 200-300 ft before stops). However, I noticed several problems after my first minor service. First, After picking the car up I had 3 sensor alarms (tire pressure, gas cap, and exhaust) go off which Honda said was nothing and cleared the codes. I also noticed my MPG dropped to 42-43, just an FI, my driving habits have not changed. Again I went to Honda who said there is nothing they could do and that it all depends on your driving habits even after I stated my habits had not changed.

  3. Have 2015 Honda Fit EX with cvt. Drive exclusively in Econ Mode. Use cruise control as much as possible. Drive the speed limit and use cruise control to accelerate. Coast down to red lights. In warm weather open sun roof to minimize use of ac. Averaging 42 mpg over 25,000 miles.

  4. Hondas perform best when driving in the 50-60 mph range in my experience, I find 70-75 mph uses a little more gas, city driving stop and go is worse of course, but I think the dealer who said if you drive it like grandma it will outperform its rating was probably right. if you hot pedal it or don’t use cruise on the highway you don’t really know how eco friendly you are driving, my last two have the green ring and the instant mpg and you can watch it rise and fall based on rpms, this can give you an idea of how you are driving.

    As for the fit, maybe its just the fluke of the bunch, it is the least expensive Honda at base price so it may be built cheaper I’m not not sure, all I can say is the accords have exceeded all my expectations with only the exception on the last two, the 2014 stereo/console was kind of buggy. and the 2017 is a tad bit so too, mostly you don’t notice but once in awhile something like your phone doesn’t pair just right leaving txt message readout off or it fails to read flash drive, the 2017 has an android interface and wifi, but the version of android is way out of date and they locked it down so no apps can be installed which is a major letdown. android auto works well but requires usb wired connect which is ugly and the phone is too big for the caddy behind the door.

    1. I agree. My Fit does really well and outperforms on MPG on the highway.

      Speaking of buggy, my 2015 Fit now can’t reliably play podcasts or Pandora with Bluetooth. Sigh.

  5. I’m not sure why everyone is complaining, I have had 4 accords, 2009 ex, 2011 ex-l, 2014 ex-l, 2017 – touring v6.

    All of my four cylinder engines got well over rated gas mileage in the right driving conditions on highway, my test, reset trip meter right as I get on the highway, set cruise and drive a couple hours. the 2014 got 44 mpg at 55 mph regular gas.

    my 2017 v6 is brand new clocking 30mpg 1/3 city driving 2/3 70mph hwy on my commute to work (45 minutes)

    I found all of these cars to be built with the best quality I’ve seen compared to all the other cars ive examined, not a single one has needed any repairs.

    sorry you guys have had bad experience, I find eco mode is a tad worse on my 2017 and in my current driving situation I leave it off

  6. My Mini Coupe Turbo is getting 34 mgp in daily start and stop traffic. Drive 26 miles one way to work.

  7. Sam,
    Sorry to hear. I actually get better than the advertised mpg. Around a hilly town I typically get 38 to 42 mpg and on my commute I have gotten 50+ mpg often but usually get in the 48 range. The AC has brought those numbers down. I will be getting a car with a new job and I am sad that I will have to sell my 2015 Fit. The more I drive it, the more I like it.

  8. I have the same issue of greater than 30% difference in the promised mpg which is 50 mpg ( city drive) for the honda accord Hybrid 2015 that I bought. It gives around 32 mpg. Odometer reads 41 and Honda service claims it gives 57 mpg for the 30 miles that they drove as test drive to determine fuel economy using 0.6 gallons of gas. They told me you can get 50mpg if you drive like grandma drives. when I told this to the Honda customer service they laughed it off. If Companies like honda overstate their mpg, who can you trust. I am most definately not buying a HONDA vehicle again. Sad thing is there is no recourse, but I sure hope to take it to the media, so that people will think twice before buying the 2015 Honda Hybrid accord and note the overstated 50 mpg.

  9. Good news, there is some justice in the world! I read in this morning’s FT that Honda has cut the pay of its CEO by a fifth following the fifth recall of its Fit model in a year owing to safety issues. “The carmaker announced the move yesterday after it said it was recalling about 426,000 more vehicles to address defects in ignition coils and circuits.”

  10. While not inexpensive to own & maintain, the one type of consumer-level vehicle that exceeds EPA MPG estimates are VW diesels. I regularly get 30 mpg driving around my hilly neighborhood and over 45 on the highway.

  11. Sam,
    I think your dealer’s first mistake was to not set your expectations about performance, whether it is due to the break-in period, or driving in SF, which does not match test conditions, I am sure! (more congestion, hills) Now you are surprised, and angry. It is a short-term mindset to make the deal, and let you deal with it–and probably not go there again, even if you eventually like your Fit. If you want to see how different the test is from your driving conditions, you can see the detailed test specifications at

    One question: are you driving with the Eco mode on? I am not sure if this is engaged during government testing (or whether it is mandated to or not, or optional) but it would be interesting to see how much of a difference it makes.

    1. I’m not angry, I’m miffed there can be a 32% difference in results from advertised results.

      Econo mode improved mpg by 5% they say, but makes the car sluggish so it is not worth it.

      The hills are definitely not congested up here.

  12. I do think that guy was right, however. I have heard about how cars today are built with technology to optimize the transmission to how you drive, this can lead to a big difference. I found with my Ford Escape that I gained 5 or so mpg after the first few months. Maybe look into if your Fit has that technology. If it does they can “reflash” or reprogram the system to throttle the power or give you more, depending on what you’d like.

  13. Mike Florida

    Sam – I love me some McDonald’s. I drive thru every morning for coffee and a McMuffin, and then oftentimes for lunch or dinner (depending on how late I have to stay in the office). I always wondered how much gas I was burning at 0 MPG while idling in line at the drive thru, so I tested it. If I have the air-conditioning on (I’m in FL), I burn about 0.2-0.4 gallons (avg. 15 mins/day idling total – two trips) every week just idling at the drive-thru, and sometimes longer if I pull in a parking spot and devour the McMuffin right then and there (my mouth is already salivating thinking about it!). This is when my belly spoke to me, ”Why not park and go inside to get my morning nectar (coffee) and food?” I tried it. I’m now getting an additional 5% better MPG in my Honda Fit. Bottom line, eat more McDonald’s but stop using those pesky drive thru lines!!!

  14. Sam-

    How long is your commute? How long is the car on from when you turn the key on to when you turn it off? Cars tend to get much worse fuel economy than advertised until they are warmed up, and depending on ambient temperature and the specific car that can be a good 10-20 minutes of driving. If you want a vehicle that doesn’t need to be warmed up and is optimized for very short commutes, a hybrid of some sort would have been a much better choice.

      1. How long does that take you? 10 minutes? 40 minutes? That is a very short distance, so it really shouldn’t be too surprising that you are getting poor fuel economy. The “numbers” are generated with a warmed up car, so short run time will make them worse.

  15. Order the Macan now, because there is a 6-month wait for new orders. Drive the Fit for six months. Take delivery of the Macan and then sell the Fit. Bam! Problem solved!

  16. I would not trust the fuel economy computer until you’ve filled up the tank at least 3 times. Also, I would calculate the fuel economy by dividing the miles driven by the gallons of gas used to fill-up.

    The US government maintains a fuel economy website at
    You can track your fuel economy, or review what other drivers have posted at the ‘Estimates from Other Drivers Like You’ link in the middle of the main page. There are only three reports from 2015 Honda Fit Owners, ranging from 31 to 39.5 mpg.

    1. I’m on tank 3. Blended is 26 now, but after going 60 miles on Highway. Blended advertised MPG is 35.

      I’m happy to wait another 2000 miles. I’m just preparing for what is likely going to be disappointment.

  17. Hi Sam,

    I’m surprised you bought the Fit, it’s not like you need to watch every penny. At this stage of your life from what I have read it’s time to drive what you really want not be looking for small savings with an unexciting car. The “Fit” should be left for those 21 year olds starting out and saving for their first house. Just sayin…..

  18. It’s completely lame that Honda is straight up lying about the MPG. Not cool, and I absolutely think you should let ’em have it so to speak…

    However, one thing I generally find interesting is our fascination with MPG. To me, it’s often (not always, but often) the wrong metric to look at.

    Try counting all of the miles you actually travel in any given week. Walking/ bus/ bike/ train/ plane etc, and calculate your personal MPD – Miles per dollar. How much, on average, does it cost you to go 1 mile?

    I found that buying a slightly more fuel efficient car, did not affect that number as much as I thought it would… especially when compared with things like moving closer to work and riding my bike one more day a week.

    Buy the V8 muscle car that get’s 8mpg, and then ride your bike to work. You’ll net our to the same “MPD” as the Prius owner, but you’ll have a lot more fun. :)


  19. Bummer on the MPGs. I have a 2013 Fit and stay within the 31-33 MPG band. This is done on Honolulu’s atrocious roads and traffic. I imagine the SF Fit may struggle and have slightly lower numbers, hopefully Honda takes a look into your vehicles poor performance. Best of luck Kamuela.

  20. MPG in the city is mostly a function of vehicle weight, where highway miles are more aerodynamics. If the numbers are way off, it’s probably a mechanical problem, such dragging brakes, or something in between the engine and the wheels.

  21. That really sucks, that the mileage is that off. Usually a decrease of 1-5 mpg is expected depending on driving styles. I bought a 2002 Honda Accord brand new and still own it today actually. From what I remember it was rated about 25 mpg city and 32 mpg on the highway, the car actually exceeded those estimates. Especially when I drove long distances from San Jose to LA, I was roughly getting about 35 mpg. Again driving habits played a big part in getting this mileage. This was with driving about 65-75 mph set on cruise control, with no traffic. The only time my mileage decreased was is if I wanted to have a little fun, it is a manual. So some times I would like to rev high through all the gears. And of course the mileage would suffer a little. Also Honda has really taken care of me, anything even if it was something minor Honda took care of the car under warranty no questions asked. Once the locking latch went out on the trunk of the car, and they replaced it right away. I had some issues with the seats belts and they were not retracting as nicely as a normal seat belt would. They replaced those too with no questions or any charges and this was when the car was no longer under warranty. Also the outside window seals after a few years started to come off, again no issues and they just replaced it under warranty. Sorry to hear that it did not work out for you with Honda. From my experience not all Honda Dealerships and honda service departments are created equal. I have 1 favorite one were they tend to take care of customers much better, than other honda dealerships I have been too. Also prices on services can vary quite a bit dealer to dealer as well as the level of customer service.

  22. It’s definitely annoying that the advertised MPG is never what you get in real life. The car manufacturers should really change the test methods in getting MPG numbers.

    Sorry to hear your problem with your Honda Fit. I have been pretty happy with my Civic and haven’t had many issues with the Honda service.

  23. I am sorry your are having problems with your Fit. Before we bought our Sedan (so back in 2007), we considered the Fit. There were two problems. 1) We couldn’t test drive one because they were selling so fast that none of the dealers had any in stock. Considering I have a bum right knee, I HAVE to be able to spend some time driving a car before I know whether I can live with it long term. 2) Because they were selling so well, they were marked up 10-20k over MSRP.

    Instead, we got our first TDI VW. I now have 2 of them. Love the handling, and love the MPGs, even though we run B99 and that cuts our efficiency a bit.

    My biggest confusion here is about leaving your car for the day at the dealership and it’s inconvenience. I know SF is bigger than Seattle, but almost all of the dealerships up here have courtesy shuttles or drop offs, or let you rent a car from the dealership for $10/day. (Or at least, every VW dealership up here has that option.)

    I’m sorry you’re having these issues, but hopefully things will get better, or you’ll find a better dealership to work with.

  24. Sam,

    Before I read the article, I assumed you were upset about the fuel economy of a new car.

    New cars don’t make the power, nor do they meet the MPG ratings they advertise. The break in period is a real thing. The self adjusting valve crap is salesman BS though. He is completely full of it with that statement.

    Give the car a few months. Drive it as Honda prescribes for the break in period and you’ll be near (or exceeding – it’s not an exact science) your advertised (EPA verified) mpg in no time.

    Oh, and read this:

  25. Sam,
    While everyone offers advice on what you should do or should have done I’m interested in what you would have done knowing what you know now. So, if you knew that the Honda Fit got the gas mileage it ACTUALLY does would you still have purchased it? If not what was the runner up? Maybe there were a few? I’m assuming that you would have still chosen a smaller car. Maybe a Kia? OR maybe you would have not focused on the fuel mileage and more on fun like a VW Golf turbo? Ford Focus? Leased it? Bought used?

    1. I might have just gone big and bought the Range Rover Sport or Porsche Macan given the MPG difference isn’t as much.

      So perhaps in a way, Honda’s false advertising saved me money.

      But I’m going to give Rhino 2,000 more miles before I come to a final conclusion.

  26. Sounds like a frustrating experience. Hondas are usually known for their reliability and workmanship so it’s strange they were selling the 2015 Fits when they didn’t meet the standards. Obviously they knew about this but let it happen anyway. I’m actually thinking about getting an Accord to finally replace my bachelor coupe. Hopefully a smooth experience awaits.

  27. With all those hills in your backyard, I’d recommend a hybrid. Everytime you roll downhill you can charge up that battery with the engine off…


  28. I’m the same way, I actually pay for everything with cc’s in case I get screwed like this. I had a horrible experience at the vatican (insanely crowded), actually had to leave the tour and I’m gonna challenge it on my Barclay card – we’ll see how that one goes haha.

    Too bad you can’t do more than $3k for a car. At least, it’s still a chick magnet though.

  29. I bought a KIA last year and I’ve been very happy with the mileage (everything really). Most tanks average 37 mpg, the worst I have seen was 35 and that was with a lot of idling and I have seen over 40 average a couple times on road trips.

    Driving style is probably the single largest factor on mileage though. If I drive like I’m in a race I do notice the mileage drop and when I take it easy the mileage is excellent.

  30. That does suck. What type of driving do you do? Is it strictly in the city, going stoplight to stoplight? IF so, yes, your mileage is going to suck. The EPA “city” cycle has an average speed of 37 mph, which is way higher than most true city dwellers will achieve driving around town. As far as “false advertising”, the manufacturers follow the EPAs cycle to get the ratings. If they arbitrarily were to reduce the number to “bring it closer to reality”, they’d be at a disadvantgae compared to their competitors. Now, sometimes they screw up the testing (Hyundai for example) and are forced to re-rate. In those cases, they often settle with exisitng customers to compensate. Perhaps that will turn out to be the case here, though I think the explanation is likely just that your city driving is not EPA “city” driving. Does the Fit have a “start/stop” system? If so, that might help. My big, heavy BMW has it and can average in the low 20s in stop and go situations with it activated. So the Fit should do much better.

    Regarding the recall that sucks too. BUt it does sound like bad timing as the dealer explained. Anytime a car is redesigned the likelihood of glitches is higher.

    Unfortunatley, I think the issues you bring up go beyond Honda and your dealer. Perhaps Tesla will show us the light with electric vehicles (which do better in slow moving or stop and go situations) and of course dispense with franchised dealers.

  31. Sam,

    It’s a brand new car. It needs to be broken-in before any conclusions are drawn.

    Seems like a good reason to take a long highway trip up to Lake Tahoe and back.
    That should seat the rings.

    Anyway, it’s a lease….. So you’ll likely get another car in two years. Not really a big deal.

  32. My wife’s Honda Civic is getting less (25 MPG vs. 30 MPG ) than advertised MPG too. We are on the second tank and I attribute part of it due her using her A/C all the time. She has a very short commute (less than a mile) and she drives mostly on the street vs. freeway.

    I am going to wait and see if it improves. If not, I will press the issue starting with the dealer.

    1. You should be ecstatic that the car is getting 25 mpg on a 1 mile commute. It isn’t even warmed up by the time she turns it off. Cars won’t get anywhere near their advertised fuel economy until they are warmed up. That said, don’t idle it in your driveway until it is warmed up either..

  33. I purchased a honda crv this march. I am getting 29.2 in mostly highway driving (advertised 23/31). I like it overall, but I already had an issue with rotor and my TPMS light is on even with recommended tire pressure. Previously I had a 2000 honda accord which was reliable, but had a problem with the break sensor and the paint job was terrible. But it averaged around 25mpg in city driving. I sold it $3k after 15 years as my wife kept asking me to get a newer one.

    I guess they always have an issue with something in every model. Overall I buy Honda because they usually hold their resale value and have a good engine and transmission

  34. I’ve been to your fair city, SF numerous times. Sam, in case you forgot, it’s hilly! :) No way would any driver get the rated EPA city numbers in SF. Go ask another Fit owner in SF what city mileage they get. I’m positive it won’t be the EPA city figure either.

    With regard to your recall…this year has been a peak year for auto recalls. Today’s cars are VERY complex and customer expectations are also high; more recalls are the result. Your dealer only needs to hold back the sale of a vehicle when the manufacturer issues a “stop-sale” notice to the dealers. BTW, recalls allow the dealer to reacquaint themselves with the customer and potentially make more sales.

    I’m waiting for people to get outraged soon over the relatively new requirement for TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems). Under normal conditions the battery in the wheel sensors last on average about 5 yrs, maybe 7. When the batteries die, owners will need to take their vehicles in for replacement of the sensor (about $50 each) and that doesn’t include dismounting and remounting of the tire to the rim. Or the customer will live with the warning on the dash indicating a TPMS failure. BTW, this TPMS system was mandated by NHSTA after the Ford Explorer tire failure incident.

    1. The Alchemist

      If you ask me, today’s cars are TOO complex. More bells and whistles just means more things that can (and will) break or otherwise malfunction. I don’t need no steenkin’ backup camera, touch-screen navigation system, or TPMS, dammit! And I *don’t* want to pay for them! But you have no choice these days if you buy a new car, the garbage they toss into the “base” models is already more than one really needs. Cha-ching!

      I especially dislike the fact that there are so many parts that are computer driven— that virtually guarantees problems right there.

      Man, how I loved that ’90 Corolla! So simple, so fuel-sippy, and so fun to drive! I had ZERO major problems with the thing until it was 14 years old and the stick started popping out of fifth into neutral, doh! Even then, I kept driving it for years, just had to hold the stick in place while driving on the freeway. :D Otherwise, just changed the oil regularly and got the brakes done once in a while. Any other small issues that popped up, my brother could easily fix. I doubt he could do much on a modern car. :(

  35. My mom had the same issue with her Kia. It didn’t get near the MPG as it should have. They told her the same thing as Andrew told you. She took hers back to the dealer after a couple of months but it still did not get any better MPG after they “checked it out”! The stupid MPGs they list for vehicles is for optimal conditions, so they are very unrealistic because we all drive OUTSIDE, ON HILLS, IN THE WIND, IN SNOW, and sometimes our tires do not all have the correct air pressure and all the other variables that would make something not run optimally. What a rip off!

  36. Yeah, sadly this isn’t anything new. You think the US MPG ratings are bad, check out the advertised rates in Europe (for essentially the same car). You really gotta do your due diligence and look up actual owner feedback on forums, car review sites, etc. (another good reason to not buy a first year production model).

    I have no idea why manufacturers can’t just do a standard closed room rolling road test – yes, its nowhere near ideal, but at least it gives a benchmark to compare ALL cars against for fuel economy – instead of some completely arbitrary “real world ideal scenario” (does that even exist?) test. But even then – I’d still wait to see actual owner stats.

    As for your recall – yeah, there are a lot more of those these days, especially with manufacturers like Honda and Toyota being a lot more pre-emptive about these things to avoid a PR disaster like the GM recalls – they’ve recalled more cars than they’ve actually sold in a good number of years (my browser is acting up to pull actual statistics). I suppose doing early recalls like this is better than the case of lots of innocent people dying and a company sweeping everything under the rug for as long as they can…hopefully this is a step towards manufacturers actually trying to avoid these things as much as possible BEFORE a vehicle is released.

    As a car guy I love – far more “real world” than a lot of the other sites, with actual people you can correspond with doing the writing, and a very healthy and helpful community (including some really interesting posts about the legal side of the car industry) – highly recommend checking it out and even posting if you ever need any help.

    1. I’ll check out jalopnik. I’ve stumbled across the site before.

      There was a time when I was a car fanatic. Now I just want it to get me from point B as advertised. Not looking for anything extra!

      I don’t think car manufacturers live in “the real world.”

  37. I have to agree. Your hills could be hurting you big time…but I’m not sure about 32.5% big time. Here in the Peninsula I typically drive on only the smallest inclines, if any….and even on those I notice the RPM jump.

      1. Come on baby. You walk up Fillmore from Cow Hollow to Pac Heights, where they’ve got steps built into the sidewalk so pedestrians can actually MAKE it. These days I wheeze like a tired old heroin addict when I even LOOK at that thing.

  38. Sam,
    you are driving in San francisco, where hills are common. Low power car like fit needs low gear with high rpm to go up hills.

  39. I have had my civic for 8 years now, and have averaged 31 mpg (actual mpg as measured by mileage and gas purchased, not as reported by the car – while my civic doesn’t tell me the MPG, my wife’s new car does and the car’s estimate is always 1-2 mpg higher than the actual mileage). It was rated 30/40 city/highway, and I’ve gotten as high as 37 mpg on road trips (and that’s at high speeds with lots of cargo and the A/C on. I’m sure it could be much better at 60 mph, nothing in the trunk, and no A/C.)

    It seems there is something wrong with your car, OR you drive it very inefficiently. Are you powering it up those steep SF hills? The worst mileage I ever recorded (24 mpg) was on a day I spent driving up and down steep hills all day with lots of starting and stopping.

  40. I hate when my coke dealer does that. Cap in the ass man.

    That is unbelievable on the mileage. That isn’t even close. I’m sure there are ideal conditions for testing, but that’s so far off it’s like they don’t even care.

    I’d spread the word through social media. It is the fastest way to get companies to react these days….especially for people who have an online following. If you advertise you have to be accountable for false advertising.

  41. One other comment, and a use case where YELP comes in handy. Don’t fall in love with a specific car from a specific manufacturer. But DO pay close attention to the ratings applied to a dealer. You MAY have a long term relationship with them…The two Acura dealerships I dealt with over the years were basically Honda dealerships, and that is not a good thing. Now that I’m driving an old Subaru, I’m shocked by how awesome the dealer is down here…like a HOLY CRAP they are awesome. The car is the car, but the level of service and customer service–it makes a difference.

    1. Customer service really is the BIG difference here. If the sales manager provided some empathy and said he’ll look into it, and ask what he can do to help in the meantime, id be a happy camper. But to essentially say Fuck Off is not good customer service.

      Great book in one of Malcolm gladwell’s books about doctors who spend more time with their patients and show empathy see a drastically lower lawsuit rate, even if they may have messed up.

  42. A few random thoughts.

    1) Your driving style MAY have something to do with it. And I agree with the other poster that your bad boy needs to break in a bit.

    2) Always trust the Consumer Reports MPG estimates.

    3) That said, don’t get me started on Honda. I had a 2000 Acura TL. The years 2000-2003 were known to have bad transmissions. They had a recall. They extended the warranty on transmissions from 50K to 100K miles or seven years. This STILL didn’t work great for me. My tranny blew in the Summer of 2013. After 12 years of bringing my car there, the dealer would do NOTHING — no discount on labor or parts whatsoever. And they were f’ing rude. They just said, “Hey, we’re the middleman here.” (A perfect advertisement for Tesla). The folks at Honda were more polite but they still wouldn’t do anything. Honda makes some fine cars, but I will never go back. My future will be a Prius, or a Lexus Hybrid, or a Nissan Leaf, or a mass market Tesla once they roll out that baby.

    4) I wouldn’t put Toyotas and Hondas in the same reliability sphere. You buy a used Camry and you’ll basically have a car longer than you’ll ever want to. This is based on stories I’ve heard from DOZENS of people. Oh, and what type of car is it that you see mild mannered taxi drivers from SF driving en masse? That’s right…the Prius.

    1. I just wonder why can’t we trust Honda or the car manufacturer directly? Why do we need to go through major analysis beyond what is printed and what the manager says?

      I’m a regular driver. Although I did get a ticket for going 35 in a 25 several months ago. That is the first ticket in 8 years, and I’ve been very cautious since.

  43. Honda and Toyota have been cruising by on their reliability of their cars from 20 years ago. Between my wife and I we’ve had 7 Hondas and over half of them have had major problems. Both my 95 and 94 accords lost their A/C and ABS stopped working at about 80k miles on both of them. My wife’s Civic’s transmission died 2 days before we moved 5 states away so she had to buy a new car since I was staying in the current city for 4 extra weeks to tie things up at work. That Versa was a POS too, it was in the shop at only 500 miles and then lived in the shop for the next 2 years before we sold it. We’ve now both have 02 and 03 Subarus which have been joys to drive. In the 9 years I’ve had my WRX wagon I replaced a $120 A/C hose and everything else was routine maintenance. My wife’s car has over 230k miles now and is still chugging along. I get 23mpg city, 27mpg highway and 24mpg mixed in my WRX, and that’s with a 300hp turbo motor to boot. And I bet it’s a lot more fun to drive than a Fit ;)

    Cars are not what they used to be, an older econo box from Chevy would get close to 50mpg and only cost $8,000 new when today’s cars are getting 20-25mpg and all cost $20-$25k. Seems like we’re going in the wrong direction to me.

    1. The Alchemist

      Wait, what “older econo box from Chevy” ever got close to 50mpg? Can you cite a specific reference, ’cause I’m not buyin’ that one.

      WRT to Subarus, I haven’t been particularly enchanted by mine. It handles pretty well for such a heavy car, and the all-wheel drive is fantastic in snow and heavy rain, etc. But the gas mileage is nowhere near what was advertised (it gets 20mpg on an average week; does much better on trips to Tahoe, though). And the thing burns oil like it’s going out of style. No one at the dealership bothered to mention this little tendency when I purchased it (apparently it’s a “known” issue with Subarus). Consequently, I wasn’t in the habit of checking the oil between oil changes (NEVER had to do that with my old Toyota Corolla). And what do you think happened? Yep, blew a head gasket, costing me thousands. The catalytic converter also blew *just* under the warranty wire— *whew*!

      What may seem like a minor annoyance, but to me was indicative of the overall quality of the car: The useless little plastic “lever” that attaches to the more substantial metal lever under the driver’s seat to pop the gas cap open broke off in the first month I had the car. The dealer replaced it… but that cheap piece of crap broke again within the next six months. I just rolled my eyes and now I simply grab the rough metal itself to pop the cap. Just annoying. Pitifully poorly designed.

      I wish I liked the car better, but the gas mileage is the real killer for me. Now I’m sad, though, to hear the quality has deteriorated so much for Honda and Toyota. I really miss my 1990 Corolla 5-speed sport coupe. I would still be driving it today if some idiot speeding up the hill late one night last year hadn’t plowed into it and sent it to the junk yard. Damn, damn, damn.

  44. I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 months, and have gone back and read many past posts before that.

    I think on most issues, when you have ire, it is properly directed. However, on this one, I think you are pretty far off base in your outrage.

    Let’s summarize.

    You acquired a car. You drive ~300 miles. You get a recall notice. You get worse mileage than a optimized test predicts.

    “I am *Shocked* to learn there is gambling in this establishment”.

    Come on Sam. If you wanted to confirm the recall work was performed on your car, or your car was not manufactured in the recall period, you most likely could have taken the VIN from the pre-sale contract and checked on the Honda web site. Then demanded the work be done before you take delivery. I know it’s been 10 years, but did you really expect to be told the truth by a salesman and general manager who derive the majority of their compensation by getting a vehicle out the door? Borne yesterday much? What you should do is nicely tell the service manager that you were told this work was supposed to have already been performed when you bought the car, and ask that you be provided a loaner for the duration of the service. That is the benefit of getting service performed by the dealer from which you got the car. They want to treat you well so you will service the car there. You could have asked the GM for a free oil change for your trouble to boot. Finally, the recall is meant to protect you. Think of the people who died in their crappy General Motors cars due to faulty ignition switches when GM KNEW they were defective and did NOTHING to save money. Frankly, I am happy when I get a recall notice, as I’m less likely to get stranded by a mechanical problem at an bad moment. I’d rather be able to proactively deal with the issue.

    With regard to the gas mileage. I know that you haven’t had a new car in a while, but your sample size is way too small to be throwing a fit (no pun intended) and thinking about class action. Wait for the engine to be broken in, and watch how you drive. I’d also wait for a trip to Tahoe to really evaluate mileage. I bet you’ll be at 25+ overall in short order, and at 35 for the highway segment. In any event, did you really expect the GM to do anything for you? I would direct my unhappiness at Honda of America, not a dealer.

    Sorry, I callem as I see um, and on this one, your outrage is misplaced in my opinion.

    1. Does my writing sound angry to you? I’m not angry yet. I’m disappointed and highlighting that people shouldn’t just accept being misled.

      That’s fine if you are OK with not getting what was advertised, but I’m willing to bet that you’re also being taken advantage of in other places such as at work and in relationships as well.

      I want more people to fight for their rights and never surrender. Dont just let people or organizations walk all over you and do nothing about it. That’s how change and progress are made.

      1. Yeah, the sample size is way too small for you to complain about the city driving. You mentioned that the HWY mileage is as advertised. What kind of conditions are you driving in (stop and go)? And how do you drive (do you accelerate like a maniac in between lights)?

        1. I drive like an old man.

          I do think it’s interesting though that you don’t mind buying something that’s 33% below par. This is what makes America great, and how aggressive people can get ahead e.g. by taking advantage of others.

    2. hello. I recently bought my daughter a 2017 Honda Civic EX d/t supposed great MPG. we have had it for 5 months and now 4000 miles and get nowhere near reported MPG. We haven’t even broke 28mpg on freeway. Needless to say, this is the worst car we have ever owned.

  45. Did you test the highway mpg? Try driving for 50 miles between 60-75mph. If you’re not in the ballpark of highway mpg, I think you have reason to complain.

    City mpg has too many factors to know if the car is a lemon, the manufacturer lied, or whatever.

    For what it’s worth, I (had) a 2008 Acura TSX, which advertised 21 mpg. Depending on traffic and driving patterns (suburbs vs downtown stop and go), I would get anywhere from 17-22 “city” and close to 30 hwy (as advertised).

    In any case, check the hwy mileage is my first advice. Go from there.

    1. The highway mileage is close to as advertised so far, so that’s great.

      But there is a reason why there are two mileage numbers. Having good highway MPG doesn’t help me when I live in the city and do 85% city driving.

  46. I am amazed by this terrible gas mileage, and the treatment you have had. There is a great website for owners of 2015 Fits….a forum:

    Here is a recent post: I’ve got 320 miles on my fit. I got 39.5 for the first 300, and then it’s at 35.something for the city driving we’ve been doing for the past 2 days. LX Manual trans.

    Sam…I have a 2008 Honda Fit, getting 40.7 mpg over 6 yrs of mixed driving, although a bit more hwy than town, and no big city. Your mileage so far is not typical, and you should be complaining after a couple more tankfuls. Here is a hint for improving your mpg: add 5 psi to each of the tires….this does not violate anything, and you will hardly notice the diff. But the gas mileage diff will be noticeable. There are many other hints to improve mpg..just research Hypermiling. The Honda Fit has been a great car until now, but many of us have been nervous as the 2015 is made in Mexico, and not in Japan…..bummer!

  47. Does this change your mind on your decision to lease a new car? Early adopters pay a premium for both the new car smell, and for the uncertainty in MPG/reliability/recalls/etc.

    I still think the advantage lies with the person who buys a few years’ old car outright. Its been through recalls, time has shown the weaknesses or strengths of the car (statistically, across the hundreds of thousands of them on the road), and the ‘true’ MPG is well known. The first owners essentially paid that premuim for me and I buy the used car for less cash and a better understanding of the vehicle.

    Kind of like buying an overrated IPO. Price drops, initial owners no longer like the stock without the “new stock smell”, and the value buyers buy it when the fundamentals are there. If the fundamentals are never there, the value buyer knows to avoid it.

    1. Everything negative at the margin negatively affects a decision made.

      Will I have any recourse if I bought the 2015 second hand in 6 months from a person? No.

      I needed to buy a new car after 10 years bc moose couldn’t pass smog, unless I spent $500 to repair.

      1. But you could buy a 2010 car (five years old) for less than your 3 year lease, at which point in time you have the advantage of knowing what if any recalls occurred, what the actual real-use mileage is like, and statistically how much service the car will need.

        I just went through this exercise two years ago, bought a 5 year old wagon for $6k cash, ~100,000 miles on it, CarFax, and enough road history on the family of vehicles to know it would be low maintenance. No new car smell, but probably less than $1000 of depreciation in the process.

  48. Money Beagle

    Interesting. I wonder if any online reviews or writeups had noted the difference in mileage. Often newspapers and auto guides will test the cars and give ‘real world’ info, and I wonder if this has been done yet to any meaningful degree with your Fit.

  49. The government website says my 2000 Toyota Corolla should get 24 mpg City and 29 mpg Highway. I usually average 34-35 mostly around the suburbs and a little highway driving. Over the past year I have raised my mileage by 15% just by changing my driving habits. This means very few fast accelerations and coasting down hills and when coming up on a red light (instead of maintaining speed up to it). Of course I only coast when it’s safe and not going to annoy anyone.

  50. Your mileage will improve as the car breaks in. Also, are you using a fuel blend with high ethanol? There is less energy generated from burning ethanol so if this is in the fuel the mileage will drop.

    I guess researching the actual MPG people encounter would be prudent in addition to looking at what is posted on the sticker.

    Hence the expression “Your mileage may vary”.


  51. I have older model Fit (2007). It is automatic and I get about 32-35 mpg commuting and 40+mph with freeway driving. Caveats would be that I drive quite conservately, limiting quick accelerations and coast into red lights. I do not consider myself a hyper-miller, but just do basic things to conserve gas. I definitely notice a decrease in mph when my kids have used the car and assume this is do to more aggressive driving. Also, there is a big disparity in congestion where I live (research triangle park area of NC) vs SF bay area. As former resident of bay area, I can imagine mpg would be lower in general due to the amount of time stuck in traffic. For bay area with so much stop and go (and mainly stop), I’d think a hybrid would be best alternative. ..maybe a used prius.

  52. 1) Are you tracking your mpg with a car computer or using the tried and true “miles driven since last fill up divided by gallons put in at next fill up” method? Use the latter to rule out computer estimates, which are just that, estimates. Reset your odometer at every fill up and break out your phone calculator at the next fill up. Takes a couple of seconds.

    2) Do the manual calculations for a while, definitely until the car is considered broken in. Keep track and see if the mileage improves. Usually it will.

    3) Check out Fuelly figures for your 2015 model year Honda fit: After over 600 fill ups and over 150,000 miles people are getting an average of 37 mpg. Many people are reporting over 40 mpg. These are combined figures for city/highway but that’s really good and inline with what one would expect with a small efficient 4 cylinder car.

    4) If after tracking your own mpg for a while you don’t even come close to these figures, there is a problem that needs to be addressed by Honda. You will have a log of manual calculations to show to your dealer.

    I’ve been resetting the odometer and doing a quick mpg calculation at every fill up for years now. It’s a good habit to develop because a sudden drop in mpg is a red flag that should prompt you to evaluate what’s going on with your car – might be something as easy as a dirty air filter. On my Mini Cooper with a similar size engine to the Fit and a manual transmission I’ve been getting an average of 39 mpg with 50/50 city/highway driving over the last couple of years. It’s consistent and fluctuates by no more than 3 mpg down OR up. The computer is actually very close showing 40 mpg over the same time. Then again, the car was bought used so it was well broken in by the time I started tracking mpg figures manually.

    So don’t freak out just yet!

  53. Even if the salesperson and manager knew about the bumper replacement they probably wouldn’t have told you. They just want to make a sale. Same reason all the manufacturers pump up the mpg numbers. Just because they all do it does not make it right.

    You have to vote with your dollars. I refuse to buy a new car. 90% of reason why is because I do not want to deal with car salespeople.

      1. Yes it is but it goes back to that article you wrote about people only looking for the short term buck.

        I started with one apartment and was burned any times by bad service people. Now I have many and the people I have stuck with had made a lot of money.

  54. It’s all cars! I drive a 1.6 Skoda* diesel estate and am truly thrilled that I get over 60mpg – however, nowhere near the high 70s/early 80s it’s allegedly capable of achieving according to the official figures, and that’s with the majority of my journeys commuting 30 miles very carefully at a steady 55/60 mph on non-urban roads. I have read hypermiling techniques and I really don’t think I could drive in a more fuel-efficient way now, so low 60s mpg is really good, especially for an automatic.

    * Made in Czech Republic, owned by VW and not (I believe) available in the USA

  55. The mileage estimate has little to do with the dealership, but there’s hope.

    I have a 2011 a3 thats getting 27.5, and my ‘highway’ driving is in commuter traffic with a lot of stop and go. (21/30 with 24 combined per the EPA). When it was new, it got a lot closer to 24. If you drive like the average person as far as the EPA is concerned, you should get a lot closer to the promised land after 10-20k miles.

  56. Those must be some incredible valves to possibly make a 30%+ adjustment to MPG!

    This makes me curious what the testing procedures are for each make/model. Are the tests fair? Did Honda get preferential treatment, thus being able to slap an all-too-high estimated MPG sticker on the window? I don’t know… I do know I would be angry if I were you. Take all the free concessions you can get your hands on.

    Maybe you should buy an old CRX. Now that thing is proven!

  57. The problem is the govt doesn’t check to see if the MPG numbers are correct. Most of the time they just take the companies word for it. Some cars actually outperform their stated MPG, other cars underperform. You have to do some research and find out what actual owners say is their MPG.

    I don’t know anything about a Honda fit’s actual MPG, but it is a tiny car, so I would be surprised if it ever got anything under 30 mpg. Seems to me something is wrong with it.

  58. Jay @ ThinkingWealthy

    Man that’s rough. I never take MPGs on the highway/city at their face value. Instead I ask to take a longer than avg test drive and reset the MPG tracker. I monitor that given my driving style to see what I’m actually getting.

    The whole “ideal conditions” thing is crap though and needs to go!


  59. That sucks Sam. The worst is when you know a huge company like that did something wrong and they show know remorse, basically admitting “yeah, we screed you but you can’t so anything about it”.

    The Lamborghini gets 12 mpg, but its a 5.7 liter v-12 that makes lotions sounds. My supercharged mustang gets about 10, but I rarely drive it. My Audi s4 gets 22-24 on the highway and it is a supercharged v-6, only slightly less than advertised but I don’t drive it to get the best mileage.

    I always hear corvettes owners getting great mileage. They actually see higher than advertised on the highway. I saw 27 from my 1990 Vette I used to have. I know a guy with a newer z06 that gets 29!

    Anyway when you buy a Honda you want great gas mileage. That is crap.

  60. Another Reader

    Toyota and Honda – the GM and Ford of the 21st century.

    We don’t care about our customers. We manipulate the mileage and safety tests. We manufacture shoddy products and absorb lower costs through the recall process rather than by fixing the design flaw.

    My recent experiences:

    2008 Honda Accord LX: POS. This one came close on mileage, maybe 25 or 26 overall. A horror to drive – wandered all over the road. It was a complete reversal in design philosophy by Honda. So low in front, the bumper would scrape a steep driveway. Tires wore out at 20,000 miles. Did NOT hold resale value at all. Sold – proceeds used to buy a rental, a much better use of the money. Made in Japan.

    2010 Toyota Highlander: Total POS. Gets 18 mpg overall on a good day. This 4 cylinder was rated at 20/25. Never hit 22, even on long distance drives on flat highways with no headwind. At 50k miles, it’s having electrical issues. Made in the USA, Indiana IIRC. At least I got a huge reduction from MSRP in December 2009, during the great recession. This one is leaving the fleet.

    2013 Toyota Corolla LE: Rated at 26/34. Gets 25-26 overall. 30 on a flat highway with no headwind. At least it was cheap – $15k new in December 2012 when the dealer lots were flooded with them. Made in Ontario, Canada.


    Buy the cheapest, most traditional product out there. Avoid the CVT’s and any major redesign like the plague. The Corolla is the last of its long line. Four speed automatic, dials for the HVAC. I’m keeping that one for now. If only I could get rid of that damn touch screen, which can’t be seen well in daylight….

    1. Another Reader

      Too bad the Fit is leased. I would buy the lease out and sell that POS for top dollar while they are scarce. Then go look at a Toyota Yaris. It’s a traditional car, with a 4 speed automatic transmission and dial controls.

    2. I got a 2013 Accord LX in the end of 2012. Almost 2 years of driving it now – 25,000 miles. Advertised MPG is 27/36, I average 32-34 every time. Constantly get 40 MPG on the highway driving 75-80 mph. Tried driving 55 mph at a speed limit, got 43 MPG. Not sure why Fit is so bad, but I love my Accord. Plenty of power too. Oh, and the CVT is awesome! Having driven a car with a CVT, I won’t go back to the outdated conventional auto tranny. Just my $0.02.

  61. You should have bought the Grand Cherokee, I bought one 3 weeks ago and love it. Can’t wait for it to snow to drive up to Tahoe and go skiing.

  62. What are the lemon laws in CA?

    When we bought a car in Seattle, we were told, through the state’s lemon law, if I had to bring the car in for the same issue 3 times and they couldn’t fix it, then it was considered a lemon and they had to, I think, issue a refund.

    Arguably, you can say, this car is dysfunctional because it isn’t getting the MPG. Depending on Lemon Laws, you can continue to bring it in, arguing that even aggressive driving won’t yield a 30+% drop in MPG.

  63. It totally sucks when you assume you’ll get a certain mileage, but this is definitely a case of “your mileage may vary”. I have to say that it’s probably a bit of both with the Honda manufacturer numbers being a little too good, and your driving patterns being a little worse. I’m not saying you’re a bad driver – it’s basically just how most normal people drive – but if you try to “giv’er” from a stop that will decrease fuel economy, among other many bad habits drivers have. The two in combination will make you have not-as-advertised results for mileage.

    I drive a 8 y/o VW Hatchback (not diesel) and that’s about the mileage I get on my car, assuming I did my conversion from L and km correctly in my head.

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