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.
WHAT A PAIN IN THE ASS
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 ME INTO MAKE THE SALE
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.
WHEN SHOULD WE NO LONGER LET THINGS SLIDE?
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.
* Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs: Check out Esurance online. They have some of the best plans with the lowest rates around due to their lower overhead costs. It’s worth spending a moment filling out a quote to see if you can save some money. Car insurance is one of the largest ongoing expenses for car owners. Esurance has good driver discounts, and multi-product discounts as well.
Updated for 2019 and beyond.