Should I be disappointed with my 1997 Civic's fuel economy?
We just bought a 1997 Honda Civic LX. We wanted the higher-efficency HX, but the HX is only available in a two-door coupe and we needed the four doors. As a four door, we could get the DX, LX or EX. Because we wanted simplicity, we wanted the DX, but could not find one, so we got an LX. It's got the non-VTEC 1.6L engine, 5spd transmission, 115,000 miles, looks and runs like new. But, at 115k miles you expect a Honda to be all original anyway.
In my mixed city/highway work commute, I'm getting 33mpg, and on the one highway trip we've taken, we got 38MPG. I am very much NOT impressed. My last Civic was a 1990 LX, that one even had an automatic, and it got 38 city and 44 highway (not EPA figures, that's what I actually measured). The 1990 was so underpowered as to be dangerous, particularly in the mountains. The 1997 isn't quite so bad, but close. It's still not a safe car in the mountains, due to the low power. The 1997 is also noisier than the 1990, which seemed fairly refined and the handling of the 1997 is not quite as good as the 1990 was. Before the 1990, I had a 1986 Civic CRX HF which routinely got 65 miles per gallon highway.
Why is this younger Civic such a gas hog? A little buzzy, bouncy car like this seems like it should be 50+ MPG, no?
For what it's worth, the car we're replacing is a 1989 Audi 200 Turbo Quattro. The Audi is simply taking more repairs than we want to deal with - that's sort of the norm for old Audis. The Audi has twice the horsepower of the '97 Civic, a lot more interior room, handles and corners better, has all-wheel drive for mountain safety and is a lot quieter. And, driven carefully, gets 31 MPG highway and 28 city. For the huge step-down in performance, we really hoped the Honda would be a big jump up in MPG compared to the Audi.
The dealer and owners of other similar Civics tell us that ours seems to drive just like theirs, and that they don't get any better MPG.
What's up with this generation of Civic that the gas mileage is so poor?