Originally Posted by stevehnm
You can download the EPA mpg figures from here:
and you can see that identical models with AWD and 2WD get different mpg numbers - same engine, transmission, etc. just with AWD or 2WD. That means that the adjustment for the different drivetrains is already compensated for, so any vehicle rated at 36 mpg highway should get the same mpg under the same highway conditions.
I don't think anyone disagrees with you here. However the tests performed by the epa (or the those done by the automaker) don't test every flavor of every vehicle. We've all seen the video where Todd Hill, Subarus north american marketing guy, says the little nubs on the roof rack of a sport model "add 1mpg". To normal people that sounds like magic. To a sales/marketing guy it's as close to the truth as they're willing to get. The truth is that in an epa test those little nubs makes the merest fractionof a difference in epa calculations to go from one whole number to the next. It's like the nubs bump it from 35.499 to 35.501 and therefore the rounding says it's 36. (Or however they do it).
So different model flavors will have slightly different results. I would expect that a cvt car with roof rack and 17s would perform slightly worse than a base cvt with steelies.
I'm not making excuses. I agree the game is being played.
Has the EPA gotten back to you yet? I haven't gotten a response to any of several.