1987 Buick Regal Grand National Long-Term Road Test - MPG


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1987 Buick Grand National: Fuel Economy Update for July

August 5, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

Our long-term 1987 Buick Regal Grand National didn't see much action in the month of July. All of its fuel economy numbers stayed exactly the same.

Worst Fill MPG: 8.5
Best Fill MPG: 21.4
Average Lifetime MPG: 17.3
EPA MPG Rating: 17 City / 25 Highway
Best Range: 301.9 miles
Current Odometer: 15,106

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor


1987 Buick Grand National: Fuel Economy Update for June

July 3, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

We drove the Buick Grand National quite a bit in June. In fact, the car began the month in Dallas, TX on the Hot Rod Power Tour. From there I drove it to Memphis, TN. A few days later, Mark Takahashi jumped behind the GN's leather-wrapped steering wheel and drove it all the way back to Santa Monica, CA after a quick stop in New Orleans.

Obviously the bulk of that trip was spent on America's interstates and the Buick's fuel mileage reflects those highway miles. In June the car's fuel economy ranged from 17.3 mpg to 21 mpg.

Overall, the Buick is averaging 17.3 mpg since we bought it last September.

Worst Fill MPG: 8.5
Best Fill MPG: 21.4
Average Lifetime MPG: 17.3
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): 17/25
Best Range: 301.9 miles
Current Odometer: 14,952 miles

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief


1987 Buick Grand National: Las Cruces to Los Angeles

June 24, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

Unlike Austin and New Orleans, I found little to occupy my time in Las Cruces. I did a little research on local restaurants and opted for La Posta de Mesilla, which was reviewed as being one of the few places in town that serve food on real plates with real silverware instead of plastic. It was in the neighboring historic town of Mesilla, which was dotted with traditional adobe structures.

La Posta was very generous with their portions and before I knew it, I was drifting into a meat-induced coma. I crashed in my modest hotel room early. So early in fact, that I woke up on my own at 3:00 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. After tossing and turning for a while I decided that I might as well get back on the road.

Under cover of darkness, the Grand National and I clicked off the first of 769 miles that it would take to get back home to L.A. A short time later I had to slow to a stop at a border checkpoint. As I crept up to the agent, I noticed an unusual amount of medium-sized birds darting all around the portable floodlights. Then it dawned on me those weren't birds, they were bats. I hate bats. I know they're essential for insect control and serve a useful ecological purpose, but that doesn't ease my mind one bit.

I barely cracked the power window of the Buick as I approached the stop, lest I get entangled with one of the rats with wings.

"U.S. Citizen?" the agent asked.

"Yup," I replied.

He waved me through before I even came to a complete stop.

More and more miles piled onto the odometer as the night gave way to a deep blue, followed by a beautiful warm glow on the horizon, silhouetting the distant mesas.

1987 Buick Grand National

Before I knew it, I had crossed over into Arizona. I could almost smell Los Angeles.

1987 Buick Grand National

The drive through Arizona was mostly uneventful. The most excitement I got was when I spotted this awesome piece of military hardware. Whatever it is, it looks fast and mean. I want one.

1987 Buick Grand National

The gas stops came and went with plenty of fuel left in the tank. That was, until I neared Phoenix. I was edging closer to 280 miles and the needle was still showing a quarter tank left. Could I break the 300-mile mark? Up to that point, the record was 284.3 miles on a single tank, which was logged by yours truly a few days earlier between New Orleans and Austin.

I went into conservation mode, with the lightest of touches on the gas pedal. The needle began its customary plummet, but I soldiered on until I finally hit the 300 mark. I immediately exited the interstate right near the Phoenix Airport and found the closest gas station. With 301.9 miles on the trip meter, the Buick took 14.405 gallons. That figured out to 21.0 mpg, just shy of the overall best of 21.4 mpg. Hitting 300 miles was a small victory, but in my boredom, it was welcomed.

1987 Buick Grand National

Mile after mile, I grew more impatient. I just wanted to get back home. The roadside mile markers were the equivalent of waiting for water to boil, drawing out the distances even further. Finally, the California border. I stopped once again for fuel, the final time, in Coachella.

This made it the ninth tank fill since Memphis. I had logged 2,144.2 miles at that point and was still 140 miles from home. More Red Bull. Dig deep.

I arrived home several hours early thanks to my inability to get back to sleep in Las Cruces. The fuel log reports that I used 113.506 gallons to get to Coachella from Memphis, which figures out to 18.89 mpg. I also realized that I had consumed 96 ounces of Red Bull and 6.5 ounces of Beef Jerky in the process. I returned as a shell of who I normally am, and it took a few days to return to my old form, both physiologically and emotionally.

Still, I'm glad I made the trip. It got me over my prior dread of long road trips. If I had to do it all over again, I'd make an effort to have a traveling companion. I think having another human to talk to would have made the trip seem much shorter.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 14,800 miles


1987 Buick Grand National: Memphis to New Orleans

June 18, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

I took a redeye flight out of Los Angeles to Atlanta touching down in Memphis around 9:00 a.m. Knowing what lay in front of me, I tried my best to get some sleep on the plane. By the time we made our final approach into Memphis, I got just enough shuteye to get me to New Orleans, some 389 miles away.

Scott left the car in a covered lot just outside of Memphis International. I found the Grand National with absolutely no problems. It had a light coat of dust and grime and a full tank of gas. I set up my iPad on the center console, a-la Tesla Model S, plugged it into the tape adapter and started charging my phone. Then I suction-cupped my camera to the underside of the T-top glass so I could shoot and drive at the same time. A couple of tweets and texts later, I was heading due south on Interstate 55. The finish line for this leg of the road trip is my friend's house in the Milan neighborhood of New Orleans.

As soon as I was on the highway, I was struck by how clean, straight and beautiful I-55 was. The tree-lined interstate seemed to stretch all the way to the horizon and my fellow travelers understood the concept of making way for faster cars. It didn't take long for the drone to take its toll on me, though, as I started to feel some fatigue set in. I pulled off to pick up my typical road trip provisions: Red Bull, beef jerky and Nutter Butter bites. I was back to normal in a matter of minutes.

1987 Buick Grand National

All was right with the world until I neared Jackson, Mississippi, when the rain started to fall. And the rain intensified the further south I traveled. By the time I hit Wesson, MS, I had slowed to 35 mph and had the hazard lights flashing. If conditions worsened, I was planning on pulling off the highway to wait out the storm, but they never did. In the middle of the downpour, I stopped for 14-plus gallons of gas. That was plenty to get me the rest of the way. With 245 miles on the trip meter, that figured out to 17.28 mpg. Not great, but it was pouring rain.

1987 Buick Grand National

As the Louisiana border approached, the skies parted and the sun shone through. I didn't think I was overly stressed by the rain, but a wave of relief washed over me as the blue skies took over. The Grand National's wipers work great, by the way. I rolled into New Orleans right around 3:00 p.m. and the Buick performed like a champ.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 12,946 miles


1987 Buick Grand National: Hot Rod Power Tour #3

June 17, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

Here's a quickie on the fuel economy. For us, the Hot Rod Power Tour lasted from Sunday to Tuesday and covered 821.7 miles from Arlington, TX to Memphis, TN.

Obviously, we only drove about 200 miles a day. And the pace was mild. With the exception of a few smoky burnouts performed for the small town crowds with the homemade "Burnout" signs, the Buick wasn't really working hard.

It was hot, however, and the air conditioning was cranking about half the time. Still, the Grand National drank the 93 octane at an average rate of exactly 20 mpg.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief


1987 Buick Grand National: Fuel Economy Update for May

June 3, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

Road trips always help fuel economy, and the results were pretty dramatic on our long-term 1987 Buick Grand National. Of the 1,779 miles we logged in May, 1,607 of them came during my road trip to Texas. And as soon as we hit the interstate, fuel mileage immediately picked up: The Buick's lifetime average jumped from 15.8 mpg to 16.4 mpg.

Save for my pre-road trip fill-up in Los Angeles (which netted 12.8 mpg), we never saw a tank below 17 mpg on the journey to Texas. Frequent stops to top up the oil precluded a best range run (the number to beat is 281.9 miles), but we set a new high for mpg on a single tank: 21.4 mpg over 230 miles. Sadly, I can't take credit for it, as we'd done a driver change and my spouse was at the wheel for the majority of that tank.

The Grand National received its usual 91 octane for the first four tanks, but as soon as we crossed into Texas, we were able to put in 93 octane. And the Buick should get plenty more of that during its travels back East with Scott Oldham and Mark Takahashi.

Odo
Trip
Gallons
MPG
10,342
218.4
11.260
19.4
10,601
259.0
13.250
19.5
10,831
230.0
10.764
21.4
11,050
219.0
12.915
17.0
11,307
256.2
13.857
18.5
11,563
256.2
13.868
18.5
11,732
169.1
8.685
19.5
Texas Road
Trip Totals
1607.9
84.599
19.0

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 11,795 miles

Worst Fill MPG: 8.5
Best Fill MPG: 21.4
Average Lifetime MPG: 16.4
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway/Combined): 17 city/25 highway
Best Range: 281.9 miles
Current Odometer: 11,795 miles


1987 Buick Grand National: Fuel Economy Update for April

May 7, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

We filled-up our Grand National's gas tank four times over 704 miles during the month of April. Without any additional crazy lead-foot shenanigans, our Buick's lifetime average remained a steady 15.8 mpg.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 9,952 miles

Worst Fill MPG: 8.5
Best Fill MPG: 20.6
Average Lifetime MPG: 15.8
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): N/A
Best Range: 282 miles
Current Odometer: 9,952 miles


1987 Buick Grand National: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 2, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

We hit an all-time low for fuel economy in our 1987 Buick Grand National in March. It's not really fair to judge the car on this score because it was only a half-tank fill-up. But with so few fill-ups this month, I didn't want to discount the half tank.

For March we only managed to add 258 miles to our GN's odometer. We averaged 12.4 mpg for the month which dragged our lifetime average down a bit.

Worst Fill MPG: 8.5
Best Fill MPG: 20.6
Average Lifetime MPG: 15.8
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): N/A
Best Range: 281.9 miles
Current Odometer: 9,248 miles

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor


1987 Buick Grand National: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 5, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

With so many new test cars in and out of our garage during the past month, our 1987 Buick Grand National was a little underutilized.

After the addition of just one tank of gas, the fuel economy averages remain unchanged for February.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 9,038 miles

Worst Fill MPG: 14.0
Best Fill MPG: 20.6
Average Lifetime MPG: 16.1
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): N/A
Best Range: 282 miles
Current Odometer: 8,810 miles


1987 Buick Grand National: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 4, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

Our 1987 Buick Grand National is a fuel-thirsty beast. No surprise for a car of its era, and intentions.

The Grand National managed to earn 20.6 mpg from its best tank of fuel so far, and a lowly 14 mpg from its worst tank, resulting in an average of 16.1 mpg over the life of our test.

Automotive Editor Mark Takahashi was behind the wheel for the Grand National's best tank. Read more about his recent trip to Las Vegas here.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 8,810 miles

Worst Fill MPG: 14.0
Best Fill MPG: 20.6
Average Lifetime MPG: 16.1
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): N/A
Best Range: 282 miles
Current Odometer: 8,810 miles


1987 Buick Grand National: Las Vegas Road Trip, Part 3

January 30, 2013

1987 Buick Grand National

It was a whirlwind trip on a number of levels. I intended to leave Las Vegas at 6:30 a.m. on Monday morning so I could meet up with Riswick, new staff writer Mark Holthoff and blast-from-the-past editor, Josh Sadlier for a round of golf in Malibu. When the clock struck 3:00 a.m. I realized I wasn't going to make my tee time and kept going. Considering the latest developments, I was quite all right with this.

We took our time leaving Las Vegas, checking out at 10:45 a.m. and hitting the road for L.A. around noon. There were a couple of pockets of traffic, but for the most part the Grand National handled the intrusion well. At one point the engine did die, causing a very brief moment of dread, but it fired right back up.

The fatigue I felt from the drive up was amplified by the revelry from the night before. It felt like my body was wrecked before we even hit Barstow. It seems that this Buick from 1987 was in better shape than I.

1987 Buick Grand National

On the return trip to L.A., I managed to get 20.6 mpg, which represents the best tank of the trip. The worst tank was the first, from L.A. to Barstow, which registered a lowly 14.1 mpg. The average came to 17.6 mpg over the 600-mile road trip.

After all was done, I was glad for the experience and gained yet another deathbed memory. After we unload the Grand National after its Edmunds tour of duty is up, I think I'll have fond memories of this car.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 8,805 miles


1987 Buick Grand National: Phoenix and Back Part 2

October 27, 2012

GN-fuel-mileage-1.jpg

As I already reported a few days ago I recently road tripped the Buick to Phoenix and back to Los Angeles. Well, here are the long awaited fuel economy numbers over the 1,000 mile mostly highway trip.

Best Tank: 20.5 mpg

Worst Tank: 14.0 mpg

Avg. over the trip: 17.0 mpg

Back in 1987 the EPA said the car should get 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg out on the highway.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 7,032 miles


1987 Buick Regal Grand National: The More Things Change...

October 26, 2012

GN Fuel.jpg

Gas is (kind of) expensive. You've likely seen it in the news. Recently I took our GN up and down the coast at varying speeds at varying levels of flooring it.

The trip took about 9 gallons of fuel which worked out to $45 bucks or so. I'd say I got $45 worth of enjoyment out of the trip, but still.

What about in 1987, though? Well according to the LA Times on July 13, 1987, gas prices spiked to over $1/gallon "for the first time in 16 months..."

Must've been rough.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor


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