2009 Nissan GT-R: Liar
July 24, 2009
The Nissan GT-R, specifically its DTE (distance to empty) trip computer, is a liar. 431 miles on this tank? Only if after 330 miles the transmission breaks and you need to get towed another 100. Consider this: The 2009 Nissan GT-R has a 19.5 gallon fuel tank and according to the EPA averages 18 mpg. Do the math and you get a maximum average range of 351 miles. But what if you're only doing highway miles? The EPA rates the GT-R at a whopping 21 mpg. Again, math tells us that you've got 409 miles to go. We've managed a maximum tank of 337.4 miles in part due to the lure of the throttle, and in part due to the crazy, hyper-paranoid DTE meter. Here's what it did to me at the tail end of a road trip:
I pass a gas station 88 miles from home and check the meter. It says I've got 99 miles left on this tank and the needle is squarely on the 1/4 mark. Perfect! Cruise is set to 75 and I roll on by only to see, as I'm passing the exit, the number drop to 86 miles left. That's less good. Drop speed to 70. Not a mile later watch the number sink to 72. Another mile passes and I'm looking at 63 miles to empty and then seconds later-- as I'm getting my pen to write all this down-- it drops to 58. By the time I pull into the next gas station, 4 miles from the first one, the gauge reads 41 miles to empty and the needle has plummeted below the E. When I filled the tank it only took 13.428 gallons.
Now I was in familiar territory and could have risked it, and probably should have, but to have a meter this wonky, that's this inaccurate, really rubs me the wrong way. I'm a hypermiler using the definition of one who likes to go as far as possible on a single tank. I hold numerous office records for max tank distances. I do it with the Long Term Cars and I do it with my own cars. It's fun. It's not fun when you can't trust your gauges. Fail.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 25,310 miles