2015 Volvo S60: Trying to Match EPA City Rating With Eco+ Mode
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on December 28, 2015
The main takeaway from our monthly fuel economy reports on our 2015 Volvo S60 has been that we've largely been unable to match the EPA's estimates for fuel economy, even if relative fuel economy for a 302-hp sedan is still respectable. A while back I made a specific attempt to see how close I could get to the EPA's highway estimate.
For this update, I wanted to see how close I could get to EPA city.
This wasn't an official test since I only drove around for a week doing my normal routines. For that week I tried to drive efficiently, being gentle with the gas and coasting down whenever possible when approaching stop lights. I also selected and used the S60's Eco+ Drive mode for the entire time. That mode makes adjustments to throttle responsiveness plus a few other systems/parameters to help save a bit more gas.
The S60's engine becomes less responsive to your gas pedal inputs, certainly. The car is less peppy accelerating from a stop unless you press harder on the gas, and thus defeating the purpose of Eco+ mode. But I was willing to become a bit of a rolling chicane when leaving stop lights for my test. After a couple days, I got pretty used to it, actually.
I drove 158.6 miles in the city over the course of five days. I filled up and pumped in 6.901 gallons of gas, resulting in a calculated result of 22.9 mpg. Let's just call it 23 mpg. That's still 1 mpg shy of the EPA 2015 S60 city estimate of 24 mpg. Close, but not quite a Swedish cigar.
But wait! When you fail, just change the test. Interestingly, I've noticed that the EPA has adjusted the fuel economy estimates for the S60 from 2015 to 2016. The 2016 S60 T6 Drive-E has a 23 mpg city estimate (highway mpg is also lower for 2016 at 33 mpg).
I contacted Volvo to find out if anything on the car changed from 2015 to 2016. The company gave no specific reason. Maybe the 2015 EPA numbers are just overly optimistic? If you go by 2016 numbers, however, my week of driving around in the city with a conservative approach did result in meeting the EPA estimate.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor