My 2012 Inferno Orange Chevy Sonic 1.4 Turbo LTZ Manual From Miscellaneous
Back in January I ordered this 2012 Chevy Sonic with the 1.4 Turbo engine and a manual transmission. I liked the motorcycle inspired design, the color, the opportunity to try a manual transmission, and the fuel economy. I usually ride a motorcycle to work, but some days it is more practical to take an automobile due to weather and/or hauling requirements.
One of the interesting aspects of this car is the made in Europe turbocharged engine. They have a different market over there, being primarily manual transmission cars whereas most drivers here want to chat on their cell phone and shave while driving instead of actually enjoying the drive, so manuals here are stereotypically sold on the cheap. As such, Chevy decided to list this car as running 87 octane gasoline, using a control chip to detect the type of fuel added and retard the engine as appropriate. A fascinating side effect of this unusual measure is a car that actually does perform better with premium gasoline.
Even more interesting; at least at current fuel prices, I'm finding the premium gasoline actually saves money in this car. I had read about this on the Sonic Owner's Forum but was skeptical. However in my actual testing, it's turning out to be true. Some numbers from my testing so far:
At current pricing where I last bought fuel:
Price per Gallon
Cost per Mile
Granted, this is a savings of only two and a half tenths of a cent per mile, but the premium is actually costing slightly less overall, a very unusual situation but one I intend to take advantage of. Premium fuel in this example would have to cost more than $4.48 (with regular not increasing in price) before it would be economical to burn 87. To put it another way, at 10 gallons (about the size I fit in the tank):
can you please expound on how you measure milage (computer readings or other). Also my experience tells me that all FI cars should run on higher octane fuel. I read my manual and found that one there is no distinction between the 1.8 NA and 1.4 T in this regard. You mentioned a chip that modulates the ECU in timing. Can you share the link or document that this data was found?
My concerns are that if an owners manual say use 87 and you use 93 because you think it is "better" you can over time coat up your engine in carbon from unburnt fuel and simply be wasting money. Likewise if you use 87 and you need a more robust combustion resistant fuel you will get your computer to retard timing and the car will be a dog. I am on my very first dealer tank and I do not have a clue what is in there (neither does the dealer apparently)