Effectively Using Active Eco w/2011 Optima
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Thread: Effectively Using Active Eco w/2011 Optima

  1. #1
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    Effectively Using Active Eco w/2011 Optima

    Hey Everyone,

    Just bought a 2011 Kia Optima EX a couple weeks ago. This car is great. The active eco feature is something I haven't exactly found any extensive documentation on though. Pretty much all I can find is that it helps with gas mileage. Great, thanks for the specificity.

    Anyways, what's everyone else's experience with the active eco feature? Any situations where its more effective than others?

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  3. #2
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    You know, I've used the Eco button and can't really find any difference in fuel economy when its on versus when its off. And, speaking of which, I'm completely disappointed with the fuel economy. I know this should get a little better once the engine is broken in, but I'm getting 27 mpg versus the stated 34 mpg on the highway. Granted, I live in a mountainous area and have lots of hills, but in my two previous cars (2006 Subaru Outback and 2009 Acura TSX) I bested the stated highway mpgs on the same roads by 1 mpg. The Subaru stated 29 mpg and I consistently got 30 mpg, and the TSX stated 30 mpg and I consistently got 31 mpg. A BIG part of the reason I bought the Optima was the advertised 34 mpg. I have a hard time believing that I'm going to see a 7 mpg improvement after the engine is broken in. I feel like I've been duped by Kia. I'd love to hear how other people are doing on mpgs - I'm interested to see if everyone else is seeing the same thing, or if its just my car (maybe there's some sort of issue with mine?).

  4. #3
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    @2011OptimaOwner: I completely agree about the gas mileage! I don't live in a mountainous area at all (Rhode Island). In fact the highest point in this state is a landfill (no joke). I've been getting decent mileage (32-36) on the highway but if I hit any traffic at all it goes down to 25 or so per the in-dash computer. I really think that the 34mpg listed is if you start the car, accelerate to 60mph or so, and continue on a straight road on a clear day with no obstructions like traffic. I'm interested to hear what others have to say too.

  5. #4
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    vietvet

    I have 750 miles on a 2011 EX. Just took a 60 miles roundtrip mostly open rds and some highway and 50 to 65 mph. With ECO on, lowest was 33.5., highest was 34.7

  6. #5
    Lot Attendant SnowWhiteEX's Avatar
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    I get the impression that Eco only changes 2 things....A/C output, and transmission shift logic. The A/C probably has very little impact, but with a light throttle foot, the shift logic should make a marked difference in MPG.

  7. #6
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    Last tank full I got 27 mpg mixed hwy and city with the Eco button on. Current tank of gas, i turned the Eco button off, same routine as previous week, the computer is showing 30. Will update when i fill up again.

  8. #7
    Lot Attendant SnowWhiteEX's Avatar
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    I played around with it yesterday, and it definitely affects shift logic in the transmission. On ECO, it'll shift into 6th gear as soon as 44mph, so while cruising at 45mph, I turned ECO off, and it dropped the transmission to 5th. It also noticably affected shift points, as they went higher in the rpm range during normal acceleration.

  9. #8
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    I have the ECO setting in my '10 Optima LX but I don't think it does anything. My options are Trip A, Trip B, & ECO. It says (in the manual) to hold down the button when ECO is visible but it doesn't do anything. I don't even see an option for gas mileage. Is my ECO setting useless in my LX or am I just missing something?
    Never Play Leapfrog With A Unicorn!!!

  10. #9
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    2010 Optima ECO is simply just a light that tells you when you are driving for maximum fuel efficiency. That's it. Most of the 2010 cars you can simply turn this reminder light on or off. That's what it's trying to explain how to do in the manual. Problem is some of the Optima's that year wouldn't turn on or sometimes wouldn't turn off.

    The 2011 Optima has an active ECO system which means it actually changes the way the car responds or acts. It adjusts the shift points, climate control settings, and other minor engine adjustments to optimize for lower fuel consumption.

    And as for you guys complaining about being duped by Kia. Do just a little research and read the sticker with the published MPG ratings. Kia doesn't have anything to do with what ratings they get. EPA does. All cars are tested the exact same way which makes it a comparable and relevant rating. Just remember if you really want to gauge accurate gas mileage, you have to do more than just simply look at the trip computer. Fill up at a certain gas station and specific pump. Reset your trip a or b. Drive through most of the tank and then return to the exact same station and pump. Record your trip mileage and the amount of gas it took to fill your tank. Now we are getting closer at least, but still far off from being controlled. You have to eliminate all the variables of everyday driving. Temperature, speed, gas type or brand, quality of gas, tire inflation, payload of vehicle, etc, etc, etc. The variables go on and on and on. Basically what I'm getting at is trust the controlled testing methods of the EPA. They are more accurate than you could ever dream of being in your day to day commutes.

    Anyway, be happy with your new Optima and let it get a few more miles on it before you start saying that it isn't as good as car A or it doesn't get rated gas mileage so it must be a conspiracy theory and Kia is behind it. Watch the Top Gear episode with the M3 and the Prius started a race and they put the same exact amount of fuel in both. Guess who got the better gas mileage? The M3. Lesson here is MPG is way more about how you drive than what you drive. Rather than saying that the car isn't getting the rated gas mileage, think about how much more likely it is that you are driving just slightly different, the computer is slightly off, the engine isn't broken in properly yet, or one of the other hundred variables are slightly different now.

    Sorry if this came across as a rant, but seriously go to any year/make/model forum and you will find the exact same post with someone complaining about mpg and then you'll have the people that are saying it's great. Every single car forum. Why is this? It's not the car! It's you! Most people don't know how to truely test mpg and even the ones that do can't overcome the myriads of variables from one drive to the next let alone one car to the next. Hope this helps you feel better about your car.

  11. #10
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    @nathanstl: Good points, all. I appreciate the post, because everyone's experiences are different, and each post must be taken with a grain of salt, mine included. However, I did want to clarify from my earlier post based on your comments regarding consistency in testing MPGs. I did not just read the trip/avg mpg computer in my car. I get gas at the same store every time and from the same pump (not intentionally, to be honest, just habit). I write down the gallons put in the vehicle and the miles on the car since the last fill up. That is how I arrive at MPGs, not based on the car's computer (which seems to be right on, by the way). I drive the same route every day to work and do not drive it otherwise (such as for errands) - I have another vehicle that I do that in. In comparing the Optima with my other previous vehicles, it is based on the same exact route and very similar driving habits. I have a light foot by habit and am very conscientious of mpg so go as easy as I can. That being said, I do feel that my calculated mpgs are very close and that I can compare them to previous vehicles and mileage they got in comparison to EPA ratings vs. the mileage this car gets in comparison to it's EPA ratings. Granted, every car is different, but as you pointed out regarding EPA ratings (thank you for the clarification) they are consistently set by the same people. Why does my car get such poor mpg compared to the EPA rating when my other cars didn't? That I can't say. Is my car still in the break in period? Absolutely. Do I think my mpgs will improve by 7 mpgs when it is broken in? No, I do not. Just more food for thought.

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