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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I've had my Pop with a manual transmission for about 3 1/2 weeks now and have been really enjoying it. I bought it mainly as my sole source of transportation, so I do most my driving to and from work (from Northern Virginia into Washington DC - which is mostly multi-lane boulevards with some highway and local streets thrown in) though I've also had need to make a couple longer (mostly highway) trips and some local errands on the weekend.

Anyway, I've been getting between 34 to 43 mpg on the first three tanks of gas, and for the most part (except for the first couple of days that I had the car) I've been trying to shift within the guidelines in the owner's manual, though when accelerating onto the highway or climbing an incline I might delay shifting to the next gear a little to make sure I have the acceleration that I might need.

Overall I've noticed that the engine in my car idles at about 900rpm (just like my last car) and when shifting like listed above, I'm typically operating between 2100 to 2750/2800 rpms, though on occasion (while cruising) I know I've seen it as low as 1500 depending on conditions.

In trying to stick close to the guidelines in the owner's manual I notice that sometimes I might be just a hair slow in starting from a stop (though that may just be me) but the car seems to accelerate very smoothly up to speed (with only about a 200 rpm drop as I shift from gear to gear) and seems to easily keep up with most traffic (though sometimes I'll notice other drivers in other lanes pulling away a lot quicker, but then again some drivers tend to rabbit starts anyway).

For the most part I try and stay within maybe 5mph of the speed limit and in doing that the last couple days while cruising on the highway 60-65mph seemed to equate to about 2750/2800 or so rpms.

However, I've seen alot of articles and some posts and such, which seem to imply that engine normally? runs anywhere from 3000 4500 rpm, and some articles have suggested operations as high as 6000 rpm or so in lower gears.

That got me kind of curious as to how other drivers here operate their manual transmission 500's, and maybe what rpm the automatics tend to run at, and what kind of mileage and other performance that equates to?

Just curious to see how others are drivinge and what their experiences are.

Regards

Pat
 

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ive never seen such articles.

at 70 mph the manual trans runs right at 2900 rpm. i usually shift around 2500 rpm's. if i need more acceleration, i find that shifts at 3500 do the trick just fine.

my first two tanks have been 42+ and 43+ mpg's.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi

Thanks for the input.

Here's a link to one article that states:

It feels as if it can rev to 12,000 rpm (7,500 is the recommended top spin) and actually moves the car along nicely if you keep it above 3,500 rpm.

And here's another that states:

"At 10.8 seconds to 60 mph (10.5 seconds with a 1-foot rollout like at a drag strip), the 500 Sport is almost a second slower than our long-term Mazda 2 (9.9 seconds). This is partly because the 500's gearing requires a 2-3 shift before 60, and also because the Fiat's rev limiter starts to cut in as the tach needle swings past 6,000 rpm in 1st gear and at 6,500 in 2nd. The redline is 6,750. The rev limiter eventually settles at 6,900. This made our tester angry, and you don't want to see him angry."

and

"MultiAir or not, though, there's very little punch below 4,000 rpm, and it never exhibits any kind of high-rpm rush."

And here's a post that suggested:

"Found the same observations on the shifting. Here's what I found out: Shift at 4k RPM or juuuuust after. It whines a bit more, but that's where the peak torque is, at 4000rpm. A nice surprise with this: my mileage hasn't gone down! I tried a very, very conservative shifting approach, too, but lost mileage because it's not creating the best momentum for the next gear to pick up when you shift too early.

(PS. The sound at 4k is really nice, too!)"

(I added the bold for emphasis)


Regards

Pat
 

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Pat, there is no right and wrong answer here. They are talking about extracting maximum performance and fun to drive bonus points via spirited driving, and couldn't care a whiff about mpg's. They are NOT attempting to get 40+ mpg.

You seem quite content with driving it comfortably, and you're being rewarded with great fuel economy. So enjoy it.

Personally, I plan to drive it like I stole it, while pretending that I'm breaking all types of speeding laws. Just gotta be careful since the car's so quiet you don't always realize your speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi

Pat, there is no right and wrong answer here. ....
Hi thanks for the reply. That's more or less what I was thinking. I was just curious what other people do, to see if I'm out in left field or something.

Thanks again.

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi

Cool. I forgot that the automatic has 6 gears, but the rpms that you and Panther76 seem seem fairly typical of other cars I've driven. I guess its just as kzod suggested, this engine (like others) can be revved higher if you like to drive that way.

It just kind of threw me off when I saw some of those reviews that kind of seemed to suggest (to me at least) that operating at higher revs is typical (or possibly even needed for the car to keep up with traffic, etc).

Thanks again.

Pat
 

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I've been driving a small engine 4 cylinder manual basically all my life. Those little engines rely on very high RPMs for the lower gears, especially while driving on the high way. With the Fiat 500 I'm usually around 6000RPMs from 1st to 3rd gear. (I haven't driven the car enough to give you accurate shifts). But I can tell you one thing if you keep under shifting that engine isn't going to be so happy in a few years..
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi

I don't believe that I'm undershifting. The reason that I started this thread was because some of the posts and articles that I've seen seemed so out of the norm from what I've been used to on my previous cars. I've driven manual transmissions almost all my life as well (except for my 1st car - an old 67 Plymouth) and I've had most my cars (except one that had a faulty 02 sensor) for 5-7 years with no problems.

The RPMs that I'm currently seeing are very similar to what I've seen on my previous cars (at least the ones that came with a tachometer). And the rpms I'm seeing seem consistent with the automatic (if I'm understanding correctly) and my shifting is in line with the recommendations from the owner's manual.

That's why I was so confused seeing articles and posts talking about revs so much higher than what I'm used to and/or what seems to result from shifting in accordance with the guidance in the owner's manual.

Regards

Pat
 

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What's undershifting? Why can it harm an engine?
What they are referring to by saying "undershifting" is up-shifting at an RPM/speed that may be too low for the next selected gear & before using all of the available power/torque in the lower gear... it won't actually harm the engine unless the RPM is low enough or the engine load is high enough that the engine lugs, which will make the engine clatter and buck and eventually bog and cut out/stall - that causes undo wear and tear on engine components. And whether or not one is "undershifting" all depends on multiple factors - speed traveling, engine load (accelerating vs cruising along, climbing a hill, etc.), etc. It is actually called "short shifting" and most people do it regularly and safely... unless you are taking your engine to whatever RPM the max power for each gear is (which is not always redline) every time you shift, you are short shifting to some extent. Again, you will lose available power and torque by short shifting but it can save fuel. A good reason to short shift is to intentionally reduce power and torque, to get more grip, like when on a wet road or on ice/snow - it can help reduce wheel spin. Like putting a car into 2nd gear when starting out on snow... you are more likely to go forward without wheel spin in 2nd than you are in 1st in that situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi

RoadDad,

Thanks for the clarification. I guess I should have said that I didn't think I was doing anything abnormal with my shifting, since I'm just trying to do what the owner's manual says to do, and its pretty much similar to what I've done on my previous cars.

Regards

Pat
 

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According to the manual, for "optimal fuel economy" upshifting should occur between

12 - 14mph from 1st to 2nd (cruising - accelerating)
18 - 23mph from 2nd to 3rd (cruising - accelerating)
25 - 29mph from 3rd to 4th (cruising - accelerating)
32 - 38mph from 4th to 5th (cruising - accelerating)

I haven't looked at the gear ratios so I'm not sure at which RPMs those speeds would be... you can also just look at the tach when you reach those speeds if you want to shift at a certain RPM.

Pat,

You aren't doing anything abnormal when shifting as stated in the owner's manual. These aren't high performance sports cars... I had a Honda Civic which specifically called out similar shift points - 1 to 2 at 15mph, 2 to 3 at 25mph, 3 to 4 at 40mph. I got the best mpg by far when I stuck to that shifting schedule with the Honda.

Just don't bounce off of the rev limiter (shifting too late) or shift so early that the engine bogs or lugs. Anything between those points (lugging and rev limiter) will be fine... mpg will vary but other than that, not much to worry about really.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi

If I'm understanding the manual correctly, you'd only really be shifting into 5th @ 32mph for conditions where you're close to your cruising speed and you aren't really trying to accelerate, like driving on side streets and such where speed limits aren't that high.

Regards

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi

RoadDad,

Thanks, that's also pretty close to past experience that I had with my 05 Toyota, 01 Hyundai, and 93 Plymouth.

Regards

Pat
 

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Like enter an on-ramp. Stay in 4th gear until you have enough speed to merge safely. Use 5th gear like an "overdrive" gear... no problems.
 
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