US vs. Europe Fuel Economy Numbers

In my now borderline obsession with the Polo GTI and other things VW (I don’t even really like VW that much, but I love the thrill of the chase), I’ve noticed something odd.. UK VW’s report consistently higher fuel economy numbers than their US counterparts.

I first noticed this when researching the Polo GTI to compare to the new Golf GTI and ‘85 Golf GTI, from yesterdays article. According to the VW UK brochure, the Polo GTI gets 31/46 MPG with a manual transmission, and 33/50 with the 7 speed DSG. And no, that’s not imperial gallons, I used the L/100km spec (7.6/5.1 manual, 7.2/4.7 DSG) and converted back to good ol’ fashioned ‘Murica units of US miles per US gallon.


These numbers seemed outrageous, and after sharing my research with Patrick in the original article, some other commenters also pointed out the incredulous economy numbers. So I did some more research - I took at look at the US spec Golf GTI vs the UK spec GTI so I could compare 2 known quantities. The US version gets 25/34 (manual) and 25/33 (DSG). The UK car shows 31/46 (manual) and 29/44 (DSG). Again, I went with L/100 km (7.5/5.1 and 8.1/5.3 respectively) and converted back in to US miles per US gallon.

So this leaves me wondering, what in the world causes the UK cars to post such better gas mileage figures? Weight is the same for both cars. One thing I cannot find is the UK transmission specs, so one thought is that the UK cars are geared a little taller. Still, gearing typically doesn’t make up that much of a difference. The other thought is that the Euro testing system is just that much different than the US.


Any Europpos or anyone with experience care to chime in and enlighten me as to why there’s such a discrepancy?

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