How efficient can a full-size sedan from a decade ago really be?
I will shout this from every mountain top until I die. The W-Body is the perfect combination of fuel economy, value, and performance.
If you're familiar with my posts then you'll know that I have an unhealthy obsession with GM's W-Body cars. Not only do I believe them to be the kings of the front-wheel-drive game, but I also believe them to be some of GM's most unsung cars. I'm on my second one currently, a 2008 Buick LaCrosse that I bought at the start of the pandemic thanks to my stimulus check from good ole Donnie. I have had a worry free 5,000 miles so far, with the exception of a new battery that I had to put in after I started driving it reguarly.
Under the hood is the creme de la creme of GM's engines, the 3800 Series III. This 3.8-liter, 200 horsepower and 230 lb-ft beast is an incredible piece of engineering. It's a big ole torquey engine with nothing fancy to its operation. The four-speed that its bolted to leaves a little to be desired, another gear would go a long way in these cars, but I digress. Story time.
My commute is about 100 miles roundtrip, and depending on how I drive, I tend to fuel up every three days or so. Well, last week I forgot to fill up before I got home, so I was sitting just above empty, so I filled the tank, reset my trip computer, and my fuel economy tracker and set off for work, but while I was filling up, I wondered what kind of gas mileage I could get if I genuinely focused on driving efficiently. So I set off gently and made a conscious effort to drive as conservatively as possible without putting the state of New Jersey in gridlock, as so many other drivers do on a daily basis.
It felt weird to not sit in the left lane and ride like the wind as I typically do, instead I was sitting in the middle lane with one eye on the tachometer and the other on the road. I think I went over 2,500 rpm to get over a bridge and one incredibly large hill, but other than that, I built up momentum and used it to get this full-size, 6-passenger leather-lined, faux soft top barge to an incredible 31 miles per gallon.
Should I have documented this moment at this exact point? No, but once I came to a stop, I hit 30.8 and realized I had to risk it for the biscuit. I was genuinely impressed. 31 miles per gallon highway puts this seemingly ancient full-size on par with modern vehicles like the Ford Escape, Jeep Compass, Mazda CX-30, and the Mercedes-Benz GLB250 in terms of fuel economy. Now, granted these vehicles are infinitely better equipped for commuting than my land-yacht, but I stand out in a parking lot, and that's all I really care about.
Now, I have to address a few things here. I was driving as slow as legally possible, because anyone that has driven in New Jersey knows that Speed Limits are more like suggestions than actual limitations. That and my brand new set of Continental TrueContact with EcoPlus definitely worked in tandem to create this rather remarkable result.
Still, I can add this result to the laundry list of reasons why GM's W-Body cars are some of the best all-round vehicles in the business, even if they are all out of production for some 10 years now. It was actually kind of interesting to drive a slow car slow for a change. Typically the logic is that driving a slow car fast is the best way to drive, and while I can agree with that completely, it was nice to change things up, and see just how efficient I could be. Don't worry fellow gearheads, I had the hammer down the whole way home.
What's the best fuel economy you pulled in a car? Comment Below!