Does the 2009 Corolla get lower mileage than 2008 model?

Toyota introduced the 2009 Corolla at SEMA Wednesday. According to the LA Times, the car is 140 pounds heaver, two inches wider and "will show little to no improvement in fuel economy, and maybe even a small drop for some versions of the car." Edmunds however says it "has made some substantial improvements in ... fuel economy." The LA Times article quotes a spokesperson saying that the fuel efficiency is already quite good, the numbers are not official but should be "a little less." USA Today says "fuel economy should be about the same."

So which is it; better, worse or the same? Mike Michels, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Sales USA, says "It's putting out more power and has better fuel economy than it's predecessor. ... But if you look at the outgoing Corolla, those numbers will look higher. It's because the EPA changed the rating method." Okay, so maybe everyone is confused because the numbers changed... but wasn't the transition from 2007 to 2008? I am getting confused now.

I will just compare the company press release to the EPA site data. The press release says 27/35 mpg. The EPA site says... it has two numbers. Wonderful. The automatic has lower mileage so if they meant that one, it's higher but if they mean the manual, then it's lower. I think they meant the automatic manual as standard so there is a drop which would make sense because it's heaver and larger. I am contacting everyone involved just to be sure. Is Toyota the new big, fat king of the car industry? Maybe. Stay tuned.

[Source: LA Times, Edmunds, USA Today, International Herald Tribune]

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