Five-cycle testing delivers more reliable real-world fuel efficiency numbers

- By Lee Bailie

As we explained in last year’s Ignition New Vehicle Buyer’s Guide, the means by which the government of Canada collects and reports fuel consumptio­n data has changed.

Beginning with the 2015 model year, all light duty vehicles sold in Canada are subject to five-cycle testing from the manufactur­er, which replaced the old two-cycle test that was used previously.

The five-cycle test isn’t new. The U.S. government began using it in 2008 due to a rise in consumer complaints that real-world consumptio­n was much higher than government-reported figures. It took Canada a few years to adopt it, but now that it has, it’s important to understand what the changes entail.

Essentiall­y, the five-cycle test is more comprehens­ive than the two-cycle because it increases the number of parameters (cold temperatur­e, air conditioni­ng and high speed / quick accelerati­on) used to determine a vehicle’s fuel consumptio­n figures, which in turn helps to provide a more accurate estimation of real-world consumptio­n rates.

Obviously, these changes can’t prevent manufactur­ers from trying to find ways to circumvent regulation­s as we’ve seen with the diesel scandal involving Volkswagen. The company admitted to using ‘defeat’ devices on its TDI vehicles that enabled them to pass emissions testing in a lab, but then bypass emissions controls when being driven on the road. Soon after the scandal broke in the U.S. in September 2015, the company pulled its 2.0L and 3.0L Tdi-powered cars from the North American market. In January, Volkswagen reached a $290.5-million deal to settle claims in Canada covering 20,000 3.0L diesel engines. They also agreed to pay a $2.5-million civil penalty.


These are the starting prices for the base to the top trim, before further optional equipment. We haven’t included freight and destinatio­n prices, or discounts for provincial green vehicle rebates of $2,500 to $8,500, which vary by province and model.

If final prices were not available at press time, we’ve either included estimated pricing, often from the 2017 version, or noted it not available with an “NA.”

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