Gas mileage on these engines will improve with time. As they wear in.
It's a very good dependable engine, Mazda absolutely excels with their 4 cylinder motors. It's built by Ford, and is a variation of the Mazda MZR series motors, but labeled as Ford Duratec. Same as Mazda 3 motor without the fancy timing gear.
"Gas mileage on these engines will improve with time. As they wear in."
If it is getting 18 mpg, something is seriously wrong, or they are running it out of overdrive on the highway a lot. My 2009 Focus was at around 35 mpg when it was brand new, and then it actually settled down to around 33 mpg. Now it has been averaging 27 to 28 with the cold winter temps. You will never see 18 mpg on one of these cars if it is being driven properly, and it runs as it should.
It makes a LOT of difference how you drive. I am consistently getting 25% better mileage than the EPA figure, in my Scion XA 1.5l VVT-i using my scan gauge 2 as a guide and up to 30 in my Toyota Previa van rated at 21 highway. If I was driving that Focus with my OBD2 scangauge 2 plugged in, I'm sure I'd be well in the 30s highway driving.
I have to agree that either something is very wrong with this car or it is being driven in a very wasteful manner. My 2006 I-4 Fusion is averaging 30-31 mpg in my average driving, which is about 75% highway and 25% city. Due to higher gas prices, I am driving slower and accelerating less aggressively. This has added about 7 to 9 miles per gallon to my fuel mileage. I have also found that driving with my windows down in warm weather rather than using the A/C adds yet another 2-4 miles per gallon. On fairly level stretches of interstate on trips at the posted speed limit, I get as high as 37-38 mpg. A smaller car like the Focus should definitely get well over 30 mpg at all times.
I agree with the poor idle quality, poor transmission - shifting / hunting for gears and the horrible fuel economy.
Yes, there is something wrong with this car. It must have a misfire, running on 3 cylinders or something of that nature. As a result it keeps shifting and that causes the engine to guzzle gas. Have it fixed.
High fuel mileage is very important to me, and a car such as the Focus should easily get well over 30mpg consistently. All my friends who drive them get at least 32 on the highway, with most getting 34-36. Driving the speed limit, accelerating slowly and avoiding unnecessary downshifting will greatly extend fuel mileage.
Also, it is my experience that using mid-grade or premium fuel will not only result in a much smoother running and powerful engine, but will often add as much as 2 mpg to a car's mileage. For my last tank I filled up with mid-grade and was amazed at the extra power it gave my 4-cylinder mid-sized car. It was better than adding a cold-air induction system!! At a cost of only $3 more per tankfull, I'll probably be using mid-grade about half the time. $3 more on a $50 fill up is not that much more at all, and the extra power is well worth it.
Another premium fuel story! There was just yet another report on this subject. Using premium fuel does nothing to add any mileage or smoothness to the engine. In fact you may damage your engine if you use the wrong octane fuel in it, as the computer is self adjusting, which can really screw things up. In fact, the Chrysler Hemi cars recommend 89 octane, but not to exceed that or it can damage the engine.
Trust me, they would not have repeated stories on this if it weren't true. I am sure the oil companies would rather everyone buy premium gas. I was foolish enough to use it in my first 5.0 Mustang, thinking it was giving me some extra power and such. When I got my second one, I was smarter and used regular, and lo and behold, I was no slower! I also averaged 27 MPG on highway trips with both cars and two different grades of gas... no gain with the premium. If you want a real gain in power, drop a K&N filter in your car. You will notice a difference with that, and it isn't a waste of money because it pays for itself in three regular filter change intervals.
Just read your manual and put in the gas that is recommended. It is foolish to spend an extra $.30 per gallon for something that adds no value! I have no idea why people keep insisting on this excessive waste. Isn't gas expensive enough for you? Just drive normal and don't floor it at every light, and drive 80 on the highways, and you will get the most our of your vehicle as far as mileage is concerned. My Focus with an AT gets around 29 MPG mixed. If I do a full tank trip, it will be at around 35 MPG. It is pretty much where it is rated, so I don't expect any more out of it.
It seems the "octane ratings don't matter" myth will never die!!
Why does Hyundai clearly state that the Genesis V-8 puts out 15 more horsepower using premium fuel if it were not true?
Why do countless auto reviewers clearly state that "Although the manufacturer recommends regular, the car will perform much better with mid grade or premium" in reviews of many 4-cylinder cars?
Why do drag racers use higher octane fuel?
Why do countless drivers (myself included) clearly get better performance using higher octane fuel?
All of our cars are "rated" to run on regular gas. It's a selling point manufacturers use to sell cars. All three of them are smoother, faster, and get better gas mileage using premium. Apparently our engine computers have not heard the myth that they are supposed to ignore octane ratings!!
Listen, if it makes you happy to spend more on gas for nothing, then so be it. I have never gained anything by running any higher grade of gas in my cars unless they required it. I will never purchase a car that requires more than regular gas ever again, and it is just a waste of good money to up your gas grade to something above the recommended level. 30 cents per gallon is about $5 per the average fill up. At around 50 fill ups per year, that is $250 out the window. In this economy I could do more with that money. Guess some people still have money to burn... literally.
Ever think that maybe, just maybe the sources you rely on for your data are out to make an extra buck off of you? The stories I have read on the subject all say the same thing, and they have nothing to gain in talking me out of spending more money on gas! I have read countless stories on this subject.
As far as race cars... they are much higher compression and are tuned to run specific octane fuels. They have nothing to do with street cars or what type of fuel you run in them. Also, cars like the Mustang 5.0 of today do gain extra power when you up the grade of gas, but they are designed to adapt to the different grade without damaging the engine, unlike the average car.
Do what you want. You obviously think you are gaining something. Maybe you should just buy better vehicles that run perfect on regular gas? What you choose to do has absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. I am not the one spending the extra money. Really, I could care less other than trying to pass along my experiences and the information I have gathered on the subject, so the average person doesn't waste unnecessary cash on this. Have a nice day.