Does Active ECO work? - Kia Forte Forum : Sedan / Koup / Forte5 Forums
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post #1 of 22 Old 08-22-2016, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Does Active ECO work?

I bought my 2014 Forte5 Hatch used so it's already well broken in at 30k+ miles. I'm on my way to completing my first tank and it's averaging at least 30 mpg. This is great since I've seen some people complaining about their MPG but I was willing to sacrifice that a bit for much improved performance. My previous car was a 2007 Nissan Versa with a 1.8. It got great mileage at an average of 30-32 mpg but was a bore to drive. All that said, I'm testing driving the car WITHOUT the Active ECO on because I want to see what kind of difference it makes. As for driving experience, it really kills the off the line power on the acceleration. That seems to be the main thing I noticed. And sometimes in doing combined city and highway driving I need that quick acceleration to get in front of another car or what not. Is it worth just having it on all the time and then turn it off when I anticipate needing to quickly accelerate? This seems kind of tedious but if I can achieve some of the mileage I see on here at 34-38mpg on average that would be spectacular. Thanks for the input!
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post #2 of 22 Old 08-22-2016, 10:21 AM
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Forget the Active Eco. We get great mileage and a very good driving experience without it. Just my humble opinion.
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post #3 of 22 Old 08-22-2016, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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I wonder if Active ECO is only good for lead foot drivers? I generally don't pound the accelerator or slam the brakes much. I think having a pokey car has helped make me a more fuel-efficient driver that way. Interested to hear other replies. Perhaps just having good driving habits is far more effective than anything else. I just wasn't sure if perhaps it did anything else so while on long road trips it helps squeeze out a few more MPG or something.
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post #4 of 22 Old 08-22-2016, 03:17 PM
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I am a careful accelerator and it had less than 1 % effect on my mileage.
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post #5 of 22 Old 08-22-2016, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Haha, wow. I'm surprised you were even able to tell at 1%. Good to know, FloridaForte
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post #6 of 22 Old 08-25-2016, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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As a follow up, have you noticed much of any difference with the steering modes? There's Normal, Sport, and one other. The only thing I was told was that higher speeds the sport is more responsive and tighter. Is Sport a mode that's worth driving in at all times? I would think it would in general only compliment the overall sportiness of the vehicle and I've always preferred that type of handling. Just curious on your experiences.
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post #7 of 22 Old 08-25-2016, 10:23 PM
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I would guess most of us here drive with the steering in Sport mode. I have found the better your tires are the better the Sport mode driving experience.

Last edited by FloridaForte; 08-27-2016 at 06:38 PM. Reason: sp
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post #8 of 22 Old 08-27-2016, 03:13 PM
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I keep the Eco mode off, it's a more pleasant driving experience with much better throttle response, and better/smoother shift points. Gas mileage is a bit worse, but it's not huge.
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post #9 of 22 Old 08-29-2016, 10:51 AM
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I actually prefer ECO on since it changes the shift points to what I would consider normal. If I leave it off, takes forever to shift into the top gear (6th in my case) which hurts the fuel economy. With it on, shift to top gear seems normal (aka the same as the Hondas I've driven for the prior 20 years). If I stomp the gas in ECO, it still responds normally, so no major downside that I can see.

I keep the steering in Comfort mode as well since that requires the least steering effort. I don't see any advantage to more steering effort since it doesn't really improve the feel, it just makes it harder to turn the wheel.

So there you have a totally opposite view on all counts.
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post #10 of 22 Old 08-29-2016, 02:25 PM
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For someone who drives in areas that have a lot of hills to climb and quick accelerations, leave Active ECO off for the best enjoyment of the car. If you drive in stop and go traffic, then active Eco will not make much difference.

Realistically, if you are looking for better fuel economy, use your brain and your foot to control the car instead of letting a computer do it for you.
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post #11 of 22 Old 08-29-2016, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Great input mdavej and Takashi. I think the only way to find out for sure how I prefer the driving experiences I'll just go ahead and turn Active Eco on for a tank to see how much of a difference it makes. I have a combination of stop and go and interstate driving on my daily commute. In an ideal scenario its mostly interstate but there can be stop and go sprinkled throughout the commute depending on traffic. I've found the car truly fun to drive and on my first tank I got around 33 mpg. Not bad considering I've seen people reporting much lower combined MPG.
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post #12 of 22 Old 08-29-2016, 09:35 PM
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I will drive the car for a month or 4 months with Active Eco OFF and then drive it for a tank with Active Eco ON. Driving for 4 months will give you an idea how the car is suppose to respond when you accelerate, stop, go on highway,...etc. When you turn on Active Eco, you will notice the increase in lag time in downshifting and upshifting. It is sacrificing performance for fuel economy. The only time I recommend leaving it on is when you are driving a loner vehicle and you don't want to waste money on extra gas.

I would leave the steering response set to NORMAL or SPORT mode. The steering controls on the Kia is very vaque and leaving it in comfort mode makes it even worst. Sure enough it takes less effort to turn, however, you loose all the feedback your steering wheel and it makes one feel like you are driving a Camry.
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post #13 of 22 Old 09-16-2016, 02:33 AM
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I use to run with Eco on, but I found myself frustrated by how it robs the vehicle of power and I would end up down shifting in manual mode. That alone killed any mileage savings. I run it in regular mode and get between 25-34 depending on if I am city or highway driving. I hope that helps. Cheers!

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post #14 of 22 Old 11-02-2016, 08:33 PM
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2016 Forte 5 LX here, so none of that sport steering stuff, I keep the Active ECO on all the time. I read a review (Car and Driver?) that said you can "out drive" the Active ECO; basically, if you get heavy on the accelerator it goes in to a bypass mode. I've experienced this myself with spirited acceleration as well as when needed to climb a grade. I do A LOT of city driving, the car tells me my average speed is something like 22 mph, so I notice a modest improvement in mileage with the Active ECO on. Additionally, I plugged in my Bluetooth dongle and watched what Active ECO "does". It seems like under gentle acceleration the biggest changes are to the shift pattern and response to the throttle pedal. The real fun is coasting (this only applies to the auto models fwiw), letting off the throttle and coasting to reduce speed the Active ECO practically turns on engine braking. The ignition timing moves to 15* AFTER top dead center and the A/F ratio goes from ~14:1 to 30:1. Turning the Active ECO off does make the car "more fun" to drive, but in stop and go traffic how much fun are you really having? If I was out for a spirited drive in the country or on some twisty roads I'd switch the Active ECO off in a moment, but aside from that it hasn't gotten in the way.

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post #15 of 22 Old 11-03-2016, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Great feedback, Jesse. Do you have numbers for the "modest improvement" you seen in gas mileage?

I may try another tank on Active ECO just for fun but I have seen no perceivable difference in the two tanks I've tested thus far. I average 380-390 miles per tank. With an average refill around 12.5 gallons. At best I might get another 10 miles per tank on Active ECO but that didn't even seem to be consistent. For me, my car is largely a commuter with my commute being around 25 miles each way. My commute is a combination of interstate and more stop and go traffic. Where I find having Active ECO off to be advantageous is it's not uncommon during rush hour to need to be able to get out into fast moving traffic or having to sometimes accelerate quickly on the interstate when passing or just merging from another interstate. Since I don't want to have to turn the Active ECO mode on and off it just makes sense to leave it on. And since the mileage improvements I saw were marginal I don't see what it hurts. This car is already more powerful, more fun to drive, and more responsive than my previous vehicle. All of this while getting better mileage, so it's all wins in my book so far.
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