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on November 22, 2009
SUMMARY: Great concept and much-needed product. Unfortunately, my unit failed after 10 days. Replacement/refund process a three-month ordeal.

THE GOOD: This product represents a much-needed tool for drivers to educate themselves in fuel-efficient driving techniques. It works. After ordering, I received the unit in a timely manner and found it easy to install. The user interface was somewhat clumsy, but I was able to get my Kiwi MPG up and running in a few minutes by reading the instructions. Once installed, I found the Kiwi MPG very useful for determining instantaneous and average fuel efficiency of my 2004 Toyota Tacoma.

THE BAD: Unfortunately, the unit failed within the first 10 days of use. Symptoms were that it would not shut down after the vehicle was shut off. Rather it continued to operate and got very hot. Shortly after this symptom commenced, it failed altogether and just gave an error display. It was still functional if I shut it off manually and rebooted every time I started the truck, but clearly it was not working out. Unfortunately, since this was purchased through a second party seller, I had to deal with the seller rather than Amazon directly.

THE UGLY: After contacting the seller by email, I was instructed to send the unit back for a replacement, which I did. One week passed, then two...and ultimately five weeks and still no replacement. I contacted the seller via email again and was assured my replacement was on the way. More time passed and still no replacement. After this, I was able to locate a phone number on the web and after several tries over a number of days eventually contacted the company. I verified that they had received my return and again, I was assured a replacement was on the way. Again, weeks passed and no replacement. Subsequently, I left a message with a different person on the phone and eventually my call was returned by someone high up in the company who was at a trade show at the time. He instructed me to call the original person I had spoken to weeks earlier and tell this person that he should "take care of me". I did and the person agreed to process a refund. More weeks passed, no refund. I called this person again and he told me he'd have to check with their accounting department and get back to me. He promised an email within a few hours explaining the status of my refund... no email appeared.

At this point, it was crystal clear that PLX had no intention of refunding my money. I contacted Amazon directly and inquired about my options. My first inquiry was met with (direct quote)

"Unfortunately as they are not responding to your calls and emails there is nothing we can do."

I was not satisfied with this answer from Amazon and sent a more impassioned follow-up which included more details about my quest for a replacement or refund. My second claim was just approved and today Amazon sent an email confirming that I will be getting a refund for the purchase price from them directly. The squeaky wheel gets the oil I guess. Thus, assuming Amazon follows through, my long and painful saga appears to be over. My original purchase was on July 19th, 2009. The date of confirmation of a refund by Amazon is November 22nd. This was my second experience recently with uncooperative second party sellers through Amazon. I'd like to acknowledge here that Amazon did make it right in both cases. They deserve kudos for this.

Judging from the other reviews on this page, a lot of people have had good experiences with the Kiwi MPG. I suspect most people will have a similarly good experience. However, one should go into this purchase with their eyes open. If you do need to send the unit back for whatever reason, you are in for a painful ride.
11 comment67 of 71 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 18, 2009
I purchased this to see if I could get better mpg out of my MY2009 vehicle by being aware of how my driving habits affect my mileage. This product adequately and accurately showed my average mpg for the first 3 days. After the 3rd day, the unit stopped connecting to my car and would only display an error message. I tried it in other vehicles with the same results. I contacted support at PLX and they informed me that it was a software issue and that I would have to pay to ship it to them in order for it to be updated. After complaining that I did not feel that I should even have to pay shipping for this problem, PLX offered to pick up the tab round trip.
So in summary-

Pros:
Small size
rudimentary code reading/clearing ability
Accurate mpg
Costs less than a ScanGuage II

Cons:
Product quality is probably only a couple steps above a diy electronics kit with a pre-fab case, but feels much more sturdy. Mine had rough edges where the cord attaches to the unit and the cord had some cut marks at the joint.
Buggy Software.
The unit gets very hot while in use.
The obd2 plug sticks out and gets in the way.
PLX should have worked out more of the bugs before trying to sell it as a finished product
0Comment13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 15, 2010
I just got it, so these are my first impressions:

1. It works. The complaint about the digits changing so fast you can't read them is BS unless you want to see 23.1 to 23.2 before it shows 23.3; the digits move pretty fast, but not so much that you can't tell what you need to know, i.e. "Boy did I dump the MPG when I did that!"

2. Workmanship and quality appears adequate. Not surprisingly rich-appearing, but not junky-cheap either, more economical but sound. You could break it if you mistreat it, but if you are reasonably careful with it, I don't see a problem.

3. For my vehicle, I have to calibrate it as it will not accurately display the correct MPG with the default fudge factor. So it will take some experimenting to know exactly what that value is. To calibrate it, you make it basically match the EPA rating for your vehicle, but I'd think you'd want to adjust again later based upon actual mileage from refilling your tanks if the variance is significant.

4. The thing is indeed very small (1" high x 2.5" wide x 0.5" thick - I don't think it's that thick!) and light: the approx 1/8" vinyl clad cord's torque will rearrange the readout with the slightest chance, so you must determine where you want it, and stick it down at that spot with some authority. This makes removing and eliminating signs that it was ever installed to prevent warranty issues a bit trickier than I had hoped. I have some ideas though, that I will try when I can.

5. The cord comes out of the right side of the display. This is good if you locate it to the left side, but wrong if you locate it to the right side--like on the console, which seems like a logical choice--see below.

6. The LED segment display is pretty bright. At night, if you run your dashboard lights at their brightest, this won't be a problem, but if you like to run dash lights at minimum, this thing will outshine everything else by a lot of candles! So its location might be compromised by that so it doesn't blind you at night and still is visible with little movement.

7. The buttons are small, and with 2 of them, it would be hazardous to make adjustments while driving, anything more than switching between Instantaneous MPG and Trip MPG and Trip $Gas (Basic Mode's 3 phases) would require either stopping or waiting for guaranteed uninterrupted driving because it might take both hands. Thus perhaps it is better to put it on the console so your passenger can push the buttons when necessary.

8. The cord is 6 feet long, and I'm sure some applications will use all of it. My current location does not, and many will not, so you have to figure out where to route it and how to keep it from hanging down in the area of your brake pedal. I don't think in my case my left foot would get caught in the cord, but it might bother my leg some, and in some vehicles I can see how it could cause an accident. So even more reason to "permanently" attach the cord and again more difficult to avoid any warranty issues by making it invisible.

I'll update if there are any new revelations on it.
0Comment16 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 2, 2009
Hello,

I bought this unit as I was curious to find out how good my mileage could be on my 95 Scion tC and how my driving style affected my mileage. It was not very expensive and provides a lot of information for the price. I do mostly highway commuting during the week and around town driving during the weekends.

The unit installed easily and the instructions were clear. It is very interesting to note the instantaneous mileage when you accelerate, cruise, go down hill and come to a stop. The information it provides makes you a lot more aware of how you drive. I am more careful on start ups from lights and provide more following distance in traffic to avoid having to use the brakes and then the throttle, pretty much what someone who drove a hybrid or was trying to be a hypermiler would do.

I had a couple questions about the meter and the customer support response I got was prompt (1 day email turn-around) and very helpful.

I have been using it for 4-6 weeks now and have seen an increase in MPG per tankful of between 2-3 mpg. I am now getting on average between 28-29 mpg with out much effort.

There are a couple things that would be nice to have added as options you could purchase when you buy the unit.

1) A right angle adaptor for the ODBII cable connector. This unit dangles down to where it could get tangle in your feet and if a right angle adaptor could be purchased the cable could be tucked out of the way and provide a safe and professional installation.

2) An installation plate that the unit could be mounted to and positioned in the center of the speedometer dial. This would allow for a professional looking installation and not mar any plastice with double stick foam mounts.
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on August 12, 2010
The first thing I noticed out of the box was it felt cheap. The cable was fitted poorly and it took about 2 days before the faceplate fell off. About a week later, I started getting intermittent connection errors. Finally last night, my Service Engine Soon light came on- probably for a known problem--but who knows? KIWI MPG told me there were no error codes. Beginning the return process today.
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on March 6, 2010
on my car (and apparently on others as well, although this was not made clear ahead of time), the Kiwi would turn off when I turned the car off, but wouldn't automatically turn back on when I started the car up. The "workaround" is to turn it off manually and then back on manually. Since it's only working & logging data if it's on, forget to turn it back on just once (or ever valet park your car or have anyone else drive it) and your mpg data is crap. Lovely idea, and the feedback it provides when it's on is exactly what it's supposed to be. They just need to make it actually turn on and off on all cars.
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on November 30, 2010
This so called "calculator" is not accurate unless you use it by keeping track of your mpg by filling your tank and seting your rip odomiter to 0, then run your gas down as low as you can, then fill your tank. Divide the milege by the gallons of gas used to fill your tank. Once you get that, you can then calibrate your kiwi. It isn't accurate out of the box. even after calibrating, it gives you a "best guess". I was dissapointed to find out that you need to tell the kiwi what your mpg is first before it can tell you.
It also gets very hot. It even comes with a warning to keep it off of a hot dash in the sun.
over all, I was very dissapointed.
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on January 28, 2010
Thought this would be very similar to SG II, but it is not. It does all the functions specified, but you need the manual to find most of them, and in my case (Chrysler mini-van), it did not even come close to giving the correct MPG as received. I had to adjust a multiplier manually in one of the windows as specified in the brief manual. Unfortunately, it doesn't point out that lowering the number increases the mileage. With only two buttons, it also requires many presses of the buttons to reset tank and trip data and I haven't found a way to get back to the home screen quickly without pressing the menu button again and again, going through each screen.

In my case, the OBD plug seems to fall out of the connector under the dash. This plug cannot be replaced while the engine is off or an error displays when the engine is running even if it is connected. It must then be disconnected and reconnected while the engine is running. As a matter of fact nothing works if the engine isn't running. A major problem with the design is that the instantaneous mileage readings change at least once per second and the values appear very erratic making it hard to use the data to improve driving habits.

It is quite a bit less expensive than the SG II, but in my case, I'm not sure it was worth the savings. I have the SG II in my second car and it is a lot more user friendly and informative.
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on December 13, 2009
Item is overpriced, LOW quality craftsmanship, LOW quality parts product. First one doesn't work (almost) , some function on second unit still working! Unit is switching itself off frequently for long period of time, because of overheating! It fits to category - everyday CRAP FROM CHINA!
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on February 28, 2011
The unit worked as advertised but when leaving it hooked up and not operating the vehicle for 4 days it drained on the Prius's starting battery andthe vehicle would not start. PLX Kiwi MPG Trip Calculator and OBDII Scanner
0Comment2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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