A typical car's trip computer shows information like average miles per gallon, range to empty, and distance traveled, but if you want to know more about your car's performance--a lot more--then the Fuel Efficiency Adviser deserves a place on your dashboard. Billed as a device to help you drive more frugally, the Fuel Efficiency Adviser overwhelms with an incredible amount of data, everything from instant miles per gallon all the way to manifold pressure.
Unlike the PLX Kiwi, which uses colorful graphics to indicate efficient driving, the Fuel Efficiency Adviser provides the kind of data that only an engineer could love. But along with that data comes a great degree of programmability. And even better, the device can be used to check and clear a car's error codes.
A rather simple plastic box dominated by a monochrome LCD screen on the front, the Fuel Efficiency Adviser looks as utilitarian as its functions. It is fairly small, only about 6 inches long, and could sit low on a car's stack, below the stereo and climate controls, where it would be unobtrusive.
More difficult to hide will be its cable, which plugs into a car's ODB II port, usually found under the dashboard near the center. Fortunately, Fuel Efficiency Centers, the company that produces the Fuel Efficiency Adviser, included plugs on the side and back of the device, giving you some flexibility for how you attach it to a car.
The front of the device has five buttons, just simple white studs, all unlabeled. Four are soft buttons, their functions changing depending on what the LCD is showing, while the fifth, in the lower right, is a menu button that will take you back to the Fuel Efficiency Adviser's home screen. The various data or menu items shown on the screen are all easy to read, although many of the abbreviations require you to read the manual to understand.
The Fuel Efficiency Adviser reads and displays data from your car's engine management computer, which is transmitted through the OBD II port. It also lets you program in some data, such as your cost per gallon of gas. Data from the user and from the car is used by the device to calculate items like your current trip cost.