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13 Optima T-GDI, 08 Rondo, 06 Spectra, 04 Optima
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During delivery we were incorrectly told the ECO indicator would illuminate when we are operating the vehicle economically. In REALITY, this indicator remains either always on(aka illuminated) or always off based on pressing an ECO button on the steering wheel. In chapter 4 of the owners manual it describes it as an indicator to remind you to drive in an eco friendly manner[paraphased]. Then refers you to chapter 5. In chapter 5 there's a page explaining how to operate you vehicle in an eco friendly way.

I would have thought this switch and light might have had an effect on vehicle performance like with other manuafacture's. Such as making adjustments to ignition or transmission shift points for better economy or better performance. But over the past several days I haven't noticed any difference when this light is on or off.
 

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2011 Optima SX, Tech & Premium Touring
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570 Posts
I can certainly tell you that in ECO my SX certainly behaves differently and as such I never use it in town as I hate how it "retards" the performance.
 

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2012 Optoma Hybrid (Light graphite)
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169 Posts
For both KIA's I've owned the ECO button does change performance. The car doesn't shift as quickly and power is subdued. Mine stays on 99% of the time, since I'm mostly highway driving and the differences aren't as noticeable.
 

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'11 Optima EX 2.4L GDI Automatic
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330 Posts
During delivery we were incorrectly told the ECO indicator would illuminate when we are operating the vehicle economically. In REALITY, this indicator remains either always on(aka illuminated) or always off based on pressing an ECO button on the steering wheel. In chapter 4 of the owners manual it describes it as an indicator to remind you to drive in an eco friendly manner[paraphased]. Then refers you to chapter 5. In chapter 5 there's a page explaining how to operate you vehicle in an eco friendly way.

I would have thought this switch and light might have had an effect on vehicle performance like with other manuafacture's. Such as making adjustments to ignition or transmission shift points for better economy or better performance. But over the past several days I haven't noticed any difference when this light is on or off.
The ECO indicator in the older Optima's was a passive system meaning when you drove economically (slow steady start, maintained a steady cruising speed, shifted quickly) the ECO light would illuminate to tell you "Hey good job buddy you being economical, way to go!".

The new Optima the ECO is an active system you can turn on and off. As the transmission of the Optima is entirely electronic and the engine itself is entirely computer controlled turning the ECO mode on cause a few changes:
- Shift pattern: it wants to get up and out of first as quickly as possible
- Acceleration: Unless you stomp the gas the car will feed as little gas for as slow and steady start as possible
- Auxiliary Components: components that bleed power from the engine are given a back seat, noticeably the A/C, so that most of the energy is spent on keeping the car in motion and not on feeding the other bits

Now if you already drive pretty economically, and do a lot of cruising highway miles without a lot of big hills you won't really notice a big difference with the ECO mode on or off. If you want to see the difference find a road with some good stretches between lights. Turn ECO mode on and when the light goes green stomp the gas, ride to the next red light turn ECO mode off when the light goes green stomp the gas again. You will notice a big difference in shifting and the power band used between the two settings for sure.

So basically if you want to stretch gas use the ECO mode and don't fight the system, this is usually handy in city start/stop driving to prevent rushing to red lights. I found if your on the highway cruising at 55/65 the ECO mode is still useful, however if your cruising 70/80 it won't make much difference and I turn it off to make use of more power when needed for passing and what not.
 

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There is an inexpensive ECO-Minder light and an ECO Package. The two are different.
ECO Minder stays lit and will stay lit if you are "light" on the acceleration.
If you are aggressive on the Pedal the light will go off and eventually back on.

The ECO Package is a much broader based system.
It squeezes out 1 maybe 2 more miles per gallon. Sometimes it's to Idle Stop & Go technology.
ECO Pkg., when activated by you, will authorize the Engine Computer to change valve timing and exhaust and WILL give you less robust engine performance.
If you switch it off, you will gain engine performance.
 

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Cerato S Hatch Auto
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1,236 Posts
A feature that ruins the performance? The whole idea is absurd. You can probably do better than ECO mode by just driving carefully.
 

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2016 FIAT 500X Trekking Plus AWD; 2016 Kia Forte5 SX 1.6T A/T
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6,806 Posts
A feature that ruins the performance? The whole idea is absurd. You can probably do better than ECO mode by just driving carefully.
correct, but this is for those who can't... or don't know how

just like ABS with BAS - it is because many drivers can't brake efficiently in certain situations...
 
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