Groundbreaking fuel consumption?

Posted on October 30th, 2007 in Driving Emotion,Economy by Julian Edgar

A class in the recently completed Darwin – Adelaide World Solar Challenge was designed to showcase commercially available vehicles. The Greenfleet Technology Class had seven vehicles: Audi A3 Sportback diesel, Hyundai i30 diesel, Toyota Prius Hybrid, two Peugeot 207 diesels, Puegeot 307 diesel and a Smart ForTwo petrol.

The fuel economy figures for the event are now in, and the Hyundai i30 convincingly won with an average of just 3.2 litres/100km. That’s stunningly good – better than the Smart (4.6 litres/100km) and the Prius (5.6 litres/100km). Second place went to the Audi A3 with 3.3 litres/100km, with the Peugeot 207 (both cars) at 3.9 litres/100 and the 307 at 5.1 litres/100.

But the figures don’t tell the whole story. The Audi and Hyundai were, in the organiser’s words, “driven conservatively by motoring professional[s]” while the other cars were driven in “everyday driving style”.

We’re not told average speeds and even, for example, if the air conditioning was used.

It’s absolutely fair enough that in an event of this type, drivers try to get the utmost economy out of their cars. It’s a competition, and the winners are those with the lowest fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

But that’s all it is – a fuel consumption competition, held at almost constant throttle on nearly flat roads for thousands of kilometres.

I am all for fuel economy competitions – and would think even better of them if they had challenging real world scenarios like a minimum average speed and a route that spent a lot of time in major cities.

So what to make of these results?

Firstly, you can also be sure that, in typical use, all the cars listed above would be economical.

However, as you’d expect given the competition route, real world open-road consumption would probably be considerably higher than achieved in the Challenge.

And the relativities between the different cars’ consumptions? This is much more likely to be predicted by the official Australian Design Rule 81/01 figures – at least that test is made with identical driving styles and attempts to replicate real world driving use.

10 Responses to 'Groundbreaking fuel consumption?'

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  1. OttoAu said,

    on October 31st, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    I love maximum economy

    The i30 is stunning result considering its a value buy

    Where will they be in another 5 years time? 2L/100km?



  2. dan said,

    on October 31st, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    you can’t help but have a stab at hyundai can you? :p
    i give you one year until it will be impossible for you to source a new car for test… you just love burning bridges!!

  3. dan said,

    on October 31st, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    btw, your new car tests are excellent.. but you just seem to have a horrible knack for pissing off car manufacturers

  4. Julian Edgar said,

    on October 31st, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    You can equally well say it is a “stab” at Audi, or Peugeot, or Toyota, etc.

  5. Julian Edgar said,

    on October 31st, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    You don’t seem to draw any relationship between what you term as good tests and pissing off manufacturers. Strange.

    To go further, I really don’t care if we do new car tests or not. Therefore, I say exactly what I think is the case about any car we test, whether that’s highly praising or highly critical. In fact, I try to say to readers precisely what I would tell a friend who asked me about buying that particular car.

    If that approach ends up in having no new cars to test, so be it!

  6. OttoAu said,

    on November 1st, 2007 at 9:06 am

    Stab @ Hyundai, u must be joking…

    Julian has NOT GONE FAR ENOUGH with either them or any other feeding us half baked rubbish



  7. Richard said,

    on November 1st, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    I thought more that he was making some constructive criticism aimed at the event organisers.

    The figures recorded by these economy specials are very good. BUT, without knowledge of the event conditions or comparisons to “normal” cars it is hardly enlightening.

    It would have be nice for a control car or two to be thrown in. Let’s says a i30 Petrol and a Camry 2.4L.

  8. Bob Wilson said,

    on November 14th, 2007 at 12:14 am

    I subscribe to autospeed because I get honest articles that pay attention to the engineering and real world performance. If I want smoke blown up my ass, I can subscribe to glossy, know-nothing, USA magazines that reprint press releases without wit or wisdom.

    For my money, Autospeed addresses what I want, factual and accurate information.

    Bob Wilson

  9. Damian said,

    on January 23rd, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Jeremy Clarkson has been bagging crap cars for years and hes still well respected. I felt this article was having a dig at a typical badly executed magazine article. I was alsohoping you’d borrow one from a hyundai dealer. It looks a great package at a great price.

  10. iq_myst said,

    on February 14th, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    wanting a 2L/100km? look at this malaysian proton on their website. maybe it is true, maybe it is all bullshit.