The ALD Automotive / Shell FuelSave MPG Marathon saw the SMART for-two CDI the winner and the Vauxhall VXR8 the best improvement over official figures.
On the face of it, it’s reasonable to expect a car as small as the SMART for-two CDI to be capable of astonishing economy if driven in a certain way.
And the ALD Automotive / Shell FuelSave MPG Marathon, run last week near Cirencester, proved exactly that, with a SMART driven by Mick Linford and co-driver Ella Flynn managing to use less than four gallons of diesel to cover the 370 mile route.
That means the SMART fortwo CDI averaged 99.24mpg on the route on real roads, an improvement of 16 per cent on the official combined figure of 85.6.
But perhaps the most impressive stats came from Vauxhall’s hooning Australian offering – the VXR8.
The Vauxhall VXR8 managed, in the hands of drivers Andrew Duerden and Chris Mooney, to average 32.14mpg on the route which, although a long way behind the SMART, was a massive 53 per cent improvement on the official combined figure for the VXR8.
Both figures show that driving style is far more relevant to economy than almost anything else, although the figures achieved by these two cars would be almost impossible to get in real life.
To be so parsimonious with fuel would mean driving in a way that would drive other road users barking mad (as evidenced with the big ‘CAUTION – Economy Testing’ stickers on the back of the competing cars) so the achievements of the cars in this competition are really no more than to endow the participants with some bragging rights and a bit of media coverage.
What we would love to see is real world testing of cars’ economy in a way that more closely reflects what real drivers in the real world would get. The current official figures - particularly for hybrid and electric cars – are so misleading they’d be clobbered under the Trade Descriptions Act in any other field.
Still, interesting to see how many miles per gallon you can get out of a car if you drive like a prat.