A Toyota Aygo has won the 2007 AA/ALD Automotive MPG Marathon for the second year running – in fact three of the top four cars in the event were regular production Toyota Aygos.
James Sutherland and navigator Richard Hill completed the 330 mile event using just 19.12 litres of petrol to return an overall fuel consumption figure of 78.39 mpg. This is an improvement of nearly 28 per cent over the official combined figure. Toyota are no longer selling the diesel version, so it is interesting that the Aygo 1.0 litre petrol model is so frugal, despite calls from certain political quarters to ban petrol engined cars!
Second to the petrol Aygo was the diesel VW Polo Bluemotion with 74.42 mpg . But perhaps most interestingly, the overall winner was really the Vauxhall Corsavan driven by motoring writer John Kendell and Paul Nieuwenhuis who achieved 81.02 mpg. This may reflect the economy improvements that can be made by taking out a couple of seats – perhaps it’s time that manufacturers found ways to apply significant weight-saving strategies to seat design.
The MPG Marathon, run by Fleet World magazine, involved completing 330 miles from Basingstoke to Torquay over different types of road. The results were judged on the consumption achieved, along with the percentage improvement obtained, in relation to the official consumption figure for each car.
Thirty drivers and navigators took part in this two day national initiative, a round trip between AA headquarters in Basingstoke and Torquay, to establish whether eco-driving can squeeze more miles per gallon out of their vehicles than conventional motoring. The objective of the 330-mile event was to ‘save pounds and the planet’ as the winning drivers put the manufacturers’ own estimates of fuel consumption to the test.
Seventeen manufacturers agreed to publicly have a variety of their hatchbacks, saloons and commercial vehicles put through their paces by automotive journalists, ‘green’ organisations and motoring safety bodies, including the AA.
The MPG Marathon also sought out the drivers most capable of improving on the fuel consumption figures claimed by the manufacturer. In this category, the Mazda3 MPS driven by Sue and Joanne Cooke came top by achieving 43.34 mpg against the manufacturer’s 29.1 mpg, an improvement of 49 per cent. Second place in the “percentage improvement” class went to Simon Hacker in the new Renault Twingo, with an improvement of 47 per cent.
Another entry of note was the new seven-seater Chevrolet Captiva. Although perceived in the thirsty SUV 4×4 category, the vehicle driven by motoring journalist Matt Joy also sought to show what could be achieved in terms of personal carbon footprint reduction if each of the seats were occupied. An overall fuel consumption figure of 42.42 mpg was achieved, an improvement of 14.35 per cent on the manufacturer’s estimates.
Vans, or light commercial vehicles, also took part; LCV entries were also measured upon ‘cost per tonne’ per mile in the absence of manufacturers’ combined figures. And six commercial vehicles also took part – vehicles competed in separate classes according to their gross vehicle weight, each carrying the equivalent of half its gross payload in order to give the event the highest possible relevance to the freight industry. The winner here was the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, recording the overall lowest cost per tonne mile of 14.85 pence.
ALD Automotive marketing director, David Yates, said: “After vehicle depreciation, fuel expenditure is the biggest cost facing every fleet. With fleet budgets continually under the corporate microscope, cutting fuel bills is not only financially beneficial to business but vehicle emissions are also reduced. Fleets should spend more time examining vehicle choice lists and by operating vehicles with low CO2 emissions, fuel economy is a major spin-off. But just as importantly, we all need to encourage employees to adopt a smoother – and ultimately safer – driving style.”
Manufacturers taking part in the MPG Marathon were Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Kia, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes, Mini, Peugeot, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Toyota, Vauxhall, Volvo and VW.