A smart way to save fuel

THE iconic smart fortwo cdi has proved to be the most frugal car on the planet.

It came top in the ALD Automotive Shell FuelSave MPG Marathon 2011 with a record 99.24mpg – denied the magic 100mpg only by the wind.

Eco driving champion Mick Linford and co-driver Ella Flynn steered the smart through 370 miles of tough roads around Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset and Somerset over two days for its third win out of three in the competition.

The smart cdi was 12.84mpg more efficient than its nearest rival. Strong winds and inclement weather made driving conditions tough.

Mick said: “I was determined to break the magical 100mpg mark this year, but the weather and one particularly hilly section was against us. To get so close is a double-edged sword – but I’m delighted that the smart delivered these incredible results despite the challenges!”

With CO2 emissions from only 86g/km, the frugal, 54bhp smart cdi proved to be the ideal choice for the two-day challenge.

Suzuki’s latest Swift, the 1.3-litre DDiS, achieved 86mpg to finish second overall.

The new Swift with 67PS diesel engine, driven by journalists Dave Randle and Peter Cracknell, won the class 3 category for percentage improvement over the official combined figure.

The Swift achieved an overall improvement of 28.3 per cent on the combined figure of 67.3mpg with a second DDiS driven by last year’s class winners Dave Moss and Mike Hull not far behind with 84.6mpg.

The MPG Marathon, organised annually by Fleet World magazine, took 37 competing vehicles on a challenging 372-mile route with major roads, motorways and dual carriageways. The Swift used just 19.6 litres of fuel.

The Swift is one of the cleanest superminis with emissions of 109 g/km for the DDiS model and only 116g/km for the 1.2-litre petrol engine. It also offers low cost of ownership from its £20 annual VED charge and group 8E insurance. Until the end of the year the Swift range is available with no VAT so the Swift SZ2 three-door 1.2-litre petrol now costs just £8,880. The 1.3 DDiS five-door model in SZ3 trim at £11,125 .

The car that managed the biggest improvement over official consumption figures was Vauxhall’s mighty VXR8 super-saloon. It won with an astounding 53 per cent improvement on the combined figure. Driven by Top Gear Online editor Chris Mooney with help from navigator Andrew Duerden, Vauxhall’s archivist and resident eco-driving expert, the V8-powered VXR8 registered 32.14mpg against a combined figure of 21mpg.

The new Toyota Yaris set the fuel-saving pace to finish a first-time winner.

The Yaris used just 23.2 litres – a shade more than five gallons and less than half a tank – to complete the 350-mile route. Its overall 72.29mpg earned it top spot in its class for petrol cars emitting less than 120g/km of CO2 – an average consumption that is almost 23 per cent better than the model’s official combined figure of 58.9mpg.

The all-new Ford Focus returned 56.3mpg – an improvement of over 17.6 per cent on Ford’s published figures. Winner of its class (petrol with CO2 emissions of over 120g/km), the Ford Focus Zetec 125PS with UK-built 1.6-litre engine has a declared fuel economy of 47.9mpg.

The three Ford Transit vans entered won two best-in-class titles and another achieved 59mpg – almost 41 per cent ahead of the short wheelbase 2.2-litre 100PS Ford Transit ECOnetic’s normal fuel economy.

The two class winning Ford Transits – a medium wheelbase 2.2 Transit 86PS and Euro Stage 5 long wheelbase 2.2 Transit ECOnetic 125PS – improved their figures by 50.78 and 40.51 per cent respectively.