Steering Column 19.06.09

Blue is the Colour

BlueMotion is the name Volkswagen is giving to the most economical cars in its range, but this week it has pinned the name on a car that only does an average of 34mpg. How come?

Well that’s because it’s a huge, luxury four-wheel-drive, that’s why. The BlueMotion Touareg is available to order now with a three-litre V6 TDI diesel engine that feeds 223bhp and 550Nm of torque through a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Changes to the engine, along with changes to the aerodynamics of the shell, low rolling resistance tyres and a lower ride height have added 3.5mpg to the efficiency figure. It may not sound like a hell of a lot but VW says it’s now the only non-hybrid vehicle in its class to turn out well under the car-tax threshold of 225g/km of carbon dioxide. That puts it in class K for road tax which will cost £215 a year – that’s £190 cheaper than the next level up.

We’re told there’s still a high level of equipment to make life comfortable and driving easy and the prices begin at £34,150 for the BlueMotion, rising to £37,545 for the more luxury BlueMotion SE.

I understand what Volkswagen is trying to do here, but I’m not sure what it does for the BlueMotion name. When it first appeared in the fuel sipping version of the Polo, it was the fresh, new badge of the modern eco-warrior. Putting it on such a huge beast may diminish that image. I’m not sure what low rolling resistance tyres and a lowered ground clearance do for its off-road ability either.

Any colour as long as it’s Green

While we’re on the green theme, Ford has introduced the cleanest version of the Mondeo it has ever produced. The ECOnetic is powered by a new two-litre engine that pipes 114bhp through a six-speed gearbox but turns out an official 54.3mpg average fuel consumption.

Available in either five door or estate versions with identical emissions figures of 139g/km of carbon dioxide, you can buy them now at prices beginning a fiver under 21K.

Once again, the use of low rolling resistance tyres, sports suspension and new aerodynamics help achieve the cleaner, greener figures and the ECOnetic Mondeos both qualify for tax band E at £120 a year.

And end to compromise?

Citroen is unveiling a neat trick that appears to do away with any compromise on performance in the search for improved efficiency. Later this summer it’ll be introducing a new three-litre HDi V6 diesel engine that is bigger and more powerful than the outgoing 2.7-litre HDi, while being cleaner and more efficient.

The new engine will be available in the C5 and C6 cars. It pumps out 240bhp – up over 30bhp on the old engine – and yet improves fuel economy by up to 17 per cent so that it can now officially run an average of 38 miles on a gallon of fuel.

Okay, it’s not an earth-shattering economy figure, but it’s pretty good for that amount of power. Emissions are also down – this time to 195g/km.

Mike Grundon


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