Steering Column

Sipping at the tank

Peugeot is telling us that if you drive one of its regular diesel cars you can, if you try, wring almost 90 miles of motoring from a single gallon of fuel.

That is what it is extrapolating from its latest fuel economy experiment. It took 72 people from 18 countries, gave them a variety of cars in Paris and told them to drive as economically as possible the 1,000km (620 miles) to Geneva.

The event, known as the Peugeot ECO CUP, was set up to see if real-world driving could match the official fuel economy figures published by the maker. The conclusion is it could – and then some.

A standard five-door 308 family hatchback, powered by the HDi FAP 110 engine, turned in an impressive 89.95mpg on winter roads and in the hands of a non-professional driver. Even the seven-seat MPV 5008 with the same engine managed to come home with a figure of around 85mpg.

If, as is likely, this was a prize competition, it may be stretching it to describe the event as real-world driving. Doing a single, high mileage run, sticking as close as possible to 55mpg, avoiding heavy acceleration and letting the car slow down by itself aren’t things most drivers would consider real-world, everyday driving.

But hey, what better motivation do you need than saving the health of the planet and the wealth in your wallet? As Peugeot UK’s MD says: “This is a great reminder that in this dynamic and technology-obsessed industry, genuine environmentally friendly motoring is available for the masses right now.”

Even leaving aside the fact he’s promoting Peugeot cars, the same is true for everyone. More than anywhere, economy is in the right foot of the driver.

Pump up the prices

Brace yourselves. Fuel is likely to go up by 2.5 pence per litre on 1st April as the chancellor ups fuel tax again. It’s being done, we’re told, to help the country’s deficit reduction plan.

Laying aside the fact that we already pay around 10p more per litre than the likes of Aberdeen, it’s going to take an extra £1.25 out of your wallet every time you pay for a 50 litre tankful and if you do that once a week that’s an extra £65 a year on your fuel bill.

If you think that’s bad, the Road Haulage Association is saying it could push many hauliers out of business by adding well over £1,000 a year to their fuel tax bill.

Never too old to ride

Honda’s much heralded new sports tourer, the VFR1200F motorcycle, has already got off to a good start despite the country suffering less than ideal biking weather. In the first two weeks of it going on sale, just over 50 were sold in the UK alone.

The bike is appealing to all ages too. Honda says its youngest customer so far is in their 20s and its oldest is only a few months short of his 70th birthday.

Techy tyre

The most important part of the car is the part we most often neglect. The tyre is where all the metal technology in the machine gets fed into the road; it is the interface between the turbines, cogs and chains, and the humble blacktop it is resting on.

Tyre development for most of us goes on in the background with quiet humility, but Avon is breaking cover and rightly trumpeting its new ZT5 – rubberwear for the small hatchback like the Polo, Corsa, Fiesta and C3.

It has used what it calls “pitch-technology” to make a tyre that’s quieter on the road while introducing a new tread pattern designed to give optimum road grip when wet. It can reduce the potential for aquaplaning, that un-nerving effect when a layer of water is trapped under the moving wheel so it can neither grip nor steer.

It is available now for wheel rims from 13 to 15 inch diameter.

Mike Grundon


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