Improving Wetware

Because technology is never the issue

Best in class efficiency — because we didn't import the fuel efficient vehicles

Posted by Pete McBreen 07 Jan 2011 at 16:32

Recently I had to replace a Volkswagen TDI Golf (after 300,000km it was well used), but was appalled at the lack of improvement in fuel efficiency over the past 10+ years.

Overall I normally averaged 5.1 l/100km in the TDI, normally managing 1000km between 51 liter fill ups. In Canada the Ford Fiesta is advertised as Best in class fuel efficiency. Well it might be, but only because nobody seems to be importing the really fuel efficient cars. Based on the Canadian figures, the Fiesta will probably end up somewhere around 6.0 to 6.5l/100km. On the european figures, it is listed as 5.9l/100km, for the 1.6L 120 HP version - the only engine spec that is available in Canada.

Read this and weep

The 1.6 Duratorq TDCi ECO version of the same vehicle that is NOT available in Canada gets 3.7l/100KM and still pumps out 90HP, there is another version listed at 95HP that gets similar fuel efficiency. For people who do not like diesel, there is a 1.25L version that still does 5.5l/100km, and another1.25L petrol engine that does 85HP that does 5.6l/100km.

Canadian figures for the Fiesta are 7.1 city, 5.3 highway. There is supposedly going to be an ECO version out later, but for now an average that we might be able to expect is 6.2 l/100km.

Current vehicle

After much looking around I ended up with a Honda Fit, (Jazz in europe). It claims 7.2 city. 5.7 highway for a combined 6.4, but in practice I’m averaging 6.6l/100KM, more than 2l/100km worse than I would be if I could have got one of the fuel efficient cars that are available in Europe.

A new TDI Golf was not on the cards since it is only available in the high “comfortline” spec, for CDN$28,000, and not very fuel efficient as the version available in Canada is 140HP, so 6.7l/100km city, 4.6l/100km highway for a combined 5.65l/100km. So in 10 years the car has more power and worse fuel economy than the previous model.

Time to keep on watching the CO2 level.