Off on a road trip? Great, me too – so let's consider which cars are among the most economical over a long distance.
Off on a road trip? Great, me too – so let's consider which cars are among the most economical over a long distance. New model fuel consumption is calculated by placing a test vehicle, which has covered 1,800 miles, onto a rolling road. Clever-clogs scientists then calculate its urban fuel consumption (town), extra-urban consumption (longer run), and finally its average combined fuel usage. This is achieved by completing a couple of simulated trips.Urban fuel consumption is calculated over a short, 2.5 mile, run. During this process the test vehicle accelerates and decelerates on several occasions, cruises at a steady speed, and idols to simulate a short delay. During this test the vehicle averages 12mph and reaches a maximum speed of 31mph. By contrast, the extra-urban test covers 4.3 miles at an average 39mph, and hits 75mph. This run includes 50% steady cruising and a further series of throttle variations. On this basis, vehicles that are economical over a long distance must perform well during the extra-urban test. Guess what? The Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion 1.2 TDI immediately springs to mind. This robustly constructed supermini manages a staggering 91.1mpg on the extra- urban cycle. It also returns 67.3mpg in town, which means this popular run-around averages a mighty 80.7mpg overall. Driving the Polo BlueMotion may actually be cheaper than walking. The latest BMW 3 Series is another economical masterpiece. In 320d EfficientDynamics guise, this executive mile-muncher returns 78.5mpg on the extra-urban cycle. This is remarkable for a large vehicle that charges to 62mph in only eight seconds. This fashionable fuel saver also manages 56.5mpg in town and averages a highly desirable 68.9mpg. The larger 5 Series can be surprisingly economical too, as the 520d returns 65.7mpg over a long, reasonably fast, run. Very impressive, at this rate cars will soon make it to the moon on a single tank of gas.