Click above to enlargeToyota is rightfully proud of the fact that it managed to achieve the highest specific average fuel economy during the recent World MPG Marathon with a diesel-powered Yaris. In fact, the automaker says that it "dominated" the contest. That Yaris managed an extremely high 84.66 miles per gallon, an awesome figure, though measured in European units. Perhaps you'd be surprised to find that the second place finisher, a Mazda2, also powered by an oil-burner, was barely behind the winning Yaris, measuring an equally amazing 84.58 miles per U.K. gallon. In fact, there were eight vehicles that managed to top the 80 mpg mark.
The drivers, auto journalist Sue Cooke and her daughter Joanne, say that they didn't do anything particularly special to achieve these numbers in their Mazda2 tester. It just takes a little self control and common sense, they say. For their efforts, the two drivers bested the Mazda's EU combined mileage estimate of 65.7mpg by 19-percent.
Related GalleryMazda2 MPG Marathon
MAZDA2 ACHIEVES 84MPG IN FUEL ECONOMY CHALLENGE
After completing more than 410 miles on the gruelling ALD Automotive/TOTAL Excellium Fleet World MPG Marathon 2008, a Mazda2 diesel entered by Mazda Motors UK has secured a splendid second-place finish, recording an exceptional 84.58mpg.
The objective of the MPG Marathon was to promote eco-driving and highlight the fuel savings that are possible with a little thought and the use of 'smarter motoring' techniques. A demanding route over a wide variety of roads in mid-Wales and the north-west Midlands attracted a field of 39 cars and crews from 22 manufacturers – representing a broad cross-section of vehicles. The event challenged crews "to improve upon the car's official 'combined cycle' fuel economy figure" by the biggest margin.
Mazda2 1.4 5dr TS2 Diesel crew members – motoring journalist Sue Cooke and her daughter Joanne – fully exploited the supermini's light weight and smooth aerodynamics, plus the engine's 68ps and excellent torque (160Nm at 2000rpm). After two days of competitive 'economy' driving, they scored a 19 per cent improvement on the combined cycle figure (65.7mpg) of this popular Mazda, while averaging 40mph. The Mazda2 diesel has a CO2 rating of just 114g/km and qualifies in the £35 road fund licence band.
A delighted Sue commented: "I have never regarded my driving style as being expertly economical, but adopting a common-sense approach and employing some basic 'smarter motoring' techniques – accelerating gently, shifting-up early and planning ahead to avoid unnecessary braking – allowed us to clearly demonstrate the huge fuel economy potential of the Mazda2."
Ultimately, seven cars achieved more than 70mpg and eight recorded more than 80mpg. Event organiser, Ross Durkin, publisher of Fleet World magazine, explained: "It's not what you drive, but how you drive that makes the difference. Once again this event has shown that skilled driving techniques work and can make a dramatic impact upon miles per gallon."
Mazda's 'Smarter Motoring' Tips
* Change up 'early' through the gears, just before the 'peak-torque' rpm
* Ease your speed. Driving at 70mph uses around 15 per cent more fuel than at 50mph
* Anticipate to avoid unnecessary braking and stopping
* Use the air-conditioning sparingly as it increases fuel consumption
* Switch off the engine whenever it is safe to do so
* Check tyre pressures regularly
* Remove unnecessary weight from your car
* Reduce aerodynamic drag whenever possible, e.g. removing roof racks when not in use
* Follow the recommended servicing schedule