With fuel prices still a topic of conversation and road tolls and inner city congestion charges ever more likely, motorists are looking for their cars to provide far more than just style and comfort.
Although looks are still high on their agenda, excellent fuel economy is what more car buyers really want. Peugeot – with the introduction of its latest HDi diesel engine – aims to fit the bill by offering an economical alternative within a stylish range of passenger cars to suit every taste and pocket.
To test the truth behind the economy claims, the London Evening Standard set the challenge to see just how far Peugeot’s latest hi-tech diesel engine, the 1.4 HDi in the Peugeot 206 – Britain’s best-selling small car - could go on a fiver’s worth of fuel. The UK’s most infamous road, the M25, was chosen as the testbed, to see if the 1.4 HDi Peugeot 206 could circumnavigate all 120 miles of it, on just £5 of diesel.
Bob Murray, motoring journalist, took the challenge and began his journey at Thurrock Services which claims to sell the cheapest M25 fuel, and just a short detour from the motorway itself. Deciding to go anti-clockwise in the belief that it might be less busy, Bob started his drive with the intention of not using any special economy driving techniques, aiming not to drive the car hard and to go with the flow of the middle-lane traffic using top gear wherever possible, and avoiding hard acceleration and heavy braking by reading the road ahead.
He says: "The average speed we clocked-up was just below 60 mph, and we returned to Thurrock in two hours and five minutes. The 206 HDi was good company. You would never know it was a diesel. There was no smoke or rattle, just eager performance and a slick gear change, and most incredibly of all, a low fuel consumption of 73.3 mpg! For the 120 miles the 206 used just 1.64 gallons/7.44 litres of fuel which is quite a feat! We just missed our target by 57p, the total cost for the journey was £5.57."
The Peugeot 1.4 HDi is priced at £8,895 on the road, producing 68 bhp at 4,000 rpm and a top speed of 104 mph, a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 15 seconds, CO2 emissions of 113 g/km with a combined fuel economy figure of 65.7 mpg.Published 3 July 2002