Wednesday, November 26, 2008

1000 real-world miles on a tank.

Top Gear was interesting this week. They did a hyper-miling race from Basel in Switzerland to Blackpool in England. Three diesel cars - a VW Polo Bluemotion, a Subaru Legacy TDI wagon and a Jag twin-turbo TDI sedan. The VW and the Subaru were driven carefully with an eye on gas mileage, and the Jag (driven by Clarkson) was driven taking no account of range and fuel consumption.
All three made it to Blackpool - between 750 and 860 miles depending on their chosen routes - and all on a single tank of diesel. All three had zero on their miles-to-empty displays, and fuel gauges buried on "E" a good 40 miles before reaching the finish. Yet the Jag had another 120 miles-worth of diesel left in it.
Think about it for a moment - that's a 1000 mile range on a luxury car on a single tank. The VW is a practical runabout that can do 800 miles on a tank, and the Subaru is a wagon that can do 750 miles on a tank.
I ask again : why do the manufacturers not import and sell diesel vehicles in America? They're cheaper than any hybrid, they're cleaner than most petrol cars now, and they have high torque, very driveable engines that deliver astonishing gas mileage - 80mpg or more (imperial) which is 67mpg US.


Jo said...

Top Gear is great for the entertainment value, but when it comes to the practical challenges they face each week, I can't help but think it's scripted. I can't see how Jeremy Clarkson could have had so much diesel left over after his 850 mile+ journey, in an executive car (which he chose because he thought it was a ridiculous challange), when he stated at the beginning that the official figures where 650 miles on a tank.
A close-up on the trip computer in his car showed that at best he was doing 49mpg(imp), and 35mpg(imp) at worst.
It would be interesting to contact Jaguar and find out what they have to so say.

I should imagine the reason why diesels are limited in the US is because around 80% (I believe) of cars there are automatics. Here in the UK we have about 20% automatics, of which hardly any are diesels.

Max said...

I love Top Gear and I agree some of it might be scripted. However, the Jag does have a much larger fuel tank than the rest, 18.7gal.

I also know that my VW TDI (automatic) with a 14.5gal tank can also be over-filled by almost two gallons if you press a vent button inside the tank filler neck.