Six cars took Autocar's one hour, one gallon challenge. Which came out on top?
1 October 2009

In this weeks Autocar magazine, six fuel sippers took part in our one hour, one gallon challenge.

We took a Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Ford Fiesta, BMW 116d, Vauxhall Corsa and a Smart CDI to Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground to see which car would travel the furthest on one gallon of fuel in one hour.

See the hi-res one hour, one gallon challenge picture gallerySee the challenge on video here

Unlike other mpg tests which reward slow driving, the winner of this one would be whichever car traveled the most miles in an hour on a gallon of fuel, regardless of whether or not it ran out before the end of the challenge.

The full results are in this week's Autocar magazine which is on sale now.

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Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

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Comments
16

1 October 2009

Its amazing how close both of the hybrid cars MPG figures are.

1 October 2009

This is a brilliant concept, a true measure of efficiency in the real world and the kind of article that Autocar should be doing more of. I'm going to go out and buy my copy right away! On flat constant speed running a small diesel should walk it, simply because a hybrid is carrying a weight penalty for no benefit. But if there is any stop start or acceleration / deceleration, then a petrol hybrid might edge it. It's a pity that you didn't include an original Honda Insight or VW Lupo 3 litre, because I suspect that these pioneers might have outshone the new models... Another time perhaps?

1 October 2009

The problem with this test is 2 fold.

No 1 the Prius is by far the biggest car inside - especially for rear seat passengers. If you need this sort of practicality the smaller cars are just irrelevent.

No 2 I live in Central London. Even the little diesals will struggle to get the MPG I can get out of my Prius thru very heavy London traffic; especially some of the road works I'm having to negotiate and queue thru at the moment.

1 October 2009

[quote Wooski]No 2 I live in Central London. Even the little diesals will struggle to get the MPG I can get out of my Prius thru very heavy London traffic; especially some of the road works I'm having to negotiate and queue thru at the moment.[/quote]

I agree that in traffic condition, hybrid will fare better, but i don't think this was meant to be a very serious test. Keep in mind it wasn't fair in the first place as diesel is more energy dense than petrol, so a gallon of diesel should give more energy than a gallon of petrol.

Personally, i think BMW is a real winner here, though second, it's got the most power and should be the most fun to drive as well

1 October 2009

Wooski, can i ask, what were your reasons for getting the prius? as far as i can tell it offers no financial, nor long term environmental benifits at all?

I know this is off topic, but i am simply interested in to the reasoning behind your selection? Please dont take this as an attack in anyway as it isnt meant to be, i know how easily forums posts can be misinterprated.

1 October 2009

[quote LP in Brighton]It's a pity that you didn't include an original Honda Insight or VW Lupo 3 litre, because I suspect that these pioneers might have outshone the new models... Another time perhaps?[/quote]

Absolutely. 10 years without real progress. Typical of Honda to bring out a car, and then cancel it after a reasonable life, before the world really got bothered about economy. I bet its a few more years before Honda sell another car rated at 80g/km

1 October 2009

[quote artill]or VW Lupo 3 litre[/quote]

better still a Ford Capri 3-Litre ; )

1 October 2009

Just read the full magazine article and, while interesting, it poses more questions than it answers. What I learn is which car/driver combination goes furthest, and I suspect that the variance between the drivers is greater than that of the cars. Consider if the Smart had been driven just a little more intelligently (sorry Colin), it would have bettered all the other cars' fuel consumption bar the Fiesta. Then again, would it have beaten the Corsa had that been driven by someone with Mike Duff's perfect judgement of pace. Go do it again chaps!

1 October 2009

Goodwin certainly thrashed the Smart to within an inch of its life! But if he had gone slower would everyone else have matched his pace and then left him for dust at the end? Good idea and I look forwards to seeing what happens with it next time (put Goodwin in a Range Rover V8 and see how few miles he can manage on his gallon!)

1 October 2009


Sorry, but I expect more of Autocar. The only thing this is a test of is the patience of the reader.

The MPG Marathon being run this week - cars being driven over public roads for two days - will produce a better indication of so-called real-life.

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