The MPG Marathon is an intense two-day eco-driving challenge which tests the skill of the competing drivers and the real-world fuel economy of the participating vehicles to the absolute maximum. Held on Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th October 2016, the event saw competing teams face arguably the most challenging route and rules ever seen in the competition to plan their own routes to reach four different venues across the heart of the country. Driving around 400 miles over the two days, teams aimed to achieve both the highest possible MPG and the most significant percentage improvement over the manufacturer’s quoted MPG figure, with penalties at stake for every minute driven over the stated total driving time.
Taking home prizes for Honda were the BBC’s transport correspondent for the South of England, Paul Clifton, alongside former police inspector, now working for IAM RoadSmart, Shaun Cronin. Once again behind the wheel of a CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC, the car in which they won gold in 2015, Paul and Shaun took home the ‘Four Wheel Drive’ and ‘Load Lugging Economy Champion’ awards by registering 63.77 MPG, a best-in-class 13.31% uplift on the car’s official quoted figure; and with it also second place overall in best percentage improvement on MPG. Over the two days the pair covered 389 miles, using just 27.73 litres (6.1 gallons) of fuel.
Paul Clifton comments: “That was the toughest MPG Marathon yet. Over two days we effectively climbed from sea level to the top of Britain's tallest mountain, Ben Nevis, three times. So to beat the car's official economy figure - and by a big margin - is very rewarding. With a very gentle right foot and smooth safe driving, this shows that even a bigger four-wheel drive car can achieve outstanding real world economy. With fuel prices rising again, this is something everyone can do to keep costs down.”
Making up the other half of Honda’s assault on the 2016 MPG Marathon were Swindon-based R&D colleagues Fergal McGrath, Kyle Stevens, Jeremy Sibson and Rick Rowles, pairing up to share the effort over the two days. Out to defend an enviable track record in the event in previous years, the team took home the ‘Most Fuel Efficient Family Car’ title and second place, behind the CR-V, in the ‘Load Lugging Economy Champion’ class.
Covering 407 miles, the experienced quartet guided a British-engineered and built Civic Tourer 1.6 i-DTEC home with an overall MPG of 80.51, an improvement of 11.21% on the quoted 72.4. In further success, sipping just 22.98 litres (5.05 gallons) of fuel, the Tourer also came in third place for both ‘Best Outright MPG’- pipped for second place by just 0.21 MPG – and ‘Best Percentage Improvement’.
Fergal McGrath comments: “Overall we’re pretty happy with the result, particularly as this year was much more challenging than previously, but to lose out on second place for best overall MPG by just 0.21 is agonising! Once again the trusty Tourer performed well and we enjoyed a good couple of days of friendly competition against some very experienced drivers and a fascinating range of other vehicles. We’re already planning for next year!”
Now in its 16th year, the MPG Marathon aims to highlight the benefits of fuel efficient, economical driving, while providing a shop window for some of the most innovative, eco-friendly and diverse vehicles on sale, and even some not yet on sale, in the UK.
Based once again at the Heythrop Park Resort in Oxfordshire, day one of the 2016 event saw the teams head out towards Ludlow, Shropshire, before resuming the afternoon with a trip to Stroud in Gloucestershire, then making their way back to Heythrop. The following day the teams set out for the iconic Silverstone circuit, then Hatfield, Hertfordshire, before returning once again to Heythrop to park up and await the much-anticipated final results.
Organised by Fleet World magazine, the 2016 MPG Marathon was sponsored by ALD Automotive, RAC Business and Crystal Ball, a provider of fleet management systems. For further information, please visit www.thempgmarathon.co.uk.
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