99.24 MPG Not Bad For A Diesel Vehicle

The MPG Marathon is the UK’s best known and longest running economy driving event. Now in its eleventh year, the MPG Marathon is where drivers team with automakers to squeeze every drop of fuel economy out of their cars, and is also seen as a proving ground where automaker’s mileage claims are either bolstered or seriously questioned. Organized by Fleet World magazine, the Marathon also recognizes those drivers and their cars which record the greatest percentage improvement over the manufacturers’ published fuel consumption ratings.

The event took place earlier this month, with participants putting their economy driving skills to the test around a 370-mile route that included steep hills, twisting country lanes and inclement weather in southern England.


image via MPG Marathon

The “Overall Best MPG” winner of the event was a smart fortwo CDI. This particular smart vehicle is a tiny micro car that features one of the world’s smallest turbo-diesel engines – an 800cc, three-cylinder gas sipper. The smart notched a rating of 99.24 MPG over the two day event, the best figure ever recorded. This year makes it three wins in three tries for the smart CDI in the “Overall” event. Their winning mark was more than 15% better than the official combined fuel consumption figure of 85.6 MPG.

In the hybrid class the Infiniti M35h earned top marks. The car returned 36 MPG, which was seven percent better than its official combined figure of  33 MPG. Most of the other hybrids who participated in the competition, both diesel and gasoline powered, fell short of their official combined fuel consumption figures. The Infiniti M35h cruised on electric power for 185 of the 370 mile route. Basically half the route was completed with the 3.5-liter gasoline V6 engine switched off. On one 54 mile stretch of the economy run, the M35h ran for 30 miles on power from the lithium-ion batteries and electric motor.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.


  • Reply November 22, 2011

    Richard Porter

    Problem is, it hits a deer, small dug, or even a rabbit for that matter, and the car is totaled, and the passengers, flung around like rags, and the critter walks away with a slight limp.u00a0 Other than that, not a bad little car.u00a0 Wonder if they ought not be wearing helmets.u00a0

    • Reply November 22, 2011


      Shows how much you know . . . I saw a crash test at 80mph head on into a 20,000 concrete barrier. The block moved back about a foot! Both doors still opened! The seatbelt and airbags deployed and it was rules as “walk away from”. 80 mph. Do your research . . .

      • Reply November 22, 2011


        From my internet searches, it seems small cars are not good in crashes.u00a0 for example, http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/small-cars-rate-poorly-in-new-crash-tests/u00a0 the fortwo is mentioned in that article and, 80mph is the fortwo’s top speed!u00a0

      • Reply December 16, 2011


        The energy from an 80-mph crash in a tiny car has to transfer somewhere. In car tests, these vehicles usually have the structural integrity to withstand such impacts, but humans inside the car will sustain serious spinal/brain trauma. In larger cars, the risk is reduced because there is more material to absorb the shock.u00a0

        • Reply January 12, 2012


          Is your point that they should trade off “walk away” success for less damage to the vehicle? u00a0Isn’t that what trucks are for?nnBesides, bigger isn’t often better when it comes to defense. u00a0More ‘material’, as in a big car with a big block engine) to absorb shock is neither efficient nor effective. u00a0I imagine that with such a small engine even this small of a car has more room to addu00a0the right mechanisms and materials tou00a0absorb energy in a controlled way. u00a0Remember whenu00a0Subaru got all those great ratings by putting the spare tire between the engine and the firewall to direct the engine DOWN versus straight back? u00a0That was brilliant yet simple. u00a0Sort of the Tai Chi approach to addressing collisions; don’t stop it — redirect it.u00a0Ever see an egg drop onto a wrestling mat from 8 feet and not break? u00a0Ever see a see car drive on a bumpy road without spilling a drop of wine? u00a0Ho about a spaceship land a bunch of guys in hammocks, safely, by rolling on impact (sorry, that was old sci fi. u00a0Besides, doesn’t the impact force have as much to do with the moving vehicle as it does with the OTHER moving vehicle or stationary wall? u00a0I know it is highly relevant when talking about explosions and rollovers and such. u00a0My friend walked away from an 85 mph collision when he fell asleep and drifted right into the back of a parked tractor trailer (big rubber wheels since it had no van attached). u00a0His Marquis with the V8 wasu00a0totaled, sadly, butu00a0I don’t recall him complaining about that at the time.u00a0

        • Reply January 16, 2012


          It’s more about impulse than absorption. Your body will suffer the same forces of rapid deceleration at a given velocity regardless of the size of the vehicle you’re in. Crumpling of the car in modern engineering serves less as a means to absorb impact and more as a means to control the rate the car disintegrates and preserve the integrity of the passenger cabin. For example, front ends crumple so as to drop the engine from the bottom of the car, rather than have that engine get rammed into the passenger compartment during a head-on collision, just as the doors and sides of cars are much stiffer to preserve the passenger compartment in a side-collision. nnnEither way, the force of impact on the body is roughly the same. Cars don’t crumple for absorption; they crumple to control how the car falls apart on impact and keep the passenger compartment intact. nnCheers. u00a0

      • Reply January 9, 2012


        I saw that same video. It was awsome! The doors operated normaly as if there was no damage. Then they tested another brandu00a0mid sized car and they would have had to have the jaws of life to remove the passengers after the crash.

    • Reply January 10, 2012


      I ride a motorcycle in all weather and traffic conditions.u00a0 You people are wimps.

  • Reply November 26, 2011


    Richard Porter has no clue. What a ding bat.

  • Reply January 14, 2012

    Goggles Pisano

    How about a 3 cyl turbo diesel hybrid in a real car?

  • Reply January 16, 2012


    Diesels do not use gas you stupid idiot

    • Reply January 19, 2012


      Some diesel can use gasoline as fuel, as well as engine oil or alcohol.u00a0

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