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VFW editor wins LCV awards in 2014 MPG Marathon

Behind the wheel of Renault’s all-new Trafic SL27 Energy dCi 120 Business, the pair achieved 55.55mpg, the best overall mpg and also the best percentage improvement, being 16% better than the manufacturer’s official figures of 47.90mpg. 

Commenting on the Trafic’s performance in the MPG Marathon, Dan Gilkes said: 'With a combined fuel figure of 47.9mpg, the Energy dCi 120 Twin Turbo Trafic is already one of the most economical vans in its class, making it tough to improve upon. But, as a number of vehicles struggled to even reach their advertised combined figure, we were more than happy with a final result of 55.5mpg – the most economical van in the MPG Marathon. 

'The Trafic never missed a beat and was a pleasure to drive, with a quiet comfortable cab and effortless controls. Though maintaining low rpm throughout for maximum economy, the new 1.6-litre twin turbo engine delivers plenty of torque, even at lower engine speeds, allowing higher gears to be used. Even in normal driving conditions, customers should find Trafic an economical yet rapid van.  

'Having covered 311 miles over the two days, the van was still showing more than 900 miles of available range when we finished! Now that's a marathon,' added Gilkes.  

Meanwhile in the car section Honda engineers Fergal McGrath and James Warren, driving a Honda Civic Tourer, won the challenge in a nail-biting finish with last year’s champions, Nick Chapman and Rosemary Homer.

Over the two days of the event, which was again sponsored by ALD Automotive and TRACKER, the Honda pair expertly guided a Civic Tourer 1.6 i-DTEC around the specially designated 330-mile route, recording an outstanding 97.92mpg, compared to reigning champions, Chapman and Homer, both employees of Leicestershire County Council, who achieved an average of 97.08mpg driving a 1.6 litre TDCi Ford Fiesta Titanium ECOnetic. 

Alongside the competition for the best outright MPG, the Marathon also challenged drivers to improve on the manufacturers’ official fuel consumption figures for their vehicle. Claiming first place in this category were Marathon new-comers and current Ford motor racing stars, Louise Richardson, and her co-driver, Harrison Scott.

The pair were driving a powerful new Ford Fiesta ST-3 1.6 litre 182ps EcoBoost model with an official combined fuel consumption of 47.9mpg. But the racing stars blew that figure completely out of the water, achieving an astonishing 75.77mpg, over 58% better than the official figures.

In total 26 teams competed in the event. Day one saw the contestants start from the luxurious Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel, at South Cerney near Cirencester, and head for the Brecon Beacons, with a lunch stop in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, and an afternoon tea stop in Worcester. 

On day two, they again set off from South Cerney, heading for Andover in Hampshire for a coffee stop and a lunch stop at the stately Bailbrook House Hotel in Bath. 

In all, the course comprised a combined total of approximately 330 miles, although contestants were free to plan their own routes, provided they included a number of pre-agreed, fixed points, which made keen navigational skills essential.

All participating vehicles were again fitted with TRACKER tracking equipment so that event organisers knew exactly where each car was and how far it had travelled.

'Congratulations to all the contestants in this year’s MPG Marathon,’ said Fleet World's Ross Durkin. There were some outstanding team and individual performances, some near misses and some great results.

'Above all else, this year’s event showed conclusively that the current generation of modern cars and vans are more fuel-efficient and more environmentally friendly than ever before, and are an outstanding testimony to the achievements of all the participating motor manufacturers,' concluded Ross Durkin.

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