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The Mercury Cars Guide : October 10th 2009
2--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, October 10, 2009 Battle royale to crown So who's clean, who's green and who can claim bragging rights to the most fuel efficient car? Car companies are about to be put to the test and CarsGuide is going along for the ride, says Keith Didham Ford Ws Fiesta Econetic Squeeze BMW Mini Suzuki Alto Hyundai R Santa Fe THERE are two key buzz words in today's world of clean, green motoring: more and less. Car buyers, pricked by an environ- mental consciousness, are driving demand for better efficiency to re- duce the impact on their wallet and less emissions to reduce the impact on the environment. And there's an added caveat to this quest for green sustainability: it has to be affordable without robbing the family car of performance or drive- ability. Welcome to the challenge facing car designers as they chase motor- ing's holy grail --- producing a workable, green friendly car for the future. A bookmark of just where the industry is at will be on display at the end of the month when the Eco Challenge for production cars, run in conjunction with this year's Global Green Challenge, sets out from Dar- win on October 24. It will be a real-world 3000km reality check, albeit most of the driving will be on highways, to show buyers what more-for-less cars are available now, or the near future. This week car companies have been jostling as they line up for the starting grid --- some are yet to fully show their hand, but organisers say 21 cars are expected to contest the Eco Challenge, while a further 38 dedicated solar-powered cars will also follow the same route the following day in their own race. This year Toyota is a notable non starter after impressing in 2007 with its Prius. And there has been a late scratch- ing, with Volvo confirming it was withdrawn its two C30 DRIVe hatch- backs because they are stuck on a ship from Europe, a victim of stormy weather in the Atlantic. Volvo had high expectations for the 1.6-litre diesel, which sips a claimed 3.8l/100km. The eco hatch will now be launched here early next year. This year's field is an eclectic mix. At the plush end of the field will be Skoda which will use the event to showcase its new flagship, the Superb saloon. Skoda says the 2-litre direct injec- tion turbo diesel is capable of 5.4l/100km on the highway --- a close marriage of luxury with economy. At the other end of the fleet will be the tiny and more affordable Suzuki Alto. A team from CarsGuide will be testing Suzuki's claim it can travel 100 kilometres on just 3.5 litres of precious fuel on the highway. Tests in India have already shown it can do better at 3l/100km. The car is being kept on the road by a team of apprentice automotive engineers from the Melbourne's Kangan Batman TAFE college. Holden and Ford will be fighting each other in the Challenge. Holden had been tipped to show off a Commodore, which like Saab can run on 85 per cent ethanol, or a diesel, but they will instead show- case its recently launched 3-litre Omega Sportwagon, fitted with the new SIDI engine and six-speed auto- matic transmission. Holden won't reveal what fuel economy goal it is aiming for, but it maintains the SIDI is now the most fuel efficient Aussie-built six- cylinder in the market. Holden says the engine, rated at 9.3l/10km, is 13 per cent more fuel efficient than the previous motor at 10.7l/10km. Ford will come out fighting with an XR6 Turbo and a Fiesta Econetic, which will be launched in November and has the potential to run at 3.7l/100km. Again Ford wont talk about economy goals. BMW is another keeping its cards close to its chest until closer to race. It will have a fleet of three diesel Mini Ds, one of which is will be driven by former Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan. The 1.6-litre Mini diesel is capable of 3.9l/100km com- bined and 3.5l/100km on the high- way. 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September 26th 2009
October 17th 2009