What Car? launches True MPG fuel economy testing
Posted on 27 Apr 2012 at 09:50, by Gareth Halfacree
What Car? has announced a new testing programme dubbed True MPG, which provides what it claims is a more accurate insight into the real cost of running a car.
Designed in association with Tesco Petrol Filling Stations, the testing programme uses a portable emissions-measurement system and only begins testing when the engines have reached their standard operating temperature. Coupled with driving by experienced engineers through a variety of different road types, What Car? claims True MPG gives a much more balanced view of the cost of motoring.
"With rising fuel prices, the miles-per-gallon issue is high on every motorist's agenda," explained said What Car? editor-in-chief Chas Hallett of the programme. "Countless car buyers are frustrated that they don't match the official government fuel figures. True MPG will allow motorists to select a car personalised to their driving needs and budget. We hope that it will become invaluable in the complex and emotional car-buying process."
The True MPG leaderboard makes for interesting reading: while many vehicles show only a small variation between their True MPG figure and the government-endorsed manufacturers' figures, others are rather more different. Vehicles like the Land Rover Discovery 3.0 SDV6 HSE drops from a claimed 32.2mpg to 30.7mpg while Toyota's Avensis 2.2 D-CAT 150 T4 automatic drops from 45.6mpg to 43.3mpg, as examples of the accuracy of the official figures.
Other manufacturers don't fare so well under the new testing: the Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 Bluemotion sees its fuel economy figure drop from a claimed 74.3mpg under the government's scheme to just 51.8mpg, and Ford's Focus Estate 1.6 TDCi 115 Titanium drops from 67.3mpg to a rather more mundane 42.3mpg.
Manufacturers will surely be looking to cast doubt on What Car?'s new testing regime, but to make things clearer for car buyers a video explaining the testing has been published.
How hard can it be to game the Gvt MPG system?
With the Official Gvt MPG test protocol being rigidly defined, how hard can it be to programme a car's ECU to skew heavily in favour of MPG over performance when a car is being driven according to the protocol, and yet to revert to more 'normal' performance expectations at other times? Given that nobody drives according to the official protocol, the skewed 'Gvt MPG' ECU mapping would almost never trouble the average driver anyway, but is always there ready to perform its trick when required.
By dalerm on 27 Apr 2012
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