Renault has edged out Suzuki to take the crown as South Africa’s most fuel efficient brand in the inaugural WesBank South Africa Fuel Economy Tour.
The five-day, 2 500 km event saw 40 competing vehicles travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town, via Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and George.
In the end it was a trio of Renault cars – the Captur, Duster Techroad and Kwid Climber – that took top honours by 0.0275 l/100 km.
The title was judged by averaging the fuel consumption of the best three performers in each of the brands that had cars in the field.
Renault’s average was 5.0695 l/100 km, while the Suzuki trio of Baleno, Ignis and Swift models had a combined average of 5.0970 l/100 km.
Third place went to Mahindra – with a KUV 100 and two XUV 300s – ahead of Nissan – Qashqai, Micra and Navara – and Ford – Fiesta, Kuga and Ranger.
The car with the lowest consumption was the Renault Captur with a 1.5-litre diesel turbocharged engine, crewed by motoring journalist Wynter Murdoch and experienced rally navigator Carolyn Swan, averaging 4.7319 l/100 km.
In second place was the Toyota Aygo with a 1-litre normally aspirated petrol engine, crewed by motoring journalist Carri-Ann Jane and yoga instructor Roxanne Jones, who were taking part in their first competitive motoring competition.
The Aygo averaged 4.8328 l/100 km. This team also won the prize for the highest placed all-female crew.
Suzuki ended up with six class wins (Ignis, Vitara 1.6, Vitara 1.4, Baleno, Swift Sport and Ertiga), while Ford (Fiesta and Ranger), Hyundai (Sante Fe and Venue), Renault (Captur and Duster) and Toyota (Aygo and Hilux 2.8) all won two classes, with the other class winners being Honda (HRV), Lexus (UX Hybrid) and Mahindra (KUV 100).
The competitors were monitored throughout the Economy Tour by vehicle tracking and mobility solutions company Ctrack.
All the vehicles were also fitted with a dashcam facing forward and another camera focused on the driver and vehicle controls.
The outward-facing camera was used to monitor driving behaviour such as passing on solid lines, dangerous driving and the like, while the interior-focused unit checked on unacceptable driver behaviour, such as shifting into neutral and freewheeling.
Penalties were imposed for late arrival at control check points and for driving infringements at the rate of one litre of fuel for each penalty point.
“The objective of this event was to provide consumers with fuel consumption figures that are relevant to going on a road trip in South Africa using main roads, and I believe we have achieved this aim,” says chief organiser Charl Wilken.