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Claimed vs Real-world fuel consumption of 34 cars we’ve driven

The claimed fuel consumption of a car is rarely, if ever, what you’ll get in a real-world scenario.

We decided to have a look back at the fuel economy figures we got during our various reviews of South Africa’s newest rides to see how they compare to what their manufacturers stated they would get.

Now it’s worth mentioning that fuel consumption varies greatly per driver – take, for example, the Suzuki Baleno and Toyota Starlet that were tested by myself and my colleague, respectively.

These vehicles have identical engines and were each driven for one week, yet the Baleno stood at an average of 6.0l/100km when we handed it back and the Starlet at 7.1l/100km, suggesting that our pedal control was the main reason for the varying figures.

Nevertheless, one thing remained true in all of these tests; the car burned through more fuel than its maker said it would.

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By far the least efficient set of wheels that came through our garage over the last few years was, drumroll please, the Ford Mustang California Special.

With a 5.0-litre V8 and an appreciable lack of electrification, it comes as no surprise that you’ll get to know your petrol pump attendant on a first-name basis if you daily drive this American beast.

Over approximately four days with the Pony Car, it scored an average of 16.0l/100km and shredded through more rubber than Ford was happy with.

Granted, the novelty of a screaming V8 may eventually wear off for the average owner so their usage should be a bit lower, but given the Stang’s claimed consumption of 12.3l/100km, it still won’t be considered economical by most standards.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Renault Duster was the most frugal of the lot.

At a combined fuel spend of 5.1l/100km, just 0.3l/100km more than what Renault said, it took several days of driving before the 1.5-litre diesel crossover’s needle started dropping.

During my week with the Duster, I cleared 410km doing mostly city driving and the fuel gauge lost a grand total of one out of eight bars.

The car that got the closest to its manufacturer’s purported statistic was the sporty Hyundai Venue N Line.

The mini-SUV is equipped with a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol mill that was good for a reading of 7.0l/100km, fractionally higher than the 6.9l/100km stated in the brochure.

The Hyundai is still rather thirsty given the size of its small power supply, which can be attributed to its rather generous (for a 1.0-litre) output of 88kW and 172Nm which helps it get up to speed in no time.

Meanwhile, the one that was the furthest away from its brand’s assertion was the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge, the large discrepancy being a result of the Swedish brand’s over-enthusiasm when it worked out the SUV’s economy.

Due to the T8 being a plug-in hybrid, Volvo said it will only consume 1.6 litres of fuel for every 100km driven, the caveat being that the majority of this route must be completed on battery power alone.

With the petrol engine thrown into the mix we got a figure of 6.6l/100km, which, I might add, is still exceptionally efficient for an SUV that sprints to 100km/h in under five seconds.

The claimed and real-world consumption figures of the cars we have tested in recent times are shown in the table below.

Note that this is not an exhaustive list of each and every vehicle we’ve driven, it only includes those we’ve had for long enough that we could get an accurate representation of real-world fuel usage.

Model Real-world consumption Claimed consumption Difference
Audi Q5 40TDI S Line 8.1l/100km 6.2l/100km +1.9l/100km
Audi Q5 Sportback 45TFSI S Line 9.7l/100km 8.0l/100km +1.7l/100km
Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max 2.0TGDI 390T Executive 9.7l/100km 7.6l/100km +2.1l/100km
Citroen C5 Aircross 1.6T Shine 9.3l/100km 7.9l/100km +1.4l/100km
Fiat 500 TwinAir Cult 5.9l/100km 4.0l/100km +1.9l/100km
Fiat 500X 1.4T Cross 7.9l/100km 5.7l/100km +2.2l/100km
Ford Everest 2.0 BiTurbo 4×4 Sport 12.0l/100km 7.5l/100km +4.5l/100km
Ford Mustang 5.0 GT California Special Fastback 16.0l/100km 12.3l/100km +3.7l/100km
Ford Ranger 2.0Bi-Turbo 4×4 Raptor Special Edition 10.0l/100km 8.3l/100km +1.7l/100km
Haval H6 1.5T HEV Ultra Luxury 8.0l/100km 5.2l/100km +2.8l/100km
Haval H6 2.0GDIT 4WD Super Luxury 9.6l/100km 8.3l/100km +1.3l/100km
Haval H6 GT 2.0GDIT 4WD Super Luxury 11.0l/100km 8.4l/100km +2.6l/100km
Haval Jolion 1.5 HEV Super Luxury 5.9l/100km 5.0l/100km +1.0l/100km
Hyundai Creta 1.5 Executive 7.0/100km 6.3l/100km +0.7l/100km
Hyundai Venue 1.0T N Line 7.0l/100km 6.9l/100km +0.1l/100km
Jaguar E-Pace D200 AWD R-Dynamic HSE 9.9l/100km 5.3l/100km +4.6l/100km
Kia Carnival 2.2CRDi SXL 7.2l/100km 6.8l/100km +0.4l/100km
Kia Sonet 1.0T EX+ 7.1l/100km 6.0l/100km +1.1l/100km
Kia Sorento 2.2CRDi SXL 9.0l/100km 6.8l/100km +2.2l/100km
Kia Sportage 1.6T-GDi GT Line S 9.0l/100km 6.5l/100km +2.5l/100km
Mazda 2 1.5 Hazumi 6.7l/100km 6.0l/100km +0.7l/100km
Mazda CX-60 2.5 AWD Individual 8.0l/100km 7.7l/100km +0.3l/100km
Mercedes-Benz GLB250 Progressive 10.3l/100km 7.4l/100km +2.9l/100km
Nissan Navara 2.5DDTi Pro-4X 4×4 10.2l/100km 8.1l/100km +2.1l/100km
Nissan Qashqai 1.3T Acenta Plus 7.0l/100km 6.1l/100km +0.9l/100km
Opel Zafira Life 2.0TD Edition 9.0l/100km 6.3l/100km +2.7l/100km
Range Rover D350 First Edition 11.0l/100km 7.4l/100km +3.6l/100km
Range Rover Evoque D200 R-Dynamic HSE 9.6l/100km 5.8l/100km +3.8l/100km
Renault Duster 1.5dCi Intens 5.1l/100km 4.8l/100km +0.3l/100km
Renault Kiger 1.0 Turbo Intens Auto 7.4l/100km 5.4l/100km +2.0l/100km
Suzuki Baleno 1.5 GL  6.0/100km 5.4l/100km +0.6l/100km
Toyota Starlet 1.5 XR Auto 7.1l/100km 5.7l/100km +1.4l/100km
Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge AWD R-Design 6.6l/100km 1.6l/100km +5.0l/100km
VW Polo Hatch 1.0TSI 70kW Life 5.6l/100km 5.4l/100km +0.2l/100km

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