In the rankings of tragic hobbies, the fuel stop marathon may be near the top of the list, but it is still one I can’t help engaging in with every new test car – and my commitment has paid off with a new record.
For the uninitiated to this simple and very environmentally-friendly sport, it is a basic challenge of seeing how far you can go between fill-ups.
The only rules are that you can’t run out of fuel, can’t be late for meetings and have to keep up with traffic, so getting out and pushing isn’t an option.
The Kia Optima just topped 800 miles on a single tank by hitting 54mpg in mixed driving, which is great effort considering how much fuel is being lugged around in the tank to give it that range (just over 15 gallons).
It is also a valuable lesson, because another Kia roadtest I read recently said the same car was achieving 35.8mpg. They must be idling it overnight or transporting elephants to do so poorly, but it shows what a massive impact the driver can have and how much extra they can cost (in this case, 740 extra gallons costing more than £4,500 at current prices over 80,000 miles).
Another important achievement came after a kindly soul at Kia got in touch after my last road test to help me turn off the ‘convenience’ function on the driver’s seat, so it doesn’t automatically move backwards when you take the key out of the ignition.
I made the change by hold down the ‘trip’ button on the steering wheel to activate the vehicle options menu and two seconds later the inconvenience of the convenience function was forgotten forever. Bliss.
By John Maslen