Therefore, over the last couple of weeks I have been reassessing the GDI's performance while adopting Mitsubishi's recommended driving style. In 'normal' driving mode I have been averaging about 43mpg. I saw this as a very good figure for a 'sporty' 1.8 petrol engine but, said Mitsubishi, the GDI is capable of more.
The company's 'How to Drive GDI' advice highlights the need to lightly depress the accelerator and maintain a constant speed when cruising. It also recommends avoiding rapid acceleration, frequent idling (e.g. traffic jams) and suggests that it is better to drive the car from cold rather than warming it up first.
All these recommendations are sensible - most of them obvious - but few of us really give them much thought when we are getting from A to B as part of a busy business schedule. Nevertheless I persevered and consciously adopted a more thoughtful approach. The result was a definite improvement, with consumption decreasing to an impressive 46mpg.
Official EC combined fuel consumption figures paint a similar picture... the economy/emissions profile of the GDI becoming ever more convincing. The chart, below left, shows figures from example competitors, their consumption figures averaging 36.4mpg compared to the Carisma GDI's 45.56, and their CO2 (g/km) emissions averaging 195.8 compared to the Carisma GDI's 150.
For a 100-car fleet of 'average' GDI upper medium competitors, as described below, using unleaded fuel and clocking up 18,000 miles a vehicle a year, the fuel bill for a year at 301.03p per gallon (national average figure supplied by PHH) would be ú148,860.98. While for the same size fleet covering the same number of miles but stocked exclusively with Carisma 1.8 GDIs, the bill would be ú118,935.90. A saving of ú29,925.08. The figures speak for themselves.
However, although the GDI's economy and 'eco-friendly' vital statistics are impressive, this is by no means the whole story. Number one on my list of priorities with any new car is user-friendliness and the GDI has fared exceptionally well.
Usually there are one or two annoying quirks or peculiarities that niggle, frustrate and annoy, but the Carisma has none of these. All controls and gadgets, from the clearly laid out instrument panel to the simple drinks holder, come easily to eye and hand. The seats and ride are comfortable (though possibly a little hard for some tastes), the driving experience is satisfying in all conditions and, again to my mind, the car is good looking.
Of similar, fundamental importance has to be reliability. Apart from a minor problem with the alarm system (sorted by the local Mitsubishi dealer with the minimum of fuss) the Carisma has performed admirably and if I were about to choose a new company car in the upper medium bracket the Carisma would appear high on my list.