Fleet News

Toyota Avensis 2.0 D-4D T4 - 9,290 miles

Toyota

Review

I AM a man on a mission at the moment. My voyage of discovery – to quote the mangled syntax of Captain Kirk – is to boldly go where no man has gone before.

I shunned the Starship Enterprise for this mission, mainly because it runs on alternative fuel (dilithium crystals are rarer than LPG filling stations), and instead opted for the rather less space-tastic diesel-powered Toyota Avensis D4-D.

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My aim is to enter uncharted territory in the realms of fuel economy, which is admittedly less exciting than battling Klingons, but it floats my particular boat, especially with my fleet manager's hat on.

The challenge in the Avensis is to prove that you can get supermini fuel economy from an upper-medium car – and I have.

Our long-term Avensis began its life averaging between 44mpg and 47mpg, compared to the claimed combined economy figure of 48.7mpg. But over the past 600 miles the Avensis has managed to average 56mpg.

This is pretty well out of this world for a car that seats five, carries huge quantities of luggage (which it did for much of this test) and easily keeps up with motorway traffic. Unlike Star Trek, the trick really isn't rocket science. I simply ensured I accelerated gently (but keeping up with traffic) and when traffic was congested on the motorway, kept moving rather than trying to drive up to the bumper in front of me at warp factor 10.

I was never late for a meeting, my journeys didn't take any longer and I arrived at my destination relaxed and far less stressed than if I had been racing everyone on the road.

I also had to fill up less, getting more than 600 miles out of a tank. Over the lifetime of the car, that means you could spend the time you save not filling up with petrol overtaking all the drivers with a heavy right foot who spend their time propping up the counter at BP.

From a fleet manager's point of view, the economy approach puts less stress on the engine and saves a bundle of cash too.

Compared to running at 44mpg, achieving 56mpg for the 60,000 mile lifetime of the Avensis would save 292 gallons of fuel, worth £1,027 at current prices. Multiply that by a 100-vehicle fleet and you could soon buy your own naff plastic communicator replica from the original Star Trek series.

Sadly, as with Star Trek, there is a new generation that is putting my efforts in the shade.

Step forward Alan Phillips, fleet manager for Nottingham-based pet product company Armitage Brothers, who managed to get up to 81.3mpg from his identical Avensis and cover 839 miles on one tank (Fleet NewsNet July 29).

But I salute his efforts. If fleet managers can encourage their drivers to follow this example, then the reduced stress in their work and lower spending should mean they will Live Long and Prosper.

Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% tax-payer): £49 per month

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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