Martin Ward, CAP’s manufacturer
relationships manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence
Spent the weekend driving a Hyundai i30 Estate 1.6 CRDi. It’s not a bad car, but the best thing is that it has been returning 54.4mpg – probably the closest to the claimed combined figure of 57.6mpg that I have seen for a long time.
Some cars are miles away from the official figures.
To the Silverstone circuit for a Mercedes-Benz fleet driving day.
More than 150 guests drove a variety of Mercedes-Benz and Smart vehicles, including a couple of electric Smart Fortwos which are currently being trialled, around the circuit, on an off-road course and on local roads, and it seemed to be a huge success judging by the enthusiasm and interest.
We were warned during the safety briefing that driving a Mercedes-Benz on a Formula One circuit did need concentration – and we had to be aware of red lights!
I’ve been using a couple of very similar cars during the week and went on very similar journeys, mainly on motorways, to a couple of events.
The vehicles were a Lexus RX400h and BMW’s X6 xDrive 35d.
Which one achieved the best fuel consumption figure according to the computer?
This was not a scientific test, and many holes can be picked with it, but I zeroed the trip computer at home and did around 300 miles in each, mostly on the M1.
When I got back home the Lexus had returned 29.1mpg and the BMW 30.4mpg.
But it was a different story when I did some local driving – the Lexus stayed pretty much the same, and the BMW dropped to the mid-20s, giving the hybrid Lexus the advantage on short journeys.
Both are stunning vehicles in their own right.
The BMW attracted so much attention it was almost embarrassing.
On the M1 other drivers pulled alongside just to have a look in disbelief, with most waving and putting up their thumbs in appreciation.
To Berlin on another Mercedes-Benz event, this time to drive the facelifted A and B-Class models which go on sale next month.
Both have sold reasonably well since their launch – the A-Class selling more than 500,000 worldwide since 1997 and the B-Class 350,000 in three years.
The A-Class received a major refresh in 2004 which improved it dramatically, but this facelift is relatively minor, as is the B-Class’s.
We drove the B-Class on open roads and it proved comfortable, quiet and refined.
The only real competition for this car is from non-premium manufacturers, which are all very good and at a lower price.
We drove the A-Class in its natural habitat, the city. It is quick and quiet, very maneouverable and has Mercedes-Benz quality and the Mercedes-Benz image.
Both will be available with the BlueEfficiency eco package which includes stop-start – similar to BMW’s EfficientDynamics.
We were also given a presentation on the GLK, a small 4x4 and not the prettiest car in the world, then told there are no plans for right-hand drive production – phew!