Driving the SEAT Leon E Ecomotive it struck me that driver performance is the most valuable form of improving mpg, and at £1.45 per litre the incentive is obvious. 800 miles from one tank of this Leon is within most people’s reach, even if your journeys include urban routes complete with red lights. That’s helped by the cars slick automatic Stop Start system, so rule one is to make use of it. Take the car out of gear, and the engine cuts, automatically restarting instantly when you depress the clutch. Leave it in gear with the clutch down, however, and the engine will idle as per normal. Within seconds you will be wasting fuel compared to the Stop Start system.
Drive within the speed limits. 80 on the motorway is significantly less economical than 70, and if you’re in no hurry then you’ll find 60 is a speed which gets great results.
Donkeys years ago, when I first got behind the wheel, I was told to drive by the rev counter and the speedo. Time to forget those early rules, they are as out of date as the Austin Allegro that I passed my test in. Instead, drive by the trip computer set to the trip mpg read out. This way you will start to congratulate yourself as the car heads up through the 50 mpgs, then the 60s and in the case of the Leon, well into the 70s.
One thing my instructor did teach me though, was to work junctions. What he meant was, control your speed on the approach to junctions so that, so long as you can see the road is clear, you don’t need to stop avoiding a change down to first gear. Initial acceleration as you build up speed in first costs you fuel which you can easily avoid with a touch more care. And if you really want to build your mpg performance, consider using gravity and your cars momentum to your advantage. When its safe to do so, take the car out of gear and coast – again the positive impact on your consumption will surprise you no matter what car you’re in. Low rolling resistance tyres as fitted to the SEAT Leon E Ecomotive do exactly that, they help you roll further.
Simple techniques like these will help you get the best economy from your car and make the most of eco models like this Leon. You’ll soon realise than any other way of driving is simply burning money. SL 16.05.12