Mazda6: Saving cash

More efficient driving saves cash

Three hundred miles with only 20 of them on single carriageway should be the ideal test to see just how frugal the 6 can be. I'm not interested in extreme driving techniques favoured by hypermilers (such as drafting lorries, switching the engine off driving down hills, etc) to ramp up the mpg figure, just more restrained driving such as 60-70mph on motorways and thinking well ahead to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration.

Maintaining a steady speed using cruise control was key on my trip down to Cornwall from Peterborough. Despite some stop-start traffic jams and needing to use the heater in the freezing conditions (increases fuel consumption), my average rose from 45 to 52.1 miles to the gallon. What's more, even when travelling round Cornwall with its steep hills and occasional town traffic, the 6 only dropped the average mpg to between 50-51.

What helped is changing up as quickly as possible without labouring the engine and using the Mazda's assured handling to reduce the need for constant slowing down and speeding up on twisty back roads. It all adds up to keeping fuel consumption down.

Admittedly, an extra 7mpg may not seem much but based on one fill up a week it's an extra 98 miles for the same cost or two gallons of diesel for free (a saving of nearly £10 a week or £520 a year on current prices).

As for the tank range I filled up at 598.3 with the trip computer registering another 16 miles before the tank was empty. A 600-mile range is possible but only just.

Current mileage: 14558

Average mpg: 51.4