VW Golf: Fuel economy

Fuel economy: computer vs. manual

As is the norm on Parkers one must address the issue of fuel economy and, predictably, the question of whether the official combined figure released by the manufacturer of the car you are driving has any truck with reality.

Generally the answer is no. Manufacturers conduct fuel tests on a test bench carrying out very slow, precise accelerations in controlled environments. Those tests, by their very nature, are totally unrealistic and do not ape in any way real-world driving which can, at times, be a frenetic business. Sound advice tells you that you should usually lop off 10mpg when considering official combined fuel economy. That's the best way to view it and if you are able to get any more from your vehicle you've done well.

So, to the 1.2 Golf TSI.

After two months' running we can say that the Golf pretty much conforms to stereotype. Early on in the test we drove the car fairly gingerly and achieved a very impressive best average fuel economy of 42.1mpg. In the second month, we drove rather more urgently and it came as no surprise that our average fuel economy had dipped to 37.9mpg. Overall, for the life of the car it's achieving 40.5mpg, which compares reasonably well with the official figure of 49.6mpg.

Then there's the trip computer that tells you, along with a host of other useful information such as trip duration, tank range, and miles covered, the continual fuel economy but, more importantly, average fuel economy from the moment you reset the trip button.

I reset the trip right in the middle of the test - about a month in - when the odometer read 3,552 miles. At that point the computer was telling me I was getting about 41mpg. Today I reset the trip and the average fuel economy was reading 38.3mpg, which was impressively close to my own pen-and-paper readout of 37.9mpg.

Of course, this is all stato heaven, but doesn't really take away the fact that, with a 150-mile round trip per day, I am spending an awful lot of money on petrol and it's never heartening to see the petrol pump reading over £70 after a fill-up.

Current mileage: 5,574

Average mpg: 37.9