When it comes to the way your car is supposed to perform and how much fuel it should use, whom do you believe? The manufacturer’s claims, right? Surely, most of us will realise that what the manufacturer states the car should be capable of is patently more accurate than the outrageous claims made by some inebriated loudmouth partaking in a barroom brawl about who will emerge victorious after a no-holds-barred, illegal traffic-light Grand Prix.
How accurate are the manufacturer’s claims? In terms of performance claims, fairly accurate. They might be testing their cars under ideal conditions and with a light load, but the average driver should be able to approximate a quoted sprint time from, say 0-100 km/h, fairly closely with a quarter of a tank of fuel and a deft technique. Keep in mind, though, that the quoted output of an engine is taken as an average of several engines that were tested, so a certain percentage of those will develop the quoted power, while some will be less and some more powerful. As much as a 10% variance is accepted as normal, so an engine that is supposed to develop 100 kW might have 90 or 110 kW, and still be considered “within normal range”; the difference between the best and worst is, however, 20 kW, which is a lot! It might explain why your cousin’s car of the same model feels so much more powerful than yours up that hill out of town…
Things get more muddled when it comes to fuel consumption claims, and in the interest of science, repeatable results, and consistency, cars’ fuel consumption figures are usually derived from laboratory test on a rolling road, and therefore turn out to be far more optimistic than what any average driver can attain on the road. One can typically add anything between 15 and 30% to the claimed ECE figure to arrive at a realistic fuel consumption figure of a car driven in city traffic every day.
So, do your research, read tests performed by reputable bodies, and keep in mind the fuel calculation, and you will have a fair idea of what to expect from your car. And by no means should you pay much mind to the barroom brawler claiming that he annihilated an Italian supercar with his city runabout, while driving halfway across the continent on a cup and a half of fuel.
Lastly, ensure that your car is optimised to offer the best performance and economy it is capable of. You can do this by fitting a Unichip, our piggyback computer that can be added to your car’s ECU to realise its full potential, and be removed afterwards, to leave your car completely standard. What’s more, we will give your money back within three months if you are not happy.