Peugeot likes to call its diesel vehicles "micro hybrid." Technically speaking, however, there's nothing hybrid about these cars since there are no electric motors to supplement their internal-combustion powerplants. What they do have is the so-called e-HDi system, which features a stop/start mechanism that shuts down the engine when the car comes to a complete stop. Like at a traffic light, for instance. This is to prevent unnecessary idling and thus fuel wastage.
But just how exactly do Peugeot's diesel cars compare to their hybrid counterparts in terms of fuel economy?
To answer that, local Peugeot importer and seller Eurobrands Distributor Inc. held an eco-driving contest among motoring journalists, featuring the 3008 compact crossover. Ten two-member teams were formed and made to drive a 1.6-liter e-HDi 3008 from the Total fuel station in Filinvest Alabang to the end of STAR Tollway in Batangas (and back). Top Gear Philippines was one of those teams.
Before the start of the contest, race driver Georges Ramirez gave the participants a few tips on how to properly drive the 3008, which is equipped with what the French carmaker describes as a "clutchless manual transmission":
* Back off momentarily during gear changes;
* Use the paddle shifters all the way to the sixth gear, and then go back to automatic;
* Don't go 50kph or even 60kph as it gets worse results;
* Instead, maintain a speed of 65kph or even 70kph to build momentum, especially when going up a hill.
Because this sounded like too much work--seriously, who would bother memorizing these tips in real life?--Top Gear Philippines writer Jason dela Cruz opted to just drive in regular automatic mode. A third passenger, an EDI employee, rode with us to ensure that we followed the contest rules, chief of which was that the air-conditioning system had to be on at all times, the thermostat set at a predetermined 21 degrees.
For the first leg (Alabang to STAR Tollway), we managed 25km/L, according to the on-board trip computer. For the second leg (STAR Tollway back to Alabang), we did 27km/L, again based on the mileage-measuring device. But the official figure had to be determined by refilling our fuel tank at the end of the route.
In the end, we consumed 6.5 liters of diesel fuel through a total distance of 166km, which meant we squeezed 25.6km from every liter. Wow. That's more frugal than Isuzu's vehicles.
And if you think we did well, the winners--Top Gear Philippines car-design guru (and The Manila Times motoring editor) Brian Afuang and Motoring Today producer Jenny Bleza--did even better: 26.9km/L.
"I'm disappointed," said EDI president Felix Mabilog Jr. "I was expecting you to do at least 30km/L, like they did in Taiwan when they held the same eco-driving contest there."
He then proceeded to rib one of his brand's Japanese rivals: "Our diesel vehicles are more fuel-efficient than Toyota's hybrid cars. I just hope people will know about it."
Well, now you know.
Photos by Vernon B. Sarne