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Gigantic Purple Slug

Car Fuel Economy

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Well, ditched the Audi for a Ford Focus.

The testosterone levels have gone down somewhat.

But George won't be happy, the fuel economy is 59.4 mpg and increasing as I learn how to drive it. I got half that with the Audi.

Is that petrol or diesel? The petrol Aygo I bought back in 2007 is starting to look a little outperformed.

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Which model Audi was it? I get around 30 mpg in my Landcruiser!

tbf it was a 220bhp S3. It went like the clappers but I just wasnt using it any more. No point hauling a massive great engine around if all you are going to do is pootle along at 60mph.

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tbf it was a 220bhp S3. It went like the clappers but I just wasnt using it any more. No point hauling a massive great engine around if all you are going to do is pootle along at 60mph.

Now I understand.

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tbf it was a 220bhp S3. It went like the clappers but I just wasnt using it any more. No point hauling a massive great engine around if all you are going to do is pootle along at 60mph.

Massive great engine? I thought it was a 1.8 turbo, and a cracker to boot, uprated version(software only?) of one of the MkIV GTI's petrol engines.

Focuses are supposed to be very nice to drive- how does it compare to the S3 on ride quality etc?

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Massive great engine? I thought it was a 1.8 turbo, and a cracker to boot, uprated version(software only?) of one of the MkIV GTI's petrol engines.

Focuses are supposed to be very nice to drive- how does it compare to the S3 on ride quality etc?

Ive been getting about in a 2012 Seat Altea hire car, while my 09 Focus is in the body shop*.

Cant wait to get the Focus back. It drives like its on rails.

At 44k the engine has loosened up nicely, plus i use the premium grade fuel.

Makes a BIG difference.

*Focus got hit in a car park while unattended.

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Massive great engine? I thought it was a 1.8 turbo, and a cracker to boot, uprated version(software only?) of one of the MkIV GTI's petrol engines.

Focuses are supposed to be very nice to drive- how does it compare to the S3 on ride quality etc?

Well, maybe in terms of power rather than size.

It drank fuel. I got about 30 mpg driving it quite carefully but I know a couple of people who had them who were getting 27. The engine was OK and 220 is a lot of power but it was quite a heavy car with the 4wd, 1300 kg in total despite its relatively small size. I know a guy who had both an S3 and a mini cooper and said the mini cooper was much more fun to drive than the S3. The only positives I would say is that the turbo was good, no significant lag. Mine had done 140K with little problem in terms of the engine, but it was heavy on the oil (and if you put good oil into it it isn't cheap) and was showing some creaming round the oil cap that wasn't there at lower mileage which indicated to me that the head gasket was on its way out.

The focus is a much different car, you're not companring like with like. The audi was 10 years old whereas the focus is only 1 year old. I had a fiesta 10 years ago. The build quality of the ford has come on massively since then and inside it's great with a load of interesting toys. I haven't tried to throw it around in the same way as I did with the S3 so it is hard to say whether the drive is better. With the S3 the main problem was the suspension going. Every time it went back to audi and was redone it felt great, but after 6 months it was back to feeling stodgey. It was like the suspension was just not good enough to handle the bumps and bashes on the UK roads.

I think the big issue with the ford is likely to be the engine. The diesels need careful treatment if they are to last.

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Well, maybe in terms of power rather than size.

It drank fuel. I got about 30 mpg driving it quite carefully but I know a couple of people who had them who were getting 27. The engine was OK and 220 is a lot of power but it was quite a heavy car with the 4wd, 1300 kg in total despite its relatively small size. I know a guy who had both an S3 and a mini cooper and said the mini cooper was much more fun to drive than the S3. The only positives I would say is that the turbo was good, no significant lag. Mine had done 140K with little problem in terms of the engine, but it was heavy on the oil (and if you put good oil into it it isn't cheap) and was showing some creaming round the oil cap that wasn't there at lower mileage which indicated to me that the head gasket was on its way out.

The focus is a much different car, you're not companring like with like. The audi was 10 years old whereas the focus is only 1 year old. I had a fiesta 10 years ago. The build quality of the ford has come on massively since then and inside it's great with a load of interesting toys. I haven't tried to throw it around in the same way as I did with the S3 so it is hard to say whether the drive is better. With the S3 the main problem was the suspension going. Every time it went back to audi and was redone it felt great, but after 6 months it was back to feeling stodgey. It was like the suspension was just not good enough to handle the bumps and bashes on the UK roads.

I think the big issue with the ford is likely to be the engine. The diesels need careful treatment if they are to last.

I get the impression lots of people have swallowed the idea that their cars ought to be setup to handle as they would be done for a trackday, but on crappy UK roads, there's little scope for having that sort of setup without it needing adjusted a lot. Car companies love it though- lots of regular work, costly replacement parts/tyres etc. I swapped 17" wheels for 15" ones on my car(old 328i), which improved its ride and handling massively on the road. Thankfully although mine it pretty poor on fuel (32mpg average), it comes from a time when the drive to bigger and bigger wheels allied to stiffer and stiffer suspension was not as ingrained in the psyche as it is now.

Yes, Ford diesels (or their DMFs) do not have an enviable record of reliability it seems. But, if you do a lot of miles it might still work in your favour regardless, especially with the suspension and other jobs which you're no longer paying for.

How many litres of fuel do you think George is missing the tax on as a result of your move to the Focus btw?

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I get the impression lots of people have swallowed the idea that their cars ought to be setup to handle as they would be done for a trackday, but on crappy UK roads, there's little scope for having that sort of setup without it needing adjusted a lot. Car companies love it though- lots of regular work, costly replacement parts/tyres etc. I swapped 17" wheels for 15" ones on my car(old 328i), which improved its ride and handling massively on the road. Thankfully although mine it pretty poor on fuel (32mpg average), it comes from a time when the drive to bigger and bigger wheels allied to stiffer and stiffer suspension was not as ingrained in the psyche as it is now.

Yes, Ford diesels (or their DMFs) do not have an enviable record of reliability it seems. But, if you do a lot of miles it might still work in your favour regardless, especially with the suspension and other jobs which you're no longer paying for.

How many litres of fuel do you think George is missing the tax on as a result of your move to the Focus btw?

Did you go for comedy sidewall tyres/try to keep the rolling diameter the same?

The OH's Fiat has stiffened suspension and very low profile tyres - it's fun (if a little exhausting) to drive, but you do spend a lot of time hoping it's still going to be pointing in the same direction when it finally lands.

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I get the impression lots of people have swallowed the idea that their cars ought to be setup to handle as they would be done for a trackday, but on crappy UK roads, there's little scope for having that sort of setup without it needing adjusted a lot. Car companies love it though- lots of regular work, costly replacement parts/tyres etc. I swapped 17" wheels for 15" ones on my car(old 328i), which improved its ride and handling massively on the road. Thankfully although mine it pretty poor on fuel (32mpg average), it comes from a time when the drive to bigger and bigger wheels allied to stiffer and stiffer suspension was not as ingrained in the psyche as it is now.

Yes, Ford diesels (or their DMFs) do not have an enviable record of reliability it seems. But, if you do a lot of miles it might still work in your favour regardless, especially with the suspension and other jobs which you're no longer paying for.

How many litres of fuel do you think George is missing the tax on as a result of your move to the Focus btw?

Whatever the tax on £80 worth of fuel a month is.

Agree with your points re the tyres. The other thing is how ******* expensive the tyres were. For the S3 £100+ quid a pop. For the Focus £50.

I don't regret the S3, maybe kept it a little bit long, but you really have to go into owning one of those cars with your eyes open these days. Road tax, boots, fuel, oil consumption (fully synth high grade oil is not cheap), servicing costs. Xenon headlights, how much is that when one of those goes pop or the self levelling mechanism stops working.

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Car economy is not only fuel economy it is also car debt, insurance and tax and service and mot.......my car costs £500 a year all in...can do 50 odd to the gallon on a good run 1 gallon = 4.54 litres....45 litre tank....why are things so complicated? ;)

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Whatever the tax on £80 worth of fuel a month is.

Agree with your points re the tyres. The other thing is how ******* expensive the tyres were. For the S3 £100+ quid a pop. For the Focus £50.

I don't regret the S3, maybe kept it a little bit long, but you really have to go into owning one of those cars with your eyes open these days. Road tax, boots, fuel, oil consumption (fully synth high grade oil is not cheap), servicing costs. Xenon headlights, how much is that when one of those goes pop or the self levelling mechanism stops working.

Agreed. As a long-term ownership proposition, high performance motors ain't cheap. Xenons are the next scandal waiting to happen, several hundred a side on an MOT point. Nuts.

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Did you go for comedy sidewall tyres/try to keep the rolling diameter the same?

The OH's Fiat has stiffened suspension and very low profile tyres - it's fun (if a little exhausting) to drive, but you do spend a lot of time hoping it's still going to be pointing in the same direction when it finally lands.

I did indeed, although what is now considered a comedy sidewall used to be a normal size to give a decent balance of ride, performance, handling and comfort. The rears were 245/40/r17, fronts 225/45r17, both now 205/60r15.

Car manufacturers are not equipping bigger wheels and thinner tyres purely for performance, tyre manufacturers sell 'em cheap knowing they'll pick up the replacement sales. Create a fashion around having bigger wheels and people will stump up. I think it has to be one of the most pointless 'upgrades' possible, it's not even clear you get better grip either.

A look at a Formula 1 tyre and sidewall is enough to suggest high-performance is not strictly correlated with low profile tyres.

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I did indeed, although what is now considered a comedy sidewall used to be a normal size to give a decent balance of ride, performance, handling and comfort. The rears were 245/40/r17, fronts 225/45r17, both now 205/60r15.

Car manufacturers are not equipping bigger wheels and thinner tyres purely for performance, tyre manufacturers sell 'em cheap knowing they'll pick up the replacement sales. Create a fashion around having bigger wheels and people will stump up. I think it has to be one of the most pointless 'upgrades' possible, it's not even clear you get better grip either.

A look at a Formula 1 tyre and sidewall is enough to suggest high-performance is not strictly correlated with low profile tyres.

F1 cars are on 13" rims IIRC. Much of the suspension movement of the car is actually in the sidewall flex.

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A lot of the basic Foci have rather comfortable looking tyres. And I've seen a bit of a swing away from bigger wheels in reviews recently... maybe the fashion is turning back? Good thing too, given the state of our roads.

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Agreed. As a long-term ownership proposition, high performance motors ain't cheap. Xenons are the next scandal waiting to happen, several hundred a side on an MOT point. Nuts.

Do they go much? My car doesn't have them but I would (previously) have regarded them as a plus.

A lot of the basic Foci have rather comfortable looking tyres. And I've seen a bit of a swing away from bigger wheels in reviews recently... maybe the fashion is turning back? Good thing too, given the state of our roads.

Yes, please bring back high profile tyres. I like alloys over steels as it's easier to get to the valve and nuts (no wheel trims) and they mean lower unsprung weight but I do not want tyres that look like they're painted on.

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Do they go much? My car doesn't have them but I would (previously) have regarded them as a plus.

Yes, please bring back high profile tyres. I like alloys over steels as it's easier to get to the valve and nuts (no wheel trims) and they mean lower unsprung weight but I do not want tyres that look like they're painted on.

TBF, mine did not go in ten years. They last longer but cost massive amount more when they go wrong.

The trick is to make sure that when they are installed they are clean as fingerprints on the bulb causes heating which causes them to fail.

More of a problem is the levelling mechanism. This has moving parts and so is prone to breakage. I had this go twice on the audi. Often the garage does not want to play with the mechanism, so its a new headlight assembly. As you can imagine, this is not cheap.

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Do they go much? My car doesn't have them but I would (previously) have regarded them as a plus.

HID (sometimes called Xenon) lamps last ages. Typical life span of a bulb is around 5 years. Bulbs aren't particularly expensive either - £50-70 a pair for a "quality brand", or £15 a pair off ebay. Get them fitted at a garage though, and they will bend you over, because most consumers won't know which bulb to buy, and most shops won't stock them. I asked the dealer for a quote for a burned out Xenon bulb, and was quote £200 + VAT per side.

I bought a pair of China cheapies off ebay, and they're every bit as good as the OEM ones were. They've had a year of heavy use with no problems. Plus I've still got the old OEM one in reserve as a spare.

It was a bit of an effort changing the bulbs though - screenwash reservoir, air filter and air intake all had to come out to get to the bulbs. (This is a car model thing, and the same disassembly is required in the halogen lamp version - halogen lamps, I used to get through every 4-6 months - one of the costs of being a nocturnal driver).

However, it's not just the bulbs that are part of a HID headlamp system. There is a complex, 50,000 volt electronic "ballast" which is needed to operate them. On most cars, this is not replaceable without replacing the entire headlight cluster (£1000), as the ballast is sealed inside the sealed unit. (It is possible to break open the unit, replace the £100 ballast and reseal, but not many mechanics will do that for you - but if you're good with DIY...).

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There are lots of things that kill cars, especially if you can't fix it yourself. The standard HIDs for an Alfa 156 are £600 a side, even if you could buy them. They do fail (the ballasts fill with water), and having them turns a repairable front end scrape into £1200 just for the lights. Thankfully you can cram a set of cheapo eBay HIDs in there for £30, but on my new bangernomics Alfa I'm going to stick a set of Morimoto projectors in, because I can.

I agree on the low profile tyres for normal cars, but going back to "sensible" rims on the new car would mean ditching the big brakes at the front which are awesome.

Fuel economy - we now have a diesel that does 45 mpg when driven sensibly, and about 35 when driven like a loon. Given that the old car did about 22, yes George is losing out.

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Well, ditched the Audi for a Ford Focus.

The testosterone levels have gone down somewhat.

But George won't be happy, the fuel economy is 59.4 mpg and increasing as I learn how to drive it. I got half that with the Audi.

I'd imagine that your fuel economy would be a damn sight better if you slugs didn't leave that sticky slimy trail behind you everywhere you go...

:)

XYY

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My 1999 Volkswagen Bora when driving up north and back gets me over 50mpg easily.

This is on a variety of motorways, b roads, twisty stuff and a fair few hills.

Has fuel efficiency really got better ?

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I've had quite a few cars with HID lights now and they've never blown in the 2/3 years of ownership with, I would think, way above average night driving. I have had the jiggery pokery which swivels the beams, to stay on the road ahead, when you go round corners fail twice now though. The second time the car effectively went boss-eyed and was virtually impossible to drive at night. It was done both times under warranty but the guy did say it is a very expensive repair normally.

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.......and was showing some creaming round the oil cap that wasn't there at lower mileage which indicated to me that the head gasket was on its way out.

Possibly not.

I get the impression that the car was used mostly for short runs and never really got up to temperature.

I'm not 100% sure how it happens but apparently over time engine oil can get water into it from the atmosphere, it's not a problem so long at the engine is run at temperature for 15 minutes every so often to boil off the water but if you don't do this you can get the same mayonnaise effect as you'd see from a failing head gasket.

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Makes a big difference if you switch to a fuel efficient car. Most of my driving is done in an urban environment that doesn't help, Having just switched to a Peugeot 107 I am getting 63.25 mpg against the claim of 65.7 combined. These claimed combined cycles are rarely achieved in log jam Britain. My fiesta only managed 41 mpg.

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