GOING THE DISTANCE

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Peugeot’s local outfit, Eurobrands Distributor Inc., lined up 10 3008s to show how little diesel each one needs. Chosen fuel pumps were those of Total’s, a
company inextricably tied to the Peugeot brand. You see, both are French.

PEUGEOT has just taken on Le Mans for the umpteenth time and given multiple world rally champion Sebastien Loeb a sweet ride in which to obliterate the speed record at legendary Pikes Peak, so in terms of sporting credentials the French carmaker is truly worth its truffles.

For its road cars though—people-haulers, in particular—it’s fuel consumption that hogs the USP column in the brochure.

To be precise, it’s how little fuel its people-haulers sip, and at a recent event held locally, it’s how miserly the Peugeot 3008 MPV that was pointed out.

Eurobrands Distributor Inc. (EDI), which sells Peugeot in the Philippines, staged a contest to see just how prudent at burning diesel the 3008 can be in a drive that started from a Total service station in Filinvest, Alabang, rolled across the length of the South Luzon Expressway all the way to Lipa, Batangas, then back to Total. That covered a distance of 166 kilometers, with the trip taken at a little past the weekday-morning rush hour.

To make the highway run as similar as possible to how a 3008 would normally be driven by someone who is not locked in a contest with 18 other journalists aboard nine 3008s, EDI set the cars’ air-conditioning to 21 degrees in lowest fan setting. The participants were also ordered to stick above the expressway’s minimum speed limit, as well as to a duration period in which to complete the trip. To ensure no funny business took place, an EDI representative sat in each car to play backseat driver and to record the data logged by the 3008’s trip and fuel consumption computer. At the Total station, the cars were brimmed before they took off then filled again upon their return. The computer data and amount of fuel loaded at the pumps at the end of the trip were then cross-referenced to determine which of the 10 3008s consumed the least.

The results? Two pairings clocked a reading of 29.4 kilometers per liter (kpl) at the end of a one-way run across the expressway. In overall consumption (Filinvest to Lipa then back to Filinvest), the third-best recorded was 25.7kpl and the second was 26.3kpl. The top mileage was 26.9kpl, which I set with Jennifer Bleza, producer at Sunshine TV, acting as navigator. Keeping the driving smooth, a soft, consistent touch on the accelerator, building momentum on downhill portions in anticipation of the uphill parts, and trying to maintain momentum every meter of the way were all that were needed to keep fuel use down. Driving at a constant 60kph to 70kph on the expressway, I found out through the car’s computer, was the sweet spot for the 3008.

Tech within
Of course, the technology within the 3008’s power plant is key to such miserly ways. Peugeot has fitted the car’s 1.6-liter, 110-horsepower, 270-Newton-meter, turbo-charged diesel-burning mill with what it calls “Micro-hybrid technology,” which uses high-pressure direct fuel injection—or e-HDi, in Peugeot-speak. Basically, the system works as a start-stop device that automatically switches the engine off when the car stops for a few seconds, then uses its combined starter/alternator as a power source when the engine is not ticking and when it’s time to restart it. This earns the carmaker the right to attach the “hybrid” tag to the 3008’s power plant.

Peugeot reckons that its system reduces fuel requirements by up to 50 percent, leading to CO2 emissions that could be also half as less compared to that managed by an equally sized gasoline-fed car. And helping out further in this regard is Peugeot’s Diesel Particulate Filter, which the carmaker said can spew up to five grams less CO2 for every kilometer traveled.

Well, the proof of all this is in the driving. And the 3008 did deliver convincingly.

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