Volkswagen diesel cars: Going the distance has never been easier

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Participating Eco Fun Run vehicles line up at the Shell gas station along C5 Road while waiting to top up with Shell V-Power Nitro+ Diesel fuel.

Participating Eco Fun Run vehicles line up at the Shell gas station along C5 Road while waiting to top up with Shell V-Power Nitro+ Diesel fuel.

Volkswagen is known worldwide as the authority in clean diesel engines. After introducing the TDI (turbocharged direct injection) technology back in 1989, the German marque has developed and produced more powerful and fuel-efficient power plants releasing less pollutants in the atmosphere.

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The TDI technology is a proprietary turbo-diesel engine design of the Volkswagen Group that features turbo-charging and cylinder-direct fuel injection. Aside from having a significantly higher torque than comparable gas-fed engines, this clean diesel technology has lower CO2 emissions and gives 30 percent better fuel economy making fuel station stops few and far between.

To prove how fuel efficient their cars are, Volkswagen Philippines through Automobile Central Enterprises Inc. (ACEI), organized a fuel economy run using three of their diesel powered models including the VW Polo with manual transmission, the VW Jetta with manual transmission and the VW Tiguan with automatic transmission. Motoring journalists (with some who make careers out of fuel economy driving) were invited to take part in the VW Eco Fun Run. The fuel-economy challenge would entail a 150-kilometer drive from the ACEI dealership at The Fort in Taguig, all the way down to Batangas and back.

A total of nine VW vehicles (three similar vehicles of each model) were used in the challenge with Energy Efficiency and Conservation Division officials of the Department of Energy (DoE) Genevieve Almonares Marlon Domingo present to document and officiate the event. Providing juice to the event is Shell’s V-Power Nitro+ Diesel, which has been proven to work best together with the VW TDI diesel engines.

Being ACEI’s first major ride and drive event in the country, ACEI head honchos John Philip Orbeta and Klaus Shadewald were on hand to welcome the media participants. The Fun Run organizers, Marketing Director Arnel Doria together with Communications Head Timmy Naval-de Leon, also made sure that the event went well by pairing up the best driver/co-driver combination and assigning them to the vehicle that best suited their driving styles.

Competing in the VW Polo category were the pairings of: The Manila Standard’s Dino Directo and Power Wheel’s Olson Camacho; Speed Magazine’s Mike Potenciano and Lindy Pellicer; and C! Magazine’s Angel Romero and Turbo Zone’s Greg Alcober.

In the VW Jetta TDI the tandems were: Philippine Star’s Ulysses Ang and Power Wheels’ Neil Pagulayan; Top Gear’s Niky Tamayo and STV’s Jerry Ann; and Auto Review’s Ronald De Los Reyes and Business Mirror’s Kris Lim.

For the Tiguan category the tandems were: Gadgets’ Mika David and Business World’s Zsarlene Chua; PDI’s Tessa Salazar and Inside Motoring’s Love Tiuseco; and Manila Bulletin’s Iñigo Roces and this writer.

Before the challenge flagged off, Aftersales Director Mar Afable provided the participants with insights on the TDI technology and gave some tips on how to get the most out of the VW diesel engines. The tips include: Think ahead to save. Aggressive driving – stomping on the gas, changing lanes, constantly braking and accelerating increases fuel; Switch gears earlier, fill up later. Drive in the highest gear possible. Shift into third gear at 30 KPH: early shifting saves fuel; Let the car roll – Use overrun fuel cutoff. The overrun fuel cutoff feature interrupts fuel supply to the engine so that not a single drop of fuel is used. The best time to apply this clever little method is when you’re going downhill or approaching a red light, which is when you can also benefit from the engine’s braking effect; Comfort high, fuel consumption low. Use auxiliary equipment in moderation. Control your air conditioner’s temperature – it could save you up to half a gallon of gas; Savings are in the air. Inflate your tires to the proper pressure; A warm engine is a cool way to save. Making lots of short trips can increase your fuel consumption so avoid short trips; Use low-viscosity, high-grade oils. The sooner your engine is lubricated, the sooner it will lower emissions. Low-viscosity oils do this better than any other type of oil. The right oil will save you money and reduce emissions;

Don’t be a drag. Maintain your car’s aerodynamic profile. Avoid adding bike racks, ski racks and roof boxes which increase drag and have a negative effect on your car’s aerodynamics; Less weight, more savings. Every pound of cargo costs you fuel. For example–a weight of 100 kilograms can increase fuel consumption by up to .10 gallons per 100 kms., so be sure to inspect the contents of your car on a regular basis.

After the official flag-off, all nine cars proceeded to the Shell gas station along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to the top-off with fuel and commence with the Eco Fun Run. All of the participants were instructed not to turn off the air conditioners and not to go below or above the set speed limits so as not to endanger themselves as well as other motorists.

From there, the cars all ran at an average speed of 80 KPH along the SLEX and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) highway—exiting at Lipa, Batangas. All the participants had to crawl at a snail’s pace of at least eight kilometers until reaching the first of two Shell station checkpoints. All of the vehicle’s odometer readings were recorded and fuel topped off before proceeding further down Balete, Batangas for lunch.

A big spread was prepared by VW at Cintai Corito’s Garden which is a Balinese-inspired sanctuary. After the sumptuous lunch, the participants headed back to Manila, retracing the same route, and checking it at the Shell station along C-5 Road just before the Bonifacio Global City to top-off once again and get the final distance traveled reading. From there, the teams drove back to the VW dealership and waited for the final computation of the Eco Fun Run.

With all the data in and all the numbers tallied for the 150-kilometer drive, the VW Jetta proved to be the most economical of the batch after posting an average consumption of 29.47 kilometers per liter of Shell V-Power Nitro+ diesel fuel. Recording this feat was the tandem of Ronald delos Reyes and Kris Lim. For the VW Polo Sedan, the tandem of Angel Rivero and Greg Alcober recorded a remarkable record of 18.39 kilometers traveled for every liter of diesel. Meanwhile, the team of Tessa Salazar and Love Tiuseco achieved an amazing 27.39 kilometers per liter on the much hunkier VW Tiguan.

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