Automaker Embraces Honest Approach to Fuel-Efficiency Figures
All car manufacturers provide information on the expected fuel consumption levels that their various models can achieve.
However in recent years there has been criticism of the fact that real-world performance often fails to live up to idealised efficiency ratings boasted about in sales brochures.
Now one company is attempting to change this state of affairs and ultimately improve the reputation of the industry as a whole in the process. PSA, the company behind French car brands Peugeot and Citroen, is taking a stand by making information on fuel consumption available in full, giving customers a more accurate picture of what they can expect.
Interestingly, the company has also provided data sourced from a survey of its customers, and there are some disparities between how certain models perform.
While just three of PSA’s cars are covered, it could set a precedent which will lead other manufacturers to follow suit. And the group is already in a strong position thanks to the fact that on average its vehicles are the greenest that are currently built in Europe, according to Auto Car.
A Peugeot 308, Citroen Grand C4 Picasso and DS 3 were all tested as part of this project, with the combined fuel consumption figures displayed alongside the results reported from real-world tests. What makes these figures even more interesting is the fact that each of the cars in question is powered by an identical 1.6 litre engine with BlueHDi technology on board, enabling easy comparison of efficiency.
The official combined fuel consumption of the 308 is listed as being 88.3 miles per gallon, which is an unquestionably impressive figure which makes this family car sound both eco-friendly and affordable to run. By comparison, the real-world consumption of 56.5mpg is a little less impressive, although still decent overall.
This is the only model for which the real-world test tallied exactly with reports from 308 owners. And it is worth pointing out that the two independent organisations which put the vehicles through their paces did so by replicating the conditions of genuine usage - using motorways across the continent, adding in passengers and luggage and using onboard services such as air conditioning.
The larger Grand C4 Picasso is clearly incapable of matching the efficiency of its smaller counterpart using the same engine, but the real-world 50.4mpg achieved is surprisingly close while still being a long way from the stated 70.62mpg claimed by the manufacturer.
Customers reported that their own Grand C4 Picassos were on average more efficient than the real-world tests suggest, perhaps indicating that there are still some kinks that need to be worked out as this type of testing becomes more common.
The DS 3 has a lower combined efficiency rating of 78.5mpg, according to official figures, but when put under the scrutiny of experts using emissions-measuring software, it actually managed to outperform the 308 and get 57.6mpg on the road.
Later in 2016 a number of other models which the PSA Group is responsible for producing will also be accompanied by similarly detailed data on efficiency, empowering buyers to make an informed decision rather than having to rely on the misleading figures included in marketing material as a guide.
Peugeot, Citroen and Renault sit at the top of the emissions rankings in the EU at the moment, making cars sold by these brands more environmentally friendly and efficient than equivalent models from rivals. And now that PSA is bringing a degree of extra transparency to the reporting of fuel consumption, motorists in the UK may have even more reason to consider its products.
Trust in car manufacturers has been shaken in the wake of the VW emissions scandal, so there is very much a need for these companies to show that they are changing their ways and dealing with customers more honestly, rather than fiddling the figures to hide the truth about their vehicles.