50 mpg from a medium sized SUV

50 mpg from a medium sized SUV
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December 12, 2006 Danish-born eco adventurer Hans Tholstrup has a way of creating publicity. It’s how he first came to public prominence when he circumnavigated Australia in a 16 foot open boat but his motorsport exploits, his creation of the World Solar Challenge and more recently his ability to coax extraordinary fuel consumption from an automobile just keep the eco warrior in the spotlight. This week he did it again when attempting the 1400km trip from Adelaide to Sydney without refuelling the car’s standard 75 litre tank. Tholstrup arrived in Sydney still with a quarter of a tank of gas so he pressed on north, eventually finishing in Port Macquarie, 1776.6 kilometres from the start. The Hyundai Santa Fe CRDi Turbo-Diesel he was driving averaged 4.67 litres/100km (50.4 mpg), an astoundingly frugal figure for a 1.9 tonne, medium-sized AWD SUV which can seat seven.

The figure is based on the tank’s actual capacity of 83.15 litres, achievable with very patient pumping.

The trip took in five Hyundai dealer/media stops which included battling out through metro Sydney's Pacific Highway and similarly threading into and out of metro Newcastle, not bypassing it. Cruise speed on the flat was around 85—90 km/h and 100 plus downhill and when followed by press-on pantechs on single lane highway stretches.

“With its latest high-technology turbo-diesel, Hyundai’s Santa Fe CRDi is the clear leader in the now critical fuel economy stakes among softroader AWDs. Its competitors — all petrol-powered — cannot match its frugality,” said Hans Tholstrup.

“Santa Fe CRDi demonstrates better than any other SUV that the latest, high technology diesel engines are the most appropriate response to the volatile cost of petrol and CO©˜ emissions from petrol engines, especially in larger, heavier 4WD vehicles. They make more sense than high-priced electric/petrol hybrids which still have costly and unresolved battery replacement and disposal issues.”

Hans drove a completely standard Santa Fe SX CRDi manual with no special preparation apart from its sealed fuel filler.

Hyundai’s Santa Fe CRDi is the first to offer a diesel engine in the urban-friendly ‘softroader’ AWD (All-Wheel-Drive) SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) class in the Australian car market.

This formerly burgeoning class of car, which was superseding the traditional family sedan or wagon, has itself lost impetus since the recent fuel price hikes because with petrol engines and weights up to and over two tonnes, they cost too much to run for many motorists.

The Santa Fe CRDi (Common-Rail Direct injection) introduces the latest clean, quiet and smokeless turbo-diesel technology to the class which can:

* cut fuel use by up to close on half that of its petrol-powered competitors, * better the fuel economy of the electric/petrol hybrid Lexus RX400h, * deliver stronger acceleration * enhance towing performance with very moderate fuel use, and * emit much less CO©˜ than any of its petrol competitors.

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