e fill er hed the ane. es ad s iving in misery; the tyres are not pumped up for less rolling resistance, the seat heaters are on maximum, the dual-zone aircon is also circulating, and the stereo is on full bore.
Through the early morning peak over the Harbour Bridge and on to the big-rig heavy F3 to Newcastle, it’s hard to keep the revs under 2000rpm and still keep up with the traffic. But we hover around the 100km/h mark on the largely 110km/h highway run, and wait for the fuel tank to show the effects.
It doesn’t. The gauge reads full all the way to Kempsey on the NSW north coast. While the car has only one passenger, it has still taken 400km to show movement on the gauge, while the tripmeter reveals an average fuel use of 4.5 litres/100km.
Another 200km down and nearing our overnight stop at Coffs Harbour, the average drops still further to 4.4 litres/ 100km. Then the roadworks begin— long stretches of dugup tarmac, lollipop men and long red traffic lights, some at the base of steep, long inclines which wind the engine out to 3500rpm in second and kick the average fuel use up to 4.6 litres/100km in 15 minutes.
Past the Big Banana, the second bar of 12 on the fuel gauge loses its light, but there is just 400km to go and the tripmeter promises more than 700km until the tank is empty.
More roadworks, diversions and school holiday traffic, which usually consisted of slow, packed SUVs containing screaming kids and the odd screaming parent, make driving the last leg frugally a bit more of a challenge. As we enter Brisbane, the tripmeter finally slips back to 4.4 litres/100km. We end up with an average fuel figure of 4.57 litres/100km average, which is an astonishing 1.3 litres less than the claimed combined figure, and almost a litre under Hyundai’s average highway fuel claim for this car. And the drive was comfortable, pleasant and not exactly slow.
If this car— and its driver— were to perform like this every day, the annual fuel savings could creep into four figures. Going hammer and tongs about town in the i40 would probably put fuel use in the eights. The tank in our car takes 42 litres to refill, so our pleasant run to Brisbane has cost just $60. It’s somewhat embarrassing that the driver has cost more to fuel than the car.