The Preparation

23rd February, at 11pm our team conveyed in Klang and loaded up. With cameras charged, energy drinks stored, and loaded with coffee, we set off.

Our first task was to empty the cars tank. By the time we hit the Petron fuel station along KESAS, the fuel warning light was already on. We brimmed the tank full at 45 liter’s of RON 95 petrol. The theoretical capacity of the tank is 50 liter’s for this car. So it’s safe to assume there should be at least 5 liter’s of fuel in the tank already before we fuelled up. This is without factoring the fuel stored in the fuel lines from the inlet to the actual tank.

We didn’t bother with the tyre pressures because on visual inspection they looked fine, and when was the last time the average Malaysians checked their tyre pressures diligently?

The final part was the start time. 12 midnight was, to be honest 1 hour late from our initial plan, but still gave us the right leverage on traffic that we needed. Theoretically, we estimated our time of arrival in Penang to be about 4.30am, which gives us enough time to make a turnaround and cross the Penang boarder by 6.30am. This area gets busy with traffic therefore a quick escape will allow us to avoid getting caught.

Not to mention driving in the dark provides the following advantages;

1. Lesser traffic equals lesser risk of collision from tired motorists
2. Cooler air equals better combustion
3. Cooler environment equals less stress on the driver. Nobody likes to drive under the heat.

So with a full tank of fuel, saved YouTube videos running, we trekked towards the island of Penang. At that point, the indicated range was 680KM……. not good……

Penang

There were no customary ferry rides for us this time to Penang Island, it was straight on the bridge. We had already lost time due to a crawl caused by an accident just before the Kedah / Penang boarder at about 4.30am. And yes I did mention that we ate at Bukit Merah, but it would be a real sin if we had come to Penang and not have Nasi Kandar. This goes against every rule in the Hypermiling rule book!

However, with the right car and some basic techniques, you can achieve real good consumption even on your daily drives.

1. Correct tyre pressure – good tyre pressure reduces rolling resistance and it helps with even wear on your tyre. Lower resistance, lesser work on the engine to make your car move.
2. Be light footed – Don’t ‘Negaraku’ on the throttle, especially on today’s modern, turbocharged and direct injection car like this. The torque will come in gently and before you know it, you’re moving faster than you require, at almost half the fuel amount!
3. No sudden brakes – It helps when you’re concentrating on the road ahead and avoid sudden braking. Losing all the speed will require to accelerate again, more fuel wasted. Maintain a safe distance and coast with a steady momentum. You will be surprised how good an FC figure you can chalk up.

The best thing about the above 3 rules is that it will help you drive safer too. How about that for a Buy 1 free 1 deal right?

The quick dash across the island gave us time to test out how effective the Start Stop system was. Usually stop lights gobble up fuel mercilessly as you and the car sit idling away. This time though the engine is eerily quiet and no fuel is fired into the combustion chamber as we wait for the lights to turn green!

After some wandering we settled for the rather empty Nasi Kandar Beratur as the other shops were doing their routine cleaning. Only issue was, it has to be the worst Nasi Kandar I’ve had in years. Maybe it was the wrong time of the day, or the wrong shop, but this was bad.

With that disappointment, we turned back with 400km done to head towards KL again. It was 6.30 am and soon this region will be filled with commuters, so we made our escape quick. On the bright side though, just after Sungai Perak R & R, with the fuel tank indicator at half tank, we clocked the 500th km. This was promising news indeed!

Taiping to KL

We really had an uphill task here. Our indicated range shows that we will run dry at about 890km at Taiping. Our fuel consumption average has bumped up to 5.3l / 100km at that point. To make matters worse, the hot temperature was not in favour of the turbocharged engine, where we found our instant FC figures to be higher than the earlier shift. Traffic had also started to build. It came down to us as Route Hunters to pull this off.

With me behind the wheel this time, I was giving it my all in terms of concentration and right foot finesse. I had to maintain the low 4.0’s to really reel in back the fuel consumption figures. After 2 and a half hours of hard work, I manage to up the range to 240km, where it sat there for quite a while. I had to remind myself that it’s not the end of the world, we could pull it off, but the odds were against us.

Each pee stop was bad news, and we needed a few of them. Lots of fluids to help drive under the hot Malaysian afternoon equals lots of pit stops. It was quite a weird sensation to have not visited the fuel pump despite making a round trip from Penang. About 1.40pm we passed the Sg Buloh R & R and headed straight into the NKVE.

KL to Finish Point

We needed a couple of more KM before we hit the 100km mark. Our assumption was if we head straight to Pulau Indah and proceed on the SKVE to Putrajaya, we can easily find the missing mileage. And at 3pm, the traffic will be quite conducive to pull this task off.

So dreary, tired, fatigued, we headed into Port Klang to proceed toward Pulau Indah and the SKVE. Unfortunately whilst on the overhead bridge that links KESAS to the Shapadu highway, the fuel light comes on. To add insult to injury, there was an accident where a trailer had dumped its cargo on the road. We were done for right here. Since the start stop system doesn’t work when the weather is hot, I resorted to manually turning off the engine whilst waiting in traffic.

As traffic eased, we aborted the plan to head towards the SKVE. It was becoming obvious that we were never going to achieve the 1190km range today. Since that ship had sailed, I figured it would be good for me to find out how far I can actually stretch the mileage on the car with the remaining fuel.

It would be sweet to hit anything above 950km, but at this point, the fuel warning light had buzzed twice and the indicator lighting up in yellow. The final few hours was like the Apollo 13’s return flight. It would be really embarrassing to break down in the middle of KESAS with a brand new car. Not to mention the uncomfortable explanation process we would have to give Nasim on why their car’s stranded in the middle of the highway.

I was trying to coax every last mile from the available fuel when the yellow fuel warning light started blinking. This was getting serious. There was no indicated range on the on board screen. I called up Nasim to tell us how far we can go with the light blinking. Although they said 30km, I had my doubts as the distance would be too much to stretch to the Petron on KESAS. It was really hard to decide.

The Task: Route Hunters style

Well, we Route Hunters did precisely the opposite to the hypermiling rule. We loaded the car up with 260kg worth of passengers and cargo. Our air-conditioning was working all the time, at full blast during mid-day. And we were stupid enough to make two detours. One into Penang at about 5am. The other into Taiping at 10am.

Our justification was simple. We believed in the car, and more importantly, we believed in our ability to reign back our right foot. Miles of throttle modulation, and hours of mental stamina during hard driving had prepared us to pull this arduous and ambitious task. The rationale is, if the car could pull this task off in less than ideal condition, sure as hell the mileage claim will be legit. 

Penang to Tapah

This is where we realized we would have a new dilemma. We had 400km to drive south, which means we would arrive in KL at 10 am thereabouts. Which means a total of 800km would have been covered. We can get 200km driving around the ring roads between Klang, Putrajaya, KL and to Glenmarie. But there’s an issue, we would hit Rawang at 9am, when traffic is heavy and all the ring roads would require us to brave through some pretty congested roads. We had to turn around and add the miles on empty motorways. The stretch between Tapah to Taiping seemed ideal, so we did precisely that.

We had to encounter the Menora tunnel again, but we had cracked the code for this mountain and we were prepared the 2nd time around. The idea is to maintain a high speed going up so that the car holds on to 6th gear, and then coast without throttle on the way down. Its easy to make the turns in this car at speed, it is a Peugeot after all. The trick is to anticipate the road and traffic in front of you to ensure you can maintain the momentum going up.

Another tip for hypermiling. Modern fuel injection engines can run on zero fuel input whilst going downhill, so don’t slot it on neutral. An engine would require fuel to idle, so keep it in gear. Let the engine do the braking and maintain the speed. Saves your brakes and you won’t need to accelerate.

Taiping

We are truly mad. Taiping is not known for traffic but entering an urban area during a hypermiling challenge was completely bonkers. But the prospect of some good shuteye and Taiping food was too much to resist. Plus killing time here would also help with gaining back the miles that we could lose sitting in traffic in KL. A quick drive into town, we got ourselves freshened up and took a quick powernap to get some stamina back.

Hypermiling at this scale can be really hard on the mind and body. Every little bit of rest that one can muster is vital to ensure the task is well executed. Despite changing drivers, we do not want to take unnecessary risks. The roads we are on are not closed for this purpose, its open and shared by the members of the public. It’s not only our safety at stake, but all the other fellow motorists who we are sharing the roads with.

After a hearty lunch, we proceeded towards KL. By then the range has taken a heavy hit. The trip meter indicated an estimated range of 210km. We had only clocked 670 plus km. Not good. 

The Car

The Peugeot 208 PureTech, Nasim’s latest introduction to the Malaysian market, sports a 1.2 litre turbocharged 3 cylinder engine. And on first glance, it has the right ingredients. A frugal but powerful engine that does not need to be revved for power, a light body, a big tank (50 liters) and a well-spaced (ratio wise) gearbox.

The output; 112 PS at 5500 rpm and, get this, 205Nm from just 1500rpm. Although that’s 10 PS less than the outgoing 1.6 VTi engine, it’s a massive 45 Nm torque boost. And it’s a 6 speed auto box now versus the old cars 4 speed. Let me put this into perspective, 200Nm in a car that weighs less than 1200 kg is like a sheep, but an infected sheep from Zombieland. Tuners heads up!

Compared to the rest of the field, this is how the 208 Pure Tech stacks up

The Task: Hypermiling

Hypermiling, a method of driving used to get the best fuel mileage from a car. Usually the rules of engagement includes no air-condition (reduce load on engine), least amount of weight in car, pumped up tyres, with steady and consistent driving (read: highway) for a while. A really long while.  

This is what we needed to do in order to prove that the new Peugeot 208 PureTech could indeed, do 1000km on a single tank of fuel. Nasim Sdn Bhd, local Peugeot dealers claimed that the 208 PureTech could do 1190km on a single tank of fuel. That’s a bold claim for this segment, and when the good people at Nasim offered us the car and suggested to take up the challenge of clocking at least 1000km, we could not resist the temptation. Let the games begin!

*only the 208 scores 5 stars on both the Euro NCAP and ASEAN NCAP tests, the other cars scores are for the ASEAN NCAP only

So in the marketplace, its priced right amongst its rivals, with the safest structure, biggest tank, lowest claimed consumption and a whole lot of torque compared to its rivals (60Nm more to be precise!). This car is so multi-talented in so many ways that I will do a separate review on it. But for now, we have established that it has the right ingredients to set the highest range in its class for a full tank of fuel. 

We are done

In the interest of sensibility, we threw in the towel at Bukit Tinggi, Klang. We were done. At 939 km, the barely run in 208 Pure Tech with 260kg ballast and urban commute, had achieved a feat that’s not even theoretically possible by its rivals.

We had tried to maximise everything on the last leg, but the detour into Taiping had proven too much for this mighty machine.

Had we spent more time on the highway, I would imagine the returns would be somewhere in the high 900’s, about 980 or 990km.

Whichever way you want to put it, we were mighty pleased with this results and so were the boys at Nasim. That would be sufficient for today. 

Conclusion

After spending 16 hours in this car, this is what we have found. The 1.2 liter 3 cylinder PureTech from Peugeot is a really amazing engine. With the current rise of fuel price, this car can help you get significant savings on your fuel bills. It’s very well optimized for urban driving.

We did not hit the magic 1000km on the trip meter, but 939km on a barely run in car (500km on the clock when we took the car) with full load and making two pit stops into two different towns is a really tall order. Understand that none of its rival’s THEORETICAL range come close to this, while we have manage to prove real world results, with real world driving.

1000km range is possible in this car, but it would take a whole lot of work. 800km on a highway cruise is a very safe and comfortable range that this car can produce, which for 40 odd liters is amazing. And the best part it you don’t pay a performance penalty for the consumption, the car is powerful enough to outrun most of the D segment sedans.

All in all, if you’re an urban commuter who’s looking for a very safe car with good performance and outstanding fuel consumption figures all for under RM 90k, look no further. Stay tuned for our full video of our expedition coming out this week!

On the Road: The task begins

The journey we had plot would take us all the way to the north of the Peninsular. We had considered multiple routes for this journey, one from KL to Johor, the other to Kuala Terengganu and back and the 3rd option, North and back.

Factors that we considered were traffic, gradient and safety. The route to Kuala Terengganu would be ideal, since it’s pretty empty and we would get a really good distance. However since the end of this route would be the dreaded Karak highway, we voted against it. Not to mention the route being really deserted should there be any incidents.

The same goes to the southern route, it’s more crowded during the middle of the day since its more commuter centric than the north. Since the mission was to maximize the mileage without being too clinical about it, we figured avoiding the congested routes would be the fair move.

Crossing Rawang

When we started from the KESAS highway just after the HICOM intersection (towards Subang), our on board trip showed an indicated 680km. Of course, in my experience as a 208 GTi owner, I know that this number can quickly increase or stay the same for a very long time if driven carefully. However making up a 320km deficit seemed overtly ambitious.

This is where the fun starts. Upon crossing the Rawang exit, the estimated range jumps up to 800 plus km. That’s an additional 120 km plus spike AFTER driving for about 50 km. The rest of the journey was pretty much a game of chasing numbers there onwards.

The on board computer is unable to display your live consumption reading in the display between the speedo and rev gauges like in the GTi, which was a little annoying to me. I had to alternate between the live FC reading and the overall average FC menu from the central screen.

I could monitor the range from the trip meter on the meter gauge display though, which helped. I needed to clock 500km on the half tank mark, which would mean that our 1000km test would be possible. 

Ipoh and the Jelapang Tunnel

We reached Ipoh at about 2.36am. At this point the fuel needle dipped just below the first marker, with 204km clocked. In order to reach 500km at the half tank mark, we must clock 125km per marker. This was good news indeed! We had averaged 5.1 liters / 100km and 91kmh at this point. But it was not over yet, we had to do the steep climb on to the Menora Tunnel. If that was not enough, we also had to witness the horrendous express bus crash that took place in the opposite direction of the highway. With traffic building up on the northbound side, our progress was marred and our consumption figures worsened. At the other side of the tunnel we clocked 248km with the consumption bumped up to 5.2l/100km. It was a hit to our figure, but not as bad as we expected.

Taiping to Penang

By about 3 pm plus we were rolling past Taiping towards Penang. The road has levelled up and the traffic has started reducing more and more. We settled in for the night run as we crunched mile after mile.

At this point is when we started to detail more and more about the 208 PureTech’s consumption patterns. Prior to the test, I have had a whole lot of criticism regarding the claimed range of the car, claiming that it’s impossible to achieve. The more I drove it the more I begin to realize the possible cause of the problem. The torque from the car is really addictive, and we tend to accelerate longer and harder than required due to that. Nothing wrong with that, you still get a decent fuel consumption figures, but that’s no way to try to achieve 1000km on a single tank of fuel.

The trick here is to quickly go through the gears and sit on 6th gear at about 95 to 102 kph. The best fuel consumption averages are returned this way. We have seen the live FC figures drop as low as 3.5l/100km when coasting on the highway.

At 3.30am we stopped to empty our filled up tanks and to grab a quick meal and a cup of coffee. The Bukit Merah R & R stop was 283km from our start point. We had used a quarter tank of fuel, and 283km under the belt. This looked promising so we were quite motivated.