The Aerosmith song starts "You talk about things and nobody cares / You're wearing out things that nobody wears".
Well, have I been driving a thing that nobody drives. Nobody in the US, that is. I'll talk about it, too, and I don't care that you don't care. But you should care.
I've been driving a rented Golf for a week. Except that the steering wheel is on the right side of the car (more on that in another post), it's just the same as our Golf. Same sturdy seating, not overstuffed. Same ample trunk that easily fits our luggage with room to spare. Same easy handling.
However, under the hood it's a little different: it has the 1.6L diesel engine that is not for sale in the US (where the smallest engine is the 2.0L TDI). This rental car was augmented by Volkswagen's "BlueMotion" suite of technologies that boost the fuel efficiency.
I confess freely: I was lousy at hypermiling this car. The whole first day, while adjusting to the left hand drive, I drove it in lower gear than really necessary. I took it up steeper hills than at home. I threaded it through narrow roads where anything over 20mph was reckless. And one glorious coastal stretch that was actually just 0.9 lanes wide, with the rear view mirrors brushing the hedgerows on either side; I was in first gear for most of that. On the whole, not exactly hypermiling.
After about a week we filled the tank before returning it, with 29.7L of diesel, or 7.85 US gallons. We had covered 420 miles. Assuming that the previous driver had topped it off similarly, that comes to 53 mpg out of this 1.6L TDI BlueMotion Golf.
No hypermiling. No hybrid drive.
Exultation is a sweet emotion. Wish I could have bought this one in the US. Our 2.0L TDI only does 38 mpg. And is more expensive than the frugal BlueMotion version.