It's not out of the question to think that Vauxhall could win a shootout for the best fuel economy. But you'd figure the honors would be taken by something like the Ampera plug-in hybrid or one of its EcoFlex models, not the VXR8 muscle sedan, what with its huge 6.2-liter V8 engine. But it's precisely the VXR8 that took the prize at the end of the day.

The Fleet World MPG Marathon doesn't just measure overall fuel economy, but how much of an improvement over its combined city/highway rating they can eke out of a given car. The goal is to demonstrate just how much a driver and his/her driving style can effect the amount of fuel consumed.

By that standard, the VXR8 was a shocker: the vehicle is rated (on the European cycle) at 21 miles per gallon, but with Top Gear online editor Chris Mooney behind the wheel and Vauxhall's own Andrew Duerden coaching from the front passenger seat, they managed to squeeze out a much more pump-friendly 32.14 mpg – a remarkable 53-percent improvement.

Second place went to a likelier candidate in the Suzuki Swift DDiS, which managed to get an astounding 86.4 miles per (diesel) gallon on a 67.3 mpg rating for a 28.3 percent improvement over specification. Follow the jump for both press releases.
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Luton – Vauxhall's VXR8 super-saloon is the unlikely winner of the Fleet World MPG Marathon, with an astounding 53 per cent improvement on the combined figure.

Driven by Top Gear Online editor Chris Mooney with help from navigator, Andrew Duerden, Vauxhall's archivist and resident eco-driving expert, the V8-powered VXR8 registered 32.14mpg against a combined figure of 21mpg.

The Fleet World MPG Marathon is the UK longest-running economy driving event. The two-day event took place in the Cotswolds this year with separate routes covering 350 miles of countryside including a mixture of A and B roads and motorway driving.

"Andrew and I are, as they say, over the moon to win the overall best percentage improvement in the VXR8," said Chris Mooney. "It just goes to show that the person behind the wheel can make a massive difference to fuel costs and carbon emissions. And, of course, that a 6.2 litre V8 is a very sensible choice of engine in the right hands."

Chris and Andrew will pick up their trophy at a presentation at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London on Wednesday.

The VXR8 stormed back with a vengeance earlier this year, packing heavily revised front- and rear-end styling, a new cabin and a raft of new technology to enhance its appeal to drivers in search of one of the last, great rear-drive V8 super-saloons.

Class win with 28 per cent improvement on official combined figure

Suzuki's latest addition to the Swift range, the 1.3-litre DDiS, took part in the recent 2011 MPG Marathon and has achieved a spectacular result ranking second overall in the competition. The new Swift with 67PS diesel engine was driven by Southern Group Regional journalists Dave Randle and Peter Cracknell and achieved an overall fuel consumption figure of 86.40mpg, winning the class 3 category for percentage improvement over the official combined fuel consumption figure.

The Swift achieved an overall improvement of 28.3 per cent on the combined figure of 67.3mpg with a second DDiS driven by last year's class winners Dave Moss and Mike Hull not far behind either with a very impressive 25.8 per cent (84.6mpg).

The MPG Marathon; organised annually by Fleet World magazine took 37 competing vehicles on a challenging 372-mile route designed to reflect normal daily driving conditions and included major roads, motorways and dual carriageways. The Swift used just 19.6 litres of fuel on the route.

Speaking about the event, Dale Wyatt, Director Sales and Marketing commented; "The 2011 MPG Marathon has again been an excellent opportunity to showcase Suzuki's commitment to producing fuel efficient, cleaner cars and this event has certainly endorsed that."

The Swift is one of the cleanest cars in the Supermini sector with emissions of 109 g/km for the DDiS model and only 116g/km for the 1.2-litre petrol engine; it also offers low cost of ownership from its £20 annual VED charge and group 8E insurance. Until the end of the year the Swift range is available with no VAT payable which means that Swift SZ2 three-door 1.2-litre petrol now costs just £8,880. The 1.3 DDiS model is available as a five-door model in SZ3 trim at £11,125 representing a customer saving of £1,855.

To find out more about the Suzuki automobiles range, visit

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