Fuel consumption and CO2 figures are obtained under standardised EU test conditions (Directive 93/116/EEC). This allows a direct comparison between different manufacturer models but may not represent the actual fuel consumption achieved in ‘real world’ driving conditions.

In order to maintain strict comparability of results achieved by the standard tests they cannot be fully representative of real-life driving conditions. Firstly, it is not practicable to test each individual new car; thus only one production car is tested as being representative of the model and may therefore produce a better or worse result than another similar vehicle. Secondly, there are infinite variations in driving styles and in road, car and weather conditions, all of which can have a bearing on the results achieved. For these reasons the consumption achieved on the road will not necessarily accord with the official test results.

How is the fuel consumption test conducted?

The test is outlined in Directive 93/116/EC as amended by Regulation (EC) 692/2008, and provides results that are more representative of actual average on-road fuel consumption than previous tests. There are two parts: an urban and an extra-urban cycle. The cars tested have to be run-in and must have been driven for at least 1,800 miles (3,000 kilometres) before testing.

Urban Cycle

The urban test cycle is carried out in a laboratory at an ambient temperature of 20 to 30 degrees on a rolling road from a cold start, i.e. the engine has not run for several hours. The cycle consists of a series of accelerations, steady speeds, decelerating and idling. Maximum speed is 31mph (50km/h), average speed 12mph (19km/h) and the distance covered is 2.5 miles (4km).

Extra-Urban Cycle

This cycle is conducted immediately following the urban cycle and consists of roughly half steady-speed driving and the remainder accelerations, decelerations, and some idling. Maximum speed is 75mph (120km/h), average speed is 39mph (63 km/h) and the distance covered is 4.3miles (7km).

Combined Fuel Consumption Figure

The combined figure presented is for the urban and extra-urban cycle together. It is therefore an average of the two parts of the test, weighted by the distances covered in each part. 

Additional information can be found at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/vca/