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Trip trap

Asked by G. Jarosch

HOW accurate are trip computers and fuel gauges in modern cars? Particularly the readings a trip computer is likely to give when filling up to where you can see fuel in the filling spout. Is it possible to regularly get down to about 8.6litres/100km, as shown on the trip computer, in a 2.7-tonne diesel-powered Range Rover Sport with driver and about 100kg of cargo, doing between 90-110km/h on the speedometer -- or average speed as shown on the trip computer of 75-85km/h -- on country road trips of say greater than 70-80km non-stop, in Command Shift sixth gear? The only obvious enhancements being tyre pressures up in the high 30psi range up front and low 40 psi range at rear and precise four-wheel alignment.

Answered by CarsGuide

31 Jul 2008 Graham Smith

I CAN'T tell you how accurate trip computers are, but I am cautious about their accuracy. Nothing is 100 per cent accurate. I have had some very suspicious results from trip computers. For instance, I recently tested a new Falcon XR8 ute and the trip computer told me the average fuel consumption was 16.5 litres/100km in the week I drove it. I next tested an FPV Pursuit that had a more powerful version of the same V8, but the indicated fuel consumption was 12.5 litres/100km in similar driving conditions. Granted there were some inaccuracies in what I was doing, but I can't believe there was a difference of 4 litres/100km. I wasn't surprised the XR8 was a gas-guzzler, but I was very surprised at the economy of the Pursuit. It made me suspicious of trip-computer readings.

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