Amon shows advantages of an EnergyWise old head

New Zealand's Chris Amon was regarded as one of the quickest drivers in the world of Formula One in the 1960s and 1970s - now he can lay claim to being the leanest, meanest and greenest driver in New Zealand.

Amon won the 2004 EnergyWise Rally the other day, an indirect, four-day Auckland-Wellington-Auckland journey of 1617km designed to highlight the low fuel consumption of modern cars in real-world driving conditions.

The first EnergyWise rally was held in 2002. One of the rules of the event is that the cars must be driven in a manner that reflects normal driving conditions on New Zealand roads. It is not a snail's pace economy run, nor a sprint.

Amon, piloting a 1.5-litre, petrol-electric Toyota Prius sedan, used his considerable skills to average 4.02 litres/100km, or 70.3mpg.

In second place was Christchurch motoring writer Brian Cowan, also in a hybrid Prius.

Cowan - a winner in the nationally televised IQ test earlier this year - recorded 4.39 litres/100km, or 64.4mpg.

He dead-heated with the thriftiest petrol-powered vehicle, a 1-litre Daihatsu Charade hatchback driven by another motoring writer, Jacqui Madelin.

But the car that unofficially took second place overall was a 1.5-litre turbodiesel Hyundai Getz.

The oil-burning version of the Korean company's small hatchback isn't sold in New Zealand and was imported specially for the rally. It recorded 4.18 litres/100km. or 67.5mpg. Hyundai is now evaluating it for sale here.

The next best diesel was the 2-litre Peugeot 307, with 4.61 litres/100km (61.3mpg) followed by the 1.9-litre Skoda Fabia RS with 4.79 litres/100km (59.0mpg) and the 2-litre Volkswagen Golf with 5.22 litres/100km (54.2mpg).

The sportiest car in the 36-vehicle field, a 1.8-litre Lotus Elise, returned 5.69 litres/100km (49.7mpg).

In the large/luxury category, the 3-litre Honda Accord did 7.66 litres/100km (36.9mpg), the 3.6-litre VZ Holden Commodore 8.24 litres/100km (34.3mpg) and 4-litre Ford Falcon XR6 9.75 litres/100km (29.0mpg). The 3.2-litre V6 Mercedes-Benz S320 turbodiesel swallowed 6.46 litres/100km (43.7mpg),

Of the four-wheel-drives, the 2.9-litre turbodiesel Hyundai Terracan did 7.29 litres/100km (38.8mpg) and the 2.5-litre VW Touareg 8.25 litres/100km (34.2mpg). The 4-litre petrol-powered Ford Territory consumed 10.21 litres/100km (27.7mpg). The results are at

* The Herald's motoring editor, Alastair Sloane, missed this year's rally, after winning the four-wheel-drive category in 2002. He was overseas at the wheel of the new VW Golf GTi. His report on the hot new hatchback will appear next week.

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