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My daily drive is a 2021 Kia Sonet Turbo DCT that's done around 10,000km, and I'm getting poor fuel efficiency. Your reports suggest that it should return 11.6kpl, however I've never seen a figure higher than 7kpl in the city. I've taken the car to the service centre multiple times, but each time they inspect the car, they tell me that it is perfectly fine. Please help.

Kapil, Mumbai

Autocar India says: Autocar India's fuel efficiency tests have been consistent for years and these instrumented tests are performed in fixed city and highway cycles with the cars in their most efficient setting (Eco mode, if any), with the climate control and other electronics running. Throughout our tests, there is just one person in the car, and periodic driver swaps further neutralize variations in driving style. The printed figures give buyers a fair idea of the fuel efficiency they can expect in the real-world. Of course, fuel efficiency depends on a lot of factors - driving style, ambient conditions, traffic, tyre pressures etc. so not all owners get figures in a similar ballpark as ours - some may get more, some may get less.

Going by your odometer reading, it seems that your usage is very low, presumably for short distance commutes, which is most likely to be the reason for poor fuel efficiency. You see, internal combustion engines need to operate at certain temperatures before they deliver optimal performance. When the engine is cold, it runs rich (consumes more fuel) initially. If you don't idle the engine till the needle rises up to the mid-way mark on the temperature gauge, fuel consumption will be high and your car's MID is likely to display 1-4kpl initially when you drive; it is only after a while, as the drive distance increases that the numbers gradually rise. However, if you arrive at your destination quickly, let's say after 2-3km, you aren't giving your engine enough time to settle and average out the fuel consumption. This seems to be a reason for your car's low figures.

We recommend some practices that could improve the numbers based on your current usage. Let the engine idle after a cold start till the temperature needle rises to its mid-way mark on the gauge. Avoid hard acceleration from a standstill, instead go easy on the accelerator and let the car roll ahead gently. If you see traffic or a red light ahead, let the car come to a gradual stop rather than accelerating till the end and braking late. Ensure that you maintain the tyre pressures as per the manufacturer's recommendation - you could even over-inflate the pressures by 1-2 psi, for better economy (however it could affect your ride comfort).

Also See:

7 ways to get better fuel economy from your car

Calculate your car's fuel efficiency correctly

Here are India's 10 most fuel-efficient petrol cars, SUVs

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