We're a bit ambivalent about this Canadian Driver experiment: On one hand, they burned 500 liters of gasoline on some kind of sponsored joy-ride, but on the other, there's nothing like real-world results to get the average person to pay attention. The experiment was simple: Take the 10 most popular compact cars available for under C$20,000 (US$16,600) and see how far they can go on 50 liters of gasoline (13.2 US gallons) in real-world conditions. The article is timely since regular gasoline has recently reached C$1/liter in Canada (about US$3.10/gallon) and fuel economy is increasingly present in the collective consciousness (though not enough). For the test, the cars all followed each other on a road trip across Ontario and Québec, driving between 80 and 115km/h (50 and 72 miles/hour) depending on conditions. They all used air-conditioning and did not drive too conservatively (the point was not to see what was the best possible for each car but the average).The people at Canadian Driver obviously didn't expect the test to last as long as it did.
Trouble was, after 14 hours of driving and well over 800 km [500 miles], two of the cars were still running.
At the end of a very long day, everyone was beat, it was dark, and we wanted to go home. But the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla would not stop. Two of our drivers volunteered to drive them around a Canadian Tire parking lot, because surely they were running on fumes by now.
But fifteen minutes later our drivers admitted defeat, and drove the Civic and Corolla home for the night.
The next day, more driving. Finally, the Corolla ran out of fuel at 911 km [566 miles] (5.5 L/100 km, or 51 mpg (Imperial gallons) [43 mpg US gallons]). But the Civic soldiered on until it ran out of gas after an astonishing 1,022 km [635 miles] (4.9 L/km or 57 mpg (Imperial Gallons) [48 mpg US gallons])
For the individual results of each car, see the article.