KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — Over the years, many car owners have shifted their focus towards fuel-efficient vehicles to not only save a few bucks on petrol cost but also fight climate change.
To meet the customers’ needs car manufacturers have tried to improve their vehicles’ engines in terms of fuel consumption.
One such carmaker is Proton, which has re-engineered its cars to help drivers get more mileage for lesser fuel.
To put its vehicles to the test, the national automaker brought back its 1 Tank Adventure to allow members of the media and its customers discover the models’ new features, handling capabilities, the level of driving comfort and, of course, fuel efficiency in an exciting long-distance adventure drive.
Like last year’s inaugural edition, participants got to experience the sights, sounds and flavours of Malaysia while trying to squeeze out as many kilometres as possible for a tank of fuel.
With a new route and more stringent rules this year, the amazing race-like venture kicked off with the opening preliminary round on a two-day expedition.
A total of 60 participants set off in 30 cars on an adventure that covered a total driving distance of 650km, from the Proton Centre of Excellence (COE) in Subang Jaya to Johor Baru and back again.
The line-up of cars included the refreshed 2019 Proton Iriz, Persona and Saga.
After the tournament was flagged off at COE, all the drivers stopped by the petrol station across the road to get their vehicle’s fuel tank filled up and sealed by the Proton representatives.
Each team was then given a cue card to head over to the first checkpoint within the specified time period.
While the objective of the adventure was for Proton to showcase its newest models in a real world setting, the difficult conditions on the first day of the event made it even more challenging for the contestants.
A combination of the long weekend traffic, haze and wet weather made it a real test for all participants as they battled to get to their predetermined checkpoints within the stipulated time period.
Despite the challenges faced, the first day drive to Johor Baru took approximately nine hours of drive through the trunk roads after three checkpoints.
To make the long-distance drive less tiring, participants were treated to a feast of local fruits, including durian in Melaka before going on to Perigi Batu Pahat and Tanjung Piai National Park, the most southern point of mainland Eurasia.
There was an overnight stop in Johor Baru before the adventure continued with a journey up the North-South highway back to Shah Alam.
All participants managed to complete the 650km fuel economy challenge and some even reached the final checkpoint with some petrol left in the tank, which is a testament to the fuel efficiency of Proton’s current range of cars.
The best theoretical maximum range achieved, based on the 40-litre fuel tank size of the cars used, was 809km.
This was an impressive result as all participants had to keep to a high minimum average speed of between 70 and 80km/h.
The best results achieved, verified by scrutineers from the Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) are 4.98L/100km for the Proton Saga, 5.43L/100km for the Proton Persona and an event best 4.94L/100km for the Proton Iriz.
Apart from the fuel efficiency drive, participants were also taken to the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang for a dynamic drive to test out the handling balance and the safety equipment engineered into the cars.
Through the dynamic drive, participants got to test Proton Saga’s and Iriz’s improved anti-lock braking system (ABS) and the electronic stability control features that improve a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction, especially in an emergency.
Comprising three preliminary rounds and a grand finale, the 1 Tank Adventure contest is offering over RM100,000 worth of prizes.
In its maiden year, the event focused on routes in Peninsular Malaysia, but this year’s fuel efficiency competition will also feature two rounds in East Malaysia.
The grand finale, which is slated to take place early next month, will see the winners of each preliminary round embark on a yet-to-be-announced route using just a single tank of fuel.