The Proton Saga has proven to be a car that is economical not only to own, but is economical to run as well. In a recent competition held for Proton Saga owners, the top winners returned some very impressive consumption figures.
In the Proton Saga Economy Run, a total of 30 Proton saga owners registered for the event. The rules were simple; over a set course of 190 kilometres, with a driver and one passenger who also acts as the navigator, the winner is the saga that uses the least amount of fuel between the two points. Under the contest regulations, no fuel-saving devices are allowed, and cars have to be mechanically in ‘series production’ specifications. There were handsome prizes for both the manual and automatic category winners.
Registered participants were required to undergo ‘scrutineering’, during which all cars were inspected for compliance with the rules and regulations, and the bonnets, all fuel lines, all possible points where the fuel line or the fuel tank can be accessed, including the fuel lids, were sealed by the main motoring authority in Malaysia, the AAM (Automobile Association of Malaysia). Before the final sealing of the bonnet and fuel lid, all participants were given the opportunity to fill their fuel tanks to the brim.
As the event was to start on the next day, all the sealed cars were impounded and under strict security for the night at the Centre Of Excellence, the headquarters of Proton.
The Proton Saga Economy Run route took the competing cars from the Proton COE to Clearwater Sanctuary in Ipoh, with a stop over at an appointed petrol station where the cars were again topped up to the brim to measure the amount of fuel used in the economy run. Before the refuelling, AAM officials were on hand to inspect all the seals, and to the credit of all the very sporting spirit of the competitors, not one seal was found to have been tampered with.
In the Proton Saga 1.3 Automatic category, Ahmad Saifuddin Bin Abdullah, co-driven by Ahmad Zharif Bin Ahmad Zubid took top honours with an impressive 27.429 kilometres per litre (3.645 litres per 100 kilometres) fuel consumption. Second spot went to the young couple of Azmi Samsuddin and Rozna Ramli, who clocked in with 25.99 kilometres per litre (3.846 litres per 100 kilometres). The third and final prize for this category went to an all-girl team, Nur Fatihah Abdul Hamid, partnered by Nor Salehah Md Isa, who came all the way from the East Coast to participate in the event.
In the Proton Saga 1.3 manual category, the results were even more impressive. Norazila Binti Azimi and Mohd Zulkernain Bin Buahab returned an astounding 44.719 kilometres per litre (2.236 litres per 100 kilometres) to win top honours. In second place was Illesarah Binti Abdul Haziman and Rohaizad Bin Ithnin with 32.908 kilometres per litre, while third place was awarded to Mohd Faizol Bin Razak and Mohd Nazri Bin Othman.
When interviewed, Mohd Zulkernain said that his technique was to apply very gentle throttle, and make sure the engine is running below 2,000 rpm. “Of course, in our normal driving, the fuel consumption is more than what he achieved in the competition; sometimes we are in a hurry, so I use more fuel when I drive the car hard, or in situations where traffic is heavy. But now I know just what the Saga is capable of, and if I generally drive gently, there will be savings in the long run,” he added.
As a finale to the competition, Proton Edar organized a contest to see how many people would squeeze into a Proton Saga, and amazingly, the winning team managed 17 adults!
Okay, so the guy who got 44.719 kilometres per litre was driving really slowly, at 2000 RPM or less... plus he was driving a manual. That must have been a really slow assed drive!
When I first got my car, I was trying to keep it under 3000 RPM but I wasn't used to the accelerator, I kept pressing it until it when to 4. I guess coming from a manual transmission car, I wasn't used to the car doing my gear shifts for me.
Now I drive with the RPM at 2000-3000PM. It's just that when I'm crossing a road at a busy intersection that I use more gas as I have to really step on the gas. I worry that the car won't have enough power to get me across the road fast enough... maybe it's just in my head.