Fuel economy experts
So what is fuel economy? How do you choose an economical car? What does 5.9 L/100km mean? What is the difference between petrol, hybrid and electric? How can I make my car more fuel efficient?
As New Zealand’s fuel economy experts in small cars and SUVs, our Suzukis are designed with fuel efficiency at the forefront, featuring strong, lightweight platforms and small, dynamic engines. Supported by the latest technologies and smart design, our vehicles deliver excellent performance and value every day for our customers.
Take a look at our fuel economy calculator which shows how well our range performs, including how Suzuki Swift’s fuel consumption compares to the average small car, and how Vitara’s fuel consumption compares to the average small SUV.
Fuel economy explained
Once you are ready to buy a new car, how do you find out which one is the most economical? It’s good to know you can compare apples with apples. Every new car sold has a fuel rating displayed as X.X Litres per 100km. This means the car uses so many litres of fuel for every 100 km travelled. So, the lower the fuel figure the better the fuel economy.
All manufacturers put their new cars through international standardised testing to find out what this fuel economy figure is. In addition, every car sold in New Zealand at a dealership is required to display this figure on the car, making it easy for you to compare between vehicles.
Before deciding on what vehicle is right for you, it’s important to understand fuel economy ratings and what they mean.
The official fuel economy tests
All Suzuki models are tested to internationally agreed standards and guidelines to determine their official fuel economy and CO2 emission figures. Tests are conducted in controlled conditions using a machine called a dynamometer which simulates different driving environments. The tests produce results for the following types of driving:
Urban: Simulates driving in traffic, including a combination of idling, acceleration, steady driving and deceleration.
Open Road: Simulates open-road driving with a sustained period of steady driving at higher speeds (average speed: 63km/h, maximum speed: 120km/h).
Combined Cycle: The combined figure is the average of the two tests, weighted by the distance covered in each part of the test. This is the result quoted as the vehicle’s fuel consumption figure.
Real world tests
But how will your Suzuki perform in the real world?
Noted independent New Zealand Motoring journalist Donn Anderson has undertaken numerous real-world fuel economy runs with Suzuki models in New Zealand – all of which bettered the official combined cycle fuel tests. Completed with two occupants and luggage and no special preparation, the results were remarkable.
- The Baleno 1.0 RS Turbo bettered the official figures by 24%
- The S-Cross 1.4 Prestige Turbo bettered the official figures by 23%
- A Vitara 1.6 JLX Auto bettered the official figures by 24%
- The Ignis 1.2 bettered the official figures by 12.8%.
However, it is important to remember that your fuel consumption may vary compared to the official figure. Factors such as your vehicle’s condition, your driving style, and traffic and road conditions all have a bearing on how efficiently your car performs.
Below you will find a few helpful driving and vehicle tips to keep in mind.
Understanding fuel economy labels
All vehicles for sale through a registered motor vehicle dealership in New Zealand must carry a government-authorised fuel label. This lets you compare the fuel economy and running costs of any vehicle using a star system.
The star rating gives up to 6 stars for the most fuel efficient vehicles based on a standard distance travelled over 12 months and a uniform cost per litre. This information must also be available on the seller’s website.
The label also gives the cost per year to run the car based on the published fuel economy figure. It is expressed as litres of fuel the vehicle will use while travelling 100kms (L/100km), with an average fuel price of $2.00/litre and driving 14,000km per year.
Fuel Economy Calculator
Suzuki’s unparalleled small car expertise exceeds all expectations when it comes to fuel efficiency.
For example, Suzuki Swift's fuel consumption of 4.6-4.8 L/100kms from its 1.2 litre engine means it is light at the pump and also light on emissions at 106-110g/km, making it both affordable to run and environmentally friendly.
Similarly, the Ignis super-compact SUV uses the same 1.2 litre engine delivering emissions and fuel consumption of only 107-114gm/km and 4.7-4.9 L/100kms; another example of small, light car expertise and engineering know-how, producing lower levels of environmental harm.
In the compact SUV category, Suzuki Vitara's fuel consumption is class leading, at between 5.8-6.2 L/100kms and producing CO2 emissions between 123-149 g/km.
See how each of the Suzuki models compare to the average small cars and SUVs using our fuel economy calculator. This will show you the key figures of fuel efficiency, CO2 emissions and also how far you can travel in km when you spend $100.
CO2 emissions explained
Carbon Dioxide or CO2 is a greenhouse gas and a major contributor to climate change. To get your vehicle to move, the combustion of fuel in your vehicle's engine emits this gas. The amount of gas emitted is dependent on the amount of fuel used, so the more fuel efficient your vehicle is, the less carbon dioxide it will produce.
A vehicle's carbon emission figure is obtained from its fuel economy rating and is expressed as CO2 grams/km (grams of carbon dioxide emitted per kilometre travelled).
You can easily find the CO2 emission figures of every Suzuki by using our fuel consumption calculator.
How does the Suzuki range stack up in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
In New Zealand, Suzuki’s new vehicle fleet is the most fuel efficient of the top 10 manufacturers based on the average combined fuel consumption per vehicle sold.
Average Fuel Consumption – Combined cycle L/100km
New Zealand New Vehicle Sales 2020
Suzuki also has the lowest average CO2 emissions of the top 10 manufacturers too, making it a brand you should consider if you are serious about fuel efficiency and doing your bit for the environment.
Average CO2 Emission - g/km
New Zealand New Vehicle Sales 2020
Click here to learn more about CO2 emissions and why you need to be aware of your car’s carbon footprint.
Petrol, Hybrid and Electric vehicles
As worldwide governments work together to lower carbon emissions, the automobile sector is developing and producing more lower and zero-emission vehicles than ever. Nearly every mainstream manufacturer is now developing an electric vehicle or some sort of hybrid.
So what are the differences between a petrol car, an electric one and a hybrid?
Petrol (and diesel)
For the past hundred years, cars have been powered by an 'internal combustion engine'. This usually involves burning a liquid fuel (generally petrol or diesel) inside a cylinder, to move a piston, to create motion, to get you where you need to go.
According to the 2018 New Zealand Vehicle Fleet Annual Statistics, over 98% of the light vehicle fleet in New Zealand runs on either petrol or diesel. Over the last 15 years there has been a significant decrease in the amount of CO2 emissions on average on all new and imported cars. This is a result of car manufacturers developing lighter vehicles and using more efficient engines and components to help reduce the global and local environmental impact.
A hybrid car runs on a petrol-electric powertrain. The car uses a combination of electricity stored in batteries and petrol stored in a fuel tank to generate the power to move.
There are variations of hybrid models to choose from. Some can self-charge their batteries when braking and decelerating or through the petrol engine, while some also can charge via a cable to the national power grid (known as a plug-in hybrid). In some cases the electric motor provides all the drive to the wheels and the petrol motor is purely there to charge the batteries when needed. However, it is more common for the wheels to be driven by a combination of petrol engine and electric drive to support.
The positives for using a hybrid car are that you use less fuel, reducing the CO2 emissions and saving you money directly at the pump. You fill up as per normal at a petrol station and you do not have to wait to charge the batteries for the self-charging versions. They can be a more cost-effective transition from petrol to electric.
An electric car is one that runs on electricity alone. It is refuelled by charging the lithium batteries when you plug in a cable to an electric power source. Electric cars have several benefits. They are quieter, have more power at lower speeds, and impact the local environment less as they do not omit any carbon emissions. However, you do need to wait for it to recharge (usually around 45 minutes for a full charge), often have a more restricted travelling range than petrol models, and they are traditionally more expensive than petrol or hybrid cars.
Currently in New Zealand, we have over 500 public charging sites. Some are free to use whilst others you pay as you go. 82% of our electricity used is sourced by renewable energy like wind, geothermal and hydro, which is more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels like coal, so we are in a better position than some countries to accommodate this additional infrastructure.
It is also worthwhile to consider the lifecycle carbon output of the car, of which a considerable proportion is generated when it is built. Typically electric cars have a higher lifecycle carbon output compared to a hybrid, due to the componentry inside.
At the moment, petrol, diesel and electricity are the mainstream ways of transferring energy to a car. However there is some consideration being put into the development of hydrogen powered vehicles.
Limited globally, a hydrogen fuel cell car turns compressed hydrogen into electricity, which it uses to drive its wheels. While not as efficient as petrol consumption, the emission from this process is pure water – clean enough to drink. It can also be pumped into a car quickly, like the process of refuelling a petrol car.
The main drawback at the moment is lack of infrastructure in the way of refuelling stations.
Small Car and SUV design
At Suzuki, we haven’t just jumped on the fuel-efficiency band-wagon, we’ve been living this philosophy since we began in 1909. As the small car and SUV experts, making the most of precious resources and reducing pressure on the environment comes naturally to Suzuki. Over the years we have concentrated on smaller, lighter, more efficient vehicles, which are still fun to drive and excellent value. If you are interested in a new car, take a look at the SUV range, or Small Cars options.
Suzuki models are built on specially designed lightweight platforms that contribute to outstanding fuel economy and environmental performance. The next-generation HEARTECT platform features a state-of-the-art, high-rigidity frame incorporating high-tensile steel which reduces weight and enhances overall vehicle performance including fuel consumption. This approach continues throughout body design under the Suzuki Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) system, ensuring that the vehicle’s pillars and frame are strong, but also lightweight.
Suzuki carries out aerodynamic wind tunnel testing on all new models before they are publicly released. During the developmental stage, the testing identifies the areas of the vehicle that need to be addressed for wind resistance and to improve fuel efficiency.
BoosterJet engine– Direct injection technology
Many of our Suzuki vehicles feature a new generation engine with the unique BoosterJet technology. Using cutting-edge engineering and materials it delivers the power, torque, and feisty performance from a smaller, lighter and more efficient engine.
By directly injecting the optimum amount of fuel into the cylinders, BoosterJet engines optimise combustion, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
DualJet engine – Multipoint injection technology
The DUALJET engine, also featuring in many Suzuki vehicles, is designed to be light and compact and incorporates improved thermal efficiency and low friction technology for higher output, low CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy.
A vehicle’s transmission can have a big influence on performance and fuel economy. In Suzuki vehicles the transmission is carefully matched to the engine to ensure the most efficient use of power.
Within our range many models feature a smooth shifting 5-speed or 6-speed manual transmission allowing direct control of how hard the engine is working and how much fuel is being used. Manual transmissions typically provide slightly better levels of fuel efficiency and are more cost effective to manufacture.
Also in use is an automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which incorporates an auxiliary gearbox that enhances acceleration and minimises fuel consumption.
A newly-developed 6-stage automatic transmission with close gear ratios provides smooth power delivery and improved fuel efficiency around town and on the open road.
Tyre selection for less rolling resistance
Suzuki’s efficiency focus also extends to tyre design, developing low-rolling resistance tyres on a number of models. It is estimated that between 4 – 11% of fuel consumption can be due to tyre rolling resistance alone and any improvements that can be made to tyres will have an obvious effect on fuel efficiency.
Buying a fuel efficient car
Fuel consumption is an important consideration when buying a new vehicle. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for your next car.
Buy only what you really need – Be realistic about what you need your vehicle to do and narrow your options down to the most fuel efficient vehicle that meets these everyday needs. If the majority of your driving is running around town, choose a smaller, lighter, economical vehicle. If you are out on the open highway, opt for a fuel efficient engine optimised for high performance.
Consider the transmission and number of gears – Having extra gears and close gear ratios helps your engine to run at its most efficient level. Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) are particularly good, offering a huge range of gearings. Suzuki’s 6-speed automatic transmission also provides very smooth changing and high efficiency.
Choose the right drivetrain – Full-time 4WD or All-Wheel-Drive vehicles are often less fuel-efficient, and if you don’t need this type of car all the time, choosing from the 2WD options, or part -time 4WD could be the better choice.
Avoid unnecessary extras – Extra specifications or accessories usually come with an increase in weight. Features that may be ‘nice to haves’, such as power adjustable seats, add extra kilograms to a car’s weight and affect its fuel economy. Similarly, exterior features such as permanent roof racks increase weight and wind resistance, reducing your fuel efficiency.
Look for fuel efficient features – After engine, drivetrain, transmission, consider other features which reduce weight or resistance, such as alloy wheels (lighter than steel), low resistance tyres, and removable roof racks. Look at features that help you drive more efficiently, including cruise control, a navigation system for planning trips or a multi-information display that shows your car's fuel economy performance.
Driving tips for improving fuel economy
How you drive and what's happening with your car will have a big influence on the fuel economy you can achieve. Here are some simple things you can do to help reduce your fuel consumption and emissions or check out this helpful video.
Drive smoothly – Keep your engine operating at a smooth level by avoiding heavy acceleration or deceleration. Cruise control is an excellent feature to help with this. Engine braking is another technique which helps you drive more efficiently.
Drive safely – Ensuring you observe speed limits and drive in a courteous, non-aggressive manner will pay you back with better fuel efficiency.
Warm it up – Have respect for your engine from a cold start and drive appropriately at the beginning of your trip. You should also avoid unnecessary idling by turning your engine off when sitting still for an extended period of time.
Remove excess weight – Remove items from the inside and outside of your car if you don’t need them for every trip. Taking off accessories like roof racks, bike carriers and top boxes will reduce the weight and wind resistance, resulting in better fuel economy.
Use air conditioning sparingly – Having the air conditioning on has a direct effect on fuel consumption. Choose your times, such as higher-speed driving on the open roads, and try not to have it on by default all the time.
Plan ahead – Anything you can do to reduce your amount of driving will obviously save you money on fuel. It pays to plan your route in advance, so you can take the most efficient route. Satellite navigation systems or Map apps using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are helpful for this.
Driver-assist systems - Many vehicles feature a helpful multi-information display system, showing the instantaneous and average fuel consumption from your driving.It can help keep track of your driving performance and see the effects of any adjustments you make. This system also provides a range measurement to show how much further you can travel with the fuel you have, based on your current driving performance, to help you plan your trips and next refuelling stop.
How to keep your car optimised for fuel efficiency
Here are some easy suggestions to maintain your car at its optimum and therefore achieving the best fuel efficiency you can.
Regularly service – On average a car is made up of 30,000 parts. Regular servicing is an important way to keep your car running at its most fuel efficient level. Important components and lubricants, such as engine oil and air filters, have a limited period where they operate effectively. Replacements at the right times will help improve fuel efficiency.
Use the right fuel – Always ensure you use the fuel type recommended for your vehicle. Car engines are designed to operate most efficiently with the recommended fuel type and using a lower octane fuel type will adversely affect your performance, fuel consumption and potentially cause damage to your engine. The common octane ratings in New Zealand are 91, 95, 98 RON.
Maintain tyre pressure - Inflate your tyres to the correct pressure regularly, as the incorrect amount could affect the performance of your vehicle as well as increase your fuel consumption. You will find your vehicle's tyre pressures in your owner's manual. Wheel alignments are also important and should be carried out with your regular services.
When it comes to taking steps towards improving your fuel efficiency, a little goes a long way. Take the time to apply some of these strategies to your daily driving and maintaining your car and it will have an impact on your car’s fuel efficiency over time.