I’ve been owning a Ford Focus TDCi for more than a year now which is my second car. My first car was a year 1999 Proton Satria 1.3L and I’ve driven it for almost 9 years, I bought it pre-owned at 2 years old and I can really say that this Ford Focus is a real proper car. If you are not familiar with this car, it is the second diesel passenger car in Malaysian market after the BMW 320d, and a much affordable one at below RM130k. The 320d is around RM250k if you’re curiuos, a good 100k difference!
Recently I’ve been invited to a Fuel Efficiency Challenge from Ford Malaysia or more accurate, Sime Darby AutoConnexion who is the sole Ford distributor in Malaysia. Having listed Banjaran Hot Springs Retreat which worth RM2100 per night and Hard Rock Hotel Penang, I quickly became interested. I invited my girlfriend to join as the limit is 2 person per car at RM300 per person, is definitely worth it!
There are already a few press coverage regarding this challenge as listed below, however, I’m writing this from a customer’s perspective :
PaulTan.Org : Ford Focus TDCi: 1,365.6 km done on one tank of diesel!
Motor Trader : 1,250 kms on one tank of fuel!
Cars Bikes Trucks : Fuel efficient Ford Focus
We met up at Shell NKVE for flagoff and were told that there would be 5 customer cars and 4 cars for the media. I also made to understand that the media would parked their cars at SDAC (Sime Darby AutoConnexion) PJ and then drove to Shell NKVE with cars supplied by SDAC.
We started the event by filling up each car with diesel sponsored by co-sponsor Shell, then we arranged the cars in 2 columns. It was followed by briefing by the organizer SDAC on the basic safety and rules and regulation of the challenge. We were given GPS device, Ford souvenirs, lots of snacks and fire extinguisher for each participating car! After that was the flagging-off by both SDAC and Shell and off to Banjaran Hotspring Retreat in Tambun, Ipoh we go!
I’ve already did some research on how to reduce fuel consumption so I did some preparation beforehand like inflate all 4 tires with the correct pressure, remove unnecessary weight (I’ve considered removing the spare tire but didn’t because we will be travelling quite a distance, roughly over a 1000km!) , try to drive at a stable speed (I started off at 70-80 km/h), shutting off the aircon, lowering down the windows when driving below 50km/h, etc.
We started driving towards Banjaran Hotspring at around 70-80 km/h with the aircon off but since I cannot stand the heat (it was around 35 degree Celsius outside), I turned on the aircon for 1km every 20km travelled.
We reached Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat at around 5pm and quickly check in our villa. There were 2 types of villas, water villas and the garden villas. We got the latter. I can seriously say that this is the best accommodation I’ve stayed in, it is a very big villa for 2 person with our own living area, huge bedroom, own natural hotspring jacuzzi and own swimming pool. At one point while I’m trying to get online I was trying to trace the network cable from bottom of the table to where the other end is so that I can plug it into my notebook, as I traced up it ended connecting to the phone, it was an IP phone! We had fine dining with the organizers (SDAC) and other participants and an impromtu photo taking session before we end the night.
We started our second day with the complimentary spa and breakfast and then took a walk around the resort, it was really relaxing. We then need to check-out around noon time and wear the Ford’s t-shirt for a group photo shoot. This time, we are heading to Flemington, Taiping for lunch!
After lunch we had a long drive to a Thai restaurant in Alor Setar, Dee Dee Thai Restaurant for dinner. After that we head to Hard Rock Hotel Penang, it was almost 10pm when we reached. We checked in and had a walk nearby and then to Hard Rock before calling it a day. It was really hard rocking in Hard Rock, I went almost crazy when they played Sweet Child O’ Mine live!
We had breakfast at the hotel in the morning and then had to prepare to check-out as we have a long way ahead of us. The organizers had a special announcement before leaving Hard Rock that they have decided to give extra cash prizes as an incentive for us to break the 1000km per fuel tank mark, it was well received! We then head to Unique Seafood Restaurant, Ipoh for lunch, this restaurant is very near to where the Banjaran Hotspring was in our first day.
It was our last stop before heading to our final destination, SDAC PJ where the announcement of winners and prize giving ceremony will be held. I felt that the added cash prizes suddenly motivated every participants to be competitive as I felt everyone started to drive slow! I’m driving quite fast at 80-90km/h as I noticed that driving at this speed will keep the rev low and stable at 1.7k rpm.
Alas, before reaching SDAC PJ I took a longer route to record a personal best of more than 1000km travelled in a tank, I reached SDAC PJ having travelled 1002.7km with 217km left according to the trip meter making an estimated total of 1219.7km per full tank of diesel. Very impressive! For those who are curious, this car is having a 53L tank. The results were announced and I got second place, 0.1km behind the first winner. Very competitive indeed but I already felt a winner even when I was chosen to be part of this challenge, the prize was only a bonus.
It began as a surprise when I was chosen as 1 of the participants of this challenge and it also ended with a surprise with me driving my own car breaching the 1000km mark in a single tank of diesel. So it really proves the efficiency of this Ford Focus TDCi. Ford is the fastest growing brand for the first half of 2011 in Malaysia and I hope they will organize similar events to engage and even reward their customers directly.
You can view some pics from the event by clicking here.
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