Rather a long time ago we used to speculate in these pages whether it was possible to have an economy-car which would give 60 mpg and 60 mph, as a reader with a long memory has recently reminded us.
Well, at recent motor shows, including Motorfair, Renault has been exhibiting its Vesta 2, which has set what is claimed to be “a world record for fuel consumption”, by averaging 145.6 mpg at an average speed of 62.7 mph, over 311.5 miles of the Bordeaux-Paris autoroute.
This Renault, with its smooth shape, three-cylinder 716cc 27 bhp engine and five-speed gearbox, is not a production car. But it is a four-seater hatchback. Weighing 1047lb, it seems to have been designed to beat the French Government’s fuel-thirst target of 94.2 mpg and to have done this convincingly — hence its name, Vehicule Econome de Systemes et Technologtes Avances, or Vesta.
When we propounded our 60/60 optimism we were thinking in terms of 60 mpg as a regular petrol consumption but 60 mph in terms of flat-out speed, not necessarily both achieved together. So it does seem that a production 60/60 economy car which is not too sluggish has now become a technical attainment.