50-litre ChallengeTM

CanadianDriver ran its first 50-litre ChallengeTM in 2005 when consumers were beginning to feel the pinch from gas prices nudging $1.00 per litre. Well, that was then and this is now. That litre of regular unleaded is now worth around 30 per cent more, an increase that’s causing pain not only at the pumps but in the hidden transportation costs of many day-to-day consumer items.

As part of our commitment to helping Canadian consumers find ways to conserve and reduce costs, CanadianDriver – with Motoring 2008, Canada’s longest-running automotive TV show – initiated a second edition of the 50-litre ChallengeTM. This time, we rounded up 13 compact cars – all of which had gas tanks of at least 50 litres in capacity and starting price-tags of less than $20,000 – and drove them on a circuitous, mostly highway route to see how far they’d go before running out of gas and what kind of fuel economy they could offer.

Which car won? Well, it may be a cliché, but they are all winners with no car averaging worse than 8.0 litres per 100 km (35 mpg). The top performer was the Toyota Corolla which travelled 1,017 km on 50 litres of fuel for an amazing fuel consumption rating of 4.9 litres per 100 km (58 mpg). Read our comprehensive report and expert analysis to find out more.

Click to watch or download Motoring TV’s coverage of the event!


CanadianDriver 50-litre ChallengeSpecial Feature: 2008 CanadianDriver 50-litre ChallengeTM
After filling 13 compact cars with 50 litres of regular gasoline, we drove them as “fuel efficiently” as we could in a convoy over the same highway route until they each ran out of gas. Which car went the farthest? Read on…

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How to burn 900 litres of fuel with a clean conscience
Early on, we decided that we had to do something to account for the impact the 50-litre ChallengeTM would have on the environment. Our solution was to use as little fuel as possible, to employ fuel-efficient driving techniques, and then to buy carbon offsets.

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The contenders; photo by Greg WilsonThe Contenders - a brief overview
Contributing Editor, Chris Chase offers a seat-of-the-pants overview, including our driver's personal impressions, of the 13 compact cars that competed in the 50-litre Challenge.

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The CanadianDriver 50-litre ChallengeHow far will it go after the Low Fuel light comes on?
Have you ever wondered how far you can go after the "Low Fuel" warning light comes on? For each of our 13 testers, we recorded when the warning light came on and how far each car travelled after that before it ran out of gas.

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The contenders; photo by Frank RizuttiWhy compact cars?
CanadianDriver chose compact cars not just because most of them have a 50-litre gas tank, but because this class of vehicle represents a viable alternative for many families looking to save money on the purchase and ownership of a vehicle.

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What is a "fuel efficient" driving style?
Driving "fuel efficiently", basically a combination of smooth driving techniques, will reduce fuel consumption more than you think. We've listed seven easy fuel efficient driving techniques you can use every day.

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GPS map showing where each car ran out of gasDetermining the cars' true mileage with a GPS system
Having discovered in our last 50-litre Challenge that most vehicles' odometers aren't accurate, we brought a long a GPS device with mapping software that could accurately establish how many kilometres each car went before it ran out of gas.

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Why were the Corolla and Civic so much more fuel-efficient?
Why do the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic offer much better fuel economy than many other compact cars? Technical Editor, Jim Kerr offers his expert opinion.

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How do compact cars compare to hybrids?
How does the fuel economy of compact cars compare to that of hybrid cars, and which would be cheaper to own in the long run? A recent BCAA five-year analysis found that at today's gas prices, many hybrid vehicles would cost less than their conventional counterparts.

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CanadianDriver 50-litre ChallengeTM Gas Giveaway
CanadianDriver invited readers to guess which of our 50-litre Challengers would go the furthest and how far. Two readers guessed right and two more were very close.

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