Jude P. Morte / | September 24, 2005 00:00Honda's subcompact models – the hatchback Jazz and the three-box City – are known for their fuel frugality. In order to prove in these trying economic times that these vehicles can back up their fuel-efficient bravado, Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (Honda or HCPI) recently held its 2005 version of its Amazing Econorun.
In order to join, participants/customers had to bring current model Honda Jazz units, had to be composed of a driver and navigator, and were divided into two categories – manual transmission (M/T) and continuously variable transmission (CVT). Participants had to drive from the Petron SLEX-Susana Heights station to the Petron Star Tollway-Lipa-Batangas on a full tank of Petron Xtra Unleaded (official gas of the event), all under intense scrutiny from Honda Philippines top brass and representatives from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP).
In the customers' category, best friends William Catacutan and Nico Andrada (in a Honda Jazz) topped the M/T category with a 30.6818 km/l listing, while Cousins Leovin de Ramos and Leo de Ramos (also in a Honda Jazz) topped the CVT category with a 32.7160 km/l listing. Both tandems each took home Php 10,000 in cash and gas coupons, a group trophy and an opportunity to have their Honda Jazz undergo Honda's Hydrophilic Paint Protection (a paint process that provides high durability and wear resistance to body parts).
There was also an opportunity for the motoring media to join in the fun. Media teams were divided into a Jazz category (where all the teams were to drive Jazz CVT models) and a City category (where all the teams were to drive Honda City CVT models). The Motoring Today/Autofocus tandem of cameraman Matt Mallari and segment host Dianne Diwa took home top honors in the Jazz category with a 30 km/l listing, while the team of Manila Bulletin's Aris Ilagan and AUTOINDUSTRIYA'S Raymond Young took home top honors in the City category with a 29.4216 km/l listing. Both winning media tandems each took home a group trophy and Php 5,000 cash.
After mandatory registration at the McDonalds in The Fort (Taguig City), participants (including seven pairs of media teams) were briefed on the EconoRun's rules and regulations. There were eleven rules: 1) All participating vehicles are to be filled up with gasoline to full tank level at Petron SLEX (starting point) and Petron Star Tollway-Lipa-Batangas (ending point), with a marshal to ensure that the fuel gauges weren't tampered; 2) Temperature control dial (thermostat) of the airconditioning (a/c) unit and the fan control dial (blower) will be positioned depending on participants' usual and most comfortable setting, with the blower minimum setting at "1" and the thermostat setting at slightly beyond minimum; 3) The recirculation lever and the air vent flow direction level have to be at "on" full blast; 4) The aircon controls, the gas tank lid and the engine hood are to be sealed and must not be altered in any way, otherwise a team shall be disqualified; 5) Participants have two (2) hours to finish the run and teams arriving beyond three (3) hours shall be disqualified; 6) The spare tire, spare tire lid, seats, carpets and tools must be loaded in the unit; 7) The engine must be completely stock and there must be no modifications to the engine, transmission, fuel system and exhaust; 8) Participants have exactly ten seconds to get out from Petron SLEX after the gas tank lid is sealed; 9) Front tires are to be set at 32 psi and rear tires are to be set at 30 psi; 10) Upon arrival at Petron SLEX, the odometer/tripmeter reading will be reset to zero; 11) Quantity of fuel filled up and odometer reading at the starting and ending points will be recorded by the EconoRun marshals.
Statistics from Honda Philippines showed that in the customers' M/T category, the nine (9) participating tandems averaged 29.48 km/l. On the other hand, the 11 customers' CVT category participating tandems averaged 27.98 km/l. This showed that the Honda Jazz is truly a vehicle well-suited to an environment which highlights fuel conservation, not fuel consumption.