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Our fleet Kia Sportage 2 1.7 CRDi 2WDDiesel proves its worth over petrol counterpartFactfileCost P11D price £20,425BIK tax band 20%Class 1A NIC £564Annual VED £115RV £4,975Running cost 35.92ppmCurrent mileage 8,935Test mpg 44.4SpecificationEngine (cc) 1,685Power (bhp/rpm) 114/4,000Torque (lb/ft) 192/1,250CO2 135Official mpg 54.3Max speed (mph) 1070-62 (sec) 11.9* Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)By Gareth RobertsThe Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi took a backseat to its petrol counterpart, the 1.6 GDi, at Fleet News recently, allowing us to compare the two.The 1.7 CRDi is achieving around 44.4mpg, as opposed to a claimed combined of 54.3mpg, while the 1.6 GDi returned 33.1mpg, significantly less than its claimed combined of 44.1mpg.Not good if you're a high-mileage driver, even when you take into account the price differential between fuels and employee's BIK charges.The problem is that while the 1.7 CRDi engine is very responsive, the 1.6 GDi is sluggish and requires you to rev the engine at a much higher rate to get any sort of performance. Admittedly it's difficult when comparing against the slightly bigger diesel engine, but the performance of the petrol version was extremely disappointing. The P11D value of the 1.6 GDi is £17,110 compared to £20,425 for the 1.7 CRDi, while CO2 emissions for the petrol version are 149g/km as opposed to 135g/km for the diesel.Given the 3% diesel BIK surcharge, an employee driving the diesel variant would fall into a 20% BIK tax band, compared to 19% for the petrol car. That would mean a 20% taxpayer driving the 1.6 GDi paying £650 per year compared to £817 for an employee driving the 1.7 CRDi.But how do the employer's costs compare? First year VED rate for the 1.6 GDi is £130 compared to £115 for the 1.7 CRDi, while Class 1A NIC costs are £449 and £564 respectively.Meanwhile, the all-important running costs on a three-year/60,000-mile cycle favour the petrol variant on paper. Its 37.07p per mile rate includes fuel at 13.72p per mile, compared to 38.18p per mile with fuel at 11.64p per mile for the diesel. However, if you travel 100 miles in the 1.7 CRDi at 44.4mpg you will pay around 14.38p per mile for the diesel, compared to 18.75p per mile at 33.1mpg for the petrol.

Sales figuresNewsinsightManufacturernewsFleetprofileRemarketinganalysisNews digestCar RecruitmentreviewsOur fleet Renault Megane Grand Scenic Dynamique TomTom dCi 110 EDC AutoCost P11D price £23,745BIK tax band 20%Class 1A NIC £590Annual VED £115RV £4,925Running cost 38.35ppmCurrent mileage 8,935Test mpg 55.0SpecificationEngine (cc) trgrtg33Power (bhp/rpm) 110/4,000Torque (lb/ft) 177/1,750CO2 124Official mpg 60.1Max speed (mph) 1120-60 (sec) 14.3* Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)Slow and steady wins the fuel consumption raceBy John MaslenI made a determined effort to match the Renault Megane Scenic's official combined fuel economy figure of 60.1mpg.As a result, I made a long, boring journey between Peterborough and Bristol even more tedious, with a steady 'drive at 65' strategy that made me feel like I was 65.The result, after more than 300 miles, was a fuel economy reading of 55mpg, which is better than the 45mpg average I have been getting, but matching the figure I have achieved in some of the most efficient fleet cars that are not hybrids.This is also pretty impressive when you consider the Grand Scenic is effectively an automatic, but its clever EDC auto system can return the economy of a manual gearbox with the convenience of auto-mated shifting (I have reviewed this system in detail in a previous test).Whether it's a driver or a fleet manager paying for the fuel, the extra effort is probably worth it in the long run for two reasons.Firstly, over 60,000 miles, the money that can be saved can't be ignored. If you achieved 55mpg over the life of the car instead of 45mpg, you would save 243 gallons of fuel. Diesel now costs £6.29 a gallon on average according to the very useful fuel price checker on the Fleet News website, so the potential saving is £1,528.Some fleet managers are being besieged by drivers complaining that their fuel reimbursement rates don't reflect the actual cost of fuel, but what they really mean is the rates don't reflect the cost of their driving style.Achieving 55mpg is equivalent to a fuel cost of 11.4 pence per mile, but achieving just 45mpg is equiv-alent to a fuel cost of 14ppm.With fuel prices continuing to rise, that's a lesson that drivers including myself will have to learn on their increasingly slow journeys - full throttle; empty wallet.