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Ford Focus LPG 2013 Road Test

To put the Ford Focus LPG to a proper test, we compiled a list of the cost of fuel for 500 miles for its main petrol, diesel and hybrid competitors using submitted Real MPG figures.

Compiling LPG costs is slightly complicated because the car starts on petrol and uses petrol until the engine has warmed up.

So, to play fair, we commenced this test with full petrol and LPG tanks, then re-brimmed them both at the end of the test.

There’s not much point in banging on about the virtues of the Focus, which you can read in our various road tests.

This car happened to be the Zetec S 1.6 EcoBoost 182 that normally puts out 240Nm torque from 1,600-4,000rpm (270Nm on overboost at 1,900-3,500rpm). The LPG is carried in a 51 litre tank in the spare wheel well.

It actually felt a bit strange to go back to a Focus after a couple of thousand miles in a Peugeot 308 because of the completely different driving position. I found myself having to re-acclimatise to a big steering wheel and analogue instead of digital dials and a small steering wheel. I didn’t like it at first, which might or might not confirm how right Peugeot was in its thinking.

Ford Focus LPG Filler Nozzle High Brough Moor

Filling up with both petrol and LPG for the first time was interesting. It turned out that Autogas had left me a full tank of petrol, so I could only get 14p in. Then the first fill with Autogas. First twist the outer sleeve clockwise. Then click the trigger into the stop. Big hiss. And nothing. Turned out you then have to push the green nozzle on the pump to get your gas. But I got it. 25.79 litres for £17.00. 65.9p a litre. Job done. Zero the trip in preparation for an early start the next morning.

Ford Focus LPG 126 Miles

All seemed to go quite well. The engine drove smoothly. The range on LPG is only about 300 miles, so I had to make one stop on my journey North and one stop on the return. Total LPG costs for 598 miles at an average 37.7mpg was £49.25, which worked out at £41.18 for 500 miles.

Ford Focus LPG Refill High Brough Moor

But, and it’s a big BUT, LPG powered cars also use petrol, and not just for starting up but also while driving. The total cost for 17.74 litres of petrol used was a surprising £21.27, which works out at £17.78 for 500 miles.

And that’s where the benefits start to fall apart, as you will see from the table below, which compares the running cost of our LPG Focus 1.6 EcoBoost 182 with a handful of petrol, diesel and hybrid alternatives.

All the diesels on the list are cheaper to run, and some of them considerably cheaper, such as the Honda Civic 1.6iDTEC, the Peugeot 308 1.6 Blue HDI, The Vauxhall Astra 1.6CDTI 110 and the VW Golf Bluemotion.

Typical fuel costs for 500 miles based on Real MPG average 

Car

MPG

MPL

PPL

500 miles

Ford Focus LPG: LPG

37.7

8.29

65.9

£41.18

Ford Focus LPG: Petrol

127.8

0.036

1.199

£17.78

Ford Focus LPG: Total Fuel

 

 

 

£58.96

Ford Focus 1.6TDCI 115

51.4

11.31

126.9

£56.10

Ford Focus 1.0 Eco 125

42.3

9.31

121.9

£65.46

Honda Civic 1.6iDTEC

67.3

14.81

126.9

£42.84

Honda Civic 1.4iVTEC

46.7

10.27

121.9

£59.35

Peugeot 308 1.6 Blue HDI

61.6

13.55

126.9

£46.83

Peugeot 308 1.2 PT 130

49.8

10.96

121.9

£55.61

Toyota Auris HSD

57.2

12.58

121.9

£48.45

Vauxhall Astra 1.6CDTI 110

68.4

15.05

126.9

£42.29

Vauxhall Astra 1.4T

37.8

8.32

121.9

£73.26

VW Golf 1.6TDI Bluemotion

58.1

12.78

126.9

£49.65

VW Golf 1.2TSI 105

55.0

12.1

121.9

£50.37

So where do we go from here?

If the LPG Focus hadn’t needed any petrol, it would have won hands down. I had expected it to use maybe a couple of litres. But 17.74 litres over 598 miles spoiled the sums. And this is in line with Autogas’s own figures.

Which is why what had at first seemed to be a no brainer wasn’t.

But at least it showed Ford’s 1.6 EcoBoost 182 to be cheaper to run on Autogas than Ford’s 1.0 EcoBoost 125 is on petrol.

Otherwise, it confined the advantage to the long-term benefits of an engine running on LPG rather than diesel, which are no DPFs or EGRs to perpetually worry about.

To try as fair a comparison as possible, we pitched our LPG Focus Zetec S 182 against the same car on petrol and the Focus Zetec S 2.0TDCI 163 over 50,000 miles. We used list prices on the road and £1,500 for the LPG conversion.

Car

MPG

MPL

PPL

50k mls

Car Price

Ford Focus LPG

37.7-

8.29-

65.9

£5,896

£22,400

Ford Focus 1.6 Eco 182

41.5

9.13

121.9

£6,676

£20,900

Ford Focus 2.0 TDCI 163

46.5

10.23

126.9

£6,202

£21,745

Totals worked out at: Ford Focus LPG 182: £28,296; Ford Focus 1.6 EcoBoost 182: £27,576; Ford Focus 2.0TDCI 163: £27,947. Not much in it, but difficult to make the argument for LPG, and, on these figures, also difficult to make the case for diesel either.

 Ford Focus LPG 598 Miles

Talking about the car itself is a bit like telling readers to suck eggs because there are at least 300,000 of them already out there.

It was comfortable, that’s for sure. But the edge was taken off the car’s normally fine handling and excellent ride quality by a set of Continental Contisport Plus 235/40 R18 tyres that, at 15,000 miles, were past their prime for winter weather conditions.

 

More about LPG and CNG: HJUK LPG/CNG FAQ Answer

HJUK Petrol or Diesel Fuel Caculator

Ford Focus LPG Donington BP

 

Read more

 

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