When it comes to fuel economy, there’s a debate about engine size vs. engine speed. Is it better to have a bigger engine with low RPM or a smaller engine that pumps out power? Recently, the YouTube channel Waste Time tried to answer the age-old question of fuel consumption while trying to kill 10 minutes of your time.
The video features the 1996 Ford Falcon and 1991 FSM Niki, revised versions of the Fiat 126 sold in Australia from 1989 to 1992. With The air conditioning is on, the Falcon burns 15.7 liters of fuel every 100 kilometers, equivalent to about 15 mpg. For Niki, there is no AC. We’re also not really sure what kind of fuel mileage one gets from continuing to stall. But with a tiny 650cc two-cylinder engine and 1,300 lb curb weight, the Niki should beat the Falcon in the fewest battles. If it keeps running.
The races are simple, drive 100km over a mixture of roads while keeping up with the traffic. The Falcon rides quietly, barely reaching 1800 rpm. Never a sweat, even on the highway, easily follows traffic.
According to Garbage Times, riding Niki is like being on a “caged motorbike” or a “wagon for humans”. Far from being powerful, the two-cylinder engine thrashed just to keep pace on the highway, fighting tooth and nail to reach the speed limit, before returning to a speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).
In the end the race ends, and the fuel economy score is calculated. The Falcon manages 10.77 liters per 100 km or almost 22 mpg. Exhausted most of the time, Niki burns 5.6 liters per 100 km, equivalent to 42 mpg.
As for who actually wins, it probably depends on your preference. Would you rather spend more gas to get somewhere in comfort? Or, are you the kind of person who goes the cheapest route or enjoys the thrill of driving a slow car fast?