2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Grand Canyon Road Trip Shatters Old Fuel-Eco Records
August 2, 2015
If you use Interstate 40 most of the way, it's 502 miles from my home in Los Angeles to Grand Canyon Village in northern Arizona. I drove there in our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, and with a bit of hypermiling I set two new fuel economy records along the way. Hypermiling can be a bit boring though, so I took plenty of photos along the way to keep things interesting.
Here are the numbers.
I covered 1,201 miles in the GTI in two days. The GTI used 36.2 gallons of fuel, averaging 33.2 miles per gallon over the length of the trip. The worst of four fills was a 28.5-mpg tank, while the best was 38.5 mpg. This beat our previous best-fill by 4 mpg.
For some perspective, the EPA's highway rating for the GTI is 33 miles per gallon. I beat that by 5.3 mpg, or 16 percent. That tank of fuel also set a new best-range for the GTI at 480.3 miles, beating the previous best by 105 miles. Filling up the GTI after 480 miles took 12.5 gallons of fuel, meaning there was about 0.7 gallons left in the tank.
I didn't intend to cut it that close, but I didn't see any gas stations from the highway with 90, 60, and 30 miles left on the clock, so I crossed my fingers and just kept going. At 38.5 mpg, 0.7 gallons means 27 miles until empty, but the on-board computer was a bit conservative, indicating only 5 miles left until empty.
A low speed limit in the park, combined with a passive approach to passing 18-wheelers and a 2,000-foot drop in elevation led to those numbers, but I still think the GTI's capability is rather impressive. It won't be my first pick for future long road trips, but after 1,200 miles in the driver's seat, I gained a lot of respect for the little German hatchback.
Travis Langness, Social Media Editor @ 13,711 miles