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Words: Aniruddha Rangnekar
Let’s face it; we are a country obsessed with fuel economy and not without reason. Fuel prices in India are pretty high, to say the least. To counter this, we have probably optimised our driving style, having heard all the fuel-saving tips before – drive at a constant speed, shift gears before 2500rpm and so on. You may be doing those things and for negligible savings. What you could be forgetting, however, are the four bits of rubber separating your car from the road. That’s a mistake, because ‘eco’ and ‘fuel-efficient’ tyres are definitely important. Ceat has been a market leader on this front and their ‘Fuelsmarrt’ range that we have recently fitted on our long-term-test Maruti Suzuki Ignis claims to improve fuel efficiency.
Ceat has optimised the Fuelsmarrt tyres to make sure the car is more fuel efficient by reducing the amount of rolling resistance. Lower the resistance, higher the economy figures. These tyres are also made of a relatively harder compound which makes it easier for the car to roll along. Under normal circumstances this would mean a compromise of increased braking distances and poorer cornering and handling. However, the Ceat Fuelsmarrt tyres have actually managed to provide improved performance in all these aspects compared to the tyres running on the car earlier. This may partly be due to the upsize the Ignis has received. Though we’ve retained the 15-inch rim size the contact patch is up from 175/65 to 185/65. Much to our surprise though the fuel economy has actually gone up.
In daily city driving and out on the highway, the Fuelsmarrt tyres have actually managed to improve the car’s otherwise slightly stiff ride quality. The increased width has also made the stance of the car look more aggressive.
Many tyre manufacturers offer tyres with fuel saving and ‘eco’ properties these days, but Ceat have actually conducted tests on a vehicle fitted with the Fuelsmarrt tyres and have found some interesting results. They claim that a car fitted with these tyres can save upwards of three litres of fuel per 500 kilometres driven. A figure which could translate to a claimed saving of over Rs 15,000 when driven above 36,000 kilometres on the Fuelsmarrt tyres, which actually means the tyres pay for themselves over these kilometres. Now that’s a real bonus in the long run and you know what you can expect from them. We will of course be testing these tyres over a longer duration to also gauge their longevity, something that Ceat tyres score very highly on.
People who buy fuel efficient tyres often don’t know they’re buying fuel savers. That may sound silly, but they often buy the cheapest tyres they can get without considering anything other than the price, but what they don’t realise are the other crucial factors to consider including handling, safety and ride comfort. These can all be compromised when buying the cheapest fuel saving tyres. Ceat has done plenty of research and used some innovative technology to optimise vehicle economy from the Fuelsmarrt tyres, while ensuring passenger safety and comfort remain the priority. The tread pattern while being stylish has a uniform contact patch to ensure better fuel economy, without compromising on grip or comfort.
Fortunately, these fuel saving tyres do not come at an exorbitant cost that would negate the fuel savings in the first place. The Ceat Fuelsmarrt tyres on our Ignis are priced in the region of Rs 4850. Part of the reason for this affordable cost is that fuel efficient tyres are simpler than performance tyres to make, as they are a harder compound. With the attractive price tag and fuel saving attributes attached to Fuelsmarrt tyres, they can be a tempting offer. You might think you are compromising on grip and handling ability as well as ride comfort for the sake of saving a few rupees but in the case of these tyres offered by Ceat you don’t have to compromise on those factors making the tyres a worthy all-rounder.