Taking a petrol hybrid and a diesel car to see how far they'd go on just €20 worth of fuel ended up revealing a lot more than I'd bargained for.

The plan was to drive the cars until one or both conked out - completely empty of fuel.

But first off let's be clear. The exercise was organised by Skoda. Now I have to say they were scrupulously fair and had absolutely no control over how we drove or who drove what. Everything - fuel loading etc - was filmed for authenticity.

My colleague and I remained entirely independent on our assessments. We were in total control of the cars at all times.

Both cars had their tanks purged of all fuel before the €20 worth of petrol and diesel were respectively poured in so there was no lingering litres or residue.

The two cars specifically were:

  1. A Toyota Auris Luna Sport 181-reg, 1.8 petrol hybrid e-CVT. Price as tested: €25,995. Spec included: 17in alloys, front sport seats, reversing camera, air con, lane assist, privacy glass. CO2 of 97g/km; road tax €180. Claimed combined fuel economy: 3.5l/100km (81mpg). Range starts from €25,490
  2. A Skoda Octavia Ambition 1.6TDI 115hp, DSG (automatic) 182-reg. Price as tested: €26,425. Spec included: 16in alloys, cruise control, air con, rear parking sensors, reversing camera. CO2 107g/km; road tax €190. Claimed fuel economy 4.1l/100km (69 mpg). Diesel range starts from €25,000.

The important thing to remember is that I am not a proponent of either genre or brand. Skoda clearly understood my position in agreeing to participate. They wanted independent reportage and that's what I'm giving.

I have some reservations about the trial being based on €20 worth of fuel for both cars rather than an equal measure for each. With diesel being a bit cheaper, the Octavia benefited from 0.66 litres more fuel in the tank. Would it affect the outcome? We'll see.

Secondly the Auris had 17in wheels, the Skoda had 16in - again a minor but potentially significant point.

Anyway, after much checking and verifying we took off from Sandyford; me in the Skoda, my colleague in the Auris. We drove through town traffic to Dundrum, Goatstown, Stillorgan, Cabinteely, Bray (right through the town centre). Then we stopped for a cup of tea before taking the

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