The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic 1.6 TDCi has won the 2012 ALD Automotive/Shell FuelSave MPG Marathon, clocking up 108.78mpg over a 370-mile route involving tough, real-world driving in challenging weather conditions.

The annual event is a test of fuel consumption for showroom vehicles, which also demonstrates the financial benefits of simple, smarter driving techniques. This year’s route through the hills of South Wales and the Cotswolds was made more challenging by a bridge collapse and a traffic light failure along the way.

Ford’s winning team, Andrew Marriott and Andy Dawson are both former rally drivers and beat their nearest rival by over six miles per gallon.

The super-frugal Ford Fiesta ECOnetic, which boasts an official combined fuel consumption of 85.6mpg and emissions of 87g per kmCO2, proved that smarter driving can dramatically reduce the cost of running a family car. This year’s run demonstrated a 27 per cent improvement over its official combined fuel consumption figure.

Ford’s ECOnetic technology significantly assists the efficiency of Fiesta and FiestaVan models, by combining Start/Stop technology, combustion and calibration improvements, smart regenerative charging and revised gear ratios among other enhancements.

The Ford Focus Titanium 1.0 EcoBoost also took part, with drivers Paul and Doug Clifton, from BBC South, producing 61.93mpg – a near 10 per cent advance on its official combined cycle figure of 56.5mpg.

A Ford Transit Custom T270, crewed by Owen Wood and Richard Powell, of Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre, came third in the LCV category thanks to a performance of 56.04mpg – 37 per cent up on its combined figure of 40.9mpg.

Event organiser Ross Durkin commented: “This year’s MPG Marathon will be remembered for the two teams who beat the elusive 100mpg barrier – both superb performances.

“The average improvement over combined cycle figures achieved by the 27 vehicles in this year’s event was a whisker under 16 per cent – impressive by anyone’s standards.

“Manufacturers have done a tremendous job in improving the fuel efficiency of all new cars and vans, but motorists should see their published fuel consumption figures as a target to beat, not the maximum achievable.”