1,700km in an Audi to Hat Yai and back

Luke Pereira
Audi Fuel Efficiency Challenge 2022

Who said driving up to Thailand on a single tank of fuel would be a difficult feat? All you need is lots of coffee, a strong bladder, and an Audi

Photos: Audi Singapore and Clifford Chow


What is necessary for a fuel efficiency challenge besides a heavy foot and a steely mind? Well, after participating in Audi’s Fuel Efficiency Challenge, all I can say is a strong bladder and banging music playlist is what you need. The goal was to get from Singapore to Hat Yai and back, with the best fuel efficiency possible.

Audi Fuel Efficiency Challenge 2022
The morning’s agenda up to Hat Yai.

The Fuel Efficiency Challenge was Audi’s way of showcasing that it actually was possible to drive efficiently and comfortably over long distances with a single tank of fuel. And boy were they right by using a total of eight journalists (myself included), to put that theory to the test.

Don’t really want to read? Watch the video instead!


Hat Yai 2022 - Sealing of petrol caps

My co-pilot Clifford from TopGear Singapore and Khai, my trusty video production crew wanted to sneak in a little more petrol in our Q3 SUV. Unfortunately, though, Audi sealed off our filler caps at Shell Jalan Ibrahim, our starting point, so we had to make do.

Lucky for me, Clifford packed along masking tape to give our ride a little edge when it came to aerodynamics.

Hat Yai 2022

Apart from our Audi Q3 1.5 ride for the trip up North, the other six journalists were driving up in the Audi Q3 Sportback, A3 Sedan, and A3 Sportback. One thing to note: When setting off on a cross-country drive, always travel light, pump the tyres to the right pressure, and it doesn’t hurt to say a little prayer that the roads aren’t jammed. 

Hat Yai 2022
Always standby music to keep you awake throughout the journey, or in this case – 13 hours of driving.

Time check: 4.45 am – tyres pumped, GPS set, 900km of driving to do. What could possibly go wrong?

Hat Yai 2022
Full steam ahead as Clifford powered through the first half of the drive to Hat Yai.

It’s worth pointing out that the Audi Q3 1.5 does handle the roads well, not because it’s an SUV, but because it uses the VW Group’s MQB platform. Conserving fuel was our main goal and the Q3 did exactly that. The 150hp petrol deactivates two cylinders to save fuel when you’re not trying too hard. More importantly, we were on a tight schedule as the Thai customs doesn’t remain open 24/7 unlike the ones at Johor Bahru (JB), and instead, closes at midnight. 

Hat Yai 2022

Audi rates the Q3 with a fuel efficiency of 5.8L/100km (combined), which is pretty darn good. It’s worth pointing out that the Audi Q3 has 150hp and 250Nm of torque. This means if you have a heavy foot, that can send it to 100km/h in just 9.4 seconds, something we clearly did not want when it came to fuel efficiency challenges. But did that stop me from behaving? No…sorry, Clifford.

Audi Fuel Efficiency Challenge 2022
Refuelling at Shell Hat Yai before calling it a night.

That spelt the end of my stint behind the wheel as Clifford continued the second half of our journey to a Shell petrol station in Hat Yai, our endpoint for the drive up where Audi recorded our fuel efficiency readings before heading to Monkham Village Hotel where we could get some rest. However, I did muster much more discipline on the drive back from Hat Yai.


Hat Yai 2022
Tired faces, hence the back shot on our way to load up the A3 1.0 Sportback.

I used to think Hell Freezes Over only belonged to an Eagles album till I realised we were setting off at four in the morning back to Singapore. This time, we loaded up in the Audi A3 1.0 Sportback – a car that Derryn reviewed and labelled as “super fuel efficient.”

Watch our review of the Audi A3 1.0 Sportback here.

Hat Yai 2022
Game face on, ready to take us home.

The A3 1.0 Sportback offers 110hp, 200Nm of torque, and a quoted fuel efficiency of 4.4L/100km. Inside, I’ve learnt how the sporty bucket seats would turn out to be more supportive than my last relationship. Not to mention that the convenience of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, made up for the lack of onboard navigation.

Apart from providing good music throughout, I decided to make up for my terrible fuel economy in a car that is known to deliver great numbers. You see, the A3 1.0 Sportback has a very efficient engine that is coupled with a mild hybrid system that is able to shut off the engine smoothly. Meanwhile the slips into neutral automatically to let the car to sail with the engine switched off for short periods – exactly what we need.

Hat Yai 2022
The ‘Rest recommended’ prompt showed up on the A3 just before I handed the wheel over to Clifford.

After clearing Thai customs, I took the wheel up to Tapah, which was about a five hours drive. Right before arrival, Audi’s driver-rest-recommended signal came on, which is a technology that assesses the driver’s driving style and prompts a warning if it detects a decline in attentiveness on the road. Thanks for the reminder, Audi. Time for a driver switch and then shooting back to the Tuas checkpoint. 

Hat Yai 2022

It is worth mentioning that the car’s 45-litre tank gets you more than 800km of range, and having put that to the test, we made it back home with 230km to spare in the tank.

Hat Yai 2022
Trust me, we weren’t smiling this widely when we found out the overall results.

In total, we covered 1,715.6km and used 87.45 litres of fuel. That gave us a fuel efficiency of 18.76km/L. Unfortunately, given the extra penalty of 91km added to our mileage for crossing back to Singapore late, we could only settle for the consolation prize. It was no easy feat competing in a fuel efficiency challenge when we already had a disadvantage of three people when other teams comprised two. However, despite carrying extra weight throughout the drive, both the Q3 and A3 Sportback have proved that it was far possible to drive efficiently over such long distances with only a single tank of fuel.

Hat Yai 2022
The happy trio that endured over 1,700km to and fro Hat Yai, thanks, Audi.

All in all, should you consider heading on a long-distance drive crossing borders and care about the fuel consumption, getting behind the wheel of cars like Audi’s Q3 and A3 Sportback would give you exactly that. More importantly, driving technique does play a part. After all, a frugal car that doesn’t drink much is just as important as travelling with the right company that is as determined as you to get to your destination in the safest, yet most entertaining way possible.


a3 sportback Audi Hat Yai mild hybrid Q3 thailand

About the Author

Luke Pereira

CarBuyer's content producer loves producing entertaining, relatable content. He spends all year waiting around for Mariah Carey. Rumour has it he was married twice and is 'Luke Perry' incarnate are unfounded. @lukeypereira

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