Product of the Year 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner! We name the Auto Express product of the Year 2011.

Garmin ecoRoute HD

A gadget that claims to help reduce fuel consumption is sure to attract our attention with pump prices soaring. And the £100 Garmin ecoRoute HD does all this and more.

It’s a Bluetooth dongle which connects to the same on-board diagnostic (OBD II) port that garages use to plug into your vehicle’s brain. Data is then transmitted wirelessly to the screen of certain Garmin nüvi sat-navs.

You can view your current mpg, fuel use in litres (and pounds sterling) and even your carbon footprint. Then, when you get home, you can download your driving history as a spreadsheet from the sat-nav on to your PC, and look at areas to improve.

This is presented as a Driving Challenge ‘game’, rating your braking, acceleration and speed, and awarding a score out of 100. On top of that, it can show performance data on your car, like revs, throttle position and engine temperature. Plus, it flashes up fault codes generated by your model’s computer. Type these into an online search engine, and you can see how serious any problems are.

The system works on most cars made after 1996, and if you use the data to alter your driving style, you can save a small fortune – which is why the Garmin ecoRoute HD is the Auto Express Product of the Year 2011.

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