As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Buy A New Car

Buying a New Car with a Colour In Mind

We’re all different in many ways, and each of us has a list of favourite colours we draw upon in preference to others.  That’s why when we redecorate our house, we’ll often choose the colours that suit our own tastes, or we’ll opt for a set of colours we like to dress ourselves in when it comes to buying and wearing clothes.  While a car’s colour doesn’t actually affect its performance (“red cars go faster!”) or its handling, colour can certainly have a psychological effect on the car-buyer and the beholder.

Colours in the Rainbow

A car’s colour can also affect safety out on the road, and it might even affect the price of the car – in the case of second-hand vehicles, especially.  And if you’re buying a new car, you often get a choice of colour, so it pays to be informed on car colour and why some colours are more popular than others!

Ready to buy a car?  Research has shown that opting for a neutral colour like white, black, grey, and silver are your safest bets if you intend to sell the car to someone else later.  In addition to the rising popularity of grey and silvery tones, other colours from greens to blues, reds and even violet colours currently seem to hit a chord with new car buyers.

However, if you want to expand your car colour palette, you may also appreciate learning that egg-yolk yellows, bright yellows, brown, bright orange, or even a vibrant purple colour for your new car could put you at a disadvantage when it comes time to selling or trading in for another vehicle.  Naturally, these colours will appeal to a small niche of car buyers buying second-hand.  Strike one of these limited buyers and I guess you could say it could also work in your favour.  That said, younger drivers are making a move toward bright neon colours and bolder primary colours.

Some cars do look amazing, even quite spectacular in certain colours.  Nevertheless, here is the list of car colours you should get the lowdown on, which will offer a heads-up before handing any money over and some handy hints and advice.

White: Here is the most popular car colour on the road.  White is in the easy-to-care-for group and tends to look newer for longer, but white also tends to show mud and splashes easier than grey or silver.  White is the safest colour for driving, thus making it one of the most common car colours we see out on the road.  As our roads tend to be black or dark-grey, a white car stands out more readily and can be seen more easily by other road users.  White cars are better noticed even during poor light conditions (e.g., during dusk or dawn).  Still, because white is such a common car colour, white cars can be seen as a little bit bland and boring.

Black: A sleek black is always popular and looks amazing on almost any car.  It is a prestige colour, being the colour of business suits and briefcases.  Black is also a dark, sleek, and mysterious colour – think sunglasses, a black leather jacket, and boots.  From an image perspective, black is sexy and savvy, and it is seen as being suave, a colour appealing to both the masculine and feminine.  Black also makes a great canvas for a company logo.

From a safety perspective, black isn’t a terrific colour to be driving in because black cars are harder to see in conditions of poor light.  Black also looks best when it’s fresh out of the car wash. Just give it a few minutes on a windy day and it will likely be covered with pollen, dirt, and dust all over again.

Silver and Grey: According to various studies, grey and silvery coloured cars are the easiest to clean, and they remain looking cleaner for longer.  Dirt and dust can hide a little easier on grey surfaces, so your grey/silver car can look cleaner for longer.  Silver looks a little brighter and shinier than your standard grey tones, adding a bit more class and elegance to the look in much the same way black can do.  Silver, like black, might be worth considering then if you happen to regularly attend executive boardroom meets in the business world.

Red: Red is quite a popular car colour once you steer clear of the top three.  Psychologists tell us that red is stimulating and alerting.  Red cars are also cheerful and friendly, attracting the kids.  Red is a flashy car colour and tends to hide mud easier than some of the other more vibrant colours.  Nonetheless, red does become dull when dirty.  Red colours are also more vulnerable to sunlight fade, requiring the need to head to the paint shop for a spruce up much sooner than many other colour types.

Blue:  Blue is a colour on the rise and with the latest paint technology you can get all sport sorts of different shades from ocean blue to summer blue skies.  Blue car colours are often associated with the environment and sustainability.  There are many bright and bold blues that are quite eye-catching and attractive.  This colour isn’t an easy colour to keep clean.  Blues tend to show water spots easily. Scratches and swirl marks, and body bumps and bruises are more readily noticed on blue cars.

Brown:  This colour is quite rarely seen on cars, as are golds and bronzes, however it is making a comeback in some of the more luxurious brands of car.  Brown is a warm, eco-friendly colour that doesn’t show the dirt too badly.  Browns are harder to see out on the road and are frowned upon from a safety perspective, but that’s where your DRLs come in handy!

Green: Green is also associated with the environment, so you would think that it would be the top choice for hybrids and bio-fuel vehicles.  Oddly enough it isn’t particularly, unless of course you want to make more of a point about being a really green and sustainable person.  Green colours come in two types: a) bright apple and lime tones, which tend to be associated with small, fun hatchbacks like a Toyota Yaris or b) dark greens, which are more sophisticated and often found on Jaguars, BMWs, and Audis.  Green makes a reasonable canvas for a company logo and is often the choice for gardening contractors or conservationists.

From a safety perspective, the brighter shades of green tend to be quite eye-catching in daylight, mostly because it’s not a common colour out on the road.  A darker green colour combines quite honourably with the dirt of an off-road 4×4.  Generally, green coloured cars are easier to keep cleaner for longer than many other colours you can choose from. But green also shows paint and surface imperfections easier than grey, silver, and white cars do.

Orange: This lovely bright colour not only commands the beholder’s attention but it’s easy to clean.  Orange isn’t always everybody’s cup of tea, so selling on might be harder than you might think.  It tends to be good for road safety because there are only a few orange cars on the road, so they stand out.

Yellow: Yellow definitely stands out on highways.  Yellows also easily hide dust and pollen. Nevertheless, yellows do emphasize mud splashes when you find yourself driving in wet and muddy conditions.  Not everyone is a fan of yellow cars.

Purple:  purple is another rarely seen colour.  Violet and lavender purples tend to be associated with creativity and quirkiness, and the dark eggplant tones associated more with royalty.  Purple cars are very noticeable and can look very striking, but this is also because they are rarer.

Pink:  Traditionally, pink has been a colour that is considered to be sweet, soft, and feminine.  Bright pinks tend to be rather visible – probably on a level with yellow from a safety perspective – but is also a rather fun colour for a car.

People who like to drive sports cars or who want to simply stand out from the crowd will be the car buyers who opt for a brighter, bolder colour – and why not!?

Fuel Miser Comparison (2010/2022) Smart-VW

I thought I’d look at a list of cars that featured in an article written back in 2010, where I compared some of the thriftiest cars at that time.  These were cars which had been designed to function as some of the world’s best fuel sippers.  These vehicles were sold new in Australia, but I thought I’d add a new twist this time by adding what we can consider as the brand new version of these old models with their statistics for fuel consumption as a comparison – you know, a bit of nostalgia along with the new, and what’s changed – or not.

Note that the fuel consumption figures are based on the number of litres of fuel consumed every 100 km travelled.  Often real world situations can play havoc with Lab tested fuel consumption figures, but this definitely gives you an interesting picture  And, here is the list that is in alphabetical order – just to be helpful:

Smart

2010 Smart ForTwo

By far the smallest car being talked about in 2010 with excellent fuel consumption was the Smart ForTwo.  It still fits into car parks like you wouldn’t believe!  Small and safe, comfortable and peppy, any smart CBD commuter would be tempted by the tiny Smart ForTwo.  It boasts a combined fuel economy figure that sits well under 5 litres/100 km – and this all coming from a ULP motor.  Currently you can’t buy any new Smart car in Australia, though I’ve heard that, in the near future, they are making a comeback with purely electric power and with new design.

SsangYong

2010 SsangYong Actyon SUV

At the time, the 2010 SsangYong Actyon was about the most frugal SUV you could buy new at an impressively low price.  The economic SUV has muscly looks and a rugged design that could see the vehicle handling tough off-road terrain with ease.  SsangYong uses a 2.0 litre turbo-diesel engine in this vehicle, which packs over 300 Nm of torque to go with its excellent 4×4 underpinnings.  Getting any 1.8 tonne vehicle to manage under 5 litres/100 km is a feat.  So, well done to SsangYong!  Currently, no more SsangYong vehicles quite match the excellent economy of an Actyon Diesel.

Suzuki

2010 Suzuki Alto

Budget priced, and one of the few petrol powered cars back in 2010 delivering awesome fuel economy was the Suzuki Alto.  The Suzuki Alto 1.0 litre GL and GLX has an attainable fuel economy figure of 4.8 litres/100 km.  The Suzuki Alto is also nice looking (bug-eyed), has six airbags, and even comes with ESP as standard in the GLX model.  Great for around town – you’d be nuts to not consider an Alto.

2022 Suzuki Ignis

There are no new Altos in 2022, but Suzuki do offer us the awesome little Suzuki Ignis GL Manual and GLX auto.  These cars use a 1.2-litre ULP motor and deliver a similar fuel consumption to the 2010 Alto.  Safety in new Suzuki cars has taken a big leap forward, so too has all the modern technology.  Brand new Swift and Baleno models are definitely worth a look.  These are also economy-driven cars with decent comfort, technology, and practicality.

 

 

 

 

Toyota

Where would the world be without Toyota?  For a very frugal, spacious, and practical drive, the clean burning 2010 Toyota Prius III offered a 1.8 litre petrol hybrid engine.  It didn’t come cheap, but it was certainly friendly on the environment.  You could expect around 4.0 litres/ 100 km – sometimes better.

2022 Toyota Prius

You can now buy a 2022 Toyota Prius model for between $42–50k.  These are nice cars and much more impressive to look at than the older models.  They are safe and packed with excellent features.  The Prius still continues with the same petrol-electric engineering that made it such a standout when it was launched in 2001.  The same basic technology remains for the 4th-generation Prius, as well as all Toyota/Lexus hybrids these days.  So, what a new Prius offers is a small-capacity 4-cylinder engine that works through a planetary gear set to dispense the delivery of power to the front wheels (or also the rear wheels in SUV variants). The current Toyota Prius is powered by a 72kW/142Nm 1.8-litre engine that combines with an electric motor to produce a joint maximum power output of 90kW and a claimed fuel consumption of 3.4 litres/100km.  Better than ever!  Toyota newest vehicles: the CH-R, Camry, Corolla, RAV-4, and Yaris Hybrid models are available with very low fuel consumption figures.  Toyota and Honda are masters of the Hybrid-game, and have been for quite some time.

VW

Back in 2010, the Germans offered plenty of cars with excellent fuel consumption.  Volkswagen has for a long time offered well-designed, reliable and fuel efficient motorcars.  They are generally refined, elegant, and roomy, and the 2010 VW Golf 77TDI variant easily boasts fuel economy figures below 5 litres/100 km on a combined cycle.

2010 VW 77TDI

2022 sees the Golf Hatch with 5 models, and in Wagon form it has a couple of nice new variants.  The base models use a 110TSI 1.4-litre ULP motor, which is a 4-cylinder that is smooth and can return a claimed 5.8 litres/100 km.  250 Nm of torque offers muscle when you need it, and the car cruises at high speed effortlessly.  The 8th-generation of the Golf brings not only fresh external and interior design, but it is also the safest, most tech-laden ever.

2022 VW Golf 110TSI

There are other new cars right across the auto-manufacturing spectrum now that offer superb fuel economy or EV power alone.  It’s interesting how in that time (2010–2022) we’ve seen auto manufacturers taking a shift away from providing the new-car buyer with several frugal diesel family options to a fleet that is now a lot more Hybrid in flavour.  It’s a change coerced by new government law and regulation.  However, hybrid vehicles are superb automobiles that offer top fuel consumption figures and practicality, creating that much needed bridge between purely fossil fuel vehicles and completely EV-powered automobiles

Do check out the brand new arrivals.  Cars like the Hyundai IONIC, Hyundai KONA, Kia EV6, Kia Niro, Mazda MX-30, BMW i and Hybrid models, Mercedes Benz EQA and EQC models, MG HS EV, Polestar cars, Tesla, and Volvo’s Recharge and Hybrid models are just some of the amazing new cars available that we can now buy that weren’t even a showing back in 2010.

Happy commuting!

Fuel Miser Comparison (2010/2022) Ford-Peugeot

I thought I’d look at a list of cars that featured in an article written back in 2010, where I compared some of the thriftiest cars at that time.  These were cars which had been designed to function as some of the world’s best fuel sippers.  These vehicles were sold new in Australia, but I thought I’d add a new twist this time by adding what we can consider as the brand new version of these old models with their statistics for fuel consumption as a comparison – you know, a bit of nostalgia along with the new, and what’s changed – or not.

Note that the fuel consumption figures are based on the number of litres of fuel consumed every 100 km travelled.  Often real world situations can play havoc with Lab tested fuel consumption figures, but this definitely gives you an interesting picture. And, here is the list that is in alphabetical order – just to be helpful:

Ford

Ford Fiesta Econetic 2010

Back in 2010, the benchmark for fuel-misers belonged to the stylish Ford Fiesta Econetic.  Nothing was able to beat the claimed 3.7 litres/100 km fuel economy figure that this car offered.  It is a nicely designed car that looks good even today, and is also a great handling FWD Hatch.

Ford Puma 2022

I’m not quite sure why, but Ford no longer sell us a new Fiesta Hatchback.  However, you can buy a brand new Ford Fiesta-based Puma in 2022, which is a small SUV (Hatchback on steroids) that comes with a 92kW/170Nm 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine.  Cabin space is claimed to be class-leading, and the boot expands from 456 litres to 1161 litres.  You can also enjoy a fuel consumption figure of around 5.3 litres/100 km.

 

Honda

Honda’s ever reliable Civic is still a nice drive today.  In 2010 Honda offered it in a Hybrid Sedan shape that employed a little 1.3 litre Hybrid Honda engine, delivering a combined economy of around 4.5 – 5.0 litres/100 km.

Honda Civic 2010

2022 sees the Civic come alive with a very classy exterior and a powerful 1.5-litre Turbo petrol engine with 131 kW of power and 240Nm of torque.  Somewhere around 6.3 litres/100 km is attainable, and with a ride that is comfortable and athletic.

Honda Civic 2022

To find Honda’s current fuel miser, the brand new HR-V is an eco-friendly rewarding drive.  Honda’s e:HEV technology in the HR-V utilises an intelligent 2-Motor i-MMD hybrid system that seamlessly switches between three modes to give you optimal performance, and a smoother, greener, and more fun driving experience.  A claimed 4.3 litres/100 km for the e:HEV-L hybrid and 5.8 litres/100 km for the Vi X 1.6-litre petrol motor is on offer.

Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan 2022

2022 Honda HR-V

All class, you can also get yourself into one of the best Hybrid Sedans you can buy: the 2022 Honda Accord Hybrid.  It boasts a claimed 4.3 litres/100 km combined fuel economy – a very good figure for what is a sporty, comfortable family sedan, with striking looks and all the modern goodies.

 

 

 

 

Hyundai

Hyundai i30 CRDI 2010

Back in 2010, Hyundai had come to the economy party with its 1.6 litre turbo-diesel Hyundai i30, known as the SX CRDi.  Back then, it was Australia’s cheapest diesel car to buy new.  The car was pleasant to look at, and it had a nicely finished interior and plenty of zip.  With 255 Nm of torque, and a fuel economy figure of 4.7 litres/100 km, it’s still an economic little car to drive around in today.

2022 has seen Hyundai exploding with all sorts of new and exciting models that are economical, practical, and full of all the best safety and technology as standard!  Hyundai’s 2022 i30 Sedan and Hatch can come with a 120kW/203Nm 2.0-litre aspirated petrol engine, a 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol and, in hot N variants, a storming 206kW/392Nm 2.0-litre petrol turbo.  The 1.6-litre Turbo is the most frugal, offering around 6.8-7.0 litres/100 km combined.

But wait, there’s more!  Hyundai’s 2022 IONIC and KONA models have skipped the Hybrid tech and gone straight to EV power.

2022 Hyundai IONIQ

2022 Hyundai KONA

 

MINI

2010 Mini Cooper D

Mini, or BMW more correctly, offered the little Mini Cooper D in 2010 with a small 1.6 litre turbo-diesel engine, excellent fuel economy, and plenty of punch.  As the frugal engine is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox, the claimed 3.9 litres/100 km was doable in a number of conditions.

2022 Mini Cooper Classic

Fast forward to 2022, and a new Mini still has one of the catchiest hatchback designs you can buy, along with, perhaps, the best handling characteristics in a FWD small hatchback.  They are definitely worth a look and loads of fun.  You have many different models to choose from, however the base model Mini Cooper Classic is the most efficient now, with no diesel engine offered anymore.  The 3-cylinder 1.5-litre Turbo petrol engine uses DOHC with VVT and VV-Lift technology, and can return a BMW claimed 4.9 (Highway), 6.9 (City), and 5.7 (combined) litres/100 km, respectively.

Peugeot

2010 Peugeot 207

Small French Pugs have always been a favourite hatchback of mine.  For all their quirks, they are comfortable, practical, efficient, and generally classy all-round.  In 2010, the little Peugeot 207 offered a fine economy package in the XT HDi, boasting just 4.8 litres/100 km combined.

2022 sees Peugeot offering us the 2008 GT with a ULP 1.2-litre Turbo 3-Cylinder motor capable of 114 kW, 240 Nm and a claimed economy figure of 6.1 litres/100 km.  With this one, you get a very comfortable, practical little SUV with premium safety features.

2022 Peugeot 2008 GT

Hybrids have taken off, and so the best and most impressive Peugeot of the lot is the new Peugeot 508 GT Plug-in Hybrid.  The 508 range has stunning lines and is an exciting car.  The 508 Sedan or 508 Wagon are roomy, very comfortable, and loaded with excellent technology and safety.  You fork out around $77k for one of these new, however, it costs way less than a German equivalent.  Peugeot reckon you can obtain 1.8 litres/100 km of ULP fuel use if your commute’s stars align. Regardless of whether you quite get down to this, this sort of hybrid travel is impressive in its own right!

2022 Peugeot 508 GT Wagon

Fuel Miser Comparison (2010/2022) Audi-Fiat

One of the easiest ways to counter any rises in the fuel prices is to look at downsizing to a more economical car.  If this sounds something you’d be into, then you certainly won’t be the first person to do so.  We’ve just purchased a smaller Honda Jazz as a run around.  Just think back to the fuel crisis in the seventies.

Anyway, it’s always an interesting topic, and who wouldn’t mind driving a new- to late-model car that spends less time at the gas pump.  If you are a commuter, then you’ll appreciate owning a car that doesn’t cost the earth to run.

I thought I’d look at a list of cars that featured in an article written back in 2010, where I compared some of the thriftiest cars at that time.  These were cars which had been designed to function as some of the world’s best fuel sippers.  These vehicles were sold new in Australia, but I thought I’d add a new twist this time by adding what we can consider as the brand new version of these old models with their statistics for fuel consumption as a comparison – you know, a bit of nostalgia along with the new, and what’s changed – or not.

Note that the fuel consumption figures are based on the number of litres of fuel consumed every 100 km travelled.  Often real world situations can play havoc with Lab tested fuel consumption figures, but this definitely gives you an interesting picture  And, here is the list that is in alphabetical order – just to be helpful:

Audi

Audi A3 TDI 2010

The 2010 Audi A3 TDI offered a tidy package with practicality and comfort on its side.  It uses the 1.9-litre TDI engine linked to a 5-speed manual gearbox that has plenty of useful torque and manages a fuel economy figure of around 4.5 litres/100 km.  It was probably one of the roomiest economy cars on this list at the time.

Audi’s 2022 A3 is available in three model grades and two body styles ” Sportback (hatchback) and Sedan.  Two powerplants are available for the stylish new A3.  The most fuel efficient is the 35 TFSI 1.5-litre turbo-petrol with mild-hybrid technology producing 110kW/250Nm with a claimed 5 litres/100 km combined economy.

Audi A3 2022

Audi also has the smaller A1 model to add to your shopping list, which you can now buy new.  It has a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder ULP engine with 85kW/200Nm and a 5.4 litres/100 km combined economy, or a 1.5-litre four-cylinder 110kW/250Nm option with a 5.8 litres/100 km combined economy.

Audi A1 2022

BMW

BMW 118d 2010

At the time, another small German car, the 2010 BMW 118d, offered a fun drive and used an automatic gearbox with a stop/start function for the engine.  It also offers a slick 6-speed manual gearbox option and achieved an impressive 4.5 litres/100 km for its combined fuel economy.  You have 300 Nm of torque, and it feels a punchy little powerhouse, and it’s also RWD!

BMW 118i M Sport

In 2022, the 1-Series is available in a 118i M Sport version, which uses a 103kW/220Nm three-cylinder turbo ULP (unleaded petrol) motor  with a claimed 5.9 litres/100km combined.

 

 

Citroen

The French loved to rival the Germans, and still do, so it was no surprise to see that the Citroen C3 and C4 featured in 2010.  They are still nice-looking and comfortable cars.  The Citroen C3 HDi offers the driver a tidy fuel consumption figure of 4.4 litres/100 km, while the bigger and roomier C4 HDi could deliver 4.5 litres/100 km in combined fuel economy runs.

Citroen C3 2010

2022 sees Citroen’s C3 with much more grown-up styling, and a 1.2-litre three-cylinder 82kW/205NmTurbo petrol engine that delivers the power through a 6-speed automatic FWD driveline.  Fuel consumption should see around 5.7–6.4 litres for a Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) combined cycle, which is the current testing process for measuring a new car’s fuel economy, electric driving range, and emissions.

Citroen C3 2022

 

 

 

 

Fiat

Fiat 500 2022

One of the 2010 super cuties, and still with endless loads of flair, is the nicely packaged turbo-diesel Fiat 500 that captures your attention.  Whether it is the 1.3 JTD engine mated to a 5-speed or 6-speed manual gearbox, both options provided a thrifty 4.0–4.5 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

2022 Fiat 500 cars are still available new, of course with all their modern updates and new technology like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and updated safety technology.  The current 500 and 500 Convertible offer a manual or single-clutch automated manual five-speed gearbox that underpins the driving force behind the 1.2-litre 4-cylinder engine producing 51kW and 102Nm.  Fiat rate it good for around 4.9 litres/100 km on a combined run, making this a great modern car to drive in an urban setting.

Fiat Punto 2010

In 2010, the Italian flamboyance continued with the Punto 1.3 and 1.4 JTD models.  The Punto handles the road well, making it rewarding to drive, while returning a combined 4.6 litres/100 km.  Currently, Fiat no longer sells a New Punto model, so, if you’re into Fiats, then the 500 is the one for you.

Hybrids, EVs, and the City Environment

With the big push for clean air and protecting the environment, running a new hybrid vehicle is one way to make the gradual change from fossil fuels to electric more affordable and realistic as we head into a future of EVs.

A gradual change is key, so that everyone can adjust their budgets and business direction accordingly.  And making the change gradual ensures that EVs can become more affordable to the masses.  Have you heard of the ‘trickle-down effect’?  This term refers to the reality of fashion trends flowing from the wealthy (e.g., politicians, mayors, doctors, directors, engineers etc.) to the less well-off or the working class (e.g., factory hands, beneficiaries, shop assistants, cleaners, farm workers, etc.) in society.  This trickle-down phenomenon can be related to any new consumer product, especially when these products are first introduced into the market.

At the product’s initial introduction into the marketplace, it is costly and only affordable to the wealthy, but, as the product matures, and as time goes on, its price begins to fall so that it might become more widely affordable and thus adopted by the general public and the working class.  One would assume that pure EVs will follow this kind of trend.

Right now, EVs are expensive to purchase new, especially when you want to have one of the EVs with all the status (e.g., Tesla, Porsche, Mercedes Benz).  There are some cheaper options like the MG ZS EV, Hyundai IONIQ electric, the Nissan Leaf, and the Hyundai Kona electric.  These cars can generally be had for less than $60k.

Currently, owning and operating a 100% EV would be an ideal option if you just wanted to hop between addresses inside the city boundary or maybe commute short distances to and from the urban jungle.  However, throw in some intercity travel or long country drives, and the EV is simply left wanting.  I’m aware that EV manufacturers are working hard to change this, to make their EVs capable of travelling much longer distances between recharges, as well as making the recharge time much quicker than it commonly is.  As it stands today, Australia’s recharging infrastructure is in its infancy, and beyond the city boundary, even inside, it still has a long way to go before becoming seamless and brief.

If you live in and mostly travel inside one of our lovely Australian cities, owning or operating a vehicle that is capable of running on electric power for all or at least some of the time (more depending on you commute or travel patterns) would surely be an option if you aren’t doing so already.  This would instantly help to improve the air quality of the congested city environment.

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy breathing cleaner air inside a city’s boundaries?  We all would, right?  But I can’t afford an EV because (a) it’s not practical and (b) you can’t afford one?  If you relate to either of these truths, then you aren’t alone and are currently in the majority.  So, what about a Hybrid then?  Right now, hybrid vehicles do make a lot of sense.  They are able to use their small electric motor for 20–30 km of inner city travel, thus making the city air cleaner and the environment better for all city dwellers and workers.  However, when the commute includes distances beyond the city boundary, the petrol motor will happily take over transport duties and to get you where you want to go, recharging the electric motor’s battery in the process.

Of course, a bicycle or even walking is another option for inner city travel, particularly when it isn’t raining.  If you are wanting a Hybrid vehicle or even an EV, then do have a look at some of our Hybrid and EV reviews or talk to some of our sales staff to see if there is a likable and affordable option out there for you.

New Cars and Software Updates

How would you react if you had to pay for the apps that appear on the touchscreen of your new car?  Various auto manufacturers are looking at new ways to charge owners money for features that were previously sold as an option for the car when you bought it new.  One idea that has shown up in their brainstorming sessions was to charge car owners subscription fees for features like Apple CarPlay and its phone-pairing connectivity – as BMW is already doing.  Of course, this has been a feature that has been included for free on many mainstream cars.

Perhaps not so surprising to many would be the results that Cox Automotive collected, which were collected from a survey that asked a relatively small group of a little over 200 people about their thoughts and attitudes towards having to pay over and over again for features that used to be included at the point of sale.  Around 75% of the survey respondents would refuse to pay for features on an ongoing basis.

When asked about having to pay for any safety features on an ongoing basis, the survey showed that around 80% would not want to pay for these safety items again and again.  However, if forced to, these same respondents would be prepared to pay up to $35 per month.  I’m not sure whether the people surveyed were by enlarge high-flyers or a decent cross-section of society that included your average wage earner.  This cost per month was the highest level that these respondents would be prepared to pay for them if they were forced to.

A full 92% of respondents said that the physical items like heated and cooled seats, massage functions, or a refrigerated drinks box should be purchased as a one-off-at-the-point-of-sale option, just like anyone does now when they buy a new car with extra options.

A new car these days is full of computerised technology, so any software updates or subscription fees for software enhancements, EV power upgrades, satellite or vehicle locator enhancements need to be paid for somewhere along the line.  The funny thing is that, even as with a standard Office update on a desktop, the real-life software updates rarely have any significant practical benefits in real-life usage for the user.  Sometimes a new desktop Office update can even complicate things with the user having to relearn the fifth new visual format and appearance update in two years – I know, I was probably exaggerating.

I guess I would be prepared to pay for a driving range enhancement or a better battery capacity after purchasing a new EV, though I guess this could be a bargaining carrot for keeping a customer longer and loyal to a brand, or even enticing them to buy a certain car in the first place.

Interestingly, around 50% of the survey respondents weren’t even aware that subscription fees for car features were a prerequisite.  Rising costs that grow quicker than someone’s usable income is never a welcome scenario, so these sorts of surveys and results will hopefully provide auto manufacturers with the necessary feedback from their customers, and on the customers’ tolerance for any new additional fees in general.

Reasonably Priced Hybrid Vehicles (Kia-Merc)

In-between stages can sometimes get tricky.  The next set of sit-ups before truly hitting your peak fitness regime.  That gap year before study, or the six months prior to the new job contract starting.  What about the EV world?  We’re not capable of running a full fleet of EV cars yet, but maybe there’s an in-between vehicle that ticks all the right boxes before we go fully electric.

The truth is that the new hybrid vehicles are the best cars for this moment in time.  They deliver the very best low fuel consumption figures and will also try to run pure electric as much of the time as is practical or possible.

Hybrids are great vehicles, usually well-priced, thus perfect for softening the blow to the wallet – there are some hideously expensive EVs available.  Most desirable new EVs have price tags that, for most of us, will be well beyond our budget.  So what hybrid vehicles are on the market for reasonable money?  How much will they set you back when you buy new?  And what sort of fuel consumption can you expect?  Let’s have a look and see (Kia-Merc)…

 

Kia Niro Hybrid S

The Kia Niro comes in regular hybrid, plug-in PHEV hybrid, and also pure electric (EV) form. Hybrid variants of this small SUV use a 77 kW/147 Nm 1.6-litre ULP engine that is mated to a 44.5 kW electric motor.  The PHEV version can run in EV mode for around 58 km, while the pure EV model has a 150 kW/395 Nm motor and a 455 km WLTP (World harmonised Light vehicle Testing Procedure) range.  All variants are available in regular or Sport form – the Sport model adding more technology and luxury such as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, climate control and part-leather seat trim, as well as extra safety in the form of blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors and rear cross traffic alert.  Drive away in one of these from around $45k.  Boot space is 382 litres for the regular hybrid, while the PHEV drops to 324 litres.

Kia Sorento HEV GT-Line and PHEV GT-Line

Drive away from in a HEV Sorento for around $73k or a PHEV Sorento for around $88k.  Being a spacious SUV, the Sorento is a very practical companion for the family.  The HEV model runs with a 1.6 litre Turbo engine and an electric motor that puts out a healthy combine output of 169kW.  The 6-speed auto is smooth and well-mapped.  Expect a combined fuel consumption of around 5.5 litres/100 km.  In PHEV form, the Sorento has 195 kW, Kia indicating a combined fuel consumption of 1.6 litres/100 km is possible, though it will likely be more than this in a real world commute.  The 7-seat Kia Sorento SUV won the 2021 car sales Best Family SUV award. Festooned with sensors, cameras and digital screens, it can even park itself without anyone inside.  Autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance are all standard. The roomy cabin is enhanced by a boot that has over 600 litres, and when all-seats are folded, a whopping 2000 litres is possible.

Lexus ES 300h

One of the most luxurious hybrid sedans you can buy – let alone hybrid vehicles on the market – for under $70k new for the Luxury version or $90k new for the Sports Luxury version, this stylish car can be yours.  Toyota indicate that a combined city/highway run can be as low as 4.8 litres/100 km.  A combined 160 kW of power and five-star safety, what more could you want?  Boot space is 454 litres, and the 0-100 km/h takes around 8.5 seconds.

Lexus UX 250h SUV

The company’s first EV, the UX 300e has a 150 kW/300 Nm FWD electric powertrain and a 54.3 kW/h battery pack, the Lexus UX 300e claims a 360 km range.  But it is the Lexus UX 250h SUV Hybrid with the 2.0-litre 131 kW ULP regular hybrid engine that we’re particularly interested in here, which is available in Luxury, Crafted Edition, Sports Luxury and F Sport guise.  The Luxury Lexus UX 250h version can be had for well under $60k, a very reasonably-priced luxury machine all things considered.  These are five-star safe, FWD, extremely reliable, and very comfortable to drive.  Toyota indicate around 4.5 litres/100 km for a combined highway/city cycle for hybrid versions.  Boot space is 438 litres.

Mercedes Benz A250e Sedan and Hatch

Immensely low running costs can be had for this plug-in hybrid.  If everything suits the PHEV commute, then Mercedes Benz indicates you could see as low as 1.6 litres/100 km on a combined cycle.  Luxurious, safe, and fun to drive, these can be had for under $80k.  A 1.3-litre Turbo ULP engine with a plug-in hybrid combo that produces 160 kW max through its smooth 8-speed automatic FWD system.  The 2022 A-Class A250e runs the 0-100 km/h dash in less than 7 seconds, providing well for passengers and their luggage, driving with the poise and comfort that are hallmarks of the brand.  Safety, quality, comfort, and premium equipment levels are all up to expected Mercedes Benz standards.  Boot space is 315 litres for the Sedan and 310 litres for the Hatch.

Be an in-betweener and gain some of the benefits.

Reasonably Priced Hybrid Vehicles (A-H)

In-between stages can sometimes get tricky.  The next set of sit-ups before truly hitting your peak fitness regime.  That gap year before study, or the six months prior to the new job contract starting.  What about the EV world?  We’re not capable of running a full fleet of EV cars yet, but maybe there’s an in-between vehicle that ticks all the right boxes before we go fully electric.

The truth is that the new hybrid vehicles are the best cars for this moment in time.  They deliver the very best low fuel consumption figures and will also try to run pure electric as much of the time as is practical or possible.

Hybrids are great vehicles, usually well-priced, thus perfect for softening the blow to the wallet – there are some hideously expensive EVs available.  Most desirable new EVs have price tags that, for most of us, will be well beyond our budget.  So what hybrid vehicles are on the market for reasonable money?  How much will they set you back when you buy new?  And what sort of fuel consumption can you expect?  Let’s have a look and see…

 

BMW 330e Sedan Hybrid Sedan

Drive away from around $85k in your new BMW 330e Hybrid sedan, where a claimed combined fuel consumption of around 5.6 litres/100 km combined with 215 kW provides plenty of spirited driving (0-100 km/h in around 6 seconds).  Comfort, safety and all the new technology is on-board this neat 3 Series Hybrid Sedan package.  375 litres of boot space is present.

Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid Sedan

Drive away in a new Honda Accord Hybrid for around $61k, and you get a wonderful 2.0-litre petrol and electronic combo that serves up 158 kW of power running through a 1-speed CVT FWD set-up.  This is a very comfortable car with plenty of space in the cabin, and you get all the latest technology and safety.  It is fun to drive, with the 0-100 km/h sprint taking around 8 seconds.  Honda indicates that you can expect around 5.0 litres/100 km for a combined fuel consumption figure.  473 litres of boot space is present.

Honda HR-V e:HEV L

Wanting a new small SUV with Hybrid technology?  Then Honda’s little HR-V is a beauty.  Drive away in a new Honda HR-V e from around $45k, and it will boast a smooth 1.5-litre petrol and electronic combo that serves up 96 kW of power running through a 1-speed CVT FWD set-up.  Honda suggests we can expect a combined fuel consumption of around 4.3 litres/100 km.  319 litres of boot space is present.

Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid Premium Fastback

Drive away from around $46k.  With its neat little Fastback design, the 1.6-litre ULP engine combines with a small electric motor to put out a sprightly 104 kW of power.  This Hybrid set-up runs a more conventional 6-speed automatic FWD, and it is a smooth, comfortable vehicle to drive.  Undercutting competitors such as the Toyota Prius and Renault Zoe, Hyundai’s IONIQ comes with plenty of premium features like autonomous emergency braking, an 8-year battery warranty and an attractive capped-price servicing deal.  The regular hybrid version is quoted at having a fuel consumption figure as low as 3.4 litres/100 km, while the plug-in version was quoted at an astonishing 1.1 litres/100 km.  Real world figures will be a bit more, I’m sure, but.  Boot space is 443 litres.

Be an in-betweener and gain some of the benefits.  Take a look at the next blog list of Hybrid vehicles available (Kia-Merc).

Is there Still Space in the Market for Sedans?

Like a slow motion replay, the scene has been unfolding for some time. In fact, go back a couple of years and the writing was on the wall. Australians are obsessed with SUVs. But it’s not just here either, with many other countries following the trend, none more evident than the United States and China.

It has reached the point now where local SUV sales are far and away outperforming sedans, and have blown past 50% of all new car sales. On the one hand, the rise of commercial vehicles like utes has also helped to skew the numbers away from sedans, but the prominence of the SUV category is no statistical anomaly.

With such an evident trend appearing to be set in stone, it does raise questions over the future viability of the sedan format. In particular, will sedans still have a place in the market as SUV sales soar?

toyota-3830433_640

An evolving landscape

Cars have always been redefined by the technological progress that accompanies them. That doesn’t just extend to what’s under the bonnet either, nor what’s inside the cabin. It also extends to the shape of the body. We’ve seen an evolution as far as new formats like crossovers, liftbacks and many other identities.

In many respects, there is no reason to believe this won’t continue as means to continue fuelling the sedan market. Design changes may be subtle, but incorporating the feedback we’ve come to expect from those who prefer things like superior room, ride height, visibility and off-road versatility that comes with an SUV. Not to mention, with electrification and autonomy on the way, designs will inherently continue to transform, gradually shifting our taste in vehicles too.

car-1796389_640

The value proposition will dictate future sales

For now, sedans are still posting sales numbers that are nothing to sneeze at. Sure, they may be declining, but the choice for SUV models has risen astronomically to provide more options than ever before. Motorists’ preferences may have changed but in some ways, historical data may have been otherwise pointed to higher levels of SUV sales – and lower sedan sales – had drivers been afforded more choice at an earlier stage.

It is also a challenge that manufacturers should embrace. They will not only be faced with the task of streamlining their sedan range – as many have done already – but also going about reinvigorating a value proposition into the category to drive sales.

SUV sales may offer auto-makers fatter margins, however their higher prices and at-times polarising looks will still be a barrier to pushing sedans out of the market. So if sedans are then here to stay, car manufacturers must add value in the form of new technology, amenity, efficiency and performance to compete for the shrinking pool of buyers. And it’s many of these criteria that sedans have historically held the upper hand.

Top 10 New Vehicles Sold March 2022

There are still a reasonable number of new cars being sold in Australia, when you can get them!  For the second year running, new car sales figures have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  While the 2020 lockdowns stopped production and prevented sales, in 2021 it was really the global supply chain problems that caused the biggest headaches for ensuring manufacturers had all the bits to make up an entire car to sell.  Most notably, it was the availability of semiconductors that caused the greatest complications, even to the point where all car manufacturers – it didn’t matter what brand – had to halt their production lines at various times.

Consumers have seen this effect playing out with the low stock of new cars at dealerships across the country, as well as much higher prices for used vehicles.  Getting a handle on the new cars that people have actually bought has been tricky at times, but we can now give you an update on the 10 best-selling cars in Australia for the March 2022 sales results.

While the Toyota Hilux still keeps its position as Australia’s best-selling new car (and favourite ute overall), overall new car sales for March 2022 have stayed relatively stable across the board and across Australia.  Data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has unveiled an overall monthly sale of 101,233 units for new vehicle sales across Australia for March.  That’s still a fair few!

Several favourite vehicles remain at the top of the list, including 4 Toyota models (Hilux, RAV4, Prado and Corolla) making the top 10.  An interesting bump in sales was seen with the number of Tesla Model 3 cars being sold.  There were enough Tesla Model 3 sales to see it being Australia’s best-selling electric vehicle (EV) brand as well as making the top 10.

Australia’s top 10 best-selling cars for March 2022 were:

Number 1, Toyota Hilux

Number 2, Toyota RAV4

 

 

 

 

 

Number 3, Mitsubishi Triton

 

Number 4, Mazda CX-5

Number 5, Tesla Model 3

 

 

 

 

Number 6, Ford Ranger

Number 7, Hyundai i30

 

 

Number 8, Isuzu D Max

 

 

Number 9, Toyota Prado

Number 10, Toyota Corolla

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consumer inquiries and demand for new cars remains strong in Australia, though manufacturers are working hard to match this demand with the actual supply of products, particularly as they continue to recover from all the COVID-19 upheaval and shutdowns and the ongoing global semiconductor shortage.

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber suggests that Australians are purchasing vehicles with zero- and low-emissions in greater numbers.  This purchasing also includes more hybrid vehicles being sold.