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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!?

Let’s Torque ICE and EV Physics

As technology improves with each passing year, the inside mechanicals of an internal combustion engine (ICE) have become more refined, stronger, lighter, and more efficient at harnessing power from the combustion process and feeding it out to the wheels.  Adding Hybrid technology to the ICE has also enabled car manufacturers to make greater gains in power and efficiency.  Hybrid engines are designed to try and use electric power from the electric motor(s) instead of fossil fuel power from the ICE for as much of the commute as possible.  When required, the ICE takes over the power delivery when electric power has been drained, or electric and ICE can work together for enhanced power on acceleration.  Purely electric vehicles (EVs) don’t have combustion energy but can still produce phenomenal levels of power and torque.

If you’ve ever taken the slightest look at any car review in a magazine or online, or even browsed through a car brochure, somewhere in the read you’ll come across some of the main bits on the engine stats and specs. Some of the specs are easy enough to understand – like the 0–100 km/h time measured in seconds, which is a measurement of the quickest time it takes the car to go from a standstill to 100 km/h.  100 km/h is equivalent to 62.14 mph, so if you are presented with an Imperial measurement looking at the 0–60 mph sprint (USA reviewers use this), it’s roughly the same as the usual nought-to-the-ton metric figure.

However, some specs are a bit harder to get a handle on – like power output.  Power is described as the rate at which work is done, or else the rate at which energy is converted into motion.  In cars and vehicles of all types, the formula for calculating power is relatively complicated (or kind of).  The power output of an engine is measured in kW (kilowatts) using metrics, which is the force times the velocity: power = work/time = (force x distance)/time.

All sorts of things go into delivering the power and torque created from an ICE out to the road, such as the number of cams (pistons) in the engine, the number of combustion chambers in the engine, the flywheels, the gear set, the tyres, and even the size of the combustion chambers.  The reason why EVs can make power and torque quickly and efficiently is that they do away with all the internal mechanical workings of an ICE (the ICE motor) and use magnetism instead of combustion for making power and torque available to the driveline.

Yes, power actually used to be measured in horsepower, which was originally used to compare how well a steam engine or traction engine could work in comparison to a big Clydesdale horse (hp).  Here’s some stats for you:

1 kW equals 1.34 hp

1 kW equals 737.56 foot pounds per second

1 hp = 550 foot-pounds per second (ft lb/s)

1 hp = 0.75 kW

As you may already know, power is closely related to torque.  Torque is a measure of the force that can cause an object to rotate about its axis point.  The whole set-up with a vehicle’s engine, transmission, and drivetrain involves rotational motion, so where the rubber finally hits the road is where the final delivery of the torque from the vehicle’s engine and mechanical components are then converted back to straight-line motion, where and when the rubber applies a force to the road.

Torque is measured in Newton meters (Nm).  Newton metres are the metric units used for torque.  The non-metric unit used for American cars is in pound-force per feet, also known as pound-feet. Just to be confusing, pound-feet is also used for torque, while foot-pounds are used for power, something that’s likely to drive you half dotty. However, the formula for conversion is 1 pound-foot = 1.356 Nm.

An ICE engine loses a lot of its initial combustion power and torque as this gets delivered mechanically to the rubber on the road, where all the action happens.  All the weight and friction of the moving ICE powerplant components drain the power and torque levels before what’s left of it is delivered to the wheels, the rubber on the road used for motion.

Hybrid vehicles (those that combine electric and ICE motors) can use electric motors to boost ICE power and torque output, thus improving fuel efficiency and power and torque delivery.  EVs can deliver so much more power and torque to the rubber on the road because they haven’t got all the extra weight and friction of the ICE’s mechanical componentry.  EV motors don’t need all of this to create a big enough force for motion.

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:


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.


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.


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.






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.


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 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’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 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



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.


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 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 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.




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 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.

Let’s Go and Caravan

We’ve got the country, we’ve got the beauty, and it seems peoples’ love for caravanning and camping around Oz is growing steadily.  The latest figures from Tourism Research Australia show that the popularity of domestic caravanning and camping trips is one pastime that many Australians cherish.  It’s not hard to see why people enjoy it, when there is so much natural beauty in Australia’s landscapes and wildlife.

According to the latest domestic tourism record, it shows that Australians spent a total of 54.5 million nights caravanning and camping during the year ending March 2019.  This number is an increase of 6.5% from the previous year.  While on these trips, many caravanners and campers also opted to eat out at local cafes or restaurants, a bonus for the local businesses.  This growth was experienced across the board, in all States and Territories, with over 10% growth recorded for Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland.  Interestingly, in terms of age demographics, those with a family in tow – i.e. parents with one or more children living at home – belonged to the demographic group that accounted for the largest number of caravan/camp trips in a year.  People who were part of the younger, mid-life demographic, and with no children, were those of the second largest group taking plenty of caravanning or camping trips (4.2 million).  When it comes to the most nights away in a year, the older non-working demographic (often called ‘grey nomads’) were leading the way with 32% of the total number of nights spent in Australia caravanning or camping.  In comparison, the family segment was only slightly less at 30%.

Sorry tenters, but I’m getting older and so will give my few cents worth for caravanning in the following!  I enjoy getting away in our caravan when we can.  Having a caravan in tow allows for a little more comfort on the trip, with less hassle on arrival at each new destination.  Everything you really need is with you, and the beds are ready made for the night, with no need to pitch tent!

I would certainly recommend trying caravanning, particularly if you like the idea of enjoying the great outdoors, getting away from most of the electronic vices, and smelling the clean air.  You get to meet a whole bunch of friendly, like-minded people along the way.  You also get to discover the many new places you’ve never seen before or rediscover your old favourite spots that you love to get back to.  These sorts of experiences are a treat that I never grow tired of.

Caravan Types

Here are some of the varieties of caravans you can buy without looking into purchasing a fully-fledged motorhome:

Standard Caravan

Easy to tow. It really just depends on the tow rating of your car as to how large or heavy the standard caravan is.  The smaller the caravan, generally, the lighter and easier it is to tow than bigger ones.  Standard caravans come in a range of sizes, single and tandem axles, and so some of the standard caravans can even be pulled by smaller cars.

Because standard caravans aren’t as heavy as the more ruggedly designed off-road caravans, they demand less torque and horsepower to tow comfortably out on the open road; thus, they are more economical on the fuel/power bill.

Standard caravans are also a bit easier to store and manipulate by hand, particularly the smaller ones.


Pop Tops

Pop-tops are easy to tow. Small caravans like pop-ups are, generally, much lighter and easier to tow from A to B than larger types of caravans.  You get much better fuel economy towing a pop-top because of the lower drag co-efficiency.

Pop-tops a doddle to store and manipulate by hand, particularly the smaller ones.



The merits of an expander caravan are similar to any standard or off-road caravan; however, they have the added bonus of a variety of pop-out areas that can be designed into the ceiling and walls.  Essentially, pop these areas out at your destination, and you have a lot more interior space and utility at your disposal while being stationary.  Just before you tow away, these areas are fold back into place, and away you tow again.


Off Road Caravan or Camper

The merits of having an off-road capable caravan or camper speak for themselves.  They have been built tough and rugged so that you can tow them off-road.  Obviously, you are going to need a bigger, torquier vehicle to tow this type of caravan/camper as they are heavier built and weigh more.  Usually, these are towed by a decent 4×4 capable vehicle like a Land Rover, Toyota Land Cruiser, Ford Ranger, etc.


Camper Trailer

Similar to a pop-up caravan, except they fold out an array of attached tents.  These are light and easy to tow.  They can be designed for towing both on and off the road.  They are cheaper to buy, as are pop tops.

Are You Being Misgendered By A Crash Test Dummy?

It may have come to your notice that not all car drivers are men. For most of us, this isn’t much of a staggering revelation, especially if you are a woman. Or if you were ever driven places by your mother. Or taught your daughter to drive. Or asked your wife or girlfriend to share the driving with you on a long-haul trip interstate. Or if… well, you get the picture. However, it seems as if car manufacturers, especially those responsible for the passive safety features, haven’t quite cottoned onto this yet, as a whole.  You’d think that Bertha Benz had never taken her husband’s prototype horseless carriage out for a long drive to demonstrate to the world that this new invention was easy to use.

The road safety analysts who collect facts on these sorts of things found, when they separated out the data for men and the data for women, found out that women are 73% more likely to be injured in a vehicle crash than men and 17% more likely to die in one. This isn’t because they’re crashing at a higher rate, either. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US, men still crash more and are more likely to do silly things like not wear seatbelts, drive too fast and drive drunk. However, if they do get into identical crashes, a man is more likely to survive it than a woman.

One has to ask why, given that most car manufacturers pride themselves on how good their safety features are. After all, they do all those crash tests with dummies, don’t they? Surely these should make cars safer for both men and women?

Well, yes. Lots of passive safety features such as airbags have become standard on just about every new vehicle thanks to these tests. But there’s a wee problem with these tests, as pointed out by investigator and social commentator Caroline Criado-Perez in her book Invisible Women. Ms Criado-Perez dug around a bit and found out a few things about the standard crash test dummies used in most tests by most manufacturers. In these tests, they tend to use three main ones for the frontal crash tests: one 95th percentile male (in other words, a dummy representing a really big dude who’s bigger than 95% of other guys), a 50th percentile male (an average guy) and a 5th percentile female dummy (a teeny lady who’s shorter than 95% of the population). In other words, tests are carried out on twice as many male dummies as they are on female dummies. That’s a wee bit of a problem to begin with.

However, it gets worse. According to Ms Criado-Perez, during those frontal crash tests, the female dummy isn’t even tested in the driver’s seat – she goes into the front passenger seat. This makes you wonder what century these designers are living in. Surely, given that they’re putting all these electronic assistance gadgets, they know that this is the 21st century and that women drive cars, don’t they? The good news here is that in Australia, the ANCAP tests do put that 5th percentile female dummy in the driver’s seat during the frontal tests – good for them.

However, there’s one wee problem with that female dummy. OK, she’s smaller than the male ones and she’s got boobs, but when it comes to actual anatomy, that dummy doesn’t actually represent real female biology. What the designers did was to simply take the male dummy, scale it down and put boobs on it. The trouble is that nature doesn’t work like that. There are differences between male and female skeletons – that’s forensics 101 (yes, literally; it’s part of the basic undergraduate anatomy course). Take necks for example.  If a man and a woman have the same sized head, the woman will have thinner neck vertebrae and a thinner neck.  Now look down a bit to the other end of the spine, and look at the pelvis. The male pelvis is narrower and has a heap of different angles, which means that a guy’s legs are also straighter – and that’s just the start. The differences between male and female pelvises are as different as the soft bits found in and on the pelvis (yes, the bits you’re thinking of). And the list goes on: men have longer ribcages and denser long bones as well.

In short, using a smaller version of a male dummy doesn’t actually represent a female body. Women are being misgendered by crash test dummies, in effect.

Would you be surprised to learn that in one recent study on sex differences between injuries from car crashes, women were more likely to have injuries to their pelvises and spines – the places where female bodies are most different from male bodies? Those whiplash-protecting headrests do something, but they’re better at protecting male necks than female necks – because they’ve been tested on what are essentially male dummies.

However, this isn’t an excuse for men to hog the driver’s seat.  Volvo is one car manufacturer who has cottoned onto the fact that women have been driving since Bertha Benz took a road trip through the Schwartzwald, and they’re starting to work out how they can make cars safer for 100% of drivers.  What’s more, a more anthropomorphically correct female dummy has been invented, known as the THOR-5F.  The THOR-5F isn’t just a scaled-down male dummy but has been built to actually represent that dainty 5th percentile female, pelvis, neck and all. This dummy even has a whole heap of sensors in the abdomen and the dummy looks like she’s in the second trimester of pregnancy.  A crash test mummy, if you like. Here’s hoping that ANCAP and the other safety testing authorities will insist that this dummy or other dummies based on real women must be used in crash tests.

In the meantime, keep on driving safely and always wear your seatbelt (even if arranging it around your boobs is awkward).

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 (MG to Z)

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 (MG to Toyota)…


Yes, a new and very fuel efficient Hybrid for less than $50k is possible, thanks to the snazzy MG HS Plus EV SUV.  Nice to drive, comfortable, and with roomy interiors, loaded with technology, and five-star safe, these are a great hybrid buy.  The MG HS Essence-spec plug-in hybrid joined the range in 2021 and uses a 119 kW/250 Nm 1.5-litre Turbo four driving the front wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.  It boasts a strong presence among class leaders that include the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan X-Trail.  It comes with 5-star safety technology that includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian avoidance and satellite navigation as standard.  MG says it takes about 7 seconds for the 0-100 dash, while returning a fuel efficiency that can be as low as 1.7 litres/100 km or more commonly up to 5.7 litres/100 km.

MINI Countryman Cooper SE Classic SUV

The Countryman Cooper SE Classic is a cute three-cylinder plug-in hybrid with electrically-assisted AWD.  BMW indicates a combined cycle as low as 2.4 litres/100 km but may look more like 4.5 litres/100 km for most of the time.  Combining a 1.5-litre Turbo 3-cylinder ULP petrol (100 kW/220 Nm) and a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion plug-in battery, this combined system equates to an output of 165 kW of power and 385 Nm of torque.  The small MINI sees off the 0-100kmh sprint in 6.8 seconds and is a lot of fun to drive.  The MINI Countryman’s roomy interior is backed up by 450 litres of luggage space behind the back seats, growing to 1275 litres if the seats are folded down.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV ES

From around $51k you can get one of these new.  The 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV ES is a very stylish small SUV with very low running costs.  Aspire and Exceed models are also available.  Comfortable and loaded with tech and safety, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV makes a lot of sense.  Even the top of the range Exceed with all of the bells and whistles can be bought for under $60k.  Mitsubishi indicates as low as 1.9 litres/100 km is possible, though real world figure of 3.7–4.0 litres/ 100 km is still impressively low in the real world.  Boot space is around 350 litres, and 0-100 km/h takes about 10.5 seconds.

Peugeot 3008 GT Sport Plug-in Hybrid AWD SUV

For less than $90k you can have one of these very stylish hybrids.  Boasting a 1.6-litre Turbo ULP engine and electric power that combines to a maximum of 222 kW, this sporty SUV uses an 8-speed automatic.  Thanks to twin electric motors driven by a 13.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Peugeot 3008 PHEV enables zero-emissions driving for up to 60km.  Its 222 kW power output and a 6.5-second 0-100 km/h acceleration time makes this one of the fastest SUVs in its class.  It is also 4×4 capable, making it a highly desirable vehicle for undertaking light off-road terrain.  Gorgeous full-grain Nappa leather-appointed seats with grey stitching, nicely-integrated twin digital screens (a 10.0-inch central touch-screen with satellite navigation and a 12.3-inch driver display), real world fuel efficiency likely be around 5–5.5 litres/100 km (but much less than this is possible), and you have yourself quite a vehicle.  Peugeot reckons the 3008 PHEV can achieve a combined fuel consumption figure of 1.6 litres/100 km with CO2 emissions of 36.4g/km.  Boot space is 395 litres.

Peugeot 508 GT Plug-in Hybrid

From around $84k one of these extremely stylish cars can be yours.  Its petrol-electric hybrid powertrain allows the svelte sedan to drive up to 55 km (WLTP) in silence, by switching off the combustion engine and using only its electric motor.  It’s hard not to be impressed with the car’s looks and style.  Inside, the leather seats, the dashboard design, the sporty cockpit layout, and the sheer attention to detail is very impressive.  A 12.3-inch iCockpit digital driver’s display, a 10.0-inch central touch-screen, a 10-speaker sound system, dual-zone automatic climate control, five-star safety, it’s all there!  0-100 km/h takes around 8.2 seconds, while the Plug-in Hybrid system uses a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine developing 133 kW at 6000 rpm and 300 Nm at 3000 rpm to get the job done.  The official combined-cycle fuel consumption figure is 1.8 litres/ 100 km, but to achieve that would require frequent charging – something that’s not always possible in the real world.  Expect around 5.0 to 6.5 litres/100 km combined.  Boot space is 487 litres.

Subaru Forester Hybrid

Subaru XV Hybrid

The fifth generation of Subaru’s mid-size, all-AWD Forester SUV was updated in late 2021 with a new look, plus refinements to steering and suspension and a revised instrument panel.  The smaller XV Hatch also uses similar tech.  Expect around 6-7 litres/100 km for the 2.0-litre boxer-based mild hybrid powerplants.  Off-road is no problems at all for the Forester or XV and safety is off the top shelf.  All Foresters and XV Hybrids get active cruise control, blind-spot monitors, lane-change assist, “active” LED headlights and rear cross traffic alert. The Forester offers truly generous passenger space and luggage capacity (422 litres expanding to 1768 litres with rear seats folded).  The XV has 340 litres behind the rear seats.  Both are nice to drive adventure seekers.

Toyota Hybrids

Almost every model on the Toyota showroom floor can be a hybrid.  There are so many that I’ll list them all here in picture form.

Toyota C-HR Hybrid SUV from $42k.






Toyota Camry Hybrid Sedan between $38-52k.

Toyota Corolla Hatch and Sedan between $32-40k.


Toyota Kluger SUV between $60-83k.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid



Toyota Prius between $43-51k.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

These are truly excellent hybrid vehicles, and, if you don’t know where to start, Toyota is a great place.  Reliability, practicality, some of the best hybrid economy figures (usually very achievable: 3.5 to 5.5 litres/100 km), and excellent 5-star safety are all reasons why Toyota Hybrids are so good.  They are also very competitively priced right across the board from the little Yaris Hatch to the larger Camry Sedan or Kluger SUV.  Get ready to be impressed.

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

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.