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Hot Hatch Heaven

Behind the thriving popularity of buying SUVs, there is a lesser but feistier group of people who love buying and driving a Hot Hatch.  They are a loyal group of drivers who love the raw speed and excitement that a Hot Hatch drive provides – along with a bit of practicality on the side mind you.  The mind-set of a Hot Hatcher is that ‘if my need is to own a hatchback, then let me get a hot one’.

Honda Civic Type R

In Australia one of the most popular Hot Hatch cars of recent times has been the super little Honda Civic Type R.  It has even been given a Performance Car of the Year award, while also making a great argument for itself as being one of the best ‘Bang For Your Bucks’ experiences you can buy on four wheels.  With 228 kW and 400 Nm the latest Type R Civic is very quick and makes short work of most of its rivals.  It constantly feels quicker than anything, except maybe an AMG or Audi RS equivalent, on a backroad or windy race track.  Boot space is also 420 litres, which is more than enough for most people’s shopping trip.

Renault Megane RS

Renault has sold plenty of new RS Megane Hot Hatchbacks, and at times more than the Type R.  The Renault Megane RS offers a range that includes the availability of both manual and automatic transmissions, along with two chassis options.  Good on road comfort, the power from the 205 kW/390 Nm 1.8-litre turbo four is strong, and with launch control it keeps running quick naught-to-naughty times.  Brembo brakes work marvellously to haul in crazy speeds, and the four-wheel steering has immense grip and control.  With all this performance you still get great practicality.

Hyundai i30N

More popular among Australian Hot Hatch buyers has been the potent and very well sorted Hyundai i30N.  You’ve got to love the i30N’s fun factor bolstered by the banging and popping exhaust notes!

Volkswagen Golf GTi

But, arguably, the most preferred Hot Hatch to buy, at least in Australia, has been the immensely satisfying VW Golf GTi.  The thing is just so quick, it’s engaging and easy to drive, and it also has a real luxurious feel to the quality interior.  For those that can afford it, the VW GTi still delivers a comprehensive package.

I could add that Peugeot has a GTi Hot Hatch, so too Ford in the form of its Focus ST and Subaru in its WRX, and the…..  But you might like to add your few cents to the conversation or even disagree with my overall jurisdiction on the matter.

However, if you are thinking about owning a new performance hot hatch in 2020, then the afore mentioned ones are a few of the best you can buy that are cheaper than a real quick Mercedes Benz A45 AMG, or Audi RS3.

Audi RS3

 

Mercedes Benz A45 AMG

Winter Is Coming…

OK, it’s the stark truth (groan!) that winter isn’t just coming; it’s already here by some accounts. Unless you’re one of the people who consider winter to start properly on the shortest day of the year, aka the winter solstice coming up on June 21. No matter when you think that winter starts, there’s no doubt that it’s getting colder and the days are getting shorter (more noticeable in some states than in others) so you will need to get your car ready to cope with the conditions.

To stay safe while driving in winter, here are a few small but very important tasks you need to take care of so that you can drive as safely in winter as you do in summer (and all other times of the year)…

Update Your Wiper Blades. At this time of year, there will be more rain and there will be more condensation getting all over your windows. In some parts of the country, there could be frost on the windscreen as well. There are few things as annoying as switching on your windscreen wipers (or having them turn on automatically if you have rain-sensing tech in your vehicle) only to find that the wipers aren’t as hard and sharp as they ought to be. This is blimmin’ dangerous for your visibility, so change your wiper blades sooner rather than later.

Clean Your Windscreen Inside And Out: When the sun is higher in the sky, you don’t really notice the filmy grime on the inside of your windscreen as well as outside it. However, when the sun is at a lower angle, as it does during winter at the beginning and end of the day, especially in the more southern parts of the country, any dirt on the windscreen can cause problems with sunstrike. Although there’s absolutely nothing you can do about the angle of the sun as you drive short of moving to the Northern Territory or the top of Queensland, you can make sure that your windscreen is properly clean to reduce the visibility hazard. Dirt comes back like an embarrassing disease, so keep a soft cloth in the glovebox for emergency cleans.

Check Tread Depth: That complex pattern that forms the tread of your tyres is designed not just to provide enough traction and grip to let you turn a corner or stop without skidding. It’s also designed to channel water out through all those lines so you don’t aquaplane. A tyre with its full tread depth can shift around 30 L of water per second. If the tread isn’t quite as deep, that’s a lot more water down there between you and the road, reducing friction during stopping. Winter is certainly not the time to have worn tyres with barely legal tread. No excuses now – it’s not like you have to put on ice tyres (in fact, given that these don’t perform very well in the wet, you probably shouldn’t).

Check Your Antifreeze: You want to make sure that things are flowing freely in your radiator system during winter and not just because it stops your radiator from seizing up and being damaged, which spells death to a car with an internal combustion engine. The radiator system is what drives the interior heating system of the car. If you’ve ever ridden in an old car that didn’t have a properly working heater, you’ll know how important having good cabin temperature is in winter.

Stash A Throw In The Boot: If your car heater is working, it’s easy to forget how chilly it is outside on a nasty cold winter day. If you have stop and wait in your car for any length of time, whether you’re doing a little stargazing or whether you’re waiting for the breakdown services to arrive, running your heater for ages is an easy way to flatten the battery. Keep one of those cheap polar fleece throws in the boot as an extra layer to keep you warm in these situations. You may think that you’ll never use it but there will always be that one time when someone gets soaked through or forget a jacket, and it will come in handy.

As always, drive to the conditions and take extra care when it’s wet or icy! http://credit-n.ru/offers-zaim/joymoney-srochnye-online-zaymi.html

Even More Motoring Matchmaking…

Matchmaking is addictive, so we’re going to keep going with our series where we match people up to the vehicles that suit them and their lifestyles best. This week’s theme is… well, see if you can figure it out!

Kia Carnival

The Modern-Day Clan: When Xavier and Elizabeth are asked about the number of children they have, the eyebrows inevitably go up and the question “Are you Catholic or something?” turns up – to which the answer is “Yes.” This is because there are at least five children in the family last time we counted. Or maybe six. Elizabeth was considering homeschooling the clan like some of their friends with equally large families but not always the same religious preferences do. However, St Patrick’s school ten minutes’ drive away (on a good day) does a good job. It may take ten minutes to drive there, but it takes at least an equal amount of time to round everybody up, make a general issue of schoolbags and lunches, make sure that they’re all strapped in properly and defuse any fights about who’s got the best seat in the vehicle. Needless to say, people-carrying capacity is the first concern of Xavier and Elizabeth when they go down to the nearest car sales yard (hang on a minute, I think Francis has headed over to drool at the sports cars – he’d better not scratch anything – and I’ll give you something to eat in a minute, Veronica; Bernadette, can you hold her for a bit while Mummy talks to the nice car salesman?).

Suggested vehicle for Xavier and Elizabeth (and the clan!): Mercedes Benz V-Class, Kia Carnival, Honda Odyssey, Hyundai iMax, Renault Trafic Passenger, Toyota Granvia, VW Transporter, LDV G10 People Mover

Fiat Ducato

Mr Fix It Professionally: Doug finished his apprenticeship way back. When and what he doesn’t know about plumbing could be written on the head of a plunger. He’s been in the plumbing business for many years now and it’s getting a bit harder to squeeze under a house to deal with a leaky pipe now that he’s traded his six-pack for a keg, but he manages. Doug is anything but squeamish and has seen the weirdest things flushed down toilets. He knows all too well that what sounds like a simple blocked pipe or burst water main may turn into a long and complicated job. This means that his everyday vehicle has to be able to take it all, from a selection of washers and screws through to lengths of pipe in all sorts of widths – and don’t forget the overalls, rubber gloves, gumboots and copious amounts of hand sanitiser and soap.  Doug knows the value of word of mouth advertising and being seen to do a good job, so he has to have a vehicle that has room to slap on some signage with his business name (Dirty Doug’s Drains & Plumbing) and contact details in nice clear lettering.

Suggested vehicle for Doug: LDV G10, Ford Transit, Mercedes Benz Sprinter, Toyota Hiace, VW Transporter, Renault Trafic, Hyundai iLoad, Renault Master, LDV V80, Fiat Ducato, VW Crafter

Suzuki APV

Miss Daisy Drives: Jessica is a romantic at heart. This is why she started her floristry business. She’s doing quite well and the delivery service is always much appreciated, especially now that she has added soaps and chocolates and other gifts into the mix of things she offers. Jessica may have started out with just a little hatchback but now that she has managed to land a few bigger clients and is building something of a name for herself, she needs something larger – something that can deliver the more extensive arrangements for weddings and big dos with ease. However, a big lumbering thing just won’t look right and anyway, some of those flowers are fragile and delicate when they come from the market first thing in the morning, so her vehicle has to be fairly agile as well as having good load space… and it has to be easy to park in a residential street for when she does door to door deliveries (that’s her favourite sort of delivery job).  It’s got to have good air conditioning as well. Jessica would adore it if she could find a suitable vehicle in her company’s signature colour of sparkly lilac but anything that looks cute, does the job and can fit a nice picture of flowers along with the contact details will do.

Suggested vehicle for Jessica: Fiat Ducato, Renault Kangoo, VW Caddy, VW Multivan, Toyota Hiace, VW Transporter, Ford Transit, Fiat Doblo, Citroen Berlingo, Suzuki APV http://credit-n.ru/offers-zaim/greenmoney-online-zaymi-za-20-minut.html

Motoring Matchmaking: More For The Blokes

Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

OK, so you’re a guy who wants to get a new car but you’re not sure what to get that will suit your situation. Your heart wants a brand new Lamborghini supercar but that’s probably not actually going to be possible with your budget… and the boot space thing might be an issue.  So what’s right for you?

Here, we return to our series where we take (stereo)typical people and set you up with a set of wheels that suits your situation down to a T. This time, we focus on guys working in essential industries. Apologies in advance, but a Lambo isn’t one of the options, even if you deserve one for all your hard work during this weird time.

The Sheep and Cattle Farmer: Dave’s day may start at dawn and sometimes goes on half the night, but you can’t say that it’s boring. A typical day involves shifting stock; checking and fixing fences, water supplies and feed levels; and ensuring that the animals stay alive for long enough to bring in a profit.  Any set of wheels owned by Dave has to be versatile enough to provide a nice shady place to eat lunch (and keep said lunch somewhere where the dogs can’t get at it); cart around dogs, sacks of feed, fencing equipment and sick sheep; and maybe carry a carcass on the roof when the shotgun has had to come into play. Given the terrain where the vehicle has to go no matter what the weather is, decent 4×4 ability and ground clearance are a must.  When the time comes to head to town, there may or may not be a trailer involved, but it’s got to be able to take a load, and that includes the kids who wanted to come for the ride or need to get to netball practice or pony club. Looks are secondary factors but Dave wouldn’t mind something that scrubs up well… but not literally, as dirt and dust prove that you’re the real deal not some wussy city boy who only plays at offroading in the weekend.

Suggested vehicles for Dave:

Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, VW Amarok, Mazda BT-50, Mercedes Benz X-Class Ute

Mitsubishi Triton Ute

The Freight And Logistics Expert: Many years ago, Martin was a truckie but he’s now got his own trucking, freight and logistics company, and only drives the trucks if the business is getting a bit short-handed. Most of Martin’s days are spent behind the desk, negotiating contracts and doing all the thinking, negotiating and arranging parts of the job.  When it comes to heading to the office, Martin likes his comfort to make up for all those years of driving trucks with dodgy air conditioning back in the 1980s.  He also likes to drive something that looks sleek and smart – yes, it’s getting a teeny bit into show-off territory but he’s worked hard for this and he’s the boss. All the same, a little sports car just isn’t him: they’re just too low down and small, and Martin feels like he just can’t see anything properly or safely when you’re down that close to the road, a legacy of all those years of actual trucking work.

Suggested vehicles for Martin:

RAM 1500, Ford F-150, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Ford Ranger, Range Rover Sport, Mercedes Benz GLE SUV, Mercedes Benz GLS SUV, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Porsche Cayenne, Ford Everest, BMW X6, Lexus LX 570

Audi Q7 SUV

The Healthcare Worker: As a male nurse, Tony’s popular with all the older gentlemen who feel a bit uncomfortable about having women deal with their bedpans – and he’s also popular with some of the women who appreciate a bit of eye candy when they’re in hospital.  All the same, Tony isn’t there to flirt but to work, and the work’s pretty demanding.  In fact, by the end of his shift, Tony’s wiped out.  Coffee helps but Tony knows only too well what can happen if you nod off at the wheel in a vehicle that hasn’t got a high ANCAP rating – he’s had to help deal with the results.  This means that Tony wants something with all the active and passive safety features just in case.  A good stereo for blasting some energetic music is also greatly appreciated.  Because he does a job that, in the past, was considered to be a bit girly, Tony also wants a car that’s definitely masculine in its looks rather than some dinky-wee hairdresser’s car – he doesn’t want to turn up on somebody’s gaydar by mistake, thank you very much.

Suggested vehicles for Tony:

Subaru Levorg, Holden Commodore, Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6, BMW 5-Series, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Holden Colorado, Audi A4, Audi A5, Audi A6, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Santa Fe, Lexus RC-F, Volvo V50, Volvo V60, Volvo S60

Volvo S60

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More Motoring Matchmaking

We know that the number of cars on offer these days, both new and second hand, is pretty overwhelming. This is why we do our best to match up the right car with the right person. This is one of the reasons behind our car reviews, so you can get an idea of what each new vehicle coming onto the Aussie market is like (and quite a few second-hand ones as well, as our archive of car reviews goes back to 2008). Nevertheless, even this can be a bit daunting if you don’t know where to start.

Mercedes Benz Logo

It’s all very well for motoring enthusiasts who know their Mazdas from their Mercedes (what is the plural of Mercedes? Mercedi? Mercedeses? Mercedoi?). But what about those looking for a new car who don’t know quite so much?

Mazda Logo

To help out this category of people, we’ve put together a collection of stereotyped people along with their motoring needs and a suggestion as to what car would suit them best.  As before, if you can relate to one of these stereotypes but you already have a particular car in mind that you want, then you can go ahead and ignore the suggestion – or if you can’t stand the type of car we suggest for some reason (e.g. you object to the imagery of a particular logo, such as the serpent swallowing a humanoid figure of Alfa Romeo), then feel free to reject our suggestions!

This time, it’s the gents’ turn…

The Professor: David is known at his university for his brilliant research and for his lecturing style, which is full of digressions and tangents but still manages to be interesting… if you’re into applied mathematics.  In terms of motoring, David doesn’t need to carry much, except the laptop, a briefcase of students’ papers to be marked (yes, even in these online days, there are some of these) and maybe a suitcase to be carried to the airport before a conference.  With nearby conferences, he may take another passenger with him.  Whether he’s driving alone or whether he has a passenger, David’s brilliant mind often finds driving tedious and if he’s not careful, he will be a bit slow off the mark at red lights because he’s been finding the square root of the registration plate number on the car ahead of him.  There also have been a few close calls at intersections and lane changes.  As numbers do it for him and he has been known to use his own motoring habits as raw data, he’ll collect all sorts of statistics from the car’s trip computer and use them to make up real-life examples for his undergraduate lectures.

Suggested vehicle for David: Lexus ES, Audi A6, Volvo S90, Mercedes Benz E-Class, Skoda Fabia, Skoda Octavia, Mazda6

Volvo S90

The Sportsman: You usually find Bryan out on the rugby field or a field for any code of football, as long as it involves getting muddy and sweaty, and possibly bloody as well. Either that or you’ll find him in the showers afterwards. Bryan is generous minded and is the first to volunteer to drive everybody he can fit into a vehicle to an away game… and he gets a few laughs out of being the designated sober driver after the match who videos everybody’s drunken antics and posting them on social media (hopefully in a private message or on something less permanent like Snapchat). As ferrying a vehicle full of muddy, sweaty and possibly intoxicated adults can get a bit… fragrant… the vehicle should be easy to clean. A good sound system is a must for everybody to sing along to (or at least make a noise that can loosely be described as “singing” but sounds more like a donkey in pain).

Suggested vehicle for Bryan: Honda Odyssey, BMW 2-Series Gran Tourer, VW Touran, Toyota Tarago, Kia Carnival, LDV G10, Hyundai iMax, Peugeot 5008, Skoda Kodiaq

Kia Carnival

Cop Wannabe: Stephen loves cop shows and movies, and he nurtures a few dreams of entering the force. If Stephen wasn’t stuck behind the desk in his job as an accountant at the moment and loaded with mortgages and responsibilities, he’d sign up to train as a rookie. In the meantime, he tries to live his fantasy out when he’s behind the wheel, filling in time stuck in traffic daydreaming about being hot on the trail of a desperate criminal. This fantasy is particularly vivid when he’s got the family dog (an Alsatian, of course) in the back as his “K9 partner”.  If it’s his turn to carpool the kids, he has been known to tell some of these vivid stories, suitably edited for tender ears, to the kids to entertain them on the way.  During the ride, he is quick to pounce on infringements by other drivers and any misdemeanours by the kids, such as opening doors. He adores gadgets and telecommunications that play into his dreams of being contacted by a dispatcher, even if the dispatcher is the wife asking him to stop in for bread, milk and cat food on the way back from work.

Suggested vehicle for Stephen: Audi RS4, Audi A6 Avant, Volvo V60, Volvo V90, Subaru Levorg, Subaru Outback, BMW 5-Series Touring, BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Suzuki SX4, Land Rover Discovery, Mazda CX-9, Skoda Kodiaq

Audi A6 Avant

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How To Recycle A Car

One of several elephants in the room during the debate on whether or not electric cars should be subsidized or pushed more is the issue of what happens to the old ones that used internal combustion engines (the other elephants include the ones relating to how the electricity will be generated, where the materials for the batteries are going to come from and whether the national grid can handle the extra load). After all, we’ve all seen the junk yards where sad piles of rustbuckets from the early 1980s and written cars sit around going nowhere and doing nothing.  What happens to a car once it’s got to the end of its life and can’t be restored or repaired?

Mind you, it’s amazing what can be restored if people are keen enough. At her wedding, my cousin arrived in an antique car from the 1910s that had spent a decade or so as a chicken coop before being found by an enthusiast and lovingly restored to its full beauty – and it really was lovely!

Anyway, not all dead cars will be used for spare parts, which is the first thing that springs to mind when any car enthusiast thinks about what happens to old cars. Most of us amateur mechanics have headed down to the wrecker’s yard for a spare part or five. However, there are some bits that are no good for spare parts – quite a lot of bits in the case of something that’s been in a smash. The idea of all these car bodies sitting around and taking up space horrifies the environmentalist in me – and I’m the sort who thinks that the waste issue is a lot more serious than carbon emissions.

The good news is that despite those dreary car graveyards, there’s quite a lot on a car that can be recycled. In fact, 85% of the typical car body can be recycled.

The first thing that happens when a car is to be recycled is that the fluids will be drained, and they really do mean all fluids, not just any gas left in the tank and the oil in the engine and transmission. The coolant and what’s in the air conditioning will all be whipped out – and a lot of it can be purified and used in another vehicle. Used car engine oil can be used as fuel for shipping. The gas that activates the airbags will be carefully released – if the airbag hasn’t already gone off in the case of a crash.

Next, the vehicle is stripped of anything that’s still useful. This often includes the battery, the sound system and other electronic bits and bobs, the tyres (if they’re in good condition) and items that wreckers know to be popular and in demand. In fact, the car wreckers do a very good job of salvaging anything that can be salvaged. Even the floor mats are usually good enough to find a new home, as these hardly ever wear out.

Of course, not everything on a dead car can be salvaged and reused as is. But the job of recycling an old car doesn’t stop there. There are more materials that can be harvested from a dead car as part of the recycling process.  Most parts of a car can be recycled in some way.

The most obvious component of a dead car body is made of top quality steel. This is very straightforward to melt down and purify so it’s as good as new. Some stats claim that 30% of the steel produced around the world actually comes from recycled metal.

The real goldmine is the catalytic converter, which is almost literally a goldmine as it contains precious metals that can be salvaged from a non-working catalytic converter, and reused in other catalytic converters (obviously) and in jewellery.

What happens next to the car bodies?

The battery contains quite a lot of lead, which is why they weigh so much and why it’s no fun dropping one on your foot.  Getting the lead out is a fiddly process that should only be attempted by an expert, but it can be removed as the battery is stripped down, and the metal can then be reused, mostly in other batteries. The plastic casing, once the acid has been neutralised, is also recyclable.

Interior trim can also be salvaged. In the case of leather upholstery, this leather can be turned into fashion accessories, with handbags and belts being a common fate. In the case of fabric trim, this can be shredded and recycled into new furnishing fabrics.

Wiring is another source of metals, as wiring usually is made of copper. Wires in good condition can be used as is, or else the plastic coating is stripped off and the copper inside can be melted down and reused.

Dashboard plastics can be polymerised and turned into a new type of plastic that’s got all sorts of uses, including making outdoor furniture, like plastic picnic chairs.

Tyres used to be the big nasty when it came to recycling old car bodies because they’re so tough, but that’s no longer the case. There are all sorts of things that can be done with them. More or less intact tyres can be used by clever people to make garden furniture. Shredded tyres are used as safety cushions in children’s playgrounds for when someone falls off the swings.  In some parts of the world, the flatter bits are used as soles for footwear – they’ve got a really cool tread pattern! Grind the tyres up smaller and they can be used for the surfaces of running tracks or as roading material.

Glass is also very versatile, and can either be ground down to cullet (which is what you call ground up glass). The cullet can then be used for sandblasting ships to clean them or it can be used as road surfacing. Cullet can, of course, be melted down to produce fresh glass, including the safety glass used in vehicles. Windscreens also contain layers of plastic, and this can also be salvaged and recycled.

The big thing to remember is that one should never try to strip down a dead car for recycling unless you really know what you’re doing, as there are a lot of hazardous materials involved. Leave it to the professional wreckers for the most part. Things you can remove yourself safely enough unless you’re a complete idiot are the speaker system and any other electronic gadgets (especially if you put them in as an after-market upgrade), the fuel in the tank (siphon it out) and any of your personal belongings you left in the glovebox. http://credit-n.ru/zaymyi.html

Best And Worst Exterior Paint Colours For Resale

We’ve all heard those jokes about people who seem to be more concerned about what colour a car is rather than its practical performance (fuel economy, towing ability, safety specs, luggage space, etc.).  We’ve also probably tossed out a flip comment about go-faster red and go-faster stripes over the years.  Paint colour seems like just a matter of personal choice and preference.  However, if you’re buying a brand new car and you know that you are going to sell it off some years down the track, then you may need to bear colour in mind, as some car paint colours are better for resale than others.

Good paint colours are popular ones that don’t go out of style quickly. This means that it’s going to be quicker and easier to sell them in five or ten years’ time because they’ll still be in style. With a bad colour – which might be a fashionable colour – it could be a bit harder to sell the car later on because potential buyers may look at it and go “eww – that’s so 2020”, which may mean that you will have to let the car go for a lower price than you may have got otherwise.

The leading authority on car paint colour is the paint manufacturer Axalta. This company has complied stats on car colours for over 60 years and has tons of resources available (the most recent free annual car stats are from 2016) and there is plenty to keep any motoring trivia enthusiast happy for hours at their website.

By a quick look at some of the material available from Axalta without wasting time down too many rabbit trails, it seems as if good car colours, in terms of resale, are like good suit colours for guys or the little black cocktail dress for gals: simple, basic classics that don’t shock or startle. Honestly, when it comes to car paint colour that hold its value, conservative is the key.

The most recent (freely available!) stats from Axalta show that the most popular car exterior paint colours worldwide (and therefore the ones that are likely to have the best resale value) are as follows:

  1. White: 37% of new cars sold in 2016 were some shade of white; white has been #1 for quite some time now
  2. Black: 18%
  3. Grey: 11%
  4. Silver: 11%
  5. Red: 6%
  6. Navy blue: 6%
  7. Beige and brown: 6% (apparently, Russian sales made up most of these)
  8. Yellow and gold: 3%
  9. Green: 1% (again, mostly Russian sales)

The most popular colour for vehicles in the Asia-Pacific region (which includes us here in Australia) has been either white, silver or grey since 1973 – and it looks like this trend isn’t going to change soon!

(If you want the latest stats, broken down by region and by body style – yes, it makes a difference –then you have to pay to get the download. I’m tempted…)

To find the least popular colours, all that some bloggers and researchers do is to flip this popularity list upside down. However, you, like me, have probably noticed that some colours don’t even feature on this list.  Because cars with unpopular colours don’t sell as well, it’s hard to compile meaningful stats on them, as it’s hard to track what isn’t selling because there’s nothing to see or record.  Nevertheless, the following have been proposed as the worst car exterior paint colours for resale.  They’re not in any particular order, but you may notice that all of them are very distinctive and associated with particular decades!

  • orange: any shade of orange; this colour is only popular with die-hard Dukes of Hazzard fans
  • turquoise: metallic turquoise in particular is soooo 1990s
  • maroon: very 1990s and dated, which is weird for a shade of red
  • green (unless you’re Russian): olive or pea green from the 1970s is especially bad, followed by the vivid treefrog greens of the early 2000s
  • brown (again, unless you’re Russian): British Leyland. Enough said
  • pink: in fact, Ferrari has banned pink from its list of possible car colours coming out of the factory door, even for superstars paying megadollars for a custom paint job (if P!nk wants a pink supercar, she has to get a Lambo, which doesn’t mind what colour you pick if you’re willing to pay).
  • purple: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a purple vehicle that wasn’t a commercial tradie vehicle in company colours that had been custom-painted

The only exception I’d make to this list is the case of British Racing Green for Jaguar.  This is a tradition and it’s such an iconic colour for Jaguar that it holds its value better than other off-the-wall unique colours.  Can you imagine a Burberry in any colour other than beige?

However, if you are in the market for a second-hand car, you can make the car colour thing work in your favour. If you believe that a good horse is never a bad colour and that the same applies to cars, then you may be able to pick up a good reliable set of wheels that’s in an unfashionable colour so is going for a fraction cheaper than something mechanically identical in a “good” colour. I’ll never forget my tradie friend who picked up a metallic rose-pink trade van at a bargain price because of its colour – he downright owned that pink van and it certainly made him stand out from his competitors with ordinary white vans. OK, you need some serious cojones to pull off a pink tradie van, but it certainly worked for my friend! http://credit-n.ru/credit-card-single-tinkoff-platinum.html

Peace On Earth – And The Roads, Specifically

Temperatures are soaring as we prepare for the Christmas and New Year holiday season. A lot of us are looking at the cliched images of snow and holly berries, and listening to so-called Christmas music that should really be called “winter music” with a certain level of cynicism and irony. Driving home for Christmas – whether it’s interstate or across town – can be a bit stressful as we get all hot and bothered. There’s a lot to do and a heap of places to go, and we’ve got to haul the kids around with us now that the schools are out for summer.

Before we blow a gasket (metaphorically and emotionally – not inside your car engine), maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and remember the reason for the season. Time for a bit of peace on the roads and goodwill towards our fellow motorists (and our passengers and ourselves). One way that you can do this is being a little bit kinder to everybody – and your car as well.

Be kind to your car, yourself and your passengers by making sure that you’ve topped up all the fluids that you’re supposed to (water, oil, etc.). If you can, book your car in for a service if it’s time or if you’ve noticed things getting a bit wonky. There are few things worse than having the car die on you during the holiday season when you’re miles from your planned destination and the mechanic’s garage is closed (been there, done that – at least it happened in a sizeable town and we found a nice place to stay the night and discovered a neat little café). However, bear in mind that your mechanic is probably worked off his or her feet at the moment because everybody’s trying to get their vehicle ready and the mechanic wants to go on holiday too. Book early and don’t leave it until the last minute!

Be kind to your passengers, especially if they’re children. It’s not realistic to expect kids to sit for hours on end doing nothing, especially when it’s hot. Make sure that your air con is working properly so people don’t get too hot during the journey. Staying well hydrated also helps prevent headaches, and cold water goes down a treat. Freeze a drink bottle overnight before your trip and it will slowly melt as the day goes by, staying deliciously cold. Keeping hydrated has the inevitable results, so make sure that you make frequent stops for the loo.  Stick to water – it’s healthier, doesn’t make the seats sticky if they’re spilt and doesn’t leave you with sugar-amped kids getting fractious in the car seats.

If you’re going on a longer trip with children, then it can be a good idea to have a few special treats and toys that can be produced for the first time at the start of the trip. Make sure that you have a playlist (or CD or…) for everybody so the adults don’t go mad listening to twitty children’s tunes and the children don’t get bored with your Bruce Springsteen. As long periods in the car make for great bonding time, I don’t recommend kitting kids up with headphones and electronic devices; take the time to interact while you’ve got it. Don’t forget a few old-fashioned car games!

No matter what age of passenger you’ve got with you or even if you’re travelling alone, make sure you stop frequently to stretch your legs and get a bit of fresh air. This helps you stay alert, which is kinder to everybody else on the road, as you’ll be a better driver for it. It’s also kinder to your back and your overall health – go for a little walk as well as using the loo and/or filling up with fuel.  Allow time for this and take your time. Enjoy the trip rather than merely focussing on getting to your destination.

While on the topic of health, it’ a good idea to pre-plan travel snacks and food. The sort of thing you pick up in most places tends to be stuffed with all the things you’re not supposed to eat (trans fat, sugar, additives). You can generate a lot of plastic waste as well, and spend a truckload while you’re at it. The good news is that fruit is in season, so it’s healthy and cheap. Maybe make a few sandwiches or take the doings for them in the esky.

Remember to be kind to your fellow motorists. Everybody is in a hurry, everybody is hot and everybody is a bit stressed with all the things they need to do. This means that you don’t need to always rush and cut in. Let people into the stream of traffic at intersections and on the way out of the car park. If we all did this, the roads would really be a more peaceful place. I’ve written on being a polite driver elsewhere – bear these tips in mind and don’t be that rude driver everybody hates.

Last but definitely not least, although it’s the season when we all indulge a little bit more, the rules about not drinking and driving still apply. Don’t ruin someone’s holiday by causing accidents, injuries or deaths. It’s just not worth the risk and if you’ve already spent a bit on pressies and food, then you don’t want to add a fine from the cops into it as well. There are loads of nice non-alcoholic cocktails and drinks out there, and it’s a lot more socially acceptable not to drink alcohol at parties.  Given the season, a Virgin Mary (like a Bloody Mary but minus the hard stuff) is rather appropriate… Appoint a sober driver or plan to stay overnight if you want a tipple.

Whatever you’re doing over this Christmas, wherever and however you’re celebrating, we hope that you have a great one and that you stay safe on the roads. See you in 2020! http://credit-n.ru/offers-zaim/turbozaim-zaimy-online-bez-otkazov.html

How To Be A Polite Driver

You’ll hear a lot of people complaining about the rudeness of other drivers – the hoon who cut you off, the moron who nearly opened the car door right into you as you drove past, etc. etc. I could rant for ages about examples of plain old rudeness on the roads. So could you, I dare say. However, instead of simply having a grizzle about the level of rudeness on the roads, let’s flip the script. If more and more of us concentrated on being polite drivers with good on-road manners, then the happier we’ll all be.

Yes, I’m going to sound like your mother in this post and I’m going to remind you about good manners. However, I’m allowed to, as I might be old enough to be your mother (if you’re under 25). As for the rest of us, we could all do with a reminder, couldn’t we?

Courtesy To Other Drivers

  • Don’t be in such a rush to be first or ahead of everybody else. It’s barely going to save you a second on your commute, so why bother taking a risk as well as being annoying to others? This means that you don’t push in and cut people off.
  • Stay alert at the lights. Nobody likes being behind that person who checks their phone at a red light (which is, incidentally, illegal) who fails to see the light change to green for a couple of seconds. Stay alert, leave that phone alone and be ready to move.
  • Let people in. If the traffic’s busy and you’ve come to a standstill, and you see someone waiting at the exit from the supermarket, let them in before you take off. This is done by a simple wave of the hand and a smile. It’s also a very human thing to do, as this sort of courtesy is something that an autonomous car can’t do.
  • Wave and smile if someone does something nice like letting you in. This is how you say thank you in an urban driving setting.
  • On the open road, if you can’t go at the full road speed for some reason, pull over onto the shoulder of the road to let people go past.
  • Thank slower drivers who pull over to let you past by tooting the horn cheerfully and waving.
  • Dip your lights in plenty of time rather than playing Headlight Chicken at night. This is good for safety as well as courtesy, as having two dazzled drivers for the sake of pride is stupid and dangerous.
  • If you have been going at just below the speed limit most of the time, don’t suddenly speed up to full speed or more when you get to the parts of the road that have passing lanes provided, forcing those who want to go faster to really put their foot down to possibly a dangerous degree.
  • Stay in your lane, even when the traffic is slow, rather than hopping from one to another. If you wouldn’t do it in the supermarket or in the queue for the loo during half-time at the rugby, don’t do it on the road.
  • Even if you have a fantastic sound system, you don’t need to let the world know about it by turning it up to full blast and winding the windows down. Not everybody shares your taste in music. The only exception is if you’re a contractor and you have your vehicle parked off the road where you’re working, and you want to listen while you work.
  • On rural roads where the traffic is sparse, wave, nod or raise a finger (no, not THAT finger) to salute oncoming drivers.
  • Use your indicators. Enough said.

Courtesy To Other Road Users

  • Check for cyclists before opening your car doors.
  • Wait until pedestrians are completely off the crossing before you move off (this is the law as well as good manners).
  • Give cyclists plenty of room, especially if they’re coping with a hill or a stiff headwind or even a blisteringly hot day. Refrain from honking your horn at them if the road is narrow and they’re doing all they can – just wait until you have enough space to pass.
  • Stop for animals on the roads, from ducklings to kangaroos.
  • Be sensitive around horses, as they are wired instinctively to run away from things that make loud roaring noises at them. This means that you don’t rev your engine, honk your horn or shout at them.
  • Stay out of the bike lane. It is there to keep cyclists from holding motorized traffic up, not as an extra turning lane or passing lane.

Courtesy To Passengers

  • Open the door for whoever’s in the front passenger seat. Traditionally, the guy is the driver and the lady is the passenger, but these days, the rule should be that whoever has the keys should unlock and open for the person without, regardless of how many X chromosomes each one has.
  • Wait until everybody has made their seatbelt click before moving off.
  • Your car might be able to corner hard, but your passengers do not have the steering wheel to hold onto. Don’t throw your passengers around; save the rally driver behaviour for when you are alone or actually in a rally.
  • Ensure that the music volume and temperature are comfortable for everybody (dual zone climate control is a wonderful invention).
  • Refrain from making snarky or belittling comments about other road users. Double that if your passengers are children. This rule also applies to those other road users known as cops.

Other Situations Where Courtesy Is Important

  • If you are ticketed, accept it as a fair cop, no matter what the reason is. Don’t rage at the cop or the parking warden, who is simply doing his/her job and might hate being assigned to this duty as much as you hate being ticketed. Take it on the chin and take that ticket. Refrain from throwing an adult tantrum about it at your passengers once the uniformed figure has gone – it’s not their fault. It’s your fault, so suck it up, buttercup.
  • Revving your engine loudly so that all the world can hear it is bad manners. Small exceptions can be made if you have a beautifully tuned V8 or V12 (or any other exhaust system that’s been tweaked to produce that deep, throaty growl). This motoring music often draws a smile from fellow motoring enthusiasts. Even so, don’t overdo it, especially late at night.
  • Avoid back seat driving. You may give directions if requested to or call the driver to attention if he/she hasn’t noticed that the truck ahead has slammed on the brakes or if the light has changed. However, nobody needs a full-time driving instructor once they’re off their learner’s licence and even P-platers don’t need nonstop instructions.
  • If you’ve got a very nice sports car (or a well-kept old classic) that attracts attention, don’t get disgruntled about people taking selfies with it, snapping pictures of it or asking questions about it. Bask in the adulation – this is part of the pleasure of owning something rare and beautiful.

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What Makes A Road Not Just Good But Great?

During a relaxed evening, I like to dig out DVDs of the old classic Top Gear show and watch an episode (bonus points if they decide to feature something I’ve written up for Private Fleet’s reviews). Now and then, the Terrible Trinity of May, Clarkson and Hammond take whatever gorgeous piece of metal and/or carbon fibre they’re talking about onto some road somewhere in the world and they start talking not just about the car but about the road and what a great road it is.

This got me thinking: what is it that makes a road not just good but great? Obviously, to be a good road, it has to be in good condition. Anything with potholes just doesn’t cut the mustard, no matter what other features it has. It has to be safe as well, which rules out the notorious Camino del Muerte in Bolivia from Yungas to La Paz (this has now ruled itself out – the government has now shut it to motor traffic and it’s a very, very popular mountain bike trail).

A bit of poking and prodding around online produced quite a few top ten and top twenty lists of what are considered by various bloggers and authorities to be the best roads in the world to drive. Rather than simply re-hashing what these others have said, I got all analytical on them to work out which characteristics made a good road into a great road. After all, few of us are able to travel the entire world to find the great roads, but maybe there’s some little hidden treasure not too far away from you that could have qualified for these lists, if only the writers (or the tourism promoters paying the writers) knew about them. Having said that, the Great Ocean Road in Victoria makes it onto a lot of these lists, so if you’re in Melbourne, you’re not that far away from an officially great road anyway.

Hallmarks Of A Great Road

  1. Amazing Scenery. Just about all of the famous roads on the various lists seem to feature spectacular scenery of some kind, preferably the sort that can be described as “dramatic”. Mountains and cliffs seem to feature heavily in most, but not all, cases.  However, the scenery would still be just as dramatic if it was viewed from the window of a tour bus, so there must be more to what makes a great road great than just the views.  What’s more, if you are driving on a road that qualifies as having great scenery, make sure that you pull over in a sensible place for your photo opportunities rather than trying to take something while standing in the middle of the road.
  2. Non-Metropolitan. I don’t know if “non-metropolitan” is officially a dictionary word but how else do you describe routes that include small to medium towns and villages as well as plenty of rural scenery? However, this seems to be another feature of the great roads. Probably, the ability to travel at full open road speed is something to do with it, punctuated by the chance to fill up with fuel, recharge, have a coffee and go to the loo somewhere civilized.
  3. Bends. Roads that are dead straight the whole way do not qualify as great roads, although long and epic roads that have significant straight sections do make it onto these lists (Ruta 40 in Argentina and the Ocean Highway in Florida being the main examples here). However, to be a great road for a driver, a road has to have a few bends in it, preferably large, looping ones. Where else would you get to see what the handling of your vehicle can really do?  One thing to bear in mind, though, is that spectacular scenery often means big drop-offs and/or idiots taking selfies in dumb places, and being non-metropolitan means that it can take some time for the emergency services to arrive and cellphone coverage may be dodgy.  Getting the exact quality and quantity of bends in the road to make it great is a fine balancing act.  Too many and the road becomes risky and you miss out on the scenery.  Too few and it’s not enough of a challenge for a driver.  If you’re interested in taking a mathematical approach to this sort of thing, rental car company Avis has got a formula it uses for creating its list of best roads that looks at the ratio of time spent going around bends to time spent on a straight.  Exactly how many bends there are and how sharp they need to be to make a road great or perfect will vary from driver to driver. Some people like to have more hairpins than a busy hairdresser (Stelvio Pass, I’m looking at you); others prefer wide sweeps and gentle undulations.  But bends are a must.

If you are lucky enough to get the chance to travel the world and try out some of the great roads beyond what we’ve got here, then one thing to remember is that although the piccies posted by travel websites and the footage on motor shows make it look as though you will have the road to yourself, you probably won’t.  So enjoy the drive, by all means, but share the love and share the road.

If you have been lucky enough to drive a road you consider to be great, then let us know all about in the comments… unless you want to keep a delightful secret all to yourself. http://credit-n.ru/forex.html