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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

10 Essentials For Your Next Road Trip

Whether you're road tripping to the next music festival, taking the gran-kids fishing or throwing the surfboards on the roof and sleeping in your boot, road tripping is a favourite pastime of many Australians. With a country as expansive as ours, let's face it, we do a lot of driving.

We have done some digging around here at Carzoos and have put together some essentials for your next road trip.

A road trips not a road trip until you're pulled over, lost, map in hand. We certainly encourage you to have your GPS devices but never underestimate the convenience of a physical map which doesn't run out of battery, loose signal or send you round in circles.

The Playlist
An absolute essential is the playlist. Always take into consideration the audience of your vehicle and choose a list to cater for all. With our expansive country you can't always rely on the radio, so make sure your audio device is compatible with your ride. A silent road trip is a long road trip.

Comfort food can be a life saver on the late nights or early mornings. A 'cooler' bag of some description is ideal for keeping your beverages cool for the long, open road. Pre-packing meals can save you enormous amounts on food and drinks whilst on the road. Some of those lonely and remote road houses aren't renowned for their price (or quality).

Make sure your vehicle is stocked with the bare essentials. You don't wanna be caught at a drop hole and be fresh out of toilet paper. Keeping tissues, toilet paper and sanitizer handy will save you from any unexpected circumstances on the road.

Don't be the one squinting all day. Australia is a big, dry and bright country - save your eyes and keep a pair of shades plastered on your face.

In the era of smart phones we are all essentially carrying a camera. Don't feel like you shouldn't bring a traditional camera, these are much more likely to get picked up and shared around. Your diversity of photos will be much larger then just your 'selfie' diary.

Spare Pair of Keys
A life saver. Just make sure you don't keep them together...

A Best Friend
Everything is more fun with a companion, and a road trip is no exception. A good memory is a memory shared. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Volkswagen XL1 - truly unique in look and performance

When Volkswagen unveiled the XL1 last year to a mixed response, there was plenty to take note of: Its incredible aerodynamics, astonishingly lightweight construction, surprisingly extreme dimensions (‘Shorter than a Polo, lower than a Porsche Boxter’, according to VW), and bizarre retro-futuristic styling (rear hood covers and gull wing doors bringing to mind the best and worst of 80s supercars).

The two things which stood out the most, however, were the incredible fuel mileage of 100km per litre, and the equally extreme price of about $169,000, higher than most luxury cars,and almost at supercar-levels of expensive.

Most people were quick to point out that the kind of people willing to spend more than 150 grand on a car were most likely not those looking for economical gas mileage, others speculated on how much fuel you could buy with that much money.

Indeed, if you were to take that money, buy a Hyundai Accent (which gets around 6L/100km), you would have enough money left over to drive almost 2 million kilometres!

Of course, the XL1 is more of a symbolic venture by VW; an indicator of future possibilities - and in that sense it’s pretty exciting. So we at Carzoos decided to crunch some numbers and see just how much of a difference a mileage of 1L/100KM would make to our lives[1].

We took a selection of six road cars and put them up against the XL1, from the popular, gaz-guzzling Holden Commodore, to the car voted the most economical in Australia; the Suzuki Alto. Here’s what we found:

Even the ultra-cheap fuel costs of the Prius seem huge compared to the miniscule appetite of the XL1. After only 50,000km of driving they’re almost 4 times that of Volkswagen’s hybrid.

The popular Corolla fares badly too. Over the course of ten years driving the Corolla costs $9000 more in fuel alone than the XL1. As one of the best selling cars in Australia in 2013, if everyone who bought the Corolla could have bought an XL1 (at the same price tag), a massive $170,000,000 would have been saved in Australia, in just 5 years!

To get a bit more perspective on just how incredible the achievement is, imagine you’re in Melbourne and you have a full tank of gas (60L). The Commodore will drop you in Canberra, the Mazda 3 would carry you to Newcastle-Maitland, and the Prius would drop you within 200 miles of the Gold Coast.

The XL1 would carry you from Melbourne to Perth… and then back to Adelaide!

Whatever you think of the XL1’s styling, price, or practicality, it’s a landmark achievement that looks very promising for the future of motoring. Let’s hope that the principles are taken up by other manufacturers so that soon we can all be enjoying long-distance driving holidays, and more money to spend when we get there!

[1]The following statistics use an average of 10,000km driven per year, and use an average of $1.50 per litre of fuel.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Formula E - the formula for sustainable racing

Formula E is a new concept due to kick off in September this year. It's an official FIA sanctioned competition, with high speed, high stakes and 100% electric power. With the first round next month in Singapore, the championship will be contested across 10 round amongst some of the worlds leading cities. Australia is not slated for the inaugural season but with this competition in its infancy, don't be surprised to see an Australian city featured in the following years.

This competition represents a vision for the future of the racing industry. This championship will work as a framework for many brands to R&D the future of electric powered cars. Lets face it, oil is a finite resource and this is the way of the future.

The concept is an 'open championship' which gives car manufacturers and constructors a platform to showcase their electrical engineering against technical specifications, set by the FIA, much the same as your traditional Formula One.

As per the Formula E website:

"The Championship centres around three core values of Energy, Environment and Entertainment and is a fusion of engineering, technology, sport, science, design, music and entertainment - all combining to drive the change towards an electric future"

Electric power is undoubtably the way of the future, and we here at Carzoos are extremely excited at the prospect of this competition. This platform will help revolutionise electric cars for you and I. 

For more information check out the official site here. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mobile Tech For You And Your Car.

In March of this year Apple announced its new car-infotainment system - the CarPlay. This technology will be totally integrated within certain car brands and models for a totally seamless driving experience.

CarPlay will let iPhone users make calls, read and send messages, listen to music & use maps all using Siri-based voice control, touch controls and your standard knobs, dials and buttons in the car. Your 3rd party apps, like Spotify, will be able to run through this system.

Currently Jeep, Mazda, Ram, Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissa, Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota are listed on Apples CarPlay website as being affiliated brands.

Is this integrated technology the way of the future? Do consumers want to be relying on more Apple products?

Regardless of what people think about this system, it is great to see large brands investing in safer ways to drive and communicate.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gran Turismo - From Concept to Reality

"In game"
Earlier this year Toyota brought a game inspired concept from the screen to reality. Many car fans will know of the hugely popular Gran Turismo franchise. This game has for a number of years invited top automotive manufactures to design concept cars for their latest editions of the game.
"In real life"

This popular concept has now begun to turn from concept to reality with the Toyota FT-1 being brought to life. Toyota's vice-president of product communications, Mike Michaels, said "It (the FT-1) was originally designed and conceived for Gran Turismo 6". After taking the game concept to the Toyota global president, Akio Toyoda, he was so impressed he told his staff "you have to make this a real car". The rest is history.

At present, there are no plans to put the FT-1 concept into production. Mike Michaels however did say there is a "50-50" chance you could get behind the wheel yourself... one day. We can only hope.

The FT-1 at the New York auto show in April

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top 5 for Driverless

Google's take on the driverless environment.

Whilst it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing product from Google. Its concept is undoubtedly the way of the future. The idea of driverless technology has been round for as long as cars have been. In the 50s futurists predicted we would be in cars lead by electronic pathways.

Driverless technology is inevitable and could be just the fix we need to kerb dangerous driving and ultimately lower automotive related deaths. Here is our top 5 reasons this technology will change our lives - for better or worse.

Driverless technology circa 1957 - Electronically guided highways.
With thousands of deaths on our roads each year its clear humans are not as good at driving as we think we are. Driverless cars will not speed, they will not drink and drive and they won't be racing their friends. Driverless 1 - Humans 0

With more cars and people then ever before the inevitable traffic jams are predicted to get worse. With driverless technology, cars will be able to travel centimetres behind each other in convoy without the sporadic breaking and pointless hold ups incurred through human intervention. Driverless 2 - Humans 0 

Free time
We spend thousands of hours in our cars over our lifetime. Imagine if this time could be productive. We could be working from our cars or even, as predicted in 1957, playing boardgames with our children...
Driverless 3 - Humans 0 

We will be able to have our own personal valet. No longer will we have to find our own parking spots, our cars can drop us at our location then skulk away to find that space kilometres away. Ready to go? Just use your smart phone to summon your ride back to the front door.
Driverless 4 - Humans 0 

Now for many of us driving can be more a pleasure then a pain. The feel of a nice motor under your foot as you motor around that windy coastal road is a pleasure we will ultimately loose. Not to mention the small bubble Google expects us to sit in... Driverless 4 - Humans 1

Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page - love it or hate it? Let us know!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Whatever brand you drive, there’s a story behind each and every name. Curious about how some came about?  Here are a few origins from M - V that may give you the edge next time you enter a trivia game.

Mazda – supposedly after Ahura Mazda, chief deity of the Zoroastrians, though some believe it’s a poor anglicised version of the founder’s name, Jujiro Matsuda.

Mitsubishi  – mitsu means three and hishi means diamond (the logo shape).

Nissan – the company was earlier known as Nippon Sangyo, which means "Japan Industries", but was shortened to Nissan

Peugeot – named after founder Emile Peugeot.

SAAB – derived from Swedish Aeroplane Company, with the AB coming from the word automobile.

SUBARU – from the Japanese name for the constellation known as Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, as in their logo.

Toyota – named after founder, Sakichi Toyoda, though the initially brand name was Toyeda.

Volkswagen –German for people's car.

Volvo – from the Latin word volvo, which means, "I roll", which was originally earmarked for a ball bearing being developed by SKF.

Whatever name you drive, you’ll find pretty much every brand of car on Carzoos, and maybe even some you never heard of.