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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Colour of Money

What does the colour of your car say about you? Well, according to new and used car sales figures, the colour could say you're very shrewd about money.

Despite there being a virtual rainbow of colours out there in the car world, the most popular colours are the most conservative – white and silver/grey. And the reason they're so popular is, primarily, ease of resale.

If you have an average small hatch back in flaming burnt orange, passion pop purple or tree frog green, it's going to be a lot harder to sell than if it's wearing a conservative colour. The demand simply isn't there, and when you want to sell a car, you don't want to be stuck with a citrus orchard lemon.

Rainbow colours also don't stand the test. The odd chip or scratch is a lot harder to patch with touch up paint. Australia's blazing sun can be harmful too, dulling and fading bright colours that don't cope with the heat.

If colour means the world to you and resale doesn't come into the picture, enjoy getting the most colourful car you can find. Your choice will make the world a far more interesting place. But if money matters, play it safe and go for white or silver/grey. You might seem boring, but you're smart.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Get on a savings drive

Want that car? The one you've always dreamed of? All the desire in the world counts for nothing if you don't have the dosh to back it up. So, here are a few tips to help you save for your dream car.

Get real. Sure you'd like a Ferrari, but maybe you only need a Mazda 2. Figure out what sort of car is best for your lifestyle and income and you'll have a realistic goal of what you want and how much money you'll need.

Save. Sounds simple, and it is. Just be honest and consistent, put 'X' amount aside every week, every month, and you'll soon reach your goal. Like the shampoo ad used to say, "It won't happen overnight, but it will happen".

Wheel and deal. When you're scrimped and saved, reached your goal and can't wait to buy your car – don't do it! Money burns a hole in pockets, with the urge to spend blurring judgement. Relax, take your time, haggle a bit, suss out deals or negotiate a lower price. Just because you have the money, you don't have to spend it all.

Wait, there's more. It's called running costs. Before you save for any car, or consider any model, think about how much it will cost to keep on the road. There's no point getting the car of dreams if you can't afford to drive it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Look Fast Sitting Still

The prestigious Geneva Motor Show is famous for concept cars that push the limits of automotive design. And in 2014, it's also furniture in the spotlight.

If you can't afford the latest and greatest design from Porsche, perhaps the ultimate lounge setting is more your speed, thanks to Polish company Luc & Andre who have created leather lounges shaped like the rear end of the new Porsche 911.

Made from either aluminium or fibreglass, the lounges come with cooler boxes to keep your bubbly or beers cold, and a convenient bar shelf which slides out from where the rear wing normally lives.

While not exactly endorsed by the Porsche company, the handsome 911 lounge looks like a factory job, right down to the genuine Porsche tail lights. Best of all, it doesn't come with the real Porsche price tag.

A new 911 with wheels, engine and all those bits you don't really need will set you back around $200,000. However, the Porsche lounge setting with all its luxury trimmings cost just $40,000. Beer nuts really for one of the world's most sexy automotive shapes to rev up your living room, back deck or garage.

It will add a whole new meaning to bench racing.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Top Sellers Are Best Used

Can you guess Australia's top selling car last year? Care to take a punt at the top three?

OK, time's up. Australia's number one was the Toyota Corolla, with the Mazda 3 in second place, followed by a ute – Toyota HiLux – in third place.

Other top sellers were Hyundai i30, Holden Commodore and Cruze, Toyota Camry and Ford Ranger.

Having a top selling car is great for manufacturers, but it's even better for used car buyers, because it's easier to find a good used car at a good price.

Call it a numbers game, or law of averages, but when the top sellers hit the used car market they do it in their thousands, which gives you an incredible range to choose from and a lot of bargaining power.

The sheer number of vehicles on offer could seem a little daunting, but if you're patient and shop around you can be well rewarded with a low mileage, well-serviced and quality condition car for the same price of a not-so-loved car.

So if you're after a car, consider some of the top sellers. They're popular because they're awesome, reliable, value for money cars perfect for Australia.

Just don't buy the first one you see.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Stuck for Conversation?

It happens to everyone. That uneasy silence when you simply run out of things to say, once you've done the weather, work, family and all the usual topics.

Well, fear no more. Here are some amazing motoring titbits that will have you talking for hours.

The longest traffic jam was in France 20 years ago. It stretched 176 km from Paris to Lyon. What caused it? Authorities never found out. It just happened.

Speaking of traffic jams. Enough people around the world sit in frustrating bumper-to-bumper traffic to chew up 26 billion litres of fuel a year. That's a lot money and pollution for going nowhere.

Hate traffic lights? No problem in Monrovia, Liberia. Their traffic lights system broke down in 1990 and they couldn't be bothered fixing it. Traffic is directed by hand waving police and everyone's happy.

Hybrid cars are a headache for emergency services trained to deal with traditional cars. When a hybrid has an accident, there are high voltage power sources to deal with that can have shocking consequences. True.

Last but not least, if you think Australia has some long roads, remember everything is bigger Stateside. Their Pan-American Highway stretches from the state of Alaska all the way down to Chile, a distance of 25,800km!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Trends 2: Bye Bye

Previously the Carzoos' blog touched on new car design trends for 2014. You can't stop progress and as cars gain more and more gadgets, something has to give, or go.

So with some of the new trends already addressed, time to consider what looks like history in the near future.

CD players. Probably an obvious candidate for the bin, but some cars still come with them as a selling point. However, CD's and CD players have had their day with digital ruling the roost in everyone's lives.

Hand brakes. Every car has one and they're an essential, particularly if your car is a manual. But it seems reaching for the hand brake will be replaced with the touch of a button. Manufacturers are looking at introducing electronic hand brakes, so that classic, reassuring clickity-click as you engage or release the lever will be just a memory.

Gear change. Cars usually come two ways – automatic or manual.
But it won't be long before you don't have a choice, with the gear stick and it's associated cogs and clunks set for retirement. It costs manufacturers a fortune to have production lines accommodating two kinds of transmissions. So in the interest of saving money and getting more cars out, it will soon be automatic all the way.

What next? No steering wheel, replaced by a plane-like joy stick? You read it here first.

Friday, February 7, 2014

New Year, New Trends

The new year’s here and so are the new models. Manufacturers are slowly releasing their latest and greatest with new looks and features to get your attention and give the competition a shake up.

Every 2014 car will be different, but they'll share some design trends that all manufacturers seem to follow. Some touches will be wonderful and ground breaking, others just plain weird, leaving you wondering why they bothered. But that's half the fun with design, right? So, what's on the cards going forward?

Designers have rediscovered classic, flowing lines. After a recent love affair with angles and odd shapes, the look will be smoother and cleaner with shapelier lines and balanced proportions.

Interiors will be simplified, with more electronics then ever before.
It's the digital age so there'll be lots of connectivity; touch screens, lights, colour and action. And little innovations like smaller, lighter switchgear replacing clunky knobs and buttons.

Bling will be big, too. The devil is in the detail and manufactures will be going all out to give their cars unique signature features, like distinctive grilles, ornate mag wheels and graphics that define a car's attitude, and yours.

Just some of the trends to watch out for in 2014. Will they survive? Until 2015? Only time will tell.