Sunday, January 24, 2010

Handling and Dynamics

When looking for a car whether it be new or used, a test drive is a must. Even if you fear a salesperson may attempt to sell you that car on the day. You need time to think and most good salespeople will allow you to do that.

Why is test driving a car a must? Simply because it will give you an idea as to how the car drives, handles and feels on the road. Forgeting the features for the moment as every car these days is well equiped. How does it really feel on the road?
This is where handling and dynamics plays a big part as most people expect and want different things from their car. This is understandable as cars are a big purchase and cannot be taken lightly.
A cars handling and dynamics differ depending on alot of factors. Without getting into the technical side of how the suspension, brakes and other components effect it, most cars have settings that suite the image. For example the Peugeot 4007 is an SUV that can handle some light offroad work and will therefore have ride and handling to suite. So forget throwing it into corners!
On the same token a Peugeot RCZ or RenaultSport Megane will ride with more harshness on the average road as they are simply hot hatches that are built to drive around corners with some vigour. Dynamically they allow the drive to feel more of the road as well as enable more body control to assist in steering through corners.

The two above examples are two extremes of handling and dynamics. A happy medium is generally offered by all manufactures especially the higher volume brands. A car like the Ford Mondeo or Kia Cerato provide a much more comfortable ride and handling more suited to the average person. The Mondeo has some keen dynamics when driven harder giving the driver flatted handling due to the sports bias. While the Cerato simply does a great job of giving the driver a safe, comfortable ride to their destination.

But how would you know if you don't drive that car you may potentially purchase? Some people even say that most cars drive the same. While to a degree, all are similar at low speeds once above 60km/h the difference really starts to show.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fuel efficient driving

With mounting pressure on our pockets from fluctuating fuel prices, it's wise to have a closer look at how we all drive. This is not a lesson in how to decrease your impact on "global warming" as our impact is minimal. It's more about how to save money and have cleaner air around us.

Driving efficiently doesn't mean you need to buy a car with a smaller capacity engine either! You can keep your Ford Falcon or Toyota Aurion and still save some money at the pump.

Firstly and most importantly, pay attention and watch the road! As simple as this sounds it is critical. Not only will you most likely see a hazard ahead avoiding a potential accident, it can reduce braking time meaning coming off the accelerator earlier. By doing this, especially in large metropolitan areas like Sydney, the engine will spend less time under load and more time in its best economy range.
There will also be less brake wear on your car as a result!
Accelerating from a standing start in an orderly fashion most of the time will also help reduce consumption. If there is no need to have a traffic light GP then avoid it.

Tyre pressures should be checked every few fuel stops, or at least once every couple of weeks. The fuel efficiency of the car is improved when the tyres are at the right pressure. Check for what they should be in the owners manual, on one of the doors or the sill.

Check the boot/ hatch etc and see if you really need to carry that pram everywhere you go. Do all those CD's need to be in the glove box? Probably not.
As a guide, the above methods are a good way to save you some money. Should you buy a Toyota Prius or Ford Fiest ECOnetic? Possibly, if it suites you. However, there is also nothing better than some good old fashioned common sense as well.
Happy motoring.