THERE was a time when the emphasis for cars in Brunei were big engined, and luxury and performance driven. This gave way to cars that were smaller and frugal. Now, slowly but surely, there is a new wave of car users who are looking for cars that marry the two, and ask for a third aspect. Environmentally friendly vehicles have made their presence felt, and there is a demand for hybrid cars, despite their prices being far more expensive.
With Brunei Darussalam being very dependent on the fuel subsidy that is currently in place, those who are shifting their focus onto cars that are frugal and green are those who are poised to take on the paradigm shift of getting more mileage from their cars best.
While I'm neither here nor there when it comes to getting a new car because they are friendlier to the environment, I am certain about one thing. I'm down with what these new hybrid vehicles offer.
Greater touring range
The car for me that could really change people's way of thinking is the Prius C. I'd like to skip all the technical details about the car, how clever it is and the best hybrid technology that's currently available in it, because there are some very interesting headline numbers (not performance mind you) that would get anyone looking to buy a small car thinking.
Toyota's latest Prius boasts the worlds best fuel efficiency of 27 kilometres on a single litre of petrol. 27 kilometres gets you in and around the capital of Bandar Seri Begawan several times over.
With a 36 litre-sized fuel tank, the touring range is ridiculously good.
So good in fact that if I was a commuter from Kuala Belait that needed to get to the capital, or vice versa, I'd buy this car in a wink.
Why??? Because it equates to being able to travel 972 kilometres on a single tank of premium unleaded.
Should the price of fuel maintain to how it is at time of writing it costs $19.08 to fill up. Less than twenty dollars for about four return trips from one end of the country to the other. Even the most frugal little car with a conventional combustion engine isn't able to come close to that.
I was thinking about it, and the only way you'd be able to emulate that mileage in any other car is on the back of a tow truck. For those who enjoy driving to Kota Kinabalu (KK) this is a car that truly deserves your consideration. If you plan the right route, you can get to KK and back (based on a 375km route one way and driving sensibly!) on a single tank.
That's twenty dollars that sees you to KK and probably a bit of driving before heading home and filling up upon returning. Remember though you have to drive sensibly and not like a hooligan to make that kind of mileage.
The Prius C is also quite a fun little automobile to drive according to those that have had the chance to sample the experience. It's down to its size, which helps with its agility. Although I can't say for sure until I drive one, performance is also decent for a small car.
10.7 seconds to 100km/h isn't awe inspiring but when you take into account that this car is built to keep your license and money in your wallet, be kind to the environment and keep passengers safe, you forgive it for not performing at the traffic light grand prix.
Inside the car, the interior is nice enough, the amount of information available to the driver and how it's delivered is practical and intuitive. Sitting inside I felt for the first time that it is actually a car I could see myself driving just because it can do all the little practical things compact cars can do so well.
With a 60:40 split seating arrangement, extra carrying capabilities for those who get carried away at the supermarket is possible, and if you're part of generation next who cant do without auxiliary audio inputs for your iPods and mp3 players then you'll also be catered to quite well.
The car is available in Brunei Darussalam from the good people at NBT Toyota and the owners that have bought the earlier versions of the Prius have no qualms or complaints.
My only complaint about the prius when it came out was that it didn't really look very appealing, this car though with its rounded edges is better looking. At least that's my own personal opinion, what I like about it best is that it retains the quirky Prius design with the lines of its body, but isn't as awkward to look at.
The only negative thing I have to say about the Prius C is the black plastic material they use for certain bits of the interior. Most probably to keep the cost down, but I imagine in the heat and humidity it will turn out to be a weak link of what is a very purposeful car.
Based on all that I've said am I finally getting my head around hybrid cars like the Prius C?
Truth be told I'd get a motorcycle before I would get a hybrid vehicle, but that's a story well save for another day.The Brunei Times
Sunday, March 11, 2012
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