Forget the Prius, just drive on old 1.0 litre 90s model car

If you want a fuel efficient car forget the Prius. Have you seen how much those things cost lately…




Full Driveaway



Fuel efficiency does not come cheap. I could do a lot with $37,523.70 in Australia…

In case you didn’t know, fuel efficient cars have been around for yonks. They call them little Daihatsu charades. You know the ones from the 90s with the 1.0 litre engines. Here just like the one I have –

I never understood why people buy sedans when a hatchback or wagon is so much more practical… I can fit 2 bikes in there!!

There not the most beautiful looking cars, but who cares, they drive me from A to B and no one will look at you funny for not washing your car.

See that, that’s what the inside of a car hood use to look like, there was enough space to fit both your hands in there with a spanner and wrench and to be able to turn the bloody things. Heck you can fit a dead body in there if you really wanted too!

No need for an alarm system, the standard club lock did the trick, and that funny looking wire in front of my Gregory’s manual was my spare key!


Granted, these cars would not perform as good as a Prius in a crash test, but hey don’t blame the car, blame the driver. I bought my charade for $500 second hand from a geezer who simply had no need for 2 cars once she bought a new one. First thing I did was add a bottle of steel seal to the radiator. This thing is the cheapest prevention for a blown head gasket I have ever come across and to show you how it works watch Scotty Kilmer –

Pretty simple really and for what it cost me via ebay which I recall being around $80 it’s done a fine job because you can actually feel a noticeable difference before and after adding the steel seal. For an extra $150 for third party insurance and another $50 for a road worthy certificate I was able to get it on the road no fuss, it still had 3 months of registration on it! In total it cost me $700! Let’s see, on my wage it takes me 3.5 days to earn that take home – can I build a car in less than 3.5 days?! Hell NO! God I love the division of labor. Amen to Brother Adam Smith.

I’ve since driven 10,000kms in the car and it never ceases to amaze me that this has been the best investment since forever I can remember… well… sort of… you see, being a carburetor and living up here in the tropics of Darwin, humidity in the wet often and frequently reaches saturation point. Its during these times that the car acts funny when starting up because the air is so wet, so there’s been a few occasions where the car has gone idle while sitting at the lights and usually during a heavy downpour. Funnily enough it has never happened to me only to people who were driving my car, namely my ex… haha but there you go. Luckily there is an easy fix for this and it’s as simple as using premium leaded fuel. That’s it. I think the higher octane helps to override the wet air… no one else has come up with a better theory so I’ll believe in my own for now.

With that disclaimer out of the way, what about the fuel efficiency you might ask, well according to Wikipedia the average fuel consumption between the entire generation of Prius’s from 2000 onwards are about 5.0l/100km in city driving, surprisingly it does worse in highway driving. As for my charade I’ll speak from personal experience and for every 30l it does about 450kms which equates to about 6.6l/100kms. The factory specs actually have it at 6.0l/100kms. Not bad for a second hand car that’s more than 20 years old! So the question you then have to ask is this – Is spending an extra $37,000 on a Prius worth the extra little bit in fuel efficiency… No need to do the math, you will never drive enough kms to save it all back either unless hyperinflation ensues and petrol costs go through the roof in which case you won’t be able to afford to drive anyway. By the way did I mention the Prius is at least 600 kgs heavier? Yeah that’s right are you willing to pay an extra $37000 to lug an extra 600kgs to drive the same amount of people and carry the same load? Don’t even mention the servicing and maintenance costs. These days that’s how dealers make their money, I’m sure you’ve all paid for a car service so I won’t need to remind how expensive these things can be. The worst part is even if you wanted to service it yourself, you can’t… your talking very high voltage components here. It’s not like my charade where all you had to do was jack it up, change the oil, filters and lube it. No it’s more complicated with new cars now, it’s so complicated you can’t even buy a Hayes manual for a Prius.

Sure there might be reasons to buy a Prius over an old used Charade, I get it – the feeling of driving something new, creature comforts, luxury features, gizmos and gadgets, aesthetics, atonement for guilt induced by your environmentalist buddies, or maybe you just want to sincerely help the environment etc. Sure if those are your reasons, you are first of all not ‘Zen’ enough, second of all buying a used car is actually better for the environment. Call me cynical but I know what I would do with an extra $37000 and I’m sure Eric Peters (car expert) knows what he would do with with the extra $37000 too!



About 1D

I've been fermenting in Canberra OZ for awhile now... Like all public servants I'm battling the cubicle nation... This blog will share my personal journey in which I am preparing to get out of cubicle jail... Time to be your own architect...
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