Continuing on from The small car is a smart choice’ post here are some cost or financial analysis for you to consider.

A small car that runs on 91 Octane or the base grade unleaded fuel for example only costs $1.00 per litre. The average fuel tank size according to my research for a mall car is about 45 litres. Hence $45 litres to fill up the car from empty. All measurements where typical work commute with a mix of city stop start with hills and high way travel. Driving style used was typically keeping up with traffic as a result many throttle movements.

Fuel consumption claims by manufacturers are rarely accurate as they are tested scientifically aka consistently so every car, SUV or truck use the same test for fuel consumption, great for science but in real life. Engine condition, fuel quality, traffic, acceleration, temperature, altitude, wind speed and driving style are just some of factors that can’t be taken into account in a test environment. For example my choice of city car claims an average of 6.7 litre per 100 kilometres where as I’m averaging 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres from a 1.5 litre 4 cylinder engine with an automatic transmission. The results from a oldish small car are very good.

The fuel consumption from my big car that requires a minimum of 95 Octane unleaded petrol claims an average of 11.4 litres but I can only get 13.2 litres per hundred regularly. The cost of 95 Octane petrol is about 15 cents extra so $1.15 per litre. Running lessor octane due to the mix of 95 and 91 due to lack of 95 Octane or higher saw a reading of 15.4 litres per hundred. Running on higher 98 Octane saw fuel steady at about 12.5 litres per 100 kilometres which was a surprise to me. Average tank size 80 litres and a 6 Cylinder 4.0 litre engine with a automatic transmission.

Now to introduce the fuel consumption of my friends car that requires a minimum of 95 Octane unleaded petrol claims an average of 7.7 but she can only get 8.9  litres per hundred. (4 Cylinder 1.8 turbo litre engine automatic)

Finally another friend has an SUV that claims 8.7 litres per 100 kilometres with a 2.4 litre petrol automatic transmission running 91 Octane unleaded usually gets a real world fuel consumption of just under 11 litres per 100km.

Ok lots of figures to read so here’s the summary based on $1.00 a litre for 91 Octane unleaded:

Cost to fill a small car $45 = 45 litres @ $1 per litre – Distance travelled: 616Km
Cost to fill a medium engine car $51 = 45 litres @ $1.15 per litre – Distance travelled: 505Km
Cost to fill a medium sized SUV: $45 = 45 litres @ $1 per litres – Distance travelled: 409km
Cost to fill a big engine: $51 = 45 litres @ $1.15 per litre – Distance travelled: 340km

The results are clear, the smaller engine in a smaller car saves money – noticeably since you can go further.

In relation to the price difference – a 45 litre refill – 91 Octane Vs 95 Octane cost is noticeable at $6.00 which equals 6 litres of petrol @ $1 per per litre. In the small car you could get nearly 100km extra with the price difference. Hence it is cost effective to drive a car that is capable of using 91 Octane regardless of size.

In regards to a small car’s performance, I judge things more than just on their 0-100kph times. The bigger engine cars compared here are fast enough which cuts the 0-100kph times by up to 4 seconds but in the real world there is little difference. The small car keeps up with the rest of the cars on the road but you will need to use the accelerator more. (assuming you’ve haven’t bought a high performance model) Fortunately they generally don’t use significantly more petrol for that performance   as per my real life example.

Finally and a key point is that small cars are comfortable as well. The only real difference I noticed was noise, a small car generates about the same amount of noise as any other car due to standardised noise testing but on the outside, however they do not have the same amount of sound deadening material for the inside. As a result small cars are not quiet or noisy environment on the inside but it is definitely not as bad as you would expect. To keep up with traffic you may need to use the accelerator more, which is where the buzz-box terms comes from! More revs mean more fun in my view! There is noise in the cabin but very few vibes are felt,  since they are designed for this sort of thing they are no worse than a larger car. In the city/suburb environment which is where they are designed for you simply cannot complain about in car noise levels as they are generally as civilised as any other car.

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