Getting finicky about how much fuel a car consumes is pointless

I don’t understand why most guys ask you about fuel consumption as a factor when buying a car. The ‘big brother’ has restricted our driving habits such that you wouldn’t dare exceed the set limits.

Someone buying a car should know that he/she will be a guest to the fuel pump and also understand that ERC is there to control the already-high fuel prices.

To my questions: You have over praised the Honda’s CVTEC engine, What about the Mazda CX7’s?I have driven some four Toyota saloon cars and have noticed jerking whenever I shift the gear from Neutral to Reverse.

What is the cause if there is no problem with fluid level?

It’s high time you upgrade to a Subaru Forester Cross Sport. Enough with the Demio. By the way I still believe the Evo 9 was the best shot that Mitsubishi produced for the racing enthusiasts. Billy N.


Well, well, well,

Greetings to you too, Billy N. It is like you crawled into my mind and stole the eggs that were laid there by the ghosts of petrol heads past. Fuel consumption is essentially a moot point when buying a car because:

1 The cars that guzzle to worrisome levels are probably priced out of the range of the ordinary penny-pinching motorist

2 The ERC and the NTSA have colluded to make motoring costs outside of maintenance (read fuelling) standardized across the range

3 Most people who request economy figures regularly rarely achieve them anyway. Some of them then proceed to lie and overstate their achievements in a bid to assuage their broken hearts knowing full well that their hard-earned money went into equipment they are not fully in control of and they therefore cannot wrest the best out of them.

I see you also have an insight into my not-so-secret intention of getting a Forester (Cross Sport). However, letting go of the Mazda is becoming harder by the day. Sure, the demand for a sporty little 5-door hatchback with five manually selected gears, five seats and five wheels (not counting one to steer with) is high; so finding a buyer is not a problem.

The problem is I might one day lose grip of my faculties as my subconscious demands I get my little car back; and I might steal it in my sleep. I don’t want to go to jail for Grand Theft Sleepwalk. I may have become dangerously attached to an object.

The best Evolution was the VI… or the 6.5 (which may have been a bit understeery at the limit), or the VI Extreme Edition, which was Ralliart UK’s well-aimed salvo at Fuji Heavy Industries that sent Subaru scampering for the hills and descending into the ignominy of having the dubious honor as the makers of the bug-eye N8 STi (what were they thinking?). The IX comes a close second.

If and when I properly test a Mazda CX7 I will be sure to post the results here. For now all I can say is that it goes like the wind; if by “wind” you mean a Force 5 gale. That car is faaaast….


Dear Baraza,

I trust that you are well. Your writing skills are top notch (the bit about “forget about Godzilla” had me smiling to myself, alone, like an idiot).

You are a really clever chap who is, evidently, engaged in continuous search for knowledge. You don’t suffer fools, too. There are people who ask questions that make you wonder why someone born yesterday would have an interest in matters of motoring so early in life!

I would like to share something/In your November 11 article, you suggested that the Nissan X-trail is a looker. Now, that is a subjective statement that I do not agree with absolutely! That little monstrosity has the speedometer, rev counter and many other things in the middle of the dashboard!

It reminds me of the Toyota Vitz. It is box-like, totally without any curves whatsoever. Its rear lights are red/crimson (I don’t know what that colour is called, pardon me) and they run all the way from just below the roof to just above the rear bumper.

When driving behind the x-trail, you really need to keep your eyes peeled to see whether it has braked or is indicating change of lanes.  It is ugly in my eyes (a totally subjective opinion).

The Toyota RAV 4 would beat those vehicles you mentioned hands down, absolutely. It even has a 2.4 litre engine, to the Subaru Forester’s 2.0 litre. It is a looker too! (subjective). But when it come to looks, Mitsubishi Outlander beats them all. Would you place the Toyota Harrier 240G in this line up?

All that said, a Subaru buff will always buy a Subaru.




As you said, looks are subjective. Unlike you,I  may be a little partial to the X-Trail’s hard-edged breeze-block outline but the one thing we can agree on is that it is not an interior designer’s finest moment when s/he opts to put the instrument cluster right in

the eye-line of potentially belligerent back seat drivers; people who will then proceed to make known their dissatisfaction with the driver’s prevailing speed.

And if you, like me, sometimes prefer to counteract the NTSA’s regulations by refusing to brake in the name of preserving momentum until the end  of the world is nigh; this will provide plenty of scope for heated conversation around whether you are or you are not in fact speeding and/or driving recklessly.

That, in my eyes, is the X-Trails weakest link; discounting the overly sensitive automatic transmission. One can get a manual X-Trail but yanking that instrument cluster back into its proper position is out of the question. Too bad.

Now, the RAV4 looks funny to me. Only the second generation car came close to looking “normal”; all the rest have something slightly askew about their appearances. The first one was bulbous and looked like it was designed during a blackout when they couldn’t see what they were drawing.

The third one is… I lack the words for it. Beautiful is not one of those words. The current one is angular, convoluted and looks Korean. If it had a KIA badge no one would even raise an eyebrow.

The RAV4 may have a 2.4, but the Forester has a 2.5. Didn’t remember that, did you? I won’t even mention the turbo, if it is power you want to discuss…

The Outlander switches between pretty and … err… something else. I don’t like the shark-nose version, which is also a Peugeot 4007 (eugh!). The Harrier IS pretty.

It is also fabulous, if you catch my drift. It is a little too pretty for my tastes. There are those who will “beg to differ” with my views here, but we all know beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. If the beholder is a motoring columnist, you’d best listen to him


Hi Baraza,

Thanks for the good job you do advising of car performance.

I have owned a Prado 3.4 Diesel and liked its performance except for the extra care one has to take at high speed.

 I am now driving a smaller car ; the Hyundai Santa Fe 2,7cc Diesel. it has a wonderful drive even at high speed, its very stable on the road and the pull power is great. But there are two things that i think make the Prado 3.4 cc diesel better, the spare parts for Hyundai are rare and very expensive and second the Toyota Prado has a lot more extras as compared to Prado. But every thing staying constant I will go for Santa Fe.

Have you analysed the Santa Fe in relation to similar cars?




The Santa Fe is an oddity. The first edition had a 2.0 litre Italian diesel engine that was… quirky. Despite its forced induction, that car had the narrowest imaginable torque band.

Not that that torque was plentiful; but the engine was a bit limp and unusually for a diesel, the torque was available high up in the rev range. There would be a moment of noisy diesel clatter accompanied by poor acceleration, followed by a quick burp of torque which would rapidly drop away as the engine got noisier forcing one to upshift.

Given that it was Hyundai’s first attempt at copying a RAV4, it would have been forgivable had they bothered to design the car properly. The first generation Santa Fe looks unpresentable, to put it mildly…

I have not tried the diesel versions of the two succeeding models, but I can comfortably say they should be a lot better than their pilgrim. Also, I think you may have got your engines mixed up a little.

The Hyundai Santa Fe did not have a 2.7 litre diesel engine in any of its iterations, nor did the Prado sport any 3.4 litre diesel mill. Both these cars have petrol V6s in those respective capacities; though the Toyota 3.4 is now obsolete and has since been superseded by a 4.0 litre.

The original Santa Fe was RAV4-class. The car has since grown bigger dimensionally though spec-for-spec, it is still RAV4-class. If absolute size was a determinant, we’d classify it alongside the Lexus RX/Toyota Harrier and possibly the extinct Subaru Tribeca; but the pricing and specifications put it in the RAV4 class.

Improved quality, more kit for less dough and bigger space means the Hyundai has its rivals beat in the one important thing to a middlee-class client: value for money



One thought on “Getting finicky about how much fuel a car consumes is pointless

  1. Well, as said by Baraza and Ben, beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder… The boxy, angular nature of all the iterations of X-Trail is what has always attracted me to the automobile. The first generation RAV4 is the very definition of ugly…. I wouldn’t ride/drive in one even if that’s all that was left to shuttle me from hell to paradise.

    X-Trail is a looker!

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