Real world family car driving

Posted on April 21st, 2007 in Mitsubishi,Opinion by Julian Edgar

2960_6mg.jpgIt seems like only yesterday that the Mitsubishi 380 was released, but time is no friend to a car company – not when the Toyota Aurion and VE Holden Commodore have both since seen the light of day. Throw in the still highly competitive Ford Falcon and the pretty-well-just-as-big-inside Toyota Camry – and of course the highly impressive Hyundai Sonata V6 – and you have what can only be called a very difficult market for the Mitsi. Not to mention the fact that public uncertainty over the future of the local manufacturing plant has assumed almost TV soap opera proportions…

The result is not unexpected: at the time of writing, you can buy a Mitsubishi 380 with less than 10,000km on the clock for under AUD$24,000. Expect that to soon dip below $20K – and for a fearful rate of depreciation to follow. To put this another way, if you expect to keep a car for a long time (say 10 years), you can now step into a fast, excellently handling, and near new family car for what can only be described as an astonishing bargain price. Well, that’s what I think the car is.

But what’s it actually like in a family role, child seat in the back and mostly doing the humdrum duties of urban travel and shopping centres, with just an occasional longer country trip thrown in? My wife, Georgina, recently spent three weeks in a 380 ES 5-speed auto, a car with 30,000km on the clock. She drove the car with Alexander, 2, in the back. Georgina normally drives a Toyota Prius and has driven the current Sonata, Falcon, Commodore, the last of the Magnas, and many other cars.

Here are her comments.

Julian Edgar

An article that rated badly

Posted on April 7th, 2007 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

107829_4mg.jpgAs most of you would know, we now have an instant reader feedback facility for every article. The system, which appears only for AutoSpeed subscribers, allows you to vote on a 1 – 5 scale, with ‘1’ at the bottom of the barrel and ‘5’ at the top.

On most days I look at the results once or twice – obviously not for every article but for the most recent. In general, the scores pretty well match what I expect. That’s not to say I can predict the results perfectly, but I knew that John’s Jet would be popular (it’s our highest rating article ever) and that, for example, Negative Boost Revisited, Part 1 would be relatively unpopular (cos it’s the first in a long series, and is for many people, just background material).

Subscriber article ratings that have really surprised me by how high they rate are mostly those to do with hybrids – Prius vs Insight and Diesel Hybrid! are two.

Of course (or perhaps not of course: I have been looking at readership stats for a long time), external readership numbers are often completely out of keeping with subscriber ratings; to bring new readers to AutoSpeed as well as keep current readers relatively happy, I need to keep a weather eye on both sets of data.

But one article that has really concerned me in its subscriber rating is How Heavy’s Your Knob?. As I have mentioned before, I thought this article was a really good one. Why? Well (1) it covered a modification technique I have never seen mentioned elsewhere; (2) it was very cheap; (3) it was very easy; (4) it was very effective.