Size does count

When it comes to your carbon footprint, the size of your car does count. But what is it like to live with a tiny, little car – on a daily basis? That is what I have set out to discover…

My friends and family will tell you that I am completely nuts. About cars, that is. (What else could you possibly be thinking?) I am in seventh heaven when I am doing something automotive. I can spend all day, every day, driving, writing or talking about cars.

Fast, sexy cars are what make my world go round.

However, this is a minor snag. I am, after all, editor of the leading health, safety and ENVIRONMENTAL magazine in the country. Is it therefore apt for me to blast around the planet, tossing emissions into the atmosphere with gay abandon?

Probably not. Which is why I have decided to follow in the footsteps of our fabulous sales executive, Lizelle van Rooyen, and get behind the wheel of a Toyota Aygo. (Incidentally, both cars are silver; they make a rather striking couple in our parking lot.) Lizelle has – rather wisely – purchased an Aygo. I am driving one for six months, courtesy of Toyota.

When I first started using it, my friends mocked me. I am renovating an apartment and decided to remove the microwave while the builders were hacking, chopping and driving me mad. It didn’t fit in the boot of my Aygo – more about that part of the car later – so I tossed it on the back seat. “Oh, those Japanese are clever,” one of my mates wrote to me in a BBM. “I see that the Aygo now comes with a built-in microwave. So tell me, which is more spacious? The Aygo or the microwave?” Cheeky man. “I adore my Aygo,” I wrote back immediately, “and at least it doesn’t go ping.”

And I was being completely sincere (not just about the pinging). I am really enjoying this little car. For a whole bunch of reasons – some emotional and some rational. First the emotional stuff. The car looks good! I don’t want to drive around town in a car that’s a dog in the exterior design department – and this certainly isn’t the case with the Aygo.

Secondly, it sips fuel. I have yet to consume an entire tank (well, my Aygo has not). So I cannot give you a scientific report on the fuel consumption. But I have been driving it excessively and daily. For over a week. And I have yet had to purchase fuel. That’s terrific. Toyota is claiming fuel consumption figures of 4,6 l/100 km. I don’t think that’s a pie-in-the-sky fuel consumption dream.

Then there is the important issue of practicality. It doesn’t help to drive a car that sips fuel if it can only accommodate two anorexic Biafrans. This isn’t the case with the Aygo. It can accommodate four adults (granted, you would never want to endure an inter-province journey) and the boot gobbles up seven fully loaded shopping bags or one small suitcase. When I say “small”, I have a suitcase that holds enough luggage for three days – and it fits into the Aygo’s boot. So, while it’s far from cavernous, it’s not exactly miniscule either.

Most, most importantly, driving an Aygo means that I am doing my bit to save the planet. It churns out a mere 105 g of CO2 emissions per kilometre. Its three-cylinder, one-litre petrol engine (which has won its category in the World Engine of the Year competition for four years running) weighs just 67 kg, making the Aygo’s engine the lightest internal combustion engine in a passenger vehicle. The entire car weighs just 830 kg! As I said, when it comes to cars and the environment, the message is clear: the smaller and the lighter, the better.

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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