OOTD office and new car test drive – Hyundai Kona SUV encore

The constant cycle of coronavirus restrictions and ‘lock downs’ are truly starting to be more than a pain in the ass. I was intending time the buying of a new car with the end of financial year sales (that is the 30th of June for those not from Australia), but I am now wayyyyy behind schedule in my test drives. I goes without saying I have truly missed the end of financial year sales.

I test drove the new Hyundai Kona a few weeks ago and hated it. I concluded it was mediocre in every respect, and couldn’t understand why SUVs are all the rage. When my friends heard my opinion, they promptly sent me back to Hyundai for a repeat test drive. My friends absolutely swore by SUVs, telling me once converted there was no going back. And according to them (and also some professional reviews on TopGear), the Hyundai Kona is one of the better SUVs.

Really????

I remain sceptical but I had some time today between inspections at work so I decided to heed my friends’ advice and stepped back into the Hyundai dealer to do a second test drive of the Hyundai Kona. I am after all more a fashion blogger than a car girl, so I figured if I am to blog about my car test driving, I might as well show what I am wearing to test drive the car.

And today I wore a classic office dress: a black Portman’s peplum pencil dress to the office, matched with a CUE belt, my usual go-to Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pumps and nude hosiery from Target.

Taking my time this time to make sure I fully ‘appreciated’ the car, I returned an hour later with my updated thoughts of the new Hyundai Kona:

LIKES:

  • Interior is well screwed together. No arguments there. But the feel though, is ummm, rather Korean…
  • Embossed side door speakers still look upmarket from a distance… (until you approach it closer and trying to work out if ‘KRELL’ is a premium or cheap brand of speakers…)
  • Instrument display, scrolling thru, provide a host of quirky (but probably unnecessary) information rival Toyota Corolla doesn’t such as a compass, tyre pressure monitor…
  • Car is reasonably spacious for its size/class

DISLIKES:

  • Mediocre looking interior lacks upmarket feel: it’s all a massive swath of black that matches my black dress I am wearing today so that I literally blend into the car…
  • Mediocre black interior still composed of the most unappealing hard plastics!
  • I still don’t like that large tablet like touch screen – it is oversized but sparse when it comes to functions or display (ok, admittedly not as sparse as the one in a Toyota Corolla): in short the little information and function the screen possess can be squeezed into something half the size and still works fine.
  • Hard plastics don’t just dominate the inside, on the outside around the wheels there are swaths of those black hard plastics too!
  • As for the rest of the look of the car from the outside (ignoring the swaths of those black hard plastics around the wheels) I still think it’s weird and  UGLY!
  • Mediocre handling and refinement on the road – not the quietest nor the most, well for lack of a better word – refined.
  • Is it just me or is there something wrong with the cruise control? The cruise control doesn’t work! So I took it out onto the motorway and set the speed to 110km/hr. The car will go anywhere from 97km/hr to 122 km/hr! So what typically happens is on uphill the speed drops, and drops, and keeps dropping until it goes below 100km/hr (bearing in mind I set it at 110km/hr), and when it goes to roughly 97km/hr the engine then kicks in, and overdoes it, not stopping until it is well over 120km/hr! I have never driven a car with such useless cruise control!

CONCLUSION: still a rather bland and mediocre car. Instrument display does provide a host of (probably unnecessary) information rival Toyota Corolla doesn’t, such as a compass, tyre pressure monitor… but a cruise control which doesn’t hold its set speed is probably the deal breaker for me. I have to disappoint my friends. Walking away from the Hyundai Kona SUV, I still don’t see why SUVs are so popular.

Occasion: Office & new car test drive – Hyundai Kona SUV

Wearing:

Portman’s black peplum pencil dress

Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pumps

Nude hosiery from Target

Belt from CUE

Xoxo

Natalie

OOTD – Wearing a classic office dress to work today: a black Portman’s peplum pencil dress

Wearing a classic office dress to work today: a black Portman’s peplum pencil dress to the office, matched with a black CUE belt, my usual go-to Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pumps and nude hosiery from Target. Sometimes there is nothing that beats a classic look!

Wearing:

Portman’s black peplum pencil dress

Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pumps

Nude hosiery from Target

Belt from CUE

xoxo

Natalie

OOTD: working from home in a black satin collared dress from ICE vs same time 2 years ago

There is a global pandemic going on. While fellow Australians are banned from leaving the country, and those Australians who are overseas banned from coming back, our prime minister decides to head over uninvited to Cornwall where the G7 meeting is being held (not that Australia is part of G7 anyway mind you) looking like a love sick puppy trying to curry affections from invited G7 members and look important like a satellite hovering around a brighter star – then gleefully goes for a pub crawl, sightseeing, photo opportunity (all while not wearing a mask – But I suppose it is ok for the prime minister not to wear a mask because on the first day of the COVID vaccine rollout in Australia our prime minister got his jab – even before our front line workers like doctors and nurses who treat COVID patients – I think some call it jumping the queue).

Meanwhile back home over half the Australian population is still under ‘lock down’. A year on from the pandemic, when things are getting better in most other developed countries, Australia is getting worse. When not in ‘lock down’, the use of check-in apps is now almost universally mandatory across the country from supermarkets to public transport (or else at the threat of on the spot fines), allowing authorities unrivalled power to track, monitor and essentially putting the entire Australian population under surveillance. Even though the authorities say the app is only used for contact tracing purposes, West Australian police admitted they had used it to monitor individuals and not contact tracing. And yet the Australian government complaints to China about China putting it’s citizens under surveillance – what bloody hypocrites our Australian authorities!

Our prime minister is allowing foreign soldiers from the United States to set up shop and operate in OUR country – but at the same time our ‘special relationship’ with the United States isn’t getting us any more COVID vaccines, the economy (esp wine and lobster industry) is suffering from our prime minister picking an unprovoked fight with China – incidentally Australia’s biggest export market, free speech is being curtailed as journalists from the ABC have their homes and offices raided by Australian Federal Police for reporting issues of national interest (i.e allegations of war crimes by our armed forces), house prices have gone sky high and unaffordable for young people, Australians cannot even travel freely within their own country and interstate, and did I mention still banned from leaving the country?

Amidst all this the Queensland premier too has gotten wind that if Australian politicians are corrupt to the core, she should be part of the corrupt too. While fellow Australians are banned from leaving the country, and those Australians who are overseas banned from coming back, she wants to travel to the Tokyo Olympics to ‘pitch’. Pitch or not – who wouldn’t want to travel to the Olympics on public expense, in the guise of doing a ‘pitch’?

So today, even though there has been no new cases in Perth for a week, restriction are still in place – masks are still mandatory. It looks as though West Australia is the most authoritarian of all the States (maybe Victoria aside). In any case, I am still ordered to work from home. Which probably isn’t a bad thing given: I will not be under surveillance via check-in apps, I can dress whichever way I want given I am at home, and I don’t have to spend half an hour in the morning putting my make-up on.

I found this photo taken of me on this very exact day 2 years ago at the office when we got some photos taken for promotional purposes after the office reception area was renovated and refurbished, and we did a refresh of sorts. I remember I wore my favourite go to work outfit that day for the photo shoot – a professional looking skirt suit: my white button up long sleeved Rhodes and Beckett blouse matched with my favourite black CUE skirt worn with nude stockings and my go to NineWest heels. 

I had my make-up applied and my hair done just before the photo shoot. I had taken off my black CUE wool blazer for the photo shoot while I stood at the reception desk of the office, and later when we went back into the office I had some photos taken with my blazer on.

Today, working from home, I picked up this dress I had owned for a VERY long time. I cannot remember when I bought it exactly, but it was definitely more than 10 years ago. A black satin collared dress from ICE, it features a low cut front, a corseted bodice with front hook and eye closure, a cut-out over the back shoulders, and a knee length hemline. There is also a side zip for closure, in case one finds it too difficult doing up the front hook and eye closures getting into and out of the dress (I must admit, I always use the front hook and eye closure rather than the side zip – yes I am one of those women who HATES side zippers on dresses).

I’ve always been quite fond of this dress (I think it is elegant, albeit in a sultry way), but it had been rarely worn – probably worn less times than the number of years I owned it. Why? Because it came with 2 shortcomings. One is the size: despite it being an M size I have always found it a little tight, and now that ten years have passed and I have had the inevitable weight gain, it went from a little tight to somewhat uncomfortably tight. The second shortcoming is, like I mentioned I’ve always been quite fond of this dress – I think it is elegant, albeit in a sultry way – the sultriness means there are few appropriate opportunities to wear it. For a start, the low cut front (and in the case of this dress, VERY low) makes it inappropriate for the office. But let’s not even talk about wearing something this inappropriate to the office:  I wouldn’t even wear it out shopping.

So working from home this morning, I decided to put on this dress – sans make-up – as I will only be at home, pairing it with a teal coloured Ann Summers front clasp bra I bought a decade ago when I was travelling in the UK on my gap year. When I bought the bra I thought it was quite a cute little piece, and besides I didn’t owned any front clasp bras at the time (and I still don’t, this is the only front clasp bra in my lingerie drawer), but after I bought it I found I didn’t wear it much – mostly because while it looked good in my lingerie drawer, it didn’t look quite as good on me. I have small breasts and my favourite bras are the pieces lift my tits and given them a nice pert shape; this Ann Summers bra, on the other hand, tend to flatten my already small breasts. Nonetheless, when I wear this black satin collared dress from ICE I always pair it with this bra (and yes, I am one of those women who pairs a particular outfit with a particular bra and panties – and yes i was told I have OCD).

With my computer set up and my phone next to me, I am working from home for one more day. Here’s a rare photo of me sans make-up while I work from home wearing my black satin collared dress from ICE, my mind not on work, but worrying about how authoritarian Australia has become and how I should try to move elsewhere.

Occasion:  working from home

Wearing:

black satin collared dress from ICE

teal Ann Summers front clasp bra

xoxo

Natalie

OOTD head to toe in CUE for the office, and new car test drive – Hyundai Kona SUV

When I woke up this morning I am already feeling the wintry chill (despite being here in relatively balmy Perth – at least rejoice at the fact that I am not in Canberra where low temperatures are hovering at the freezing point of 0 degrees celcius…). To stay warm and remain fashionable at my workplace, I decided to get dressed this morning in long sleeves. I rummaged through hangars of my blouses – mostly white long sleeved and short sleeved blouses, a few in black and red, before picking out this under-stated (and under-worn) blouse from CUE.

Understated because it is both comfortable and flattering – in CUE size 8 it fits me like a glove: the fitted cut matches my body shape perfectly – not too tight nor loose – and the sleeves length are just right for my skinny arms. A reminder of what CUE used to do before they went downhill. I am never good at remembering names and style codes of my outfit, but finding the old clothing tags that came with it when I bought it helped: While I call my top a ‘brown long sleeved button up blouse’, CUE calls it ‘S5424/W13 290 Camel Front Yoke with single welt shirt’. To stay warm, I wore this fully buttoned up to my neck this morning.

Matching my brown long sleeved button-up CUE blouse, I picked out another understated and under-worn CUE skirt: a below knee floral satin pencil skirt. Despite finding the tag that came with the skirt when I bought it I could find CUE’s official description of the skirt. But the old clothing tags gave me a style code at least: C10175/742. I used to love wearing this skirt, matching it with a crisp white blouse in summer and also on business trips, but lately I’ve kind of forgotten about it. But I am glad I spotted it this morning. When I pulled the skirt on I am reminded again how comfortable and flattering this skirt is, and with a length that ends just below my knee this is the perfect skirt for keeping warm on chilly winter days (again, a reminder of what CUE used to do before they went downhill).

Matching my outfit of long sleeved button-up blouse and pencil skirt with a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pump, I headed off to work.

My last test drive saw me driving what was purportedly Australia’s favourite small car, the new 2021 Toyota Corolla. After 2 test drives, first of the petrol Toyota Corolla and then the hybrid Toyota Corolla, I came to two conclusions:

1/ I remain unmoved by the new 2021 Toyota Corolla – while it does everything satisfactorily, there is nothing outstanding about the car. It still feels and not as quiet, refined, or solid feeling compared to others.

2/ The new 2021 Toyota Corolla is expensive! I thought Corollas were low $20,000 car, but I was quoted a price close to $30,000! And I figured $30,000 brings me onto different cars at a different price point, such as SUVs.

So I figured at that price point, I’ll have to foray into the world of SUVs to find out what the fuss was all about (I have never driven SUVs). A friend mentioned a new Hyundai SUV could convert me, and a quick quote online at Hyundai shows a drive-away price of $28,990:

So I left work early in the afternoon and headed off in the chill (it reached only a maximum of 14 degrees celcius today) to the car dealership for a test drive.

This was what I thought of the new Hyundai Kona after my test drive:

LIKES:

  • Interior is well screwed together.
  • Embossed side door speakers look upmarket from a distance… (until you approach it closer and try to work out if ‘KRELL’ is a premium or cheap brand of speakers…)

DISLIKES:

  • Mediocre looking interior lacks upmarket feel: it’s all a massive swath of black!
  • Mediocre black interior composed of the most unappealing hard plastics!
  • I really don’t like that large tablet like touch screen – it is oversized but sparse when it comes to functions or display: in short the little information and function the screen possess can be squeezed into something half the size and still works fine.
  • Hard plastics don’t just dominate the inside, on the outside around the wheels there are swaths of those black hard plastics too!
  • As for the rest of the look of the car from the outside (ignoring the swaths of those black hard plastics around the wheels) I think it’s weird and  UGLY!
  • Mediocre handling and refinement on the road – not the quietest nor the most, well for lack of a better word – refined.

CONCLUSION: a rather bland and mediocre car.

Walking away from the Hyundai Kona SUV, I truly don’t see why SUVs are so popular. Sure, friends, rave about the raised driving position, but to me that is neither something special nor extraordinary. And the Hyundai Kona isn’t even 4 wheel drive so I can’t take it off road (not that I am an off-roader anyway, which I suspect puts me in the same boat as most SUV drivers)…

Occasion: Office work & new car test drive – Hyundai Kona SUV

Wearing:

CUE long sleeved Camel Front Yoke with single welt shirt (S5424/W13 290)

CUE floral satin pencil skirt (C10175/742)

Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pump

Nude stay up stockings from Target

Xoxo

Natalie

OOTD – office and new car test drive (Toyota Corolla hybrid sedan)

My recent test drive saw me shortlisting the previous generation Kia Cerato over the current generation Toyota Corolla, which led to murmurs of disbelief among family and friends. So I started doubting myself. Maybe I drove the wrong model of the Corolla i.e. maybe I shouldn’t have driven the base model. Given Toyota hybrids are all the rage, and that my office colleague’s new car a Toyota Camry hybrid unexpectedly surprised me with its refinement, I am thinking maybe I should have test driven the hybrid Toyota Corolla instead.

With this in mind, I returned to the Toyota dealership, this time to test drive not the base model Toyota Corolla hatch but the hybrid Toyota Corolla sedan instead.

I am after all more a fashion blogger than a car girl, so I figured if I am to blog about my car test driving, I might as well show what I am wearing to test drive the car. I was sorting through my wardrobe the last weekend when I came across my REVIEW ‘Idaho’ monochrome lace dress. Unlike many of my dresses which are sleeveless, this one had sleeves and despite its appearance it is actually quite warm, so I thought given the cool temperatures of the incoming winter season it will be an ideal dress to wear to the office.

It had been neglected (read: unworn) all summer and for months now, so over the weekend I decided to wash it in anticipation of making it a staple for this winter. And today I decided to get dressed in one of my favourite under-stated dresses (and also admittedly under-worn of late as my Karen Millens seem to be getting the top pick): my REVIEW ‘Idaho’ monochrome lace dress.

REVIEW’s description of the dress: ‘the Idaho Dress in Black & Cream is this season’s monochrome must-have. It features delicate black and cream lace with short sleeves, a contrast collar with self-tie bow and a scalloped hemline. Dainty, neatly tailored and sophisticated you’ll love this dress for special occasion dressing.’

I don’t think I need for a special occasion for an excuse to wear this dress. And a popular enough one too on Instagram – here’s a few I found wearing the same dress as I am on Instagram (myself on the left).

When I first bought it have worn it to the office to work, as a casual dressy weekend outfit, to dinner and drinks: in short this is quite a versatile dress. And today, I am wearing it to the office and then the Toyota car dealership.

Test driving the brand new Toyota Corolla hybrid sedan, this was what I thought: Electric running at low speeds aside, it is fundamentally no different from the base model Toyota Corolla hatch

LIKES:

  • Electric running at low speeds: quiet and probably saves petrol too (although it is really hard to tell the fuel economy on a short test drive)
  • Blue push start button and display telling you whether the car is running on electric, petrol, or both are funky novelties
  • Like the hatch, the sedan is well put together and the interior well screwed together
  • Avant-garde styling air-conditioning vents
  • Like any Toyota, easy to get into and drive

DISLIKES:

  • I really don’t like that large tablet like touch screen – it is oversized but sparse when it comes to functions or display: in short the little information and function the screen possess can be squeezed into something half the size and still works fine.
  • As for the look of the car from the outside, I think the hatch looks better than the sedan
  • Does everything satisfactorily, but nothing outstanding. The current model Toyota Corolla is supposedly their ‘best ever’ (if you believe in Toyota’s advertising), but it still feels boring especially comparing with the Holden/ Vauxhall/ Opel Astra
  • Not as quiet, refined, or solid feeling compared to the Holden/ Vauxhall/ Opel Astra
  • Interior, while well screwed together, just does not have the premium feel (I suspect the generous hard plastics real estate on the inside didn’t help)
  • Expensive! I though the Toyota Corolla was a low $20,000 car, but I was quoted a price just over $30,000!

$30,000 brings me onto different cars at a different price point (for example ever popular SUVs) so I figured I have to test drive the other cars at that price point before I can come to a decision. Read between the lines: the Toyota Corolla hybrid, like the petrol Toyota Corolla hatch, is looking like a ‘NO’ for me. The price vs product balance is wrong (too expensive).

Occasion: Office & new car test drive – Toyota Corolla hybrid sedan

Wearing:

REVIEW ‘Idaho’ monochrome lace dress

‘Novo’ brown leather heels (switching to sandals for the test drive – I don’t like driving unfamiliar cars in heels)

xoxo

Natalie

Going out for take-away coffee in a colleague’s new car this afternoon

It’s a Friday afternoon, you know the sort you need a coffee to get through the few hours until knock off time.

Guys in the office, you know there is always one sort of guy who talks about cars ALL the time – yes my colleague in the office is that sort of guy. So when he (proudly) told me he got a new car and asked if I wanted to go out for take-away coffee and check out his ride, my expectations were high. Was I going to be riding in a new BMW 5 series? Or a Mercedes E class? Or given he and his wife just had a baby the new car would perhaps be a baby friendly BMW X5?

As you can imagine, I was a little disappointed when I got to his car – it was new and silver and shiny but it wasn’t a BMW. It was a Toyota Camry hybrid.

Mind you, there is nothing wrong with a Toyota Camry. But for a self-professed car nut who talks about cars ALL the time, I was thinking he would settle for at the very least a 1 series BMW… or at least a baby friendly BMW X1…

Badge prestige (or rather, the lack of….) aside, a short ride to grab coffee later I must admit I was actually quite impressed with his Toyota Camry.

Not just because I rarely get a chance to sit in a car so new it had under 300 driven kilometres!

(so new, in fact, he hadn’t even installed the baby car seat in the back!).

I didn’t think I’d say this, but the Camry is actually quite plush!

Design wise I liked the look and touch of the air conditioning vents and the satin silver stripe than ran across the dash above the glove box in front of the dash on the passenger side.

In place of a rev counter it has a charge indicator that tells you if you are running on electric, petrol, or both.

The seats are comfortable and the car spacious. And on the road the Camry was quite, refined, – and when running on electric mode impossibly quiet.

Not that I’ve been driven around in a BMW 5 series or an X5, but as we drove back to the office I can’t help but think – is the BMW 5 series or an X5 which is 3 to 4 times more expensive, truly better than a Toyota Camry hybrid?

Xoxo

Natalie

P.S You know the sort of guy who drives around with the fuel consumption sticker still stuck to the car’s windscreen – what’s the deal with that?

New car test drive today – Toyota Corolla hatch

I must admit, I didn’t have much of an idea what I wanted when I initially decided maybe I should get a new car. By now, however, I started having a wish-list of sorts in my head. I wanted something that drove better and felt more reassuring than my current car a Toyota Yaris. I wanted something more refined and quieter than the Yaris. I wanted something with the same mechanical reliability as a Yaris. I did not want a car smaller than my current Yaris.

So after test driving a Mini Cooper and a Holden/ Vauxhall/ Opel Astra and a Hyundai Accent and a Kia Cerato I decided maybe I should really stick to Japanese cars. There is nothing wrong with European cars, in fact I really liked the Holden Astra (less so the Mini) but their prices are higher than their Japanese equivalent and I am not entirely certain they are as reliable either now that I have had time to do some research (hint: google Mini Cooper mechanical problems…). The Hyundai, meanwhile, failed to inspire. Although I quite like the Kia Cerato, the biggest problem I had was price. All the 4 cars I went test driving were all used cars; I thought I could save some money by buying a newish used car but that does not seem to be the case: at the asking of mid $20,000 for these cars I am thinking I am probably going to be better off buying a brand new car for similar money, complete with new car warranty and all.

Because my current car is after all a Toyota (a trusty Toyota Yaris), another Toyota is naturally something worth considering. And I decided based on my wish-list, that if I were to go back to a Toyota, I should start a class up. Which brings me to what is purportedly Australia’s favourite small car: the Toyota Corolla.

Now I must admit I have driven Toyota Corollas in the past. We even have an older Corolla in my family (so even though I drive a Yaris I occasionally drive my mom’s Corolla). My mom’s Corolla is decent, albeit a little boring (although I must admit however boring, the Corolla is better than my Yaris). But the current model Toyota Corolla is supposedly their ‘best ever’ (if you believe in Toyota’s advertising), so I decided I had to find out for myself how much has Toyota improved the Corolla and if it can convince me to buy a new one.

This was what I thought of the brand new Toyota Corolla hatch at the end of my test drive earlier today:

LIKES:

  • The car panels appear well put together and the interior well screwed together
  • I like the look of the car from the outside – looks sporty and European
  • Avant-garde styling air-conditioning vents
  • Like any Toyota, easy to get into and just drive

DISLIKES:

  • Does everything satisfactorily, but nothing outstanding. The current model Toyota Corolla is supposedly their ‘best ever’ (if you believe in Toyota’s advertising), but it still feels boring especially comparing with the Holden/ Vauxhall/ Opel Astra.
  • Not as quiet, refined, or solid feeling compared to the Holden/ Vauxhall/ Opel Astra.
  • Interior, while well screwed together, just does not have the premium feel (I suspect the generous hard plastics real estate on the inside didn’t help).
  • Compared to the Kia, I thought the interior of the Kia looked nicer and felt better than the new Toyota Corolla (less hard plastics).
  • Kia Cerato’s seats are more comfortable than a Toyota Corolla.
  • In fact, the whole Kia Cerato seems more comfortable than a Toyota Corolla, not to mention cheaper.
  • Expensive! I though the Toyota Corolla was a low $20,000 car, but I was quoted a price just a shy under $29,000 – that makes it a $30,000 price point car!

Purportedly Australia’s favourite small car: the Toyota Corolla is currently is ‘NO’ for me. The price vs product balance is wrong (too expensive for what it is at close to $30,000, for at this price point I will be looking at different products…). For once, I don’t need to sit down and think over this one.

Anyone else own a new Toyota Corolla. What are your thoughts?

Xoxo

Natalie

OOTD new car test drive (Kia) + business meeting over drinks later in the evening

I had a business meeting over drinks this evening with the building industry acquaintance whom I had done some business with in the past and have ongoing referrals for the agency’s properties we managed (he is also the one who loaned me the $22,680 for my investment property purchase), so today I decided to leave work early so that I can get home to change and get dressed in something more appropriate for drinks.

I left work just after lunchtime, and by the time I got home to change I still had plenty of time until the meeting. I decided instead of sitting around doing nothing at home I ought to make use of the time I have by dropping by the car dealers for more car shopping and test drives.

When I initially decided maybe I should get a new car I didn’t have much of an idea what I wanted. So far I have test driven a Mini Cooper and a Holden/ Vauxhall/ Opel Astra and a Hyundai Accent. Mini Cooper I am not entirely certain they are as reliable now that I have had time to do some research (hint: google Mini Cooper mechanical problems…). Holden/ Vauxhall/ Opel Astra drove well but with a used price in the mid $20,000 I thought it was too expensive. After test driving a Hyundai Accent I felt underwhelmed: though newer than my current Toyota Yaris, but drove no different.

So after the 3 test drives I am making a wish-list of sorts in my head. I wanted something that drove better and felt more reassuring than my current car the Toyota Yaris. I wanted something more refined and quieter than the Yaris. I wanted something with the same mechanical reliability as a Yaris. I did not want a car smaller than my current Yaris.

I was speaking to a friend and he recommended I should at least test drive Korean cars too but I didn’t like the Hyundai accent. So I decided I should give the Koreans another chance nonetheless: this time by test driving a Kia.

A Kia Cerato for sale seemed very well priced so even though this Cerato was last generation’s model (I think they call it the MY18?

As opposed to the current Kia which is MY20?

I remember when I was growing up Kia were really somewhat undesirable. I had overlooked it for so long as a result. But it seems things have changed for the better so I figured it is worth going for a test drive it. For the few thousand dollars price saving ($18,990 for the MY18 vs $20,990 for the MY20) I decided I the money was worth saving if the previous generation Kia still drove ok.

Because I got dressed for the meeting over drinks later in the evening, I probably became just a tad way too overdressed at the Kia dealership this afternoon: I walked into the car dealership wearing my red Karen Millen satin fold mini dress.

I must admit I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS KAREN MILLEN DRESS. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what is it about that dress that made me fall in love – maybe it is the romantic shade of the dark red colour, or the elegant design of a high neck with a folded collar at the front that leads into a deep ‘V’ at the back, or the flattering fold detail across the waist, or the quality of the finish with its fully lined pencil dress cut made of medium weight stretch satin – in any case, I love it. And to be honest, I think I must have looked better if I walked into a Mercedes or a BMW dealership with this dress on rather than Kia!

After the test drive, I returned the key to the sales guy and avoided all the usual time-wasting talk and banter and made my way back to the city in time for business meeting over drinks with the building industry acquaintance. But this was what I thought of the car at the end of my test drive:

LIKES:

  • Spacious
  • Surprisingly decent drive and handling
  • The Kia is actually well put together, and the interior well screwed together
  • Seats are comfortable

DISLIKES:

  • Ok, this is quite embarrassing, but there isn’t anything I can think of that I truly don’t like about the Kia Cerato (sure, the car radio is like a throwback to the 1990s, but hey I don’t give a hoot over car audio so it doesn’t bother me..)

Like the Holden/ Vauxhall/ Opel Astra, I think the Kia Cerato unexpectedly had firmly made it onto my shortlist.

Stepping into the lift of the 5 star hotel – the hotel’s bar is up a few levels from the ground and there is no way I am going to walk up the stairs in my 10cm high heels of my Salvatore Ferragamo pumps if there is a lift – wearing my red Karen Millen satin fold mini dress no longer make me look over-dressed like I was over at the Kia dealership.

Xoxo

Natalie

Occasion: New car test drive + business meeting over drinks later in the evening

Wearing:

Karen Millen satin fold mini dress (in red)

Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pumps

Nude hosiery from Target

OOTD – wearing my new Karen Millen Military Safari Shirt Dress to the office and new car test drive (Hyundai Accent)

So after test driving a Mini Cooper and a Holden/ Vauxhall/ Opel Astra I have decided maybe I should stick to Japanese cars. There is nothing wrong with European cars, in fact I really liked the Holden Astra (less so a Mini), but their prices are higher than their Japanese equivalent and I am not entirely certain they are as reliable either, now that I have had time to do some research (hint: google Mini Cooper mechanical problems…)

I was speaking to a friend and he recommended that if I were to stick to Japanese cars, I should at least test drive the Koreans too as they have been making cars for a long time and are up there with their Japanese competitors.

My current car is a Toyota Yaris, so I decided I should start with something of the same class/ size. The Hyundai Accent came into the picture when I did some research – they seem to be quite reasonable at least price wise (I would be looking a few thousand dollars of savings – which given my investment property isn’t achieving anywhere close to its market appraised rental value and I have debts the saving seems sensible).

I am after all more a fashion blogger than a car girl, so I figured if I am to blog about my car test driving, I might as well show what I am wearing to test drive the cars. And today I decided to get dressed in one of my new Karen Millen dresses: my new Karen Millen Military Safari Shirt Dress which I spent a small fortune on buying it in British Pounds (I paid the £80 for a listed dress, £20 for global shipping, and roughly another £10 for tax. All up it had cost me £110, or A$220 when it is all converted to Australian dollars. I’ve NEVER paid so much to buy anything online on eBay – the worst thing is that on add on shipping cost and tax costs more than 30% of the actual dress itself. Ouch!) and having it shipped to Australia, which at the height of closed borders really took its time to arrive!

For inexplicable reasons, this Karen Millen military safari shirtdress has been incredibly sought after and popular. It is sold out everywhere online, and on the dreaded eBay (I hate eBay, for more than a few reasons which I have previously detailed) second hand/ worn dresses still have astronomical asking prices – mostly still about £100! (i.e. almost A$200!). A hint for the savvy investor: why bother dabbling in real estate or the share market when the right Karen Millen dress will give you decent returns?

Anyway, even though this dress is one of a few items in my 2020 fashion wish-list, it is by no means part of Karen Millen’s 2020 collection. In fact, as I understand, the piece is quite a few seasons old (6 or 7 years old maybe? – someone can correct me). So it’s sought after status and high second hand prices continue to baffle me.

In any case, I was thrilled to finally wear it for the first time today (and yes, I do have hoarding tendencies and I don’t always wear what I buy straight away). I managed to get out of the office early today for an extended early lunch break and this was what I thought of a Hyundai Accent hatch at the end of my test drive:

LIKES:

  • Product is no different from my current Toyota Yaris, but at a price that will give me at least a thousand dollars savings compared to the Japanese cars (this 2017 Hyundai Accent Sport with 44,379 km on the odometer is asking for $17,475, versus an older 2015 Toyota Yaris asking for $18,358).

DISLIKES:

  • Product is no different from my current Toyota Yaris: just as noisy and unrefined (So why bother changing my car?)
  • The Hyundai feels expensive: even though I compared it with another Yaris the Accent will give me over a thousand dollars of savings, I remember they used to sell the Hyundai Accents at $15,990 drive-away not too long ago but ever since the Hyundai Accent was discontinued about a year ago this used 2017 Accent seem to have an asking price that is higher than the previous new car’s drive-away price)

I am not entirely moved by this Hyundai. It’s economical, relative speaking in today’s market. But the product is no different from my current Toyota Yaris (just newer), so why bother changing my car, right?

My Karen Millen dress, on the other hand – I just LOVE it…

Occasion: Office & new car test drive – Hyundai Accent

Wearing:

My new Karen Millen Military Safari Shirt Dress

My Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heel pumps

Pleasure State bra

Chloe & Lola g-string panties

Nude hosiery from Target

Xoxo

Natalie

Test driving the Holden/ Opel/ Vauxhall Astra

So earlier in the week after I test drove a used Mini Cooper I started having second thoughts about actually buying one. The truth is I’ve always loved Minis: I love the look and I love the retro heritage, and also love it’s easy to park petite dimensions. But at the end of the test drive, I wasn’t so certain. Yes it looks good and I feel good being seen in one, but it seems no more refined than my current Toyota Yaris – both are just as noisy and bumpy. Combined with the price and the fact that I am getting a used car rather than a new one, I truly need to sit down and think over this one.

Given I have already drifted from the Japanese roots of my current car the trusty Toyota Yaris to something European, I decided to look into a European alternative to see what the fuss is about European vs Japanese cars. European cars are usually more expensive than Japanese, so like the Mini Cooper I decided if I were to buy one I’d opt for a used car to save me some money. I came across this used Holden Astra hatch advertised for sale, so I decided to test drive it on the weekend on Saturday morning. (The Holden Astra in Australia, I am led to believe is the same car as the Vauxhall Astra in the UK and the Opel Astra in Europe).

This was what I thought of the car at the end of my test drive:

LIKES:

  • Rather nice to drive! Quite, comfortable, solid feeling.
  • Premium interior – I love the purplish-white instrument display, the premium materials of the dash inside the car (makes my Toyota Yaris looks cheap), even the fabric pattern on the seats look and feel premium
  • Quite spacious on the inside, despite the hatch layout

DISLIKES:

  • Door handle is lethal – chipped my nail trying to open the door! (the tapered shape of the handle meant my hand slipped off the handle while trying to open the door, damaging my nail in the process – ouch!)
  • Expensive – for the same asking price I could buy a new Japanese hatch rather than a used Holden Astra (2017 model year with about 25,000km on the odometer, asking for $25,880).

I really like this one, if not for the price and the lethal door handle! I think this is actually a much better buy than the Mini Cooper, but then I could save money if I stuck to a Japanese car. Again like the Mini, I need to sit down and think about this one.

Xoxo

Natalie