Weigh to go!

My son asked “So how much does this e-Rifter weigh?” It seemed a decent question. He wanted to know the weight compared to the last vehicle I ran. Pound for pound, might there be some bargain to be savoured in the Peugeot. So we checked the scales and he’s kind of right.

Here’s how the maths runs: £30,495 buys you Vauxhall’s compact Mokka-e. It weighs 1,598kg, working out, therefore, when dividing the former by the latter, at £19.08 per kilo. Next, make way for Peugeot’s seven-seat, extended edition of the Peugeot e-Rifter. You need bigger scales and it lands, unsurprisingly, heavier at 1,809kg. With a book price of £34,910, the seven-seat MPV comes to more per kilo, but only just, at £19.30. Punch that air: we can carry two more passengers in spacious comfort on a kilo premium of just 22p.

My son’s curiosity is timely. Precious metals dog production costs more than ever and, as end users, we are gradually becoming more aware of this impact on end price. From rhodium at the apex, to platinum, titanium, gold and silver, this is, in every sense, a heavy issue for production. In 2015 the Economist reported an estimated 400 tonnes of gold resided in Europe’s vehicle fleet. Dissect a typical family car and you’ll find enough treasure within to set a jeweller salivating.

However, our appreciation of weight corresponding to value goes deeper than transport. As well as biting a coin, 600bc Lydian man would cup its weight for reassurance and the inseparable notion that mass x the acceleration of gravity promises quality, is now hard-wired. Why else might value-seeking billionaires queue up for a Bentley Mulsanne, a tarmac-crushing 2,685kg behemoth?

There is, of course, far more to any car’s value than its mere tonnage. And a jolly good job too, seeing as if dealers were forced to display price per kilo, some of our more premium brands might appear to be greengrocers from hell: for you, madam, a Panamera Turbo S is £58.38kg, your cheapest Range Rover, sir, is £37.68kg and that Audi e-Tron in S Vorsprung Quattro heft, is a hefty look-don’t-touch £37.96kg.

Drill down into the data of kerb weight versus price tag and, at the risk of sounding like a poundshop Martin Lewis, you’ll quickly appreciate one salient point: when it comes to squeezing the max from your money, your outlay will stretch further if you shop at the lower end of any specification table. For example, Ford’s new Fiesta, in base 1.1 Ti-VCT Trend trim, comes in at £18,655 which, given a weight of 1,159kg, translates to £16.10kg. Spec up to a Titanium X 1.0 Ecoboost Automatic (£25,215) and the 1,251kg will demand a price of £20.16kg. It’s a far cry from the Fiesta’s spiritual ancestor, the 1908 Model T.

At an original base weight of 544 kilograms, the car cost about £755 in old money – making the world’s first production-line ride yours for a budget friendly £0.72kg. 

By contrast, shop today for some of the slimmer premium options and the adjustment is brutal. Morgan’s Super 3 weighs just 635kg, but its £41,995 base price pushes that kilo tag up to an eye-watering £66.13. If you prefer your Malvern motors to have four wheels, the £84,995 for the Plus 6, divided by its svelte 1,075kg mass, spells a £79.06kg result. And if you prefer to pay even more heavily for a flutter, Caterham’s Seven 170 might do the trick: because it weighs just 440kg and costs £22,990, it’ll ravage your wallet to the tune of £52.25kg.

Ultimately, it’s not looking likely that we will see any new dealerships pursuing a sales strategy of motors by the milligram, but a few taps on the calculator might offer powerful insight into where your money, or credit, is going. My tips for best value? Think small and be speculative about frills. A base smart fortwo, for example, currently saddles up at £18.92kg. Conversely, a Mercedes-Benz G-Class won’t get out of bed for less than £49.61kg. How much does this model cost? If you can’t afford a kilo, sir, you can’t afford it!

But if you’re a heavyweight spender, perhaps the last option is a £164,426 Ferrari Portofino, whose lightness of frame commands a kilo price of £98.81. It’s possibly the final marker post of sanity before you ascend to the giddy heights of kilo-craziness. What’s that, you fancy McLaren’s new hybrid Artura? At £133 a kilo, that’s the inverse of light entertainment.

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