From performance-oriented sports cars to practical family vehicles, the letter P has given birth to some iconic car makes in Australia.
Over the years, we can think of at least 50 brands that have been driven up and down the highways and byways of the great southern land.
In this article, we will take a closer look at ten of them, showcasing their unique features, history and the legacy they have left on the Australian automotive industry.
The Nissan Pulsar is a popular car model that has been sold in Australia since the 1980s.
Initially introduced as a compact car, it has undergone several updates and redesigns over the years, to the point where it is now recognised as a mid-sized family car.
Known for its reliability, affordability, and practicality, it was a popular choice among Aussie drivers for many years – especially the Nissan Pulsar N16 model.
However, production of it ceased in Australia in 2006 due to a shift in focus towards SUVs and crossovers.
That said, much to the joy of its many supporters, it made a comeback in 2013 with the launch of the Nissan Pulsar N17. Available as a hatchback or sedan, it was equipped with a range of features, including a reversing camera, Bluetooth connectivity, and satellite navigation which took its spec to another level.
For just on a decade between 2005 and 2015, the Fiat Punto tried to make waves in the Australian car market.
Available as both a three- and five-door hatchback, it was championed for its sporty styling, nimble handling, and fuel efficiency. This made it very popular among female drivers.
One of the standout features of the Punto was its safety rating. In 2005, the Punto was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, making it one of the safest small cars on the market at the time. Some of its standard safety features included front and side airbags, ABS brakes, and electronic stability control.
The Punto came in several different trim levels, including the entry-level Pop, mid-range Easy, and high-end Lounge. The Lounge model, in particular, was equipped with a range of excellent features, including leather seats, automatic climate control, and also a premium audio system.
Despite being popular in other parts of the world, the Punto struggled to find a strong foothold in the Australian market. Sales were hampered by major competition from established Japanese brands, which eventually saw the car withdrawn from the Australian market in 2015.
Since being launched in the 1990s, the Volkswagen Polo has been a regular fixture in the Australian car market.
Offering a combination of style, performance, and safety, it is a popular choice among drivers who are looking for a subcompact car that is both practical and fun to drive.
Although it comes in both sedan and hatchback models, the latter is the more popular option in Australia. One of its most bought versions is the MK6, which was introduced in 2018 and is available in several different trim levels, including the Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline.
Overall, the Polo brand is equipped with several types of engines, including a three-cylinder 1.0-litre and four-cylinder 1.5-litre engine. It has also been awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
One of the standout features of the Polo is its infotainment system. The car comes equipped with a touchscreen display, which is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This allows drivers to easily connect their smartphone to the car’s audio and entertainment system, giving them access to a terrific range of apps and features.
The Nissan Patrol is a large SUV that has been sold in Australia for several decades.
It is a popular choice among off-road enthusiasts, thanks to its advanced four-wheel drive system and off-road capabilities. This includes a range of features that are designed to help it handle challenging terrain, including hill descent control, hill start assist, and a locking rear differential.
Despite its large size, the Patrol is also surprisingly agile on the road. It also comes with safety features like autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring which make driving much easier.
For those who require a good towing capacity this vehicle is particularly good as it can haul up to 3.5 tonnes. This makes it the vehicle of choice for those who want something that can handle both city driving and off-road adventures, as well as being able to tow boats, caravans, or trailers.
Undoubtedly a symbol of luxury and sophistication, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is quite a rare and exclusive car in Australia. However, for those who have one, it provides a real sense of pride and joy.
Considered the ultimate in automotive luxury, this deluxe sedan is a flagship model of the Rolls-Royce brand. It is known for its opulence, refinement, and exclusivity, as well as its incredible interior, which is where it truly shines.
The car is handcrafted using the finest materials, including hand-stitched leather, wood veneers, and metal accents. It seats are fully adjustable and offer both heating and cooling, while the cabin is equipped with a range of advanced features such as a 12.3-inch touchscreen display, a premium audio system, and a panoramic sunroof.
One of the more notable attributes of the Phantom is that each car is custom-built to the specifications of the owner. This means that no two cars are exactly alike.
However, whichever way you have it made, it will still come with state-of-the-art safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and a 360-degree camera system.
For almost 40 years, the Mitsubishi Pajero has been one of Australia’s leading large SUVs.
Widely regarded for its off-road capabilities and rugged design, the vehicle is available in both petrol and diesel models.
The petrolled engine is a V6 3.5-litre that produces up to 184 kW of power and 329 Nm of torque. By contrast, the diesel engine is a four-cylinder 3.2-litre that produces up to 147 kW of power and 441 Nm of torque.
It also has a 3.0-tonne towing capacity and is also renowned for its spacious interior, which can comfortably accommodate up to seven passengers.
Some of its other notable features include a premium audio system, a rearview camera, and an infotainment system that is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Despite only being launched in 2016, the Kia Picanto holds a special place in the hearts of many Australians.
Popular among female city drivers who are looking for a compact car that is easy to manoeuvre and park in tight spaces, it is one of the most affordable on the market. With prices starting from as little as $15,000 for its base model.
As well as its affordability, the vehicle is known for its safety features. This includes six airbags, electronic stability control, a rearview camera and hill-start assist. It has been awarded a five-star safety rating by ANCAP.
The car is classified as an ultra-low emissions vehicle and has a fuel efficiency rating of 5.0L/100km. It is powered by a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine and can comfortably seat up to four passengers.
Morgan Plus 4
Unless you are big into sports cars you might not have heard of the Morgan Plus 4. However, it has been sold in Australia, in one way or another, since the 1950s.
Renowned for its classic design, the car has a sleek and elegant shape, with a long hood and a low roofline. It features a handcrafted aluminium body, with a wooden frame that is unique to Morgan cars.
One of the most impressive aspects of its build is its lightweight construction, which helps to enhance its performance. Overall, the car weighs just 1,010 kg, which is significantly less than other sports cars in its class.
The Plus 4 is a rare sight on Australian roads, with only a small number of models sold each year to those who are looking for a car that is both beautiful and exhilarating to drive.
The current version, introduced in 2020, features a four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine that can zip from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds. It also has a top speed of 189 km/h.
Although it was only available between 2013 and 2015 in Australia, the Proton Preve was another affordable and reliable compact car that had a nice range of features.
Available in two different trim levels, the GX and GXR, both models were powered by a four-cylinder 1.6-litre engine that was available with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Notably, it had a five-star safety rating from ANCAP, making it one of the safest cars in its class. It also had a very spacious interior that could comfortably seat up to five passengers, as well as features like Bluetooth connectivity, a touchscreen infotainment system and a rearview camera.
Between 2001 and 2004 the Mazda Premacy was a compact minivan that was sold in Australia.
It was marketed as a practical and versatile family car and offered a range of features that were designed to make driving easier and more comfortable.
The Premacy was available in two different trim levels, known as the Classic and the Luxury. Both models were powered by a four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine that produced up to 98 kW of power and 178 Nm of torque. It also came as either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.
One of the best selling points of the Premacy was that it had flexible seating arrangements that could be adjusted to accommodate up to seven passengers or different cargo, as per requirements.
It also had a range of convenience features, including power windows and mirrors, air conditioning, and a CD player, which were quite state-of-the-art for its time.
Despite its practicality and versatility, the Premacy struggled to compete with other minivans in its class. It was priced higher than some of its competitors, and its styling and design were not as attractive to some buyers. Thus, leading to it being discontinued due to slow sales and changing market conditions in 2004.