Saturday, 19 May 2012

More Fleeting

You can have any colour so long as it's red.

Here, dear reader, for your careful perusal and edification, is another road test.

My fleet manager (she who must be obeyed), is utterly reliable, in that she always has requested vehicles available for the itinerary booked.

Where she does occasionally fall down is in providing a vehicle fit for purpose. Supplying a Hyundai Santa Fe diesel with a range of over 800km is overkill when all I need is something to get me 80km up the bitumen to Millmerran.

On the other hand, setting me up with a diminutive Hyundai i30 wagon (petrol) which has a safe range of 500 – 600km when I need to work at Yowah and Thargomindah is seriously bizarre.

Both these things have happened this month, but being the indefatigable worker that I am, I made do. Providing the bloody things have wheels, I’m good to go.

Last week I used the i30 for the big loop – St George, Cunnamulla, Yowah and Thargomindah.

It went OK.

Despite its un-fleet appearance (bright red), it turned out to be solid, comfortable, and capable of negotiating some dodgy tracks on the Black Gate short cut between Yowah and Thargo.

To be honest, the diesel version, if its engine and gearbox combination is anything like the Santa Fe’s, is probably the way to go. This one (petrol) gave about 7.5 lit/100km on the long stretches, and was a doddle to drive.

It also had a reasonable sound system with a USB port, and cruise control, so the 300km stretches that I drove went by pleasantly. I was able to listen to podcasts of Late Night Live and the Conversation Hour on a five dollar memory stick bought for the purpose.

Hyundais once had a terrible reputation, but they’ve improved at an amazing rate. These days they’re built like brick dunnies, and come with all the safety kit. This availability of state-of-the-art safety kit is what sells them to the fleet buyers.

The good things about this bucket of bolts included the steering, the ride, and the practical interior.

Not so good were the radio reception, the external mirrors which refused to stay in place against the slipstream, and tyre wear. On this car, the fronts were on the way out after only 27000km.
Fronts on the way out.

Tyre wear is not a problem on fleet vehicles, of course. Most drivers simply don't look at the tyres, and if they do, they don't let the fleet manager know that the tyre needs replacing.
And only 27236.

Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but I won't drive anything until I give it the once over. Once or twice, I've refused to take a car out because the tyres weren't legal. It doesn't make me popular.


Boy on a bike said...

I did a company organised driving course one year. A woman turned up from Tip Top Bakeries in a Falcon. We did a braking test - she locked up and slid for miles. When we looked at the skid marks, they were "tram tracks".

All her tyres were running at about 10psi. Under heavy braking, the tyre is so soft and underinflated, the centre rises up off the road and only the edges have contact - hence the two tram tracks from each tyre, about as wide as a 5c coin.

Her tyres were quite new and surprisingly unworn. The instructor advised her to go and pump them up. Her response was: "I'll get the fleet manager to replace them".

She clearly had no idea about how to put air in a tyre. I'd hate to be a fleet manager.

cav said...

I'm interested in the radio via internet.

Say, for arguments sake, I wanted to listen to Ray Hadley on 2UE.

I select the radio app and tune into 2UE, plug the iphone thingy into the car stereo and listen in to it coming over the car stereo without any fading usually associated with travelling and listening to FM radio.

How much internet time does this chew up in say one hour?

A Pinch of Common Sense

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