Sunday, 29 July 2012

Tupperware Cars

Tupperware car at Bollon
She Who Must Be Obeyed (the fleet manager) allocated me a tupperware car for my most recent trip.
There's some weird inverse logic at play here. For my last trip, all on the bitumen, I was allocated a 4WD. Go figure.

For the uninitiated, a tupperware car is something small, Korean or Japanese, and with tyre profile, ground clearance and fuel range not conducive to outback travel.

Your average fully-grown grey or red roo will write off a tupperware car with one high-speed encounter.

Sure sign of a diesel
For what it's worth, this particular example of the breed, a Hyundai i30 diesel, was probably not typical.

For a start, it had a decent touring range. The combination of 6lit/100kms and a 53 litre tank, meant you could in theory drive it from Toowoomba to Cunnamulla without refueling. At Quilpie, the BP outlet owner came out to unlock the bowser, and became a bit agitated when she saw me reaching for the greasy distillate nozzle. I indicated the diesel stain on the rear flank, and she was convinced.

Others have not been. These small diesels are misfuelled with monotonous regularity by fleet drivers despite the many and varied "diesel only" stickers prominently displayed. A lot of our people believe that diesels are only to be found in SUVs.

It drove OK, much like the petrol i30 wagon I used a few months ago, although wasn't as light on its feet as the petrol version. Diesel engines are heavier - even when they're only 1.6 litres.

There's plenty of torque, always handy when overtaking road trains, and the only time it's noisier than the unleaded equivalent is on first start-up in the morning.

There were a few irritating features - some designed in, some not.

CRDi is Korean for diesel
When selecting reverse from drive, there was always a delay of two or three seconds. The tranny is a simple four speeder, so I doubt this was designed in. It was a bloody nuisance.

On the other hand, you couldn't open the rear doors whilst the engine was running, possibly designed in for the South African market to prevent car jackings. This was also a bloody nuisance. Car jackings are not an issue west of Charleville.

As I said, this thing was probably not typical of tupperware cars, as it had a decent tyre profile (55). 45 or lower is asking for trouble out here. The rocks kill low profile tyres.

It also has a full size spare.

In summary, not a bad little jigger, but probably not worth the three thousand over and above the petrol version. It would suit a bush courier with access to cheap diesel and covering 50000 km annually. You'd probably also fit it with an alloy roo bar.

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