Saturday, 10 August 2013
She Who Must Be Obeyed (Fleet Manager) has given up trying to provide me with fleet vehicles. I travel too far, and need them for too long.
This upsets the urban denizens who believe that if you drive west of Dalby, you run the risk of falling off the edge of the known world.
So now I use hire cars - this week a Nissan X-Trail.
For the roads I travel, I'm supposed to be supplied with a 4WD.
Now this thing looks like a 4WD, but it isn't. Only the front wheels are powered. On first glance you'd wonder why they bother. Apart from the appeal of the macho image created (apparently) by a vehicle that looks like a 4WD, there are probably more rational arguments for marketing for this niche - which is urban.
Without the tailshaft, which is rarely used, they're lighter and use a bit less fuel. Well that's the theory.
I've driven the 4WD version, and there is no difference in the fuel consumption (an indicated 8.1 lit/100km) between that and this one - three up on country roads. The 2WD has a slightly smaller motor - 2 litres as against 2.5 litres.
Frankly, after 2000 kms in this thing, I couldn't detect much difference. It may have been a tad quieter, and a bit more agile.
You'd buy one of these things instead of a sedan, for three reasons. There is more room inside, they're easier to get in and out off (especially for old codgers like me) and you sit higher and thus see further down the road. This last feature matters when you're overtaking road trains.
Apart from these advantages, the X-Trail is a very practical vehicle. It has an easy-to-clean interior, good ground clearance, and lots of useful and practical and accessible storage space.
It also has a pretty good sound system, with easy to set up Bluetooth, and passable reception and sound quality.
Tamla Motown sounded great on the 620 km return journey yesterday.
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