Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Friday, 18 January 2013

Zen and the Art of Ute Ownership

Been driving the Ute for about three months now. I’ve clocked up 10000kms already, so obviously driving it is no hardship, given I have choice of three cars to drive.

In hindsight, buying it was a good decision, even if none of my kids has moved house this year. This is the first time in about four years that it hasn’t happened at this time of the year, and buying the Ute was designed to help with this.

The irony…….

Given that I bought it at auction for a song, I’ve had no regrets at all.

My initial concern was fuel consumption. After all, it’s a 3.6 litre V6; it weighs 1700kg, and has a fairly inefficient 4 speed auto.

It’s averaging between 11 and 12 litres per 100km mostly around town. That’s not too bad, as it needs 91 octane, not 95 octane as the MX5 did.

I was thinking about an LPG conversion, but haven’t sat down to do the sums. The subsidy is not as generous as it was, and LPG is now over 70cpl. I’ll work it out soon, and make a decision.

The good points? It is comfortable, roomy, and sedan-like to drive. It actually corners and stops very well. I also like the 60 profile tyres. I’ve never got my head around the benefits of running on tyres with 45 (for example) profiles. I don’t believe in sacrificing comfort for appearance…………….must be getting old.

I’m also quite happy with steel (as opposed to alloy) wheels.

I don’t like the lack of over-the-shoulder rear vision. Sticking a couple of mini convex mirrors on the existing rear vision mirrors helps a bit.

The Bluetooth never has worked, and apparently the problem is the latest software in my iPhone which isn’t compatible. GMH has a whole website about this. I’m content to use the accessory Bluetooth that I bought for the MX5.

The iPhone works well when plugged into the sound system, and the playback is of good quality.

The funniest aspect of owning it is the reaction of the many young drivers with their tarted up Utes. They’re not sure what to make of the combination of grey hair and well kept (but unmolested) Ute like theirs..

Update: Still trying to teach the Heeler to jump in the tray......

Heelers are Smart

It's been pretty warm lately, and our newly acquired Heeler has developed a very efficient way of keeping cool.

She simply retires to a hidey-hole she has created behind some leafy shubbery, and stays there until it cools down.

She's completely invisible.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Some Fact Checking

We don't have fact checking websites in this country - yet.

More's the pity.

In the interests of publishing accurate information about the actions of the LNP government, I've found this list (prepared by Ray Marx) which reveals the true extent of the cuts across the state and the full range of agencies.

Of particular concern to me is No 17 ( In home Support services for severely disabled people cut  – early July), No 22 (Qld Health - Rural and Remote Health Office in QH “axed”), and No 41 (Funding for high care disabled - On C. Newman’s facebook page –22/07/2012).

There's also Nos 46 & 47 -  Planned Family support program for families of people with disabilities to be cut (email from ASU member Toowoomba - 25.7.12 and NDIS - Campbell Newman refuses to sign up for National disability insurance scheme - 24.7.12)

You'll need a fair slice of time to read it.

Remember the statement from Newman before the election?

"Public servants have nothing to fear from an LNP government"

He probably hopes you don't.....

He made some promises about people with disabilities. I haven't seen any of them yet. What I have seen is a massive withdrawal of services, none of which were heralded before the election.

Another Korean

iPhone photo - hence poor resolution.

I hired a Kia Cerato in Adelaide last week.

This was not the first time I’ve driven a Kia. When the kids were at home, we needed a people carrier for a while, so I bought a new Kia Carnival in 2000. If you have more than three kids, SUVs or people carriers are necessary if you want to travel as a family.

We owned this thing for five years, and it was only after I’d traded it that I began to hear what a lemon it was supposed to be.

This was not our experience. We must have been lucky enough to buy one of the 60% that were OK.

Our Carnival was well-used, carted the sprogs and their friends around without fuss and bother, and made some epic journeys to Far North Queensland loaded to the gunwales.

It only ever let us down once, failing to start because an earth lead had become dislodged.

Anyway, the “Carnivore”, as our kids christened it, was a reliable, roomy and comfortable jigger, and I have a strong respect for the marque based on that experience.

When the hire car turned out to be a Kia Cerato hatchback, I wasn’t dismayed.

After driving it for a week in and around the capital of the Deep South (Adelaide – not Melbourne*), I maintain that respect.

The Cerato was easy to drive, relatively quiet, and comfortable. It seemed to be put together with care, and the quality of the fit-out (base model) was impressive.

It had easy-to-operate Bluetooth, cruise control, and state-of-the-art audio. It was easy to get in and out of, and easy to see out of. (Not best English, I know – but you get my drift).

These things are mechanically very similar to the Hyundai i30, but with better styling and slightly more pizzazz. Kia was bought out by Hyundai years ago. The corporation is so big, that they can afford to develop motors, transmissions and running gear in-house, and buy the best body designers.

The Korean auto industry has made amazing progress in terms of quality and refinement since they came to the local market. It will be interesting to see if the Chinese learn as fast.

* I know Melbourne is South of Adelaide, but it doesn’t fit my definition of “deep”.

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