Fikk akkurat mail fra en kompis som sverger til Jeep; dog hadde han kommet over et Jeremy Clarkson-utsagn i en bok som han likte så godt at han googlet tak i samme tekst på nettet og sendte avgårde i min retning. Sympatisk. Jeg har en viss sans for Clarkson. Spesielt når dagens tema er Land Cruisere.
"Well, I’ve just bought an eight-seater that could run into a house at 40mph and everyone inside would look up quizzically and say, “Did anyone feel a bump just then?”
It is a Toyota Land Cruiser and it is so vast that, if our dog were to die in the back, it would be three months before the smell reached our noses in the front. I saw some footage the other day of what happens when a big off-roader hits a normal car, and it was incredible. It just rides up the ordinary car’s bonnet, ripping the roof clean off and severing the heads of anyone inside.
The commentator was trying to tell us we should all buy Golfs as a result. But me? I was jumping up and down on the sofa shouting, “I have got to get me one of those.” I wanted the biggest off-roader that money could buy. You can keep your Land Rover Uzis and your Shogun AK-47s. I wanted the Toyota Howitzer.
New, a Land Cruiser costs £44,000, but I got round that by buying a P-registered model with 30,000 miles on the clock. It cost £22,000 and, no, I didn’t spend extra on a warranty. As it was designed to go from Adelaide to Darwin, it should be able to manage the school run without exploding in a maelstrom of cogs and wire.
So, short of buying a tank, we now have the safest, most reliable car in which to move our children around. Which makes me all warm and new-mannish. I may even bake a cake this afternoon, and do the hoovering.
But there are drawbacks, chief among which is the sheer cost of keeping it going. The school is 18 miles away, which equates to 72 miles a day, and that adds up to £150 a week in petrol. I worked out yesterday that if I drive one mile into town for papers, it costs 50p for the papers, 60p for the fuel and £400 for the remedial dental work.
I’m sure you need hard suspension for trips across the Nullarbor Plain, but it doesn’t half get wearing on the A44. The Land Cruiser’s like a suit that’s been lined with sandpaper. With its air-conditioning and leather seats, it’s outwardly smooth, but the slightest bump and you’ll be needing a Band Aid.
It is so uncomfortable and thirsty, in fact, that I tend to avoid driving it and, to make matters worse, so does my wife, who says it’s a big, ugly grey box and refuses to go anywhere near it.
Har du noe du vil si, men som ikke har noe med Land Cruiser å gjøre så er dette stedet for deg.