We have one of those sickening lifestyles that you often see in adverts for SUVs. Cute dog, beautiful scenery, camping by a river somewhere with bikes loaded up, wanky coffee on the boil and artisanal breakfast nonsense from _that place_. Off to the office during the week with a gay skip in our step.
I’d love to go off and buy something like the new Land Rover Defender or a Ford Bronco or a Toyota 4Runner. We actually nearly did, but the thing is with this lifestyle I wouldn’t really like to take a 60-80 THOUSAND dollar vehicle to do the things we do and places we go.
Picture the scene. Its raining. You’re completing a ride on a soggy day where the clay soil has become claggy like an aunts desert that sticks to the roof of your mouth. What you want to do is get in a warm car and home to a bath. You throw the grossest of outer clothing in, hide from the rain and the dog leaps over the seats to settle on the center console forming some kind of dirty protest.
You ease out of the space you squeezed into at the trail head, past the fallen tree and through some thorn pushes, pinstriping the sides with screeeeech.
Picture that scene with a new Defender, all shiny black with matching murdered out wheels.
Unless you’re, well frankly rich, there is no way you’re treating your modern SUV like that. And, they’re not really made for that kind of action. I’ve not looked at the Bronco, but the Land Rover and the Jeep have interiors that would look second hand fairly quickly. Never mind the paint.
Our car is great. It has the benefits of a Japanese shitbox, pickup truck, small van and 4×4 with the price of 2/3 the last bike (yes with pedals) I bought.
The killer feature for me is the tailgate. It’s a FUCKING BENCH! How cool is it to finish your sportif and park off on the special seat that deploys from the back of your car. Pickup Truck! You say? Try getting changed in the back of one of those things, anyway, our bench seat has a roof. The only other car that has one of these currently is a Range Rover, because – expensive.
Other cool things are…
-Massive side opening – the rear doors are suicide.
-Flat Floor – no transmission tunnel bump… which leads on to the rear seats… they not only fold up, completely out of the way, but also totally flat (so the whole car becomes a bed) AND they come out with the pull of a lever, rendering your car into a van. It’s also rubber. Very wipe clean for those casual murders.
-Economy of a 4 cylinder Honda, albeit a err… quite boxy one for the aero.
-All wheel drive
-Huge interior – I mean voluminous. I sometimes end up wearing a helmet in the car and still have a huge amount of space above my head. So much space we even made a bed inside it and have been on some fun trips.
-Removable cooler box between the seats; we removed it and that’s now Bruce’s spot.
Did I mention it was a Honda?
I mean there are some shitty things about it. The body for a start. You make a shell with freaking massive holes in the sides and it’s going to flex. Now I don’t mean flex in the car Journalist “I can feel the flex in the corners” kinda way, I mean in the “fuck me! Are the doors shut or are we going to fall to a shaved meat death” kinda way. People new to the car actually try to shut the door again whilst in motion because they think they were incompetent in closing them. No, just suspect engineering in the body-in-white department. Never the less, cool doors.
Then there is the suspension. When we bought ours I had all the struts replaced. At Honda. With OEM Honda parts, which proved to be almost entirely a waste of time. I’m almost certain there is no noticeable damping in the rear struts because when you round a speed bump the rear end oscillates about three times before stabilizing. Picture one of those 70s Cadillacs. So, mountain roads fully loaded with bumps on the apex cause the whole car to hop about three feet in the wrong direction. The brakes are almost as bad too.
Oooh and the noise. The engine sounds like it belongs in a ship’s pump room and the interior sounds just like that room. There is no sound proofing anywhere. I added about 40lbs of the stuff when I upgraded the sound system, but it still sounds like the inside of a cement factory. The tyres we just put on it make that comically worse.
The main shitty thing about it is that something might happen to it. Because if it did I would have to go and buy something else. They are getting rare and parts are hard to get hold of.
If only Honda would build a new one. I’d be on it like hot snot.