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Archive for April, 2014

Suburban Hy-Ryder: Hyundai ix35.

ix 35 front right profileThe SUV market in Australia has exploded in recent years, with small, medium and large variants available. The looks have improved, build quality has skyrocketd and the feature lists have grown. Hyundai has had fingers in the SUV pie for a while now, starting off with the Santa Fe and Tucson, which has morphed into the ix35. I take the series 2 version with the Elite specification out for a week.

ix35 engineix35 steeringSitting right in the middle of the pack, above the Active and below the Highlander (cue Christopher Lambert jokes…) the ix35 Elite comes with a direct injection 2.4L petrol engine, six speed automatic and centre locking differential. It’s 136 kilowatts at 6000 revs and a handy 240 torques at 4000 rpm, with a smooth, linear delivery to that point. It’s a little buzzy past there but it’s rare that, in a normal driving situation, the six speed auto will take you that far. It’s a quick shifter, slick however the gate design is unneccesary, being a convoluted throwback to the “J gate” days. Performance from the ix35 is adequate, with the zip somewhat muted by the near 1600 kilo kerb weight, requiring a firmer than anticipated press from the right foot to get things happening. Brakes are a touch grabby at the top however move into a well modulated setup, requiring only a modicum of pressure initially before squeezing into a smooth stop.
ix35 wheelThe drive itself is through an “on demand” all wheel drive setup; a torque sensor splits drive between front and rear as required while the locking diff makes it a 50/50 split. It makes a difference as the tyres fitted to the test car (Kumho Solus 225/60s on sweet looking 17 inch alloys) lack sufficient front end grip under normal circumstances when pushed, going wide and squealing badly in roundabouts and normal sweeping bends. When locked the nose tucks in tighter and forces the rear end to follow a better line. The McPherson strut/multilink suspension does a decent job of ironing out the road but I did find the Elite quite jiggly and a little harsh over some ruts and bumps, with a sharp rebound rather than a subtle absorption, a touch disappointing given the Aussie input to the suspension.

ix35 headlightix35 left rearThe exterior is an ix35 steeringevolution, not a revolution, with only minimal changes being made, possibly most noticeably (for trainspotters) ix35 dashto the front end; the headlight assembly has the main light cover going square and the driving light surrounds have been modified. ix35 reverse cameraThe interior seems barely touched yet is a comfortable place to be, with a mix of quality look and feel plastics, cloth and leather, a seven inch touchscreen navitainment system dominating the centre dash, (with reverse camera) looking somewhat like, when viewed front on, a helmet from a sci-fi soldier. Music is catered for by radio and Auxiliary/USB inputsix35 front seats (located at the bottom of the centre console) plus there’s a slot for CD and DVD. Sound is solid, with clearly defined midrange but bass is a touch lacking in punch. Switchgear is sensible, basic, uncomplicated and simplistically easy to use plus entry/egress is via wide opening doors. The front seatbelts are adjustable for height, however there’s a slight buzz from the plastic shroud at ix35 bootcertain speeds on the freeway. The Elite comes with keyless entry and push button start/stop plus a swag of safety features including curtain airbags and safety windows, which will lower if pressure from a body part such as an arm is sensed on an upward movement. Seating is, as expected, comfortable with some side support, vital when throwing the ix35 into turns. A split fold rear seat, cargo blind and ample cargo space add to the package.ix35 dirt road

Alongside its sister car, the Kia Sportage, with competition from SsangYong, Holden, Ford, Mitsubishi, VW and Nissan, just to mention a few, the ix35 really is up against it. Given the quality of small to medium SUVs nowadays, with pricing exceptionally competitive, this is really a judgement call for a buyer. With the range starting at $26990 plus ORCs (check for offers though!) and the Elite 2.4L from $36990 plus ORCs it’s good value.

Bad Car Paint Jobs

Customised paint jobs.  They can be a fun way of personalising your car and making it look one of a kind.  One of my husband’s friends has given his station wagon a customised home-made paint job, all in camouflage.  He made a pretty good job of it and it’s good to be able to spot that car trawling around town and know at a distance that there goes Trev. OK, the camo job would have been even more appropriate on a big 4×4 – a Jeep, for example. Except then people would think it was the military in town.

Not all customised paint jobs go so well. Some are absolute shockers, and I don’t just mean because the paint job was done at home with a paint brush and leftover roof paint.  The paint may have been applied well and evenly, but what has been painted on the car is tasteless, garish or tacky.  Thankfully, the place I’ve seen these most often has been online rather than in the actual metal – with the probably exception of some of those Wicked Campers campervans that sometimes have some rather adult humour painted all over them – not what you want to be stuck behind with a car full of children who are old enough to read but too young to really have that sort of thing shoved in their face (right, stop the rant there).

So steel yourselves.  Here comes the hall of shame.  You have been warned…

Fake bloodstains to make it look as though you’re a homicidal maniac behind the wheel. Or a tampon on wheels.  I feel sick.


Lovely classic Rolls-Royce. The yellow would have been an insult enough to such a fine piece of engineering but the Gypsy/Indian artwork?


What have they done to this poor Beetle?

badly painted beetle

If you drive this Mini, don’t expect to impress any woman with even half a brain. It makes me want to yell “Grow up!”


Apparently, this leopard-print Audi R8 is the latest folly of Justin Bieber, replacing the mirror-plated wheels of the past. Audi owners, start weeping now.


Part of me confesses to almost liking what they did to this Honda. Almost.

tiger honda

This is not Smart at all.

pink smart

This isn’t a Smart idea either, although the BMW  bike beats Hello Kitty hands down.

smart with BMW bike.

Mercy on us… time for Goodbye, Kitty.

hello kitty car 2

Another one that gets the reaction “Grow up!” The actual paintwork looks badly done into the bargain.  Where did I put that sick bucket?

toilet car

What is this woman thinking? It’s got to be a woman in this car… surely?


Stop, stop!  Enough already!  Time for some relief in the form of paint jobs that are different (to say the least) but at least show a touch of imagination and a sense of humour.

As advertising for a zoo goes, this eye catching bus is a winner.


Here’s hoping the dorsal fin helps the aerodynamics.

orca paint job

This might not be to everyone’s taste but would be good for a professional florist.

floral car

Garish and over the top, but this road hog Beetle puts a smile on a few people’s faces.

road hog beetle

The London Commute: Do I Have Any Hair Left?

As we amble through this rat race known as life, there will be times when we will have to come face to face with some of the horrors of the modern world. This morning, as I awoke from my deep slumber, I knew not what lay before me. The objective was simple; I had to drive from my home in the Kentish lands to my place of work in Central London. On any other day, this would be a simple pleasure for me, seeing as most of the time the drive to London really rather easy.

Alas, this was no ‘most of the time’. This was a Friday. Not just a Friday, but a Friday morning commute.

Friday is just another weekday, there are four others just like it. Why is it that everything just tumbles into dismay on a Friday? Are there certain people that have been hired by the government to do nothing but clog up the roads with their terrible driving and time wasting.

At some point, wherever we may be, we will come into contact with the nightmare that is the commute. It really is no shock to me that so many people begin to go bald as they get older, considering how much of my hair I was tearing out this morning.

Let’s break it down…

Endless lines of brake lights and slow moving sadness. Image Credit:

Endless lines of brake lights and slow moving sadness. Image Credit:

Paying to be stuck in traffic?

The Congestion Charge was introduced to London in 2003, and still remains in force today. The theory was for the government to profit out of the misery of the people driving to wor- Wait, I mean, the theory was to introduce the scheme in order to reduce traffic levels in the capital. To give them their credit, on the first day the charge was put in use, the capital saw a 25% drop in traffic going in and out.

But for those people who have no other option than to drive into the city, they just have to suffer the financial stab. £10 a day does start to add up after a while. Most of the time I get the train into London, but there are occasions where I need to drive. As with anyone who has a job, no one likes to be late, and I especially do not cherish the thought that I am paying the mayor of London money and still be late to work.

I have however come up with a solution, thanks to my genius.

Instead of forcing people to pay the congestion charge to come to my fair city, you give the chance for an ‘optional charge’, which would give drivers access to a special ‘express lane’ if you will that is reserved only for those who pay. Considering how some people are quite desperate to get to London for a certain time, it would mean that the government still keep the taps flowing on their money baths for them to swim in. With those in a hurry and with the financial strength, they get the reduced traffic, while the rest of the world can accept the traffic but not have to pay.

The simple fact of the matter is, do not make the common man pay for the promise of reduced congestion, when the reality is still stress, traffic and sadness.

The Special Kind Of Idiot

90% of the time, people understand and respect the rules of the road, therefore driving in a sensible and proper manner. And yet, we get to Friday and it would seem the inner idiot comes bubbling forth in a monumental display of stupid and downright dangerous driving.

For most of my drive to London, the roads have two lanes. This is great because it spreads the traffic out, but it does however give the idiots a chance to speed from lane to lane as soon as one starts moving faster than the other. This morning for instance this happened in front of me and I was near inches from colliding with an expensive looking BMW. Of course, according to the idiot that dwelled within, this was all my fault and nothing to do with the fact the driver left it until the last minute to speed out of the other lane without looking to check it was safe (all while smoking I might add).

And then of course we have the cyclists. The cyclists who seemed to have appointed themselves lord masters of the roads. I understand that drivers do not always give them the respect they deserve, but sometimes they do take the p*** a little bit. If you are going to cycle in the middle of the road with a queue of cars behind you, when you could very easily move over, do not act surprised when I sound my horn at you. On a similar note, do not just ride up to the front of a queue at the traffic lights then slow down right in front of me when the lights go green. I mean come on.

As Aretha Franklin demanded so beautifully, we all just need to have a bit of R-E-S-P-E-CT.

The Saddest Snake In The World

The central problem in this entire scenario is the nature of the traffic itself. There is a commonly held belief that those of a British persuasion love to queue, well I can tell you that this tradition is not one based in a warm affection. In my eyes anyway, the queue is one of the single most painful experiences I have to go through. As I sit there, the end of my journey feeling like an impossible dream, there is nothing but an air of frustration and claustrophobia that surrounds me.

In a usual driving situation, if you are faced with a slow moving snail of a driver in front of you, it is often possible to overtake safely on a straight stretch of road. But when the speed is a result of traffic jam, there is nothing you can do. All you want to do is pull out and speed away into happiness, alas you are trapped. Every movement, followed by every sudden stop is one of the most frustrating things. You begin to think the traffic is ending, you change gear, find your rhythm and then STOP. It is at this moment I usually wish death and destruction upon the faces of the masses.

The result of too much traffic can only be rage

The result of too much traffic can only be rage


So, with the combination of all these elements, it really does become apparent that the congestion will have nothing except a bad effect on you. The minutes rush by, transforming into hours, and there you are, stuck in the the body of the snake. As you slither slowly towards salvation, you feel a primal ooze of volcanic rage bubbling wildly inside you. We all try and fight it, but the demons take hold. The seeds burst open and blossom into a grand oak of road rage.

My point is, my London traffic experience is not good. I don’t know if you got that from what I was saying or not…

The question is, if I carry on driving to London, will I have any hair left?

Keep Driving People!

Follow me on Twitter @lewisglynn69

Peace and Love!