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Archive for August, 2015

Rapturous Relief and Dominant Drives at Snetterton

Photo Credit: BTCC.net

Photo Credit: BTCC.net

After what seemed like a lifetime, the BTCC returned with a meteoric bang as the series took on the famous Snetterton circuit. After a blasting into a dominant orbit in qualifying, Turkington and Team BMR translated their Saturday sucesss into a succulent Sunday points haul with two impressive wins. The other big story of the weekend had to be the elation for Goff, who scored his first BTCC win in the final race of the day. While all this was happening, in a truly shocking turn of events Honda were racking up an impressive selection of DNFs…

Race day could not have gotten off to a better start for the BMR boys, who mirrored their impressive qualifying effort into another 1-2-3 in the first race. Like a true champion, Turkington shot into a lead he would never lose. And while chaos reigned in the second race (more on that momentarily) and even with full success ballast on the car, Colin once more blew the field away with a supreme drive from lights to flag. Even in the famously unpredictable reverse grid final race, Turkington brought the BMR VW home in a respectable 7th place. There was no doubt that Colin Turkington was happy with his weekend:

“I needed a performance like that as I was beginning to feel a little left out! There’s been a lot of rivalry between me and Jason [Plato] since day one, and he’s had a little bit of an advantage until now, but I’ve pretty much cracked it.”

The move from RWD to FWD was never going to be an easy one, but as the man himself says, he appears to have cracked it. In a similar fashion to last year, Turkington has made his title intentions clear once again. It is very rare that a driver can have a faultless weekend, but Colin may have just managed it. Even Jason Plato, who has now taken to a cooling bathe in a paddling pool after each race had a pretty solid weekend, with a 3rd, 4th and 2nd, putting him atop the drivers standings heading into the next race at Knockhill:

“It’s been a great weekend – we were ten points behind coming into the weekend and now we’re leaving 16 ahead. An engineer would say that’s a delta of 26 – which means it’s been a very good weekend! I can’t remember a time when a team has scored a 1-2-3 in qualifying and then backed it up with a 1-2-3 in the race too”

BMR reigned supreme throughout the weekend. Photo credit: BTCC.net

BMR reigned supreme throughout the weekend. Photo credit: BTCC.net

The final race of the day also saw that elusive first win for the ever-plucky Jack Goff in the MG. Having secured the reverse grid pole, Goff got the dream start which propelled him into a lead he would never lose. That is not to say that Jason Plato let him have it easily. The final few laps saw Goff’s lead reduce from 2 seconds to only 0.3 seconds. A gallant effort by Plato, albeit not enough to topple the MG. Ever since his epic battle with Gordon Shedden at the final race at Brands Hatch a few years ago, Goff had been tipped as the next big thing. However, some of his performances seem to lack that ‘go hard or go home’ attitude needed to win a BTCC race. Until his win, Goff had only achieved a single podium at the first race weekend of the year. With his first win under his belt, chances are some primal urge has been unleashed and we will be seeing a great many more victory celebrations from Goff. After his highly popular win, the future should be bright for Jack! He seems to agree anyway:

“I made my best start of the year, and what a time to do it! That’s the strongest the car has felt all season, and it was a great race. I could see Jason [Plato] in my mirrors and was thinking ‘of all the people to have behind me, it would be him!’ Hopefully, the results will come in like London buses now!”

An impressive weekend for both Morgan and Priaulx at Snetterton! Photo Credit: BTCC.net

An impressive weekend for both Morgan and Priaulx at Snetterton! Photo Credit: BTCC.net

Two drivers that solidly impressed throughout the weekend were Mercedes driver Adam Morgan and WSR man Priaulx. Race two saw a wonderful battle between Priaulx and Morgan. Priaulx may indeed have had the faster car, but Morgan’s defensive drive was truly astonishing, holding on for an eventual 2nd place. Morgan has worked hard to get to where he is, and within the next year or two he will be topping the timing sheets and even the title table. A dark ginger horse he really is! A truly talented driver with the skills for greatness!

In fact, 2nd through 5th places were separated by less than half a second on the line. With two third places and a fifth, Priaulx has set his sights on more than just race wins:

“It’s been a brilliant weekend – to score two podiums at a track that we know isn’t one of our best is really positive. Let’s keep this momentum going now and start focusing on that championship.”

Upon his return to the championship, many (even Andy) thought it would take him a while to readjust to the unique demands of the BTCC. But from his results so far this season, Priaulx has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt exactly why he is a world champion of touring cars. There is even talk of him taking part in the Rockingham, which was he was originally meant to miss due to other racing commitments. This new information is proof that Priaulx has his eye on more than just a return this year; this is a man that wants a BTCC title. With some BMW friendly tracks on the horizon too, he may well be fighting for the championship!

A weekend to be forgotten for Honda Yuasa Racing... Photo Credit: BTCC.net

A weekend to be forgotten for Honda Yuasa Racing… Photo Credit: BTCC.net

The weekend held successes for many, but for many race day was less than satisfactory. One of the biggest losers was Collard who was taken out by his own team mate Tordoff (awkward) in race one, before spinning out in race two. As great as his comeback was in race three, Collard did attract some criticism after spinning Hunter Abbott out the way. A great driver he may be, but in the last few years Collard has developed too many dirty tactics and much respect for him has been lost!

But none lost out more than Honda, who suffered one of their worst race weekends in recent history. Following a disastrous qualifying for Shedden after ‘power steering issues’, Flash went on finish the first race 14th and get taken out of the second race (by his own team mate none the less). In Neal’s defence, when you go 4-wide into a corner, who you end up knocking into is often out of your control. Shedden’s luck went from bad to worse in the final race where it looked like his car had not recovered from the race two incident. His only shred of comfort came when he was let back out the pit towards the end of the race and set the fastest lap. All clouds have a silver lining, or something like that I guess!

“I don’t really know what to say. I don’t think I’ve ever had a weekend where I’ve had so much bad luck. It is what it is, we’ve got to move on and make the best of the next one now”

The returning Fords at first made no impact on the top end of the field, until Jackson reminded us all why he is a touring car driver. After a stonking drive through the grid, Jackson brought the Ford home to an eventual 6th in the final race of the day. Moving forward to Knockhill, the drivers standings are getting ever more interesting:

1 Jason Plato Team BMR 230
2 Colin Turkington Team BMR 214
3 Gordon Shedden Honda Yuasa Racing 198
4 Sam Tordoff Team JCT600 with GardX 191
5 Andrew Jordan MG Triple Eight Racing 189
6 Matt Neal Honda Yuasa Racing 188
7 Andy Priaulx Team IHG Rewards Club 168
8 Jack Goff MG Triple Eight Racing 162
9 Adam Morgan WIX Racing 157
10 Rob Collard Team JCT600 with GardX 133

The top 6 all have a fighting chance at the top spot the way it currently stands. Most of all, I am impressed with Tordoff who has kept his head down and out the spotlight yet still managed to keep himself firmly in contention. It may be an outside chance, but we could see Tordoff topping the table if the BMWs come good once again. But at the end of the day, there is no taking it away from Plato and Turkington, who with the help of BMR have taken a firm stranglehold on the series. If anything their rivalry spurs them on more than ever, which may well make them uncatchable.

How will Knockhill change proceedings? Will Aron Smith finally make his mark on the championship or will his bad luck continue? Can Palmer capitalise on his first ever points finish for Support Our Paras? Can Power Maxed have a repeat of their Donington performance or was it just a one off? Can anyone toppled the mighty Team BMR team?

Let me know your thoughts!

Twitter: @lewisglynn69

Keep Driving People!

Peace and Love!

Private Fleet Car Review: 2015 Hyundai i30 diesel series 2

Hyundai is on a roll, with new or updated models being released for the Australian market. A Wheel Thing was part of the dealership launch of the Hyundai Tucson range in July of 2015 and kicks off a Hyundai Triple Treat with the updated diesel i30 Active hatch, with seven speed dual clutch auto.

The heart of the test car is a relatively quiet 1.6L diesel, with a thumping 300 Newton metres of torque, on tap between 1750 to 2500 rpms, powering down to the road via a seven speed, dual clutch, auto. Peak power is a reasonable, for the size, 100 kW at a high 4000 rpm. The combination works well, efficiently, but isn’t without foibles.

First gear can take a touch longer than expected to engage, from a standing start, leaving the i30 stranded and there’s also a curious lurching sensation at standstill, as the torque on idle appears to semi engage the transmission and wishes to push the car into motion.
Under hard acceleration, it’s surprisingly thrashy and seems to not be as seat of the pants quick as normal driving has it.Hyundai i30 Active diesel engine

Otherwise, it’s a fine combination, with that wonderfully seamless sensation of acceleration and almost imperceptible gear changes. There’s torque enough to cause both a wheel chirp and a minor measure of torque steer as well when the go pedal is punched hard off the line, which is easily controlled. Fuel economy is quoted as being 4.6L to 4.9L per 100, depending on Manual or Auto, for the Combined cycle, just 4.1L to 4.3L per 100 km on the highway and an impressive 5.7L to 5.9L per 100 km in an urban environment (Hyundai i30 specifications.)

Speaking of steering, Hyundai persists with its three electronically assisted steering modes, being Comfort, Normal and Sport. The system loads up the feel in Sport, excessively by feeling too heavy, in A Wheel Thing’s opinion, somewhat less so in Normal and oddly, Comfort ended up being the ratio that felt most natural in the way the steering felt connected to the front wheels. Hyundai i30 Active diesel dashNormal and Sport artificially eliminated the feel expected through the tiller, leaving A Wheel Thing disassociated from the driving experience and a touch uncomfortably so.

Ride quality of the car provided was skewed towards comfort, with a softish ride, some understeer and with shopping centre carpark speedbumps noticeable but not excessively intrusive, as in there’s no sudden hard jolt. With relatively high profile tyres, 205/55 on 16 inch steel wheels, the Active hangs on quite well however the tyres will allow a measure of understeer in certain driving circumstances; you can feel the sidewalls feeling like they’re rolling in and under slightly, flexing enough so the footprint isn’t holding on.

Steering, as mentioned earlier, was decent enough with Comfort, and whilst the other two may have their fans of the three mode system, A Wheel Thing isn’t one of them.
It’s not the heaviest thing around either, with Hyundai quoting 1337 kilos to 1439 kilos for the automatics in the range

There’s been a subtle yet noticeable makeover for the front, with the grille being redesigned to show flatter slats and a subtle reshaping of the housing itself. The rear continues much as it has done from the previous model, with an interesting note being how much the latest (2016 spec) Corolla hatch tail lights look like the i30’s…Hyundai i30 Active diesel rearHyundai i30 Active diesel frontIn profile, the pedestrian friendly slope of the bonnet and windscreen is noticeable, as is the sinuous wave of the sheetmetal joining the wheelarches. Driving lights are non LED equipped in the Active.
It’s a compact car to the eye, at just 4300 mm in total length, whilst packing a 2650 mm wheelbase. Height is low, at 1470 mm with width being a surprising 1780 mm.Hyundai i30 Active diesel profile

On the inside it’s an intriguing mix of curves, relatively soft touch plastic and an oddity or two. From the driver’s (manually operated) pew, looking at the passenger side sees an embossed line in the plastic, making the join between the door and the dash look as if it’s one continuous curve, Hyundai i30 Active diesel interior curverather than the flat line it is. The door handles feel as if they’re an inch or two too far back for naturally opening without looking for them, plus there’s no sense of pressure as you pool, feeling as if it’s a string to open the doors, rather than a latch mechanism..

Also, the gear selector lever for manual selection requires the lever to be pushed away from, not to, the driver’s position. All seats in the Active diesel are cloth and the three level range all get cooling for the glovebox. All doors get moulded in holders for drink bottles as well but another oddity is the one touch Down only for the driver’s window, not one touch up as well..It’s roomy enough, that’s to that near 1.8m width.

The office space is comfortable and pleasant to look at; the dash houses two cobalt blue backlit dials that bracket an hourglass shaped, monochrome, display screen. Hyundai i30 Active diesel front seatsThere’s fuel and temperature (engine and outside) the gear of the transmission and average speed, amongst others. The controls for the cruise control, audio and Bluetooth phone connection on the steerer and clear and simple, as are the ones for the audio and aircon.

There’s a small smartphone screen (five inches) sized touchscreen, with Hyundai persisting in not including RDS.Hyundai i30 Active diesel dash reverse camera If there’s a downside, it’s the tactile feel and the somewhat meh look of the plastics used for the buttons themselves. Another question mark is the lack of Auto on for the headlights.

Access to the rear cargo space is done via a soft tab release in the hatch door (just below the hidden rear camera) or via the folding (60/40 split) rear seats, which gives a range of capacity, from 378 to 1316 litres of storage. All cars in the range get a full sized spare.Hyundai i30 Active diesel cargoHyundai i30 Active diesel wheel
Safety is high across the board, with a knee airbag for the driver, curtain airbags, a full suite of active electronic safety aids, pretensioning seat belts and ISOFIX for child seats.

Hyundai offer a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty plus a free service at 1500 kilometres. There’s also a Lifetime Service Plan and Roadside Assistance service available as well (Hyundai Roadside Assistance) Metallic paint is a $495 option and Hyundai offers a choice of three Accessories packs. At a starting price for the Active diesel of around $30K, it’s a bit pricier than expected, however, at the time of writing (August 2015) Hyundai Australia are doing a $19990 driveaway offer for the 1.8L petrol i30 Active with a manual transmission. Check with your local Hyundai dealer for pricing and offers.Private Fleet Logo - widget

Turkington leads BMR Blast Off at Snetterton

Image Credit: BTCC.net

Image Credit: BTCC.net

In a truly resplendent Snetterton showing, BMR have shattered the opposition with a dominant 1-2-3 in qualifying, with Irishman Turkington leading the charge. Having grabbed attention with their new livery unveiling, Team BMR have made their intentions clear for tomorrow’s race day. The returning Ford’s however failed to capitalise on their impressive results at the Snetteron test, with Jackson and Cole only managing 14th and 20th respectively in what turned out to be a highly competitive session.

As the field rolled out for qualifying, there was no telling who would top the time sheets. The first two free practice sessions had seen Priaulx and Jordan taking the top spot, all while expectations were high for the returning Ford Motorbase team of Mat Jackson and James Cole. As the results poured in for free practice, I was gearing up to put my money on Priaulx and the ever increasing power of the West Surrey Racing BMW team.

Qualifying started rather badly for Turkington, who very nearly suffered a case of the Yvan Mullers (from Donington 1999) when one of his bonnet pins was not secured properly. Down the back straight, it was looking like the bonnet may completely blow up into his windscreen. Luckily for him however he was able to get back to the pits and get everything sorted, before going out and delivering a near-perfect lap of the Snetterton circuit,

“I put a really strong lap together, we’ve had a strong weekend but it was just about finding the perfect balance and getting the best lap”

Photo Credit: PSP Images

Photo Credit: PSP Images

When Motorbase announced their Snetteron returned, a great many of us placed considerable amount of pressure on them. For whether willingly or not, they are in fact emanating the Ford team of 1993, which back then consisted of Andy Rouse and Paul Radisich. The ’93 Ford team started the season half way through, yet ended the year in a near championship challenging position. Having topped the Dunlop tyre test at Snetteron, Jackson was unable to recreate that same success during qualifying. His disappointment was obvious but the determination for race day shines through in his tweet:

“Qualified 14th but not a lot in the times. Going to have to work my way up through the field tomorrow…”

The combination of Jackson and Cole should prove to be a formidable threat to the establishment as the season moves on. They have both proven themselves and with such an epic machine (engine especially) under them, it won’t be long until the podiums start heading their way. And on a more personal note, the new look Fords are stunning things of pure power and beauty. There may be an absence of colour but their presence could not be more colossally kaleidoscopic. There is no doubt that Motorbase will be hauling in the points tomorrow – but is the pressure of the past getting to them? Can anyone stand in the shoes of the great Rouse and Radisich? Not long until we find out!

Qualifying Results

Special mention I do believe should go the way of the Triple 8 team, who came so very close to securing pole at the hands of Jack Goff. As the session was reaching its final few seconds, Jack Goff was on an absolute flyer of a lap, smashing the sector times, until he missed his own braking point at the end of the back straight. Chances are that was a guaranteed pole, lost only by his own hubris. Andrew Jordan in the truly magnificent silver Pirtek MG has an impressive 4th for the first race tomorrow; not something to be disappointed with at all!

I was a little shocked for Gordon Shedden, who was languishing in a lowly 16th place. In typical racing driver fashion, the fault has been placed not with him but with power steering issues. As annoying as that must be, it will create a great spectacle for the fans to see him carving through the field during the first race tomorrow!

Did I mention too that the top 17 drivers are covered by less than a second? Nothing is more concrete proof of the success of both the regulations and championship as a whole than this. Different cars, different drivers, small budgets and yet well, the results speak for themselves.

With all the bad luck this year, Bushell did well to come from not setting a competitive time in most of the session to placing his Ford in 22nd on the grid. Nic Hamilton did a fine job to qualify 26th and is excited to get mixed up in the pack in the races tomorrow. With every lap, every corner, every gear you can see the improvement. Commiserations must go out to Gallagher in the Team HARD Toyota who had been blighted with engine troubles in FP2, resulting in him starting his Snetterton race day campaign from the back of the grid.

Image Credit: BTCC.net

Image Credit: BTCC.net

If the BTCC grid was to be considered as a sandwich, the cars that create the ‘bread’ could not be more appropriate. Going into the Snetterton weekend, BMR unveiled their new liveries and title sponsor. Those of the Sherlock persuasion will notice that the name RCIB Insurance Racing has been seen before. They are the sponsors that Tony Gilham of Team HARD brought into the championship and adorn the Toyota of Gallagher. On top of that, RCIB still have an involvement with Jack Goff, who can be seen sporting their logo, just not as obviously.

In many ways, having dominant VWs with the RCIB name on is exactly what Gilham would have wanted. After all, it was him and Team HARD that first brought the Passat into the championship those many moons ago. It is just a shame that these VWs are now under BMR control. I have noticed that there has been some malcontent among the fans of Gallagher, who have taken the view that the BMR cars should not take the RCIB name.

But my view, such as that of Tim Harvey is that if there is a good deal to be made with a team that is at the front of the grid, then what is stopping you. Without any insult to Gallagher at all, he is a great driver, but due to problems with his car he is often at the bottom of the grid. If you were a sponsor who wanted a greater motor sport involvement, your success and company visibility will be greatly improved if your name is on a front running car. This is no F1, but motor sport does have a strong business aspect to it.

There is a similarity in look, but if you wanted to get technical, the Gallagher car has black as the main colour, where BMR seem to have white. Furthermore, if they want to expand further into the championship and sponsor more cars and drivers, why bite the hand that feeds? We are living in a time where finances may not be as easily available as they once were. The continued and increasing involvement from RCIB may well ensure the ongoing success of the BTCC.

Either that or this is the start of their plan to take over the world. We have all wondered what happened to them. They disappeared from our television screens in the 90s. But they are back, this is all part of the latest plan by Pinky and the Brain, under the guise of RCIB Insurance…

Roll on race day!

Get involved with the race day chat @lewisglynn69 on Twitter!

Keep Driving People!

Peace and Love!

Travelling Storage: The Birth of the ‘Cardrobe’

It's the future I tell you

It’s the future I tell you

On my recent searches through the mysterious world of the internet, I came across an interesting UK survey that was released by insurance company ‘1st Central’ which appears to suggest that we are entering a whole new world; the world of the ‘Cardrobe’. It does not take a master of lexicography to realise that what I am referring to is using your car for storage purposes. Of course, using your car for such reasons is no new phenomenon, but the results suggest a serious surge in popularity. Considering the usual vigour I often possess when I throw myself into the dazzling world of ‘car-culture’, it is time to unleash my brain on this little wonder!

Firstly, let’s take a look at these stats:

  • 47% of people leave clothes in their car all the time
  • 1.8 million people use their car to hide things from their partner (often expensive items)
  • 682,000 people leave something belonging to their ex in their car because they can’t stand throwing it away
  • Men are twice as likely as women to hide something from their partners in their car
  • Men are more likely to leave sports equipment in their car
  • There is an estimated £1 billion worth of football boots stored on people’s driveways
  • 18% of people cannot drive without driving gloves (20% 18-24 year olds), most likely due to celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Rihanna being photographed wearing them
  • Some interesting items often found in cars include: feather boas, rubber gloves, gas masks and tutus!

Straight off the bat, it would appear the best way to check to see if your other half is being unfaithful is to have a look in their car. Who knows what manner of evidence you may discover? You never know, you might even find that photo of them and their ex-partner that they just couldn’t bring themselves to get rid of, because that trip to the beach was just too special and too memorable!

On a similar note, if you think your loved one may be hiding a fancy gift for you for birthdays, anniversaries or Christmas, you know where to look!

If as a result of this article being published there is a significant increase in the number of domestic arguments and relationships coming to an end, I said nothing. This wasn’t me. Blame the survey!

Now this data has been published, I will say as a word of warning, perhaps move your expensive sports equipment out of your car. Now the world knows of the potential value stored in our cars with, lets be honest, easily breakable windows… Well, you know where I am going with this! Do remember, these things are not necessarily covered in your car insurance. The windows may be repaired, but the contents will be lost forever!

The results of this survey has also given me the perfect excuse for some automotive based propoganda to slyly insert into popular culture. Considering the rise in driving gloves as an example, why don’t we pay Rihanna and Lady Gaga to I dont know, be seen WEARING A SEATBELT and actively NOT TALKING ON THEIR PHONES or even PAYING THEIR INSURANCE. If they can make driving gloves popular, the driving possibilities are endless! Lady Gaga can improve road and driving safety, because after all, she was born this way…

But on a more serious note, the ramifications of leaving so much in your car can be costly, in more ways than one. As I said before, car insurance only covers the car, not the contents. And the more stuff you pile up in your car, the heavier it will become and the more fuel you will therefore need to use. And what does fuel cost? Money. At a time when money is not exactly growing on trees, do we really need to be spending more for no real reason.

If anything, the message to take away for this is to tidy your house a bit and find room for the contents of your cardrobe. Tidy house, tidy mind. Tidy house, emptier car. Emptier car, cheaper running. Cheaper running, more money. You see where I am going with this I am sure!

They may need a little clear out

They may need a little clear out

As much as I may attempt to think logically and sensibly, car clutter, cardrobe, whatever you want to call it truly defines the character of your car. So many times in the past I have written about how cars are not just machines; they have their own culture, identity and personality. In my case, my car has a pair of walking boots in the back that never leave. I am aware I could take them out and only use them when I need them. On the back seat too lies a blanket. Why do I need a blanket in my car? I do not. Alas there it remains.

Without trying to get too philosophical here, the car is the extension of the self. It helps to define the identity of its driver. The possessions contained within such therefore hold great significance, even if just subconsciously. The football boots, my walking boots or even the cherished memory of a past relationship all comes together to reveal the true character. The car is after all a home from home. The commuter may well spend almost as much time in their car as they do in their own home. So why not transform your car into more of a living space?

It all makes sense really.

Maybe new cars should have wardrobes installed in them in the future. Or maybe they will be transformed into a fully habitable life pod. Like a house boat. A house car.

Not exactly what I mean but you get the idea!

Not exactly what I mean but you get the idea!

Don’t forget to follow my antics on Twitter @lewisglynn69

Keep Driving People!

Peace and Love!

Contact Private Fleet

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Private Fleet Car Review: 2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS Manual.

Big, boofy, simple. Kinda like Lenny from “Of Mice and Men” or the Warner Bros. cartoon equivalent. That’s an easy way to think of Mitsubishi‘s revamped Triton range, especially with a manual in the GLS.2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual profile
This is not damning with faint praise, however. Steinbeck’s classic novel has Lenny as one of the twentieth century’s iconic characters so to draw the parallel between the two is fair. Triton has been around for some time; the name plate goes back as far as 1978. In current guise it’s big (over five metres in length and one point seven in height), reasonably roomy but not without quirks.2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual vs older

It’s boofy, in that you CAN take it off road (with an advanced electronic four wheel drive system) with barely an issue (one team took the Exceed to the Simpson desert) and simple, in that you get exactly what you see and there’s no pretentiousness about it.

A Wheel Thing once sold Tritons (in a former life) and welcomed the second Triton in three weeks to the driveway after a break of a few years. Again, it came in blue, much like the aforementioned Exceed, sans hard top canopy, luggage rack on the roof and chrome nudge bar. The height and length are physically imposing, as is the fact that it weighs 1950 kilograms, dry. There’s a humungous three metre wheelbase, one of the longest you’ll find, yet a nimble track of 1520 and 1515 mm, front and rear, respectively.2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual front

When loaded up to the brim, Mitsubishi says the Triton dual cab spec will weigh 2900 kg’s; as a result, Mitsubishi has thrown in its grunty 2.4L diesel to move the best around. At 2500 revs, the donk twists out 430 metres of Mr Newton’s torques. 2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual engineBelow that point there’s still plenty of pull; around town the Triton (with a six speed manual fitted, in this case) will happily do 60 kmh in fourth with just 1500 revs and do so without struggling. At 120 kmh the GLS lopes along, with a mere 2000 rpm on the tacho with sixth engaged.2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual rear

It’s economical too; drinking from a 75 litre tank, Mitsubishi quotes 7.2L used for every 100 kilometres covered. That’s a combined cycle usage, too. As a result, one could comfortably drive from Sydney to Melbourne (around 880 km) on a single tank and have diesel to spare.2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual front seats

Driven normally, the GLS is left in two wheel drive (as displayed by a simple icon in the dash between speed and tachometer). There’s a sense of wave like oomph up to 3000 revs before running out of said oomph as maximum power of 133 kilowatts is delivered at 3500 revs. Redline starts at 4000. The six speed manual is surprisingly in its untruck-like smoothness. There’s a good weight to the mechanism, a true sense of refinement in its movement but doesn’t always slot home correctly and does not like being hurried. The clutch is also similarly well weighted, with a pickup point that is natural in the progression of the pedal.

Externally, the Triton retains a design issue that hasn’t changed since the current look was unveiled in 2007. Yes, it’s tall. Yes, it has big doors that open wide. Yes, you still have to duck your head when you get in. If you want metallic paint, you’ll need to shell out another $550 as well.2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual rear profile

The main changes to the 2016 range are cosmetic yet do add a sense of modernity; chrome now adorns the front grille, LED driving lights inside the restyled head light cluster, a crease in the front and rear flanks to join the two together visually and a restyled bumper set (front and rear) finish off the behemoth.The test car also came with a fabric tonneau cover, tub liner and chrome bar behind the cabin.2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual grille

Internally it’s been refreshed with an updated dash layout, simple in its presentation yet exceedingly readable as a result, a centre console mounted four wheel drive selector knob (high and low range with diff lock) that lights up the aforementioned icon in the main dash display and sitting atop a monochrome multi information screen, a simple to read and use aircon control set and a 6.1 inch touchscreen for audio and settings usage.2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual dash
There’s also a digital tuner, one that is not as sensitive, unfortunately, as those supplied to other brands tested. The cabin also gets Bluetooth, steering wheel mounted phone controls, USB and Auxiliary inputs.

Trim wise there’s a pretty serious problem: there’s way too much reflection from the upper dash into the windscreen, causing a blurred view forward thanks to that reflection and providing a potential safety issue. Either a non reflective coating for the inside of the ‘screen or, more effectively, a proper matt finish for the dash is needed. There’s a couple of nice touches, with a leather bound gear lever knob, chromed interior door handles, whilst safety comes with curtain airbags and a kneebag for the driver. 2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual light switchOddly, the headlight switch doesn’t offer an “Auto” option. Not a glaring oversight but it does detract, somewhat, from the safety aspect of driving.

The seats are comfortable, cloth wrapped and manual in adjustment, with enough finger room to easily slot home the seatbelt. A minor point but there are some big cars around that make this a somewhat difficult operation. With 860 mm of rear leg room, back seat passengers shouldn’t feel cramped either, along with 970 mm of head room (once you’ve ducked your head to get in…).2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual rear seats

On the road, the big ute handles pretty well, archaic leaf sprung rear suspension not withstanding. On some road surfaces it skipped about at the rear but, to be fair, it’s been driven unladen. The steering is on target enough to have a driver pretty well connected with the direction the GLS is going, with no noticeable rack shake either. Its offroad prowess is nothing to sneeze at either; with a proper and dedicated transfer case, it’s readily eats up gravel and mud surfaces as easily as it does tarmac. The rubber is from Toyo, in a 245/55 size, wrapping a stylish set of 17 inch diameter alloys.2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLS manual wheel

The final ratio gearing and that effortless delivery of torque make it an ideal highway cruiser, but being aimed mainly at suburban usage, the torque also offers right foot controlled flexibility in the mid gear range as well.

The Wrap.
Quite simply, the Mitsubishi Triton is a car/truck/oversized ute I’d more than happily own. A grunty diesel, a decently appointed cabin which is roomy enough for the family, a very good manual gearbox (the auto is five speed only…) and liveable ride quality combine to give it enough to win the heart. The range starts from the high $30’s (figure around $38K driveaway for the four door cab ute). The vehicle tested was: $40990 plus tub liner, tonneau, metallic paint and HaymanReese towing kit, taking the GLS to just over $45K.

There’s also Mitsubishi’s warranty, (five years or one hundred thousand kilometres), roadside assist and capped price servicing for four years or sixty thousand kilometres (whichever comes first) to consider as well. For all details, go here: Mitsubishi Triton range.

It’s big, boofy and simple. That isn’t a bad thing. Neither was Lenny.private_fleet_logo

The Buzz About The Electric Car

NEVA_webconference_jpegIf you were to read the typical review of an electric car – a Nissan LEAF, say – you’re likely to be left with the impression that electric cars are a brand new technology that’s never been seen before.  Unfortunately (or should that be fortunately?), this impression is incorrect.

This is only one of the misconceptions about the electric car.  The other main one, which typically got heard in the 1980s and 1990s before electric and hybrid vehicles git the market, was a juicy conspiracy theory about big vehicle manufacturing companies or oil magnates finding out about plans for an electric car and taking steps to rub out either the invention… or the inventor.  Seeing as most big car companies are putting out hybrids and electrics these days, we now know that this sort of story probably needs to go in the thriller fiction category.

But what about the idea that electric cars are a new thing?  Many people are surprised to discover that they aren’t new at all.  They were new and hot back in the USA in the 1890s, after a number of inventors had played around with them. In the early days of the automobile, fossil fuels didn’t have it all their own way – there were a few steam numbers knocking about, alongside the electrics, the diesels (and, of course, the horses and the bicycles).

So what happened?  How did the electric car go from having about one-third of the private car market to being so rare that it was the subject of the aforementioned conspiracy theories?  You can probably blame two main factors.  Number one was the mass production methods of Henry Ford, who made his cars cheap for the masses. They just happened to be petrol powered.  Number two was, of course, World War 1, which got inventors to pay attention to things that would useful for combat.  Electric cars might have been fine for puttering around the streets of London Detroit or New York but were not so good if you had to go long distances, like the taxis that took troops from Paris to the French–German border did.  What’s more, a lot of the inventors who had concentrated on aeroplanes during the war turned to cars after the war (or, more accurately, between the wars) and by that time, they were kind of used to working with petrol and diesel.  Petrol was pretty cheap, too, what with oil well after oil well being discovered in the Middle East and in Texas. So the electric car just sort of fizzled away.

Well, it fizzled until petrol stopped being quite so cheap and the world became much more aware of the twin problems of dwindling fossil fuel supplies and air pollution in all its forms. Now, we’re all wanting electric cars back again.

However, it’s not quite as simple as all that.  For one thing, although electric cars have the advantage of having fewer moving parts to break down as well as having the low, low emissions when used, they still have the problems with range.  At the moment, an electric car is great for an urban commute (oh, the joys of not sitting there idling at the lights!). However, if you regularly drive interstate or if you live on a farm, then an electric car isn’t going to have the range you need to get from A to B… which can be quite a long way.

While electric cars don’t need to be filled with petrol and they can use some of their kinetic energy while braking to recharge themselves, they will still need to be recharged when the battery runs low.  Just like everything else that uses a rechargeable battery, such as your laptop, your phone and your camera.  Now, you know how long it takes to charge your other electronic devices.  As an electric car battery needs to do a lot more than your phone or laptop – getting something moving needs more energy than crunching data does – it will take a lot longer to recharge.  Overnight, in most cases.

The slightly more complicated issue is the fact that the electricity needed to recharge the batteries has to come from somewhere.  This can make the electric car not quite as green as the advertising makes it out to be.  All is well if your electricity comes from a renewable source, such as hydro, solar, wind or geothermal (and all the other interesting new ones they’re looking at, like tidal). However, if the power station nearest you relies on coal or some other fossil fuel, your electric car probably has the same carbon footprint as the typical family car.  Don’t even get me started on the potential hazards of nuclear power plants, as the folk of Fukushima or Chernobyl can testify to.

The other potential problem with electric cars, which the manufacturers are working on, is the battery.  For one thing, batteries are horribly expensive to produce.  This is the factor that makes electric vehicles a bit on the pricey side.  And the battery will have to be replaced at some point during the car’s lifetime, putting the price tag of owning an electric vehicle up a bit higher.  However, this is always the case with new green technologies. They start out really expensive and only a few people take them on. Then it becomes cheaper and more widespread.  It’s happened with solar panels and it will probably happen with the batteries in electric cars, too.

The second thing with batteries is that they tend to be made of some pretty lethal stuff, as are all batteries.  Lead, lithium and nickel are typically used.  This might prove to be a bit of a problem as electric cars get more widespread and disposal of old batteries becomes more of an issue.  Thankfully, some companies, such as Nissan, will take old batteries back and recycle them.  So do some specialist recycling companies.

Things will change with the electric car.  There’s a typical pattern that all new technologies follow as they become more widespread and popular.  At the moment, about halfway through 2015, will the purely electric car be right for you? It could well be if you can say yes to the following:

  • You are passionate about the environment and don’t mind spending a bit more to minimize your carbon footprint.
  • You are based in a city and don’t drive long distances.
  • Your local power company runs on sustainable energy or you have lots of solar panels on your house.
  • You know where to recycle the battery.
  • You have a lifestyle that allows you to recharge the battery overnight (and you don’t mind having a power bill instead of a petrol bill).

The rest of us will have to make do with hybrids, biodiesel and driving what we’ve got as frugally as possible… at least for now!

Safe and happy driving, no matter what powers you,

Megan