Friday, 15 January 2010

Potential new chariot



Now that I'm turning serious thoughts to a replacement car, fate is thrusting in my face examples of the sort of thing I want. Here's a Volvo XC60 seen yesterday in Chichester. Looks very nice. Nice inside too. I spoke to Volvos twice on the previous day, and they were mentioning £5,000 to £6,000 off the list price while the government's Scrappage Scheme lasts. So I'd better make up my mind before the end of February.

10 comments:

  1. I suppose I should be used to it by now, but it still always surprises me when I see a car with the steering wheel on the right. I think if I tried to drive in the UK, I would have an accident the first time I had to make a turn at an intersection. I imagine you have driven outside of the UK, did you feel disoriented, driving on the right hand side of the road?

    That Volvo is a handsome car, and it looks like it has a lot of room inside too.

    Melissa XX

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  2. I've never actually driven a US-style car in US-style conditions, so presumably I would be exactly like yourself in a foreign country. But surely one adapts!

    Lucy

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  3. You adapt or die! First time I drove on the right with left hand drive was leaving Madrid airport in an under powered fiat, I had just got into third gear and was on the motorway into town!

    You soon stop looking for the gear stick in the door pocket. My problem is that I find it more natural to drive on the right whichever side the wheel is that I am more scared of doing something stupid when I come back into Britain.

    Which country do you plan to invade with this new monster? How much power do you need to pull your van?

    Caroline xxx

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  4. Automatic transmission takes care of gear-change worries. I've driven automatics on and off since 1979, and exclusively since 1989. The engine I'd want on the XC60 would be a 2.4 litre diesel - not too large, not too thirsty with all wheel drive and the auto gearbox, but with plenty of power for pulling a caravan up hill and down dale. I'm also after power for effortless long-distance driving. And to go with that, a luxury interior in which I will feel very safe and very comfortable.

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  5. Lucy, is a 2.4 liter engine really powerful enough to pull a caravan up a steep hill? Maybe diesel makes a difference, but I had a 2.2 liter gasoline powered truck once, and it slowed down going up a steep hill with no load at all.

    Melissa XX

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  6. Well, Melissa, it's only a small two-berth touring caravan. Still weighs over a ton, though.

    The diesel engine on our ponderous New Zealand campervan - there are some shots of it here and there under 'New Zealand' on my Flickr site (choose the topmost of the three links from this blog) - was the same size as this Volvo diesel, and it could attack any hill in that mountainous country with gusto, and not at a crawl either. M--- sometimes had to ask me to ease off on winding sections because too fast was too frightening when you're close to some precipice.

    You certainly get more tug for the engine size, compared to petrol. There is in fact a three-litre petrol engine as an option on the XC60, and it's supposed to be smoother, but it'll reach its maximum pulling power at higher revs and will gulp fuel. Volvo's own official fuel consumption figures confirm that. Remember, in the UK we pay about £5.00 per gallon for both unleaded petrol and diesel. I don't know how that would convert to US dollars and US gallons, but it's pretty expensive, and I need to keep fuel costs at a sensible level!

    Lucy

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  7. Very nice car - I'd love to look at one int he future - but over here in NL they just cost too much (keeping me firmly within the V50 price range)

    The first time I drove a Dutch car my biggest problem was the head telling me I had a car on one side of my, my eyes disagreeing, and ending up driving with a cars width on each side of me. It took a couple of weeks to get my spacial awareness tweaked to cope. And I hit the door trim a few times reaching for a gearstick that wasn't there :)

    After 10 years I can now jump between UK and Dutch cars with no real issues. Although I did get into my dad's car in Scotland and think somethings wrong here - it took a second or two to realise that there was no wheel in front of me and that I was in the wrong seat :)

    As for the engine - I think there is a big difference between US and european engines for power. The 2.4D Volvo produces almost as mouch power, and more torque, than a 3.7 Jeep (Although it's only rated for 2 ton towing, instead of the Jeeps 2.8)

    When I used to drive a Pug 205 convertable my American friends couldn't beleive that it would do 70 on the motorways all day with just a 1.3 engine :)

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  8. @Stace;
    Thanks. Interesting comments you made about power.

    Lucy

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  9. It looks very, very nice. That's all I can say about cars. I know that Volvos are well made.

    I'm a bit troubled about it being parked on a disabled space....

    I drive very well on the right, I don't think I'd like to change back now. I still go round to open the passenger side of the car from time to time by mistake, I feel such a twit.

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  10. @Anji:
    I wouldn't feel disturbed about it being parked in a 'Disabled' space. It might simply be that the owner was elderly and infirm had acquired a Disabled Photocard so that they could park conveniently. It's often only the elderly who can afford the kind of indulgent cars we'd all like to drive around in. (Come to that, I'm no spring chicken myself!) Anyway, my Dad was one of the elderly disabled - arthritic, unsteady on his feet, and unable to walk far - and he had such a card.

    There's quite a lot of provision for the motoring disabled in towns nowadays, and I thoroughly approve, even if they do get the plum parking spots. Well, one day we'll all appreciate the same spaces when our turn comes!

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