I grew up wearing hand me down clothes. The army taught me how to keep myself clean and present myself smartly. In the past 40 years little has changed, I wear inherited clothes from friends and family who have passed away. In this time I doubt that I have given out more than a hundred pounds a year on clothes for myself, mostly just underwear.
My attitude to cars has always been much the same, I don’t need anything flash or trendy, rather something solid and reliable. I only moved up to driving an SUV because I needed something that would pull our horse box, back when we were breeding our own nags. Having come across the KIA Sorento we were utterly satisfied and have had a couple over the past decade or so.
There was no hesitation deciding to keep the Sorrento when we retired and started our Big Tour, pulling our caravan around Europe. Our crash down in Spain unfortunately killed our beloved Sorento, but even in her final second her solid build saved us from unthinkable injury. Unfortunately, because of modern exhaust emission laws, they no longer build that particular model and finding a suitable replacement has been a torture.
Most ‚want to be‘, city, SUV’s are front wheel drive and so should not pull a caravan. Even if they have a, so called, 4x4, they are very underpowered so towing weights are tiny.
Most real SUV’s are very flash, fast and trendy, so they are the most stolen and so the most watched by the police type of vehicle, so insurance and fuel consumption is high, as are frequent speeding fines etc. ! VW, Audi, BMW, Porsche and they cost a fortune.
Still, we need an SUV because we often drive off the beaten track, with and without our caravan. SUV’s have ground clearance which is essential ! 4x4’s without ground clearance are not much good off-road and most 4x4’s are not even real 4 wheel drives anyway. Many just apply the brakes to a spinning wheel and hope that some of the wanted movement transfers to the stationary wheel, that’s not the same as having 4 wheels that drive !
So ground clearance, a real 4 wheel drive, an automatic with cruise control and a reversing camera for hooking up the caravan were on our essentials search list. Of course price always plays a role for a guy who wears hand me down clothes.
To cut a 4 month search down to the bone: We discovered almost by misfortune that perhaps the most unthought of manufacturer Volvo do a cross country and another model, the XC for most of their normal road cars. Volvo, who wants a Volvo, old men and poor farmers use them to heard their livestock … and police cameras have a ‚leave it alone, it’s a pensioner setting‘ and so no self respecting thief would be seen dead in a Volvo, perfect for us !
We picked the XC, it having 23cm ground clearance but still allowing us short arses to get in without a ladder. We picked the V60XC because that’s what we needed to carry our load, this car wraps around you, without squeezing, and quietly boasts quality.
We then visited several dealers looking for a second hand 2 liter D4 with 190bhp and 400nm, their smallest engine, which offers just a little more of everything than our departed, beloved, Sorento. Yesterday we visited our third Volvo dealer, following an internet advert. The car we wanted to see was gone.
But they did have a 2,4 liter D5 with 220bhp and 440nm so we decide to test drive it. By chance it was already in ‚sport modus‘ and when I put my foot down to test the reaction I was sucked into my seat and the exhaust roared like a bear breathing down the back of my neck. I had butterflies in my stomach and recalled the brute power of driving 50 ton tanks and felt the agility of my old motorbikes which arrived at the speed of thought, WOW !
Being an environmentalist I quickly put it back into economy drive and it was still very impressive and only drank 7 liters per 100 km. The old Sorento drank more like 10 liters. This car is just over 3 years old and was, when new, the top of the range model. It has cameras and sensors everywhere and can even apply the brakes if you oversee something/someone It has just over 100,000 km on the clock, offering at least another 150,000 for us to try and use up. As we only expect to drive about 20,000 per year that’s like … forever for us …
So we handled and bought it for way under half of its back then new price. Is this the start of another long term relationship, Rahi will be jealous. Or maybe she will leave me and the dogs on a beach in Portugal and use Bear’s breath to catch a toy boy … who knows … who knows ?
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