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Saturday, June 16, 2018

X2 sets new style for smaller SUVs Road Test: Colin Smith Pictures: John Borren

I

N THE FASHION driven world of smaller SUV and crossover models, one of the newest and trendiest arrivals is the BMW

X2. A more style-focused derivative of the X1, the new X2 launched in a pair of sDrive front-wheeldrive models with a top-of-therange xDrive all-wheel-drive model a more recent addition. As the naming suggests, the X2 is the second step on BMW’s ladder of X family models which begins with the X1 and currently stretches to the X5 and X6 duo with a new top-end luxury X7 flagship on the horizon. Even numbering aligns the X2 with the larger coupe-styled X4 and X6 so there’s a faster roofline and more aggressive stance than oddnumber Sport Activity Vehicles. The X2 choices begin with the sDrive18i model powered by the punchy 1.5-litre triple-cylinder turbo engine and progresses to four-cylinder sDrive20i and xDrive20i models with BMWs 1998cc TwinPower unit developing 141kW and 280Nm. Reflecting market preference for smaller SUV/crossover models, there are no X2 diesels offered in New Zealand and there’s detail differentiation between the 2.0-litre drivetrains with the sDrive20i matched to a sevenspeed sports auto while the xDrive20i partners up with an eight-speed transmission. This is a hot sector of the market where the luxury brands are very busy. Premium compact-medium rivals to the X2 that include the Audi Q2, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Lexus NX, Range Rover Evoque and the new Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40. Pricing for the X2 starts with the sDrive18i at $60,900 while the sDrive20i model is priced from $70,900 and BMW charges a $3000 premium for xDrive all-wheel-drive and the eight-speed transmission. I drove the sDrive20i in a specification that showcased the scope for personalising the X2. The test car took a deep dive into the option list adding $15,090 of upgrades and additional equipment. In standard form the X2 sDrive20i rides on 19-inch alloy wheels and boasts the high-gloss Shadowline exterior package, LED headlights with High Beam Assist, a powered tailgate, dualzone climate control, heated front

seats, anthracite headliner and smartphone connectivity among its content highlights. Driving Assistant Plus with Active Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Speed Limit Info is also standard while the M Sport X package brings sports suspension, sports seats, aluminium hexagon interior trim and aluminium door sills along with a Frozen Grey exterior contrast treatment for the lower cladding, wheel arches and M exterior badging. BMW’s press car boosted the level of equipment with 20-inch double-spoke M alloy wheels THIS IS A HOT SECTOR OF THE MARKET WHERE which are THE LUXURY BRANDS ARE VERY BUSY. $1500, Apple Car Play ($500), Navigation Plus with a larger 8.8-inch iDrive display ($3500) and the Vision and Sound Pack that bundles a panorama sunroof, Harmon Kardon 12-speaker HiFi audio system and an interior LED ambient lighting package into a $3500 package. Other additions include the $500 M Sports Steering, power adjustable front seats with memory ($2000) and a luggage separation net ($400). The striking Galvanic Gold is one of the $990 metallic options and the test car was further dressed up with an M rear spoiler priced at $500. There’s a strong sports theme to the X2 sDrive20i with its sleek silhouette, large diameter wheels and smart exterior detailing. It’s also an engaging drive with the high-torque turbo 2.0-litre delivering eager response and a torque curve that flat-lines at 8.4L/100km as a combined road 280Nm all the way from test average. 1350-4600rpm and is the The optional M Sport Steering foundation for swift overtaking quickens the steering ratio and and relaxed highway cruising at gives the X2 a more direct feel small throttle percentages. while the 20-inch alloy wheels are The engine uses only 1600rpm shod with Pirelli P-Zero run-flat to cruise at a steady 100km/h in tyres in 225/40 R20 dimension. seventh gear and throttle or There’s a reasonably firm ride over paddle-prompted downshifts lumpy surfaces and the X2 has equate to 2000rpm in sixth and crisp handling and confident grip 2500rpm in fifth. The X2 is a lowin the twisty stuff with a fun-toeffort performer with strong middrive feel that has minimal SUV range power delivery but the compromise. The sports seats are claimed combined cycle fuel a highlight of the X2 sDrive20i with consumption of 5.9L/100km excellent side bolster support, seems rather hopeful. I got lower back shape and adjustable 7.2L/100km on a highway run and cushion length.

THE NUMBERS

Engine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1998cc, 16-valve four-cylinder in-line, direct injection and turbocharged petrol Maximum output . . . . . . . . . . . . 141kW at 5000-6000pm Maximum torque . . . . . . . . . . . . 280Nm at 1350-4600rpm Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4360mm Width .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1824mm Height . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1526m Wheelbase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2670mm Kerb weight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1535kg Fuel tank capacity .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 61 litres Wheels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.0 x 20-inch alloy (option) Tyres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pirelli P-Zero 225/40 R20 radial

It’s the looks, performance and pleasing dynamics of the X2 that made me think about this car in a wider context. While much attention is given to the rapid rise of SUVs and crossover sales at the expense of traditional car configurations, the X2 makes me wonder about that trend. While it clearly fits within the SUV/crossover designation, in reality of the X2 sDrive20i is only a small step removed from conventional car qualities. It’s front-wheel-drive and has five-doors. All of the dimensions apart from the height match those of most modern small-medium

hatchbacks. Inside so does the passenger accommodation, versatility of a 40-20-40 split rear seat and useful 470-litres of luggage volume. With 2.0-litre turbo performance, wide-tyre adhesion and accurate steering the BMW X2 also sits on the cusp of hothatch driving appeal. It might be classed in the SUV/ crossover category but you could argue the X2 is the modern hatchback, evolved one step to take a more upright stance and provide the access advantages of a raised seat height ande slightly higher eye-level.


3

Fieldays preview for new Acadia By Colin Smith

H

OLDEN has used this week’s National Fieldays near Hamilton as the stage for an early preview for its newest nameplate. The Holden stand at the Mystery Creek event is showcasing a pre-production example of the all-new Acadia, a large seven-seat US-sourced SUV that is expected to replace the Korea-built Holden Captiva 7 which has been on sale since 2006. The new Holden SUV shares its naming with the North America market GMC Acadia and will be built in in right-hand-drive for the Australia and New Zealand markets at GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee facility. Acadia shares its architecture with the Cadillac XT5 (also built at Spring Hill) and the Chevrolet Traverse. The second generation GMC Acadia was launched at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and it went on sale in the US in May 2016. In US terminology the GMC Acadia is classed as a medium SUV but Australians and Kiwis will consider it a large-size vehicle. It offers seven-seat accommodation

and measures 4917mm in length and is 1915mm wide — dimensions that rival the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-9. Holden hasn’t announced any

powertrain information for the “down under” Acadia but in the North American market there is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (shared with the Malibu sedan) and a 3.6-litre direct injection V6 petrol from the same

family as the Holden Commodore engine. There is expected to be front-wheel-drive and all-wheeldrive versions.

There’s another possibility among the powertrain choices. The Chevrolet Traverse line-up includes the RS model powered by the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and nine-speed automatic transmission from the Holden ZB Commodore and the Equinox. “Sourced from North America but with significant Holden involvement from the beginning of development, Acadia is a game-changer for Holden and the segment,” said Marc Warr, Holden New Zealand national marketing manager. “Not only does it boast hightech features like 360-degree camera, wireless phone charging, heated and cooled seats and the ability to park itself, it’s also great to drive and looks the goods, too.” The Acadia is scheduled to reach Holden dealer showrooms in the fourth quarter of this year with detail specifications and pricing to be announced closer to the launch date.

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4

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Swift Sport retains its fun factor Road Test: Colin Smith Pictures: John Borren and Andrew Warner

M

ANUAL or auto? Not too long ago that question arose for most new car buyers as a key decision in the purchase process. Now it’s rarely part of the conversation as three pedals have been largely phased-out. A few specialist performance cars, a handful of base model small cars and a fast-decreasing number of utes are the places you can still take the manual option. Fortunately, the new Suzuki Swift Sport that launched earlier this year continues with a manual choice — and for a light, punchy and fun-to-drive hatch there is definitely still a place for manual motoring. Back in the era of three and fourspeed “slush boxes” there was a significant performance and fuel efficiency penalty attached to small automatic cars. Times have changed and the new Swift Sport’s small displacement turbo engine with a high torque output from low revs and a modern six-speed auto overcome those shortcomings. The switch from a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine to the 1373cc BoosterJet turbo engine brings a new style to the Swift Sport. It develops 103kW at 5500rpm and 230Nm of torque on a flatline from 2500-3500rpm. This new Swift Sport is less frantic and doesn’t need to work as hard as its predecessor but it’s quicker, more refined and impressively fuel efficient. The result is an engaging hothatch with either finger-tip shifting or full immersion in the manual experience. The differences are minor — the Swift Sport auto is 20kg heavier and while both share six gears the ratios are noticeably different. Shorter gearing comes with the manual and it feels just a fraction more responsive. In effect top gear in the manual is fifth gear in the automatic — the manual is using 2700rpm in sixth gear at 100km/h while the auto settles at 2000rpm and then finds 2700rpm when it kicks down into fifth. The manual shift is light and accurate, the clutch has a positive feel and strong torque means there’s no need to it rev hard or hurry the shifts to provoke lively acceleration. The manual has plenty of sixth gear flexibility and can be hurried along a twisty road

in the taller gears with remarkably few shifts. The auto shifts smoothly with the responsive kickdown that suits the hot-hatch character and steering wheel paddle shifters are standard. Fuel efficiency isn’t affected by transmission choice. Suzuki claims 6.1L/100km for both models and it’s an honest claim. I got 5.9L/100km on a highway run in the auto and 6.2L/100km as a combined figure. The manual was fractionally better with a 6.0L/100km road test average and it’s pleasing to drive a small car that can deliver lively performance and match its claimed consumption numbers. There’s a minor caveat attached to both the efficiency and performance. I discovered the Swift Sport isn’t as quick as it seems with 100km/h indicated on the speedometer actually 94km/ h. Another difference is price with the manual listed at $28,500 while the auto is $29,990. That additional $1490 and a 37-litre tank capacity means a complete fill of 95-octane will cost about $90 and choosing a manual effectively yields 15 or 16 “free” tanks. Best of all — regardless of transmission choice — the Swift Sport is great fun to drive. It’s a significant 80kg lighter than its predecessor and the increased performance is accompanied by the new style of power delivery with the focus shifted to midrange torque rather than revvy naturally aspirated response. Like the two previous generations, the Swift Sport is eager to show off its nimble handling and has plenty of grip and taut body control to accompany its performance. The messages are slightly different thanks to the wider track and move to 17-inch wheels that plant the Swift Sport with a touch more large car feel. Continental ContiSportContact5 tyres in 195/45 R17 dimension are a choice that suits the Swift Sport and provides sure-footed poise rather than smothering the Swift in massive grip and overwhelming the damping with excessive unsprung weight from larger wheels and tyres. But there’s more to Swift Sport than simply an ability to sprint along short straights and slice through corners. Common to both cars are some considerable specification gains

THE MANUAL SHIFT IS LIGHT AND ACCURATE, THE CLUTCH HAS A POSITIVE FEEL AND STRONG TORQUE MEANS THERE’S NO NEED TO IT REV HARD OR HURRY THE SHIFTS TO PROVOKE LIVELY ACCELERATION.

THE NUMBERS

Engine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1373cc, 16-valve four-cylinder in-line, direct injection and turbocharged petrol Maximum output . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103kW at 5500pm Maximum torque . . . . . . . . . . . . 230Nm at 2500-3500rpm Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3890mm Width .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1735mm Height . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1495m Wheelbase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2450mm Kerb weight . . . . . . . . . . . . 970kg (manual) 990kg (auto) Fuel tank capacity .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 37 litres Wheels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alloy 6.5 x 17-inch Tyres .. .. Continental ContiSportContact5 195/45 R 17 radial over the second generation model. They include new safety, driver assist and connectivity features and a useful increase in boot space to 265 litres — although the Swift doesn’t carry a spare wheel and relies on an emergency inflator kit. The cabin is smartly kitted out

with a flat-bottom and leather trimmed sports steering wheel,

red trim highlights, piano black and faux-carbon fibre surfaces and alloy pedals. The defining appeal of the Swift Sport is that nothing else in this price range can deliver as much sporting flavour and fun-to-drive factor. The closest are cars like the $38,490 VW Polo GTI and the new Ford Fiesta ST that’s due in 2019 but pricing puts them in a different category. In terms of sales volume Swift Sport buyer preference will favour the automatic and if the car spends the majority of its life making busy city commutes the auto is the convenient choice. If you find your way out on to some interesting back roads on a regular basis the manual is the slightly sharper driving Swift Sport and the truly engaging hot-hatch choice. Either way the new Suzuki Swift Sport is a fun car. The element of choice just makes it even better.


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9

Alfa and Maserati feeling all coupe’d up

I

talian manufacturers Alfa Romeo and Maserati have had a busy time, announcing a variety of planned new products, including sporty coupes amid the usual “Us too!” EV exclamations. First, Maserati has shown off a silhouette teaser image of its forthcoming Alfieri sports coupe. Not-at-all confusingly named, the Alfieri will potentially offer buyers the choice of three Ferrariengineered powertrains, including the inevitable electric one. That’ll be important though, as Maserati used the same future product presentation to announce it is ditching diesel engines and replacing them with an entire sub-brand of electro-themed conveyances,

Alfa Romeo FTV. Photo / Supplied

called Maserati Blue. No, us neither. The more exciting news comes courtesy of Alfa Romeo, which is promising not one, but two new performance models. The first will be nothing less

than the 8C mid-engined supercar, boasting 520kW-plus power and hybrid-assisted fourwheel drive. It will level both barrels at the likes of the McLaren 720S and the Lamborghini Aventador SV.

Lamborghini says ‘no grazie’ to Paris motor show

L

amborghini will sit out the biennial Paris Motor Show for the second time in four years, rather huffily following parent company Volkswagen’s decision not to pack its bags for Paris this year. The Paris show alternates with Frankfurt to host what is considered the “big” European industry shows each year, but the move serves to feed the elephant in the room an enormous bundle of hay. The elephant in the room is that, all-of-a-sudden in an increasingly digital world, gargantuan circus-like motor shows are no longer seen by an increasing number of manufacturers as the only way to shop their new wares. Volkswagen’s other sub-brands — Audi, Porsche, Skoda and SEAT — are all still expected to unfurl their respective blankets at the Paris show in October. But elsewhere Ford, and Nissan together with its luxury sub-brand Infiniti has already said it won’t be there. Attending the shows can be a financially crippling exercise, even

Lamborghini is one of a number of brands that will not attend the biennial motor show in Paris this year. Photo / Supplied for the biggest brands. More-andmore it seems, companies such as Volkswagen are banking their croissant and coffee budgets (not to mention the airfreight involved in shipping vast temporary brand palaces around the place) in favour of localised customer-focused events. That keeps those pesky motoring journos at arm’s length, too, of course. The shady companies behind international motor shows are feeling the resistance, too. The Detroit show — long-endangered

The week in motoring

NUMBER CRUNCHING

due to a flagging American car industry and rival events in Los Angeles and New York attracting more of the limelight — has had so many brands pull out over the years, it’s looking at shifting the show to another part of the calendar in a bid to get them all back onboard. Held every January, attracting European, Japanese and Chinese automotive visitors to beleaguered Detroit appears hard enough in theory, let alone during the winter blizzards that inevitably greet attendees.

1979 45 YEAR Kimi Raikkonen born in Espoo, Finland

FASTEST F1 LAPS Raikkonen is second only to Michael Schumacher (77)

As if that’s not good enough, Alfa has also announced something else we’re excited about — the return of the GTV badge. Alfa Romeo will produce what

is essentially a two-door coupe version of the lovely Giulia Quadrifoglio sedan, with a heap of power, seating for four (well, four lithe Italian supermodels) and 50:50 weight distribution. It’ll put the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe on notice. Lunga vita all ‘Italia!

Trees tremble as Kimi threatens return to WRC

F

innish newspaper LltaSanomat has claimed that monosyllabic icecream enthusiast and F1 ace, Kimi Raikkonen (pictured), could return to his crashing ways in the World Rally Championship soon. Raikkonen’s tarmac tenure with Scuderia Ferrari is up for renewal after the 2018 season ends and should either party decide they’ve had enough of one other (one gets the feeling it would be a mutual “Meh” in the boardroom at this point), the 39-year old might seek a drive with a rally team instead. And it seems like that rally team could potentially be Toyota Gazoo Racing. Raikkonen has allegedly been in talks with the Japanese team’s boss, fellow countryman Tommi Makinen.

7

YEARS Raikkonen has had two stints driving for Scuderia Ferrari totalling nearly a decade

Makinen was seen on the Ice Man’s yacht parked in Monaco Harbour during the Grand Prix there. Which could have been nothing more business-like than a barbecue and vodkatasting session, but Makinen did have his race team deputy with him onboard so talks seem likely. Raikkonen had mixed fortunes during his 2010/11 campaigns on gravel with the Citroen Junior Team, spending a reasonable amount of time upside down in ditches with bits of tree in his wheel wells. With Citroen having ousted Irish driver Kris Meeke for simply crashing too much, Toyota Gazoo Racing will be thinking rather carefully about returning Raikkonen to rallying as part of their front line.

2009

YEAR Raikkonen listed by Forbes magazine as second-highest paid sportsman (after Tiger Woods)


10

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Porsche brings back retro ‘Pink Pig’

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orsche has rolled out the retro flavour for its attack on GTE-PRO class honours at the Le Mans 24 Hours across this weekend. Since Porsche quit the LMP1 Hybrid class at the end of 2017, the German marque has increased its focus on GT Endurance racing and will field four factory 911 RSR entries in a stacked GTE-PRO field for the 2018 race. And two of those cars will race in iconic Porsche racing liveries from the 1970s and 1980s. The number 91 RSR is decked out in blue-and-white with red and gold stripes, reminiscent of the Rothmans sponsor colours of that era while the number 92 car adopts the famous “Pink Pig” design of the 917/20 from 1971. The special designs commemorate Porsche’s history at Le Mans on the occasion of its “70 Years Porsche Sports Cars” anniversary. “With these much-loved designs, we want to thank our loyal supporters who have cheered for us both on and off the track at every race, but particularly at Le Mans, where we as record winners with 19 outright victories received incredible support every year,” said Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, vice-president Motorsport and GT Cars. The number 91 car to be driven by Gianmaria Bruni (Italy), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) echoes the Rothmans paintwork of various Porsche race cars. An example is the Porsche 959, which won the 1986 Paris-Dakar rally flying the colours of the British tobacco manufacturer. In circuit racing, the Rothmansliveried Porsche 956 C and the Porsche 962 C celebrated major successes. Blue-and-white Group C sports prototypes clinched overall victory four times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans — the 956 C in 1982 and 1983, and the 962 C at

the 1986 and 1987 races. The livery of the number 92 car, shared by Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) harks back to the Porsche 917/20 that tackled Le Mans in 1971. This one-of-a-kind race car was designed to combine the aerodynamic advantages of the short and long-tail versions of the 917 and was driven by Reinhold Joest and Willi Kauhsen. The 917/20 was dubbed the “Pink Pig” due to its pink paintwork with sections of the car labelled in butcher-style cuts. The idea implemented under the Porsche designer Anatole Lapine caused a stir and the 917/20, also known as the “Truffle Hunter”, is one of the most famous Porsche cars ever. A total of 10 Porsche 911 RSR racers will contest this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans — four fielded by the factory in GTE-PRO and six by customer teams in the GTE-AM class. The number 93 and 94 works vehicles will compete with the usual white, black and red livery — which from a bird’s eye perspective alludes to the emblem of the Porsche brand. New Zealander Earl Bamber teams with Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (GB) in the number 93 car while Frenchman Romain Dumas is teamed with German drivers Timo Bernhard and Sven Muller in car 94. Porsche set the GTE-PRO pace during last weekend’s Le Mans test day with Pilet clocking the fastest lap of 3min 52.551s while Bruni and Makowiecki were next quickest. They were followed by six times set by drivers from the Ford GT challenge. There are 17 cars representing six manufacturers in the GTE-PRO class — four each from Porsche and Ford, three from Ferrari team AF Corse and two each from Corvette Racing, Aston Martin Racing and BMW Team MTEK.

Registrations open for racing series entries Registrations for next summer’s Castrol Toyota Racing Series have already opened, eight months before the first round. As in previous years, the championship will be run over five consecutive weekends in January and February 2019, with the calendar details to be released at a later date. Each round will have three races — one on Saturday afternoon and two on Sunday. Combined with testing and practice on Thursday and Friday each week and qualifying sessions, drivers have the opportunity to do over

Young racers in the Toyota Racing Series will now be able to gain points towards a Formula 1 Super Licence if they are successful in the New Zealand summertime series.

3000km of “seat time” in five weeks. “Every year the Toyota Racing Series provides a great ‘warm-up’ for drivers who plan to go on and

compete in series in Europe or North America,” said Mark Whittaker, Toyota New Zealand’s motorsport manager. For the first-time in 2019

success in the series will see drivers gain FIA points towards the Super Licence which allows them to compete in Formula 1. “Over the years the series has been a great stepping stone for drivers into careers that have produced Le Mans 24 Hour winners and World Endurance (sportscar) champions, Formula 1 drivers; Supercars, Super GT and Formula 3 champions,” said Whittaker. He said the cost of an international entry for 2019 has been reduced by $15,000 to $199,000 which includes GST.

Preparation of the identical Tatuus single seater cars used in the series is already well under way with the rebuilding to “as new” condition of major components including the Toyota 2ZZ-GE 1800cc engine and Sadev paddle shift gearbox. The series has a great reputation world-wide for thoroughly preparing the cars for each season. Some technical upgrades are also being incorporated in the cars following off-season testing by Brendon Leitch, Chris van der Drift and Daniel Gaunt, all of whom have raced in the series.


11

Safe, reliable and no nonsense ‘COAST TO COAST GUY’ STEVE GURNEY BACKS MEN’S HEALTH MONTH AND THE IMPORTANCE OF LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF What are you driving? It’s a Hilux ute, 4WD, 3-litre turbo diesel. It has a manual gearbox, high-low ratio. I like manual transmission because I can do jump starts on a hill if the battery is flat, and it has that little bit more control in tricky, slippery conditions. The dusty metallic silver colour hides the road dirt. The roads I drive . . . it’s constantly dirty, so I need it to still look smart between washes, as it carries advertising for my product, GurneyGoo, that prevents blisters and chafing. Why did you choose this ute? With my adventure lifestyle, I need a vehicle that can get me to kayak put-ins, ski terrain, mountain bike trails. Plus I need a safe, reliable vehicle in snowy, slippery conditions. I drove Subaru Legacy and Outback for 20 years for this same reason. Those were fantastic safe cars but I bought this Hilux two years ago for the convenience of chucking my muddy bikes and gear in the tray. I rely on support crew to drive my vehicles when I’m

racing, or for adventure drop-offs, so it needs to be easy and no nonsense to drive. What do you keep in your ute? A fire extinguisher; not just for my car, but in case another motorist is in need. A first-aid kit, in case I arrive back from an adventure injured, but also in case I come across an accident. A good blanket, a box of muesli bars and two litres of water in case we’re caught out for instance by a road slip, flooding or snow. A tool box of useful tools for a breakdown, and a sturdy snatch line for towing. Who taught you drive? My dad, which was nerve-racking. He’s a perfectionist and was particular about the car, his pride and joy. I was 18 years old when I got my licence. I flew through the test as I’d prepared thoroughly. I really wanted to get my licence, as I’d been denied getting it earlier. My parents thought 16 was too young to drive with all the responsibility that goes with that. Dad was also concerned that I didn’t crash the family car as he

Photo / Supplied

had done when he got his licence at 16. Advice to young drivers? Focus 100 per cent on the task of driving, not talking to your mates in the car, and definitely no cell phones. Your first car? I loved my first car, a 1955 Morrie Minor van with a split windscreen. It was a rusty old piece of machinery, but I painstakingly did it up to near-mint. I bought it for $100, and sold it for $1200. Not bad for a student. Anything else in your garage? Just 15 bikes.

Dream car? I’d convert my ute into an electric vehicle. Favourite movie car scene? I must confess to loving the DeLorean in Back to the Future. Favourite racing car driver? Possum Bourne was inspirational; not only for his skills, but for the way he was so personable and approachable with the public. He also drove Subaru. Dan Gurney is a close second. Can you imagine enjoying an electric or driverless car? Driverless cars send me into a quandary . . . it makes sense to get

“bad” drivers out from behind the wheel. Others of us who enjoy driving and having a sense of skilled control behind the wheel will be reluctant to hand over that control. Electric cars will be great once we get the longer range needed for out-of-town trips. I have just built myself an electric-assist bike and I love how it makes commuting by bike much easier. And you’re promoting men’s health month. What is the most important thing men can do to look after their health? Stay fitter. You don’t need to be super fit, just healthier. Cars are a wonderful invention and an integral part of our modern lives . . . however, use them in moderation and not to drive short trips to the corner dairy, where a walk or a bike would take the same sort of time. The human body was not designed for a sedentary life. Save the car for longer trips. — Donna McIntyre menshealthnz.org.nz

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