We live Hilux on the hog

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test - TIMBLAIR blairt@dai­lytele­graph.com.au

IT WAS once a rel­a­tively easy mat­ter to an­a­lyse the Aus­tralian pop­u­la­tion based on our most pop­u­lar car choices. For 30 years or so, it ba­si­cally went like this: Ford peo­ple bought Fal­cons, Holden peo­ple bought Com­modores and sub­ver­sive aca­demic types bought things likeVWGolfs and Honda Ac­cords.

Then free will was in­vented. Nowa­days Aus­tralians buy all man­ner of ve­hi­cles, de­pend­ing on their needs and bud­get rather than brand loy­alty or ge­netic pro­gram­ming. In­trigu­ingly, of the record 96,069 pas­sen­ger cars sold in Aus­tralia dur­ing May, the most pop­u­lar was Toy­ota’s sturdy yet im­pres­sively equipped HiLux ute.

What does this HiLux choice say about Aus­tralians as a peo­ple? Let’s put on our so­ci­ol­ogy hats and work it out:

Aus­tralians are in­creas­ingly con­cerned about global eco­nomic chaos, so the pur­chase of a HiLux rep­re­sents a res­o­lute de­fence against dis­tress­ing in­ter­na­tional cir­cum­stances. Also, it’s re­ally easy to just throw all your shop­ping in the back.

All of us crave high-pay­ing West Aus­tralian min­ing jobs and want to cre­ate the right im­pres­sion when we turn up at the Pil­bara for our in­ter­views. No min­ing boss will hire any­body with an MX-5. Plus, you can fit al­most an en­tire Bun­nings aisle back there.

Sen­si­ble Aus­tralians have ob­served the trans­port op­tions taken by our least ra­tio­nal cit­i­zens and se­lected a ve­hi­cle that is most op­posed to the fixie bi­cy­cles favoured by hip­sters. As well, how cool is it to haul a whole month’s worth of gro­ceries home in one load?

DETROIT DE­BA­CLE

OF all places on Earth, you’d imag­ine that Detroit would be able to cope with cars. Af­ter all, this north­ern US city was for decades the global mo­tor in­dus­try cap­i­tal. Yet roads fell to bits last week­end when Indy­Cars raced on a Detroit street cir­cuit, cre­at­ing pot­holes due to down­force and grippy tyres and even­tu­ally lead­ing to a two-hour race de­lay as or­gan­is­ers at­tempted to patch up the place. This wasn’t the first time that Detroit has crum­bled un­der pres­sure. In 1985, when the Mo­tor City hosted For­mula One, streets also failed. As a metaphor for Amer­i­can au­to­mo­tive for­tunes, Detroit is do­ing a bang-up job.

OFF THE RADAR

ARE there any radar de­tec­tors that are dis­guised as GPS units? Why, yes, as it hap­pens. Elec­tron­ics com­pany Escort man­u­fac­tures just such a de­vice, called the Pass­port iQ. Ac­tu­ally, the Pass­port iQ is more of a com­bined GPS-radar de­tec­tion de­vice. But it’s il­le­gal al­most ev­ery­where in Aus­tralia, so don’t buy one. Don’t even think about it.

Mother lode: The HiLux is a min­ers’ and fam­ily favourite

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