Tips for the long haul
IT’S not an Arnie-style military monster, but the compact H3 that was supposed to blaze a trail in Australia and join Cadillac and Saab in a sidebar luxury franchise at Holden dealerships.
Big Steve seems genuinely surprised that Hummer and Saab are dead, that the upscale Holden plan was trashed before Cadillac even reached the beachhead, and that there will not be any more Hummers here.
He is even more shocked when, after complaining about the H3’s cramped cabin, he slides into my Volkswagen CC.
‘‘This is incredible,’’ he says. ‘‘The Hummer is like a reverse Tardis — big on the outside but small on the inside. I cannot believe the legroom. And there is plenty of luxury in here.
‘‘So, this is a Volkswagen? What does it cost?’’
In a typical Carsguide conversation, I tell him he could get a CC for less than $55,000, and then we meander through the motoring landscape to talk about everything from quality and comfort to safety.
Steve has just driven 2500km up and down the east coast and reports all sorts of stupid driving.
He wants to know why people are so bad when they get on the road.
‘‘They just don’t seem to know what they’re doing,’’ he says sadly.
It’s true, but no surprise. Most people do the motoring equivalent of a 100m sprint each day on their short-haul suburban commute, then switch to the equivalent of an ultra-marathon when they go on holidays with no training or preparation.
Steve is also surprised to learn that eating a big meal during a revive-and-survive break is exactly the wrong thing to do. It sucks the blood into the digestive process and is more likely to make you drowsy than improve your alertness.
‘‘And what about music?’’ he laughs. ‘‘People say they are putting on some relaxing music for the drive but it just makes you want to doze off.’’
We go on and on, solving the problems of the car world in a conversation that more people should have before beginning their annual motoring migration.
It’s enjoyable and informative on both sides. We’re not playing the blame game or falling victim to the police propaganda.
And we even get to talking about Spotto, a kid’s game we both loved during the ’60s.
I know it’s just been revived as an iPad App, giving youngsters some encouragement to look out and around on a trip instead of retreating into a mobile movie or their music.
Car Spotto sounds too simple to enjoy in the 21st century, but it seems like just the thing to get families talking and concentrating as they look for a yellow car, or a police car.
It’s come a long way since the days when BP backed Spotto by providing sheets of trip targets, from cars to animals and — no surprise here— even BP roadhouses.
It can even be customised to put the Spotto target on to a specific car or brand — although you might be looking for a while before you find a Hummer H3.
Like a Tardis in reverse . . . the deceptively large Hummer won’t be seen here any more