Here’s what’s been earning your ire this month
SCOTT Newman’s article on the Ford Ranger Raptor in the latest MOTOR concludes by asking whether these types of vehicles “fit the MOTOR mould”. My response is an emphatic no. I need little further justification for this opinion than the magazine’s Ed’s Note in the same issue, which speaks of “our laser focus on the latest and hottest performance cars”. Or within the ‘About Us’ section found at motormag.com.au (“... the Australian bible for lovers of performance cars and driving... We’re about fast cars”). Clearly this question has already been answered by you. My objection goes beyond mere philosophy. These vehicles are not to be encouraged. Aside from the environmental issues, which I’ll leave to others, they’re just not a good drive. This is especially so when they’re jacked-up and fitted with chunky off-road tyres and driven on sealed roads in cities, where 95 per cent spend 99 per cent of their time. They also handle poorly due to a centre of gravity much higher than any performance car and those tyres have appalling wet tarmac grip – something you might care to demonstrate. Yes, I know Supercars has introduced SuperUtes. But frankly, this series leaves me cold. It will encourage stupidity with a grid that looks like my local Bunnings on a Tuesday morning and a specification that bears no relationship to reality. That said, I’m a huge fan of off-road racing: the Finke Desert Classic is becoming one of Australia’s great races and the Dakar is a must-watch each January. However, let’s just leave it as ‘horses for courses’, shall we? The popularity of trucks is largely due to tax incentives. This is relatively minor in Australia, but in the US – which we seem hell-bent on copying – there is a huge, $USD25K tax deduction in the year of purchase for any SUV weighing 6000lbs or more. The reality is that it’s largely to protect the only motor vehicle the US makes that’s popular these days. That sort of incentive is addictive, no question, but back here in Australia, we should just say no. Tim Conway, via email Well played, Tim. A sticker pack doesn’t make a performance variant, but dual cabs like the Ranger Raptor go much further than that. On-road prowess might be lacking, but it sure would be fun off it.