Motor (Australia) - - CONTENT -

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 mo­tor­ (“... 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.

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