A mov­ing life ex­pe­ri­ence

Alex joins the mort­gage club; Club­bie plays the short-haul game

Wheels (Australia) - - Showroom - ALEX IN­WOOD

IF YOU’RE to be­lieve the me­dia hype, last month I achieved the im­pos­si­ble, at least for a young per­son liv­ing in a ma­jor cap­i­tal city. I bought a house. Sure, it’s not ex­actly how I pic­tured my first home, but it’s close to the city, has oo­dles of space, and it’s mine. All mine.

The down­side to this, apart from be­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in debt, is that buy­ing a house meant I had to move. Nor­mally I’d rather bar­beque my own tongue than spend a week­end lift­ing fur­ni­ture, but with the huge red mi­nus on my bank state­ment still fresh and a big blue wagon sit­ting in the drive­way, I de­cided to forego the re­moval­ist com­pany and do the move my­self.

How hard can it be? I thought. Bloody hard, it turned out. Just ask the mates I roped in to help ma­noeu­vre my fridge, dryer and washer up the world’s nar­row­est stair­case.

Bro­ken friend­ships aside, mov­ing al­lowed me to ex­plore an­other facet of the Club­bie’s per­son­al­ity: its prac­ti­cal side. Un­til now I’ve re­ally only en­joyed the HSV’S back end for its bril­liant, shoot­ing-brake looks. And the only thing I’ve thrown in the back has been the dog.

Drop the 60/40 split-fold seats, though, and the HSV can swal­low an as­ton­ish­ing amount of stuff. Of­fi­cially, the Clubs­port’s boot space is rated as 895L with the rear seats up and 2000L down, but it feels con­sid­er­ably more than that.

There’s plenty of stor­age up front as well, with twin cuphold­ers, a large cen­tral tub, and door pock­ets that swal­low one-litre bot­tles. HSV has also deleted the bulky gauges that used to fill the stor­age cubby in front of the gear-shifter for VF2 mod­els, which is a handy place to park your mo­bile phone.

So the Club­bie passes the prac­ti­cal­ity test. What I’m lik­ing most is the sheer scale of the thing. I’m still in love with its hulk­ing, heavy-handed de­sign, its nicely judged ride on 20-inch wheels and its chas­sis agility and ad­justa­bil­ity. I’ve also be­come ad­dicted to the blown V8’s grunt.

The down­side is that this larger-than-life char­ac­ter pro­file doesn’t only ap­ply to the en­gine, dy­nam­ics and brakes, but to the fuel econ­omy as well. Good lord, it’s a thirsty bug­ger.

FULLY LOADED When it came to mov­ing, the Club­bie wagon’s mighty cargo ca­pac­ity was greatly ap­pre­ci­ated

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