Wheels (Australia) - - GARAGE -

IG­NORE THE au­to­mo­tive ap­pli­ca­tion of the term ‘par­cel shelf’ and it sounds like a ter­rific thing; the place you come home to and find the courier has left you the cool stuff you for­got you or­dered after a boozy night on eBay, like that

Porsche 911 barbecue apron and the nose-hair trim­mer.

But re­ally, in a car, who puts any­thing on the par­cel shelf? Un­less you’re a Camry-own­ing Uber driver with a tis­sue box dressed up with a dec­o­ra­tive doily back there, or you ac­tively want to be hit in the back of the skull with a six-pack while un­der heavy brak­ing, I’d say no-one.

I’ll go a step fur­ther and de­clare the par­cel shelf the work of Pack­ag­ing Satan. It’s a mostly use­less im­ped­i­ment to mak­ing full use of fold­ing rear seats, sit­ting there vir­tu­ally mock­ing you as you at­tempt to load and then later ac­cess large items in the boot. At least, that’s how I’ve come to see the par­cel shelf in the G70. Okay, it may jus­tify its ex­is­tence on the ba­sis of struc­tural rigid­ity and a place to house the rear au­dio speak­ers, but mostly it just sits there get­ting in the way.

I’m sure the Ge­n­e­sis pro­duct­plan­ning gu­rus con­sid­ered a sport­back de­sign at some point for the G70, but no doubt it was tor­pe­doed by a clinic of Chi­nese cus­tomers who in­ex­pli­ca­bly think that a bootlid and fixed rear glass are au­to­mo­tive sta­tus sym­bols that show the world they’ve re­ally made it.

Work­ing as the par­cel shelf’s evil off­sider in this das­tardly dou­ble-act is the G70’s small boot aper­ture. Re­cently I gave a friend a lift to the air­port, and load­ing her full-sized suit­case re­quired a tech­nique usu­ally re­served for a post­man try­ing to stuff a par­cel into a mailbox slot. First, get one end in, then shove, swear a lit­tle, then open the pas­sen­ger door and drag the thing in over the folded rear-seat back­rest. Sim­i­larly, trans­port­ing my bike

re­quires re­moval of the front wheel, and even then, sur­gi­cal pre­ci­sion is needed to find the spe­cific an­gle at which the frame and seat post can clear the rear in­ner whee­larches.

But the real kick­ing came the week­end I needed to drive to the other side of Syd­ney to save a few hun­dred bucks on a dis­counted wash­ing ma­chine. My part­ner saw the trans­porta­tional out­come of this a mile away, and lit up brightly as she tossed me the keys to her Honda HR-V, say­ing, “Oooh, cool; car-swap day!”

Here’s my fi­nal gripe (I prom­ise) re­gard­ing pack­ag­ing. Ge­n­e­sis wants to be taken se­ri­ously as a pre­mium brand, and I think we can all agree that one key el­e­ment to be­ing per­ceived as ‘pre­mium’ lies with at­ten­tion to de­tail. A car needs to im­bue that feel­ing that the de­sign­ers have con­sid­ered ev­ery small as­pect of how you use the ve­hi­cle, and have en­sured that mantra of ‘a place for ev­ery­thing, and ev­ery­thing in its place’ has been res­o­lutely ap­plied. So it’s dis­ap­point­ing – per­plex­ing, ac­tu­ally – to first open the boot of the G70 and see that no spe­cific cubby has been cre­ated for the first-aid and road­side-as­sis­tance kits, nor the warn­ing tri­an­gle. All three ap­pear as a com­plete af­ter­thought, as if some­one has gone, “Huh? I didn’t know we needed to in­clude this stuff! Um, throw me the Vel­cro...”

Se­ri­ously, these items re­ally are at­tached with that mag­i­cal mi­cro hook-and-loop fas­ten­ing sys­tem that ad­heres them to the boot car­pet, mean­ing they sit right in the spot where you may want to load, I dunno, a suit­case or a bi­cy­cle…

ASH WESTER­MAN Left: At least the first-aid kit Vel­cros into the LH cor­ner; un­like the other boot ac­ces­sories, which lack a proper home. Below: Which slacker ro­bot re­fused to paint the un­der­side of the par­cel shelf? Own up!

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