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Colin Nash (Mudslinger Ning)
Often seen as "Mudslinger Ning" in Secondlife virtual world.
Often seen as "Mudslinger Ning" in Secondlife virtual world.

Colin Nash (Mudslinger Ning)'s posts

My partner told me how in a facebook discussion group that a bunch of family types were debating over what would be the ideal family 7-seater set of wheels. People are mentioning the various types of SUV's and such but don't seem to be considering the wagons/vans. More so even less of them considering the hybrid options such as the Prius-V.
What is triggering me is the generic response of "Prius's have no guts, no power!"

Rant On
Really? I mean really?
Sure early versions of the Prius might have been weak in performance. But the newer models (at least the one I zip around in) appear to have a decent power output. This rant is coming from someone who has had plenty of fun in traffic as a former pizza delivery driver who has been in some truly "gutless" cars in the past. It also has me thinking about people's rationale for shopping for a new family friendly set of wheels.

Have you any plans to tow a trailer regularly? occasionally? never? Most people don't even get a towbar for their wheels so you may as well occasionally rent a truck for the rare occasion of heavy hauling. As for power most SUV and Peoplemovers are designed with beefy engines to tow a heavy load. If you're not doing that regularly then you're not getting the most value out of your mileage with big-engine wheels! Are you hauling a caravan to school every morning?

Again with the power - Are you in a race? Do you need to reach earth orbit escape velocity speed? Why do you need engines with excessive amounts of power while at the same time complaining you want something cheap to run? You are getting it for use with a family yes? - So running budget should be an important factor here. Sure my hybrid may not "ROAR" to life when I floor it at the lights. But it certainly has enough GO! in it to get me through traffic with relative ease. Also for a machine that is pulling around average 5.5L to 6.5L per 100km I can still accelerate nicely up steep hills with a full carload of kids and luggage (yes, I found some minions to test this!). Have a think for a moment the energy/money you are wasting on a 10L per 100km SUV on daily flat-ground usage?

One thing that also makes me cringe at the popular people-mover options. Diesels! Sure a diesel engine gives good power for hauling loads (but again - do you need such power?). The air pollution it puts out apparently contributes heavily towards things like asthma, lung disease and heart attacks. It seems everyone wants to run these things frequently past schools and shops daily... WHY??? I thought the recent VW "Dieselgate" drama would have impacted the average consumer thought process about this but apparently not because it seems plenty of new Diesels are still being put on the road.

The hybrids might give the illusion of not having much power - but you need to detach the mindset that pressing the pedal automatically equating to engine roar. It is juggling two energy systems for you for optimal output. Plenty of go to get across intersections without much effort. Because of this you get a much more smoother and graceful acceleration without the jerkyness of traditional gear-changing. Plus you get the bonus of what I call "Stealth Mode" of no running engine when you are pulling in to park (great for sneaking up and startling people!).

After having the Prius-V for over a year now I unfortunately had to go back to a standard petrol hire-car recently for a few days (needed repairs because a kangaroo tried to hug my prius while moving) and wow... Traditional cars feel so overpowered for the task of commuting!

My point in all this is: don't write something off your shortlist because it is considered by many to not have much power. Consider how much power you really need to get the job done of moving your little gremlins to/from school and/or getting your own ass to that thing we call work. And give hybrid and alternative vehicles a chance! The tech is now beginning to evolve decently - what came out as gutless or crappy a few years ago are now starting to result in better refined models of the current production lines. There are starting to be a number of hybrid/alternative cars on the market - there almost something to meet most categories of vehicle types including peoplemovers.

I say carefully consider the fuel/energy economy and reputation of reliability of your next peoplemover. I often hear various SUV types getting all sorts of mechanical issues. My partner recently traded in her Holden "Craptiva" for a hopefully more reliable and cheaper to run alternative. We haven't heard much in issues involving the Hybrids we have but if we want better cars in future then we are prepared to be willing to adopt new tech so that we encourage the inefficient old tech to fade out of the market! Research your options properly and only knock it off your shortlist if it lacks a critical feature that you require.

How much power do you really need from your wheeled beast?
Rant Off

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