Saturday, 9 January 2010
Snow and the 4X4
No more sneering at 4x4s. The snow has shown they are essential. We live by country roads, if not impassable probably problematical. Our Nissan Terrano 2 has been used by the family District Nurse; the West Country has been calling up WRVS volunteers with 4x4s to maintain meals on wheels, so where would people have been without them? All wheel drive cars have become part of everyday life and apart from a few carping complainants, with terms like Chelsea Tractors, fulfil a real need.
Four wheel drive might not be in the same league as rotary-winged aircraft, but it should never be scorned. It is a technical achievement too easily taken for granted, and like rescue helicopter crews picking up injured children or survivors from foundering ships, it has a great deal to its credit.
My first 4x4 was a Ford Maverick. After reporting on it and the Nissan Terrano 2 in The Sunday Times of 6 June 1993, I borrowed a Maverick, and then bought it when it became indispensable. It carried four daughters and the dogs, pulled the horse-box, took bicycles on the roof and carried many books. I exchanged it for a new Terrano 2, now in its 13th year having become part of the family. The daughters have gone and so has the horse-box, in effect exchanged for pushchair and baby, but the Terrano goes on and on.
It is a matchless multi purpose vehicle. Mine has still only done 68,337 miles, I have just checked; we have other cars and I use test cars a lot. It was invaluable during our recent move and is the most dependable and longest-serving car I have ever had. Except for an occasional exhaust system and battery, it has cost next to nothing beyond routine servicing. It does 27mpg, tows a trailer, and everything on it still works. When I get round to it a new air conditioning compressor will be the only thing I have ever spent money on. The bodywork is like new, except for a rusty bit where the dogs scratch it getting in the back door, and it feels good for another 68,337.
So, no more sneering at 4x4s please, but let us have a small rant blaming global warmists for predicting so mild winters for so long that the authorities did not have enough salt to keep roads clear. The BBC has just interviewed the hapless Hilary James Wedgwood Benn MP, secretary of state for the environment, predictably without challenging him over the warmists’ main argument. The northern hemisphere is having its third freezing winter in succession, most of Canada and America was snowbound in December for the first time in decades and our Met Office, after getting the barbecue summer wildly wrong, predicted this would be a mild winter. Let us have done with panic mongering and consign the Roundheads to Cromwellian history.