Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sand

Largely thanks to the efforts of Mohammed, the Daihatsu salesman over at Taleb Trading in Doha, I got my test drive. Adonis Car Rental must have been abundantly aware of what I intended to do with their black Terios, my having previously explained that I specifically wanted the 4WD version for a weekend. But they let me have one regardless.

The vehicle shuffling started on Thursday evening, as I parked the Jazz in a quiet corner near Terii-Я-Us and picked up the Daihatsu. I gassed it up and then filled it with diving kit in preparation for Friday’s boat dive.

Test 1 passed: a Terios easily swallows all my dive kit with room to spare. I wouldn’t want to carry five human adults and all their luggage, though. There are limits to friendliness!

On Saturday morning, I met Gadget Boy in his Nissan Patrol, with his snorkel, lift kit, big tyres, and – crucially – tow rope and air compressor, and we headed off south in search of a quiet area of desert where we could hoon in the dunes. After deflating our tyres, no-one was more surprised than I at quite how well the little Daihatsu tear-arsed over the sand, including successfully tackling some quite steep slopes without incident. Of course, the tiny engine had to be revved hard to extract all 103 ponies. This is to be expected if that’s all there are, and ten of them were pedalling the air conditioning.

Test 2 passed: a Terios is fully capable of getting to the Inland Sea and back, over the sand. Following tyre re-inflation, Gadget Boy went off and got on with his life, and I drove back to Doha at a respectable speed.

Test 3 passed: a Terios can sustain the speed limit with ease without excessive noise, despite being a thrashy little beast. And it’s comfortable enough, and has excellent lights, an adequate stereo, keyless entry, central locking, trip computer, full-size spare wheel, whistles, bells, yadda, yadda.

I put the Terios through a car wash to remove the worst of the, erm, evidence, and off-hired it. Then I off-hired the Honda Jazz. I figure that I can use just the bike until Eid, and following the holiday I’ll pick up my new Japanese miniature SUV. I’ll put occasional updates on the blog as to how Rio (and now I’ve got to call her ‘Rio’) performs long-term.

Incidentally, full marks to Axa insurance in Doha for checking with Axa in Sharjah and obtaining an instant five-year no-claims discount. I’ll be fully insured, including against off-road risks, and with agency repairs, GCC cover and a free rental car if Rio ever ends up in the body shop. And I still had change from a farthing.

Now, without a car pro tem, how am I going to get those aqualung cylinders back to the dive club…?



Anonymous said...

Decision made, then! Congrats. BW

Anonymous said...

You forgot test 4 - the 8pm camel through the windscreen...

The Yellow Box Of Doom said...

You could always cal her Yassmin after all Simon Le Bon wrote she dances on the sand about his wife Yassmin and it would then be suitably subtle/abstract.

Do they have diff locks or lift kits for them?


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