Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to test drive the PHEV with Simon Lucas himself.
Simon was talking to me in his usual gentle speaking tone about the great features of the car that I’d come to know through research and promotional videos. Even after I pushed the vechicle starter button, Simon didn’t have to raise a single octave to be heard above the motors.
I must admit, I get quite nervous behind the wheel of large, 4WD/SUV vehicles; I usually find they’re heavy to handle and a bit hard to drive. But I found the PHEV to handle as easy as the ‘95 Honda Accord I drive now.
While driving, you can keep an eye on the vehicle’s performance, economy and battery via the console touch screen monitor. I found this particularly useful when monitoring my regenerative braking to make sure I didn’t apply too much pressure.
Speaking of which, one feature that I hadn’t read about was the regenerative brake pedals behind the steering wheel. When going downhill, you flip the pedal to increase the wheel friction and thus charge the car’s battery; essentially braking without touching the brake pedal. It wasn’t long before I was flipping those pedals like I’d been driving the vehicle for years.
The adaptive cruise control was a lot of fun to play with. You can set your following distance and speed and after that, as Simon says, simply trust the technology. I was comfortably following a cement truck, then I pulled out into the right lane and I just shot off; it was incredible.
Coming back into the lot, I was nervous about reverse parking the PHEV back into its spot. Again, that big car anxiety. But the reversing camera instantly quells anything like that. Now, I’ve used reverse cameras before in my dad’s Ford Territory and personally, I’ve found them confusing; it’s hard to gauge perspective. The PHEV’s camera display shows a box in the middle of the screen which basically meant as long as no objects were inside that box, you weren’t going to hit anything. So absolutely brilliant for people like me.
One last look at the monitor before hopping out and I saw that I averaged 1.2L of fuel per 100km; much lower than the advertised 1.9L.
You have to try this out for yourself. Call 0800 001 107 to book a test drive. I’ll guarantee you’ll fall in love with it. It’s got me eyeing up my savings…