The Hume Highway may not be regarded as much of a driver’s road these days, but when it comes to charting a direct route from Melbourne to Sydney, there’s no better option.
There are probably also few better ways to get to know our new long-termer than to pack it to the rafters and point its nose north for some R&R.
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Questions are asked by the Good Wife as to why we aren’t taking the LandCruiser 200 Series that’s also parked in the driveway, which she believes will offer more luggage space and superior comfort. She’s right about the first bit, but at 547 litres, I’m confident the Hyundai SUV can swallow our four large suitcases, plus assorted summer holiday necessities.
I also back the comfort of the Hyundai’s shapely, leather-clad and ventilated buckets over the Cruiser’s more rudimentary fabric items.
As for the two rear-seat passengers, they’ll have the advantage of leather and individual adjustment and, most importantly, somewhere to plug their various iPads, pods and phones.
Given that we’ve chosen summer’s first 40-plus scorcher to travel on, the kids should also appreciate the air-con vents integrated into the centre console, the bottle holders in the doors and centre armrest, and the inbuilt sun shades on the side windows.
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What I do need, however, is a cargo net, to ensure our luggage doesn’t Liverpool kiss the kids under braking. I find a net in the spare-wheel well, but it’s designed to secure a small load to the floor, not to act as a barrier between the boot and the second row. That’d be a handy addition, Hyundai.
Car stacked and tank brimmed, we get our motor running and head out on the highway, looking for adventure.
As the kays click by, the soaring heat – which reaches 44 degrees – tests the air-con’s capacity, but it aces that task, and the interior and ride comfort tests.
The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel is effortless; the gearing in the eight-speed auto making for an easy 1600rpm at 100km/h.
Perhaps the biggest complaint is the way the adaptive cruise loses speed up hills. There’s an unnecessary moment’s hesitation before the auto realises it needs to drop a cog or two, and in that space, 115 becomes 109km/h, or less.
That’s a problem Hamilton Hume and William Hovell would have loved back in 1824 when, with teams of horses, bullocks and servants, they took 16 weeks to chart the return overland route from Appin to Port Phillip. We managed the reverse half of that in 9.5 hours, in a good deal more comfort, and with only slightly fewer supplies.