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MOTORING Does size matter?

2015-11-20 16:34

Toyota Aygo X Play – R139 900

Range Rover Sport SDV6 SE – R1 167 000

Divorce can be a decidedly stressful and unstylish affair, so it was with relief that I found myself heading off to Cape Town International Airport en route to the family court in Jozi in the ubergorgeous Range Rover Sport SE.

Behind the plush leather wheel, seated on luscious 14-way adjustable, heated leather seats, powered by a 3-litre V6 turbodiesel engine that punches out 215kW, combined with 600Nm of impressive torque, I found myself sailing past mid-morning traffic to get to the airport in time for my 11am flight.

I left Rangie in the overnight parking bay. Before rushing to the Skywise check-in counter, I pushed the remote boot button to reveal my lone suitcase drowning in a cavernous 784 litres of boot space.

I couldn’t help but take a moment to stare and relish in this shimmering metallic red body, and check out those elegant yet imposing 20-inch wheels.

I was worried I was late and started running through the domestic departure hall. I soon discovered, though, that I shouldn’t have bothered. I was unceremoniously informed, along with a plane of anxious passengers, that the 11am flight had been cancelled.

My mind did pirouettes of triple somersault panic. I needed to appear in court the next morning at 8am. There was no way I could miss my date with Divorce.

I was somewhat reassured when told the 5pm flight would get all of us to Joburg by 7pm. Some fellow travellers would miss Monday afternoon meetings and birthday lunches, and a couple who were flying to New York from Joburg at 3pm were truly stranded.

Fortunately, I had Rangie waiting for me in the parking lot, so I decided to kill time with the beast. I blasted music through the 19-speaker Meridian sound system, threw the rotary knob into reverse and took the mighty V6 babe out for some on- and off-road driving.

On the highway towards Franschhoek, Rangie was a powerhouse of composure, eating bumps and tar seamlessly, but it was off the beaten track, with the appropriate setting in terrain response and raised suspension, that I relished the drive as the vehicle simply sailed through whatever was thrown at it – rock, river
or sand.

I got back to the airport by 4pm, well in time to catch my rescheduled flight to Jozi. But there was no sign of the Skywise plane. Rumours abounded: technical faults, the airline had been grounded. There was no one from Skywise to allay a now near-hysterical plane-less mob of passengers. I should have driven up to Joburg in the Rover. At 0-100km in 7.2 seconds, I could have almost been home and dry by then.

By 5.25pm, frantic that I would miss my all-important date, I scrambled to the bookings counter to secure the last seat on a 6pm British Airways flight.

At OR Tambo International Airport, a tiny Toyota Aygo waited for me. I experienced a moment of true disorientation as I squeezed my luggage into her 168-litre boot and got behind the wheel of what now felt like a car from toyland. Just 3.45m in length, compared with the humongous, almost 5m-long, 2 200kg Rangie, the Aygo was featherlight – weighing in at just 855kg.

It was not just the dimensions that felt off – without my RR’s hi-tech sat nav, heated seats and terrain-response setting, I was faced with a decidedly lower spec on all levels in my new ride. But it wasn’t long before I began to feel impressed. Despite her miniature size, the Aygo was packed with impressive safety equipment: driver, passenger and front side air bags, an impact-absorbing body structure, ABS and brake assist. Bluetooth, remote central locking, electrically adjustable side mirrors and air con all come standard.

And oh the relief I experienced as I nipped through rush hour downtown Jozi traffic the next morning. The power in this five-speed manual, with her three-cylinder, 1-litre engine was perfectly adequate as I managed to dart through the metal sea of madness.

Free from my Mrs status, my flight back to Cape Town on Skywise went off without incident. At the airport, I swapped the Range Rover for my new ride.

As I reversed out of the parking lot, I sent my man a quick WhatsApp: “You want a coffee with a newly single who’s ready to mingle, Jag Slag style?”

October 13 2019