A recent family road-trip has got Edric dreaming up his ideal MPV.
ROAD-TRIPPING up to Terengganu last month in our family’s trusty Touran reminded me just what a fine little MPV it is.
While some other people- carriers try to disguise their utilitarian origins, the Touran embraces its functionality, and is all the better for it.
That unapologetically boxy shape contains a remarkable amount of room, so there was stretching space for the five of us, including child seats and all, and the boot easily swallowed a week’s worth of luggage plus fishing rods, toys, snacks and drinks.
The 1.4-litre turbo engine was refined and frugal, yet peppy enough to permit swift overtakes past timber trucks and the like, despite the full load.
With the wife and kids alternately snoozing and entertaining themselves from their iTunes playlists synced to the car’s sound system, the miles passed almost unnoticed as we cruised past the padi fields and coconut tree-lined beaches of the Malaysian east coast. And when we eventually got home 1000- plus kilometres later, I would have been happy to turn around and do it all again.
So the family had no complaints, but a slightly keener edge to the Touran’s character would have upped the fun factor for the chap at the wheel.
A sporty family should motor around in an equally sporty MPV.
Moderately firmer damping, the addition of steering- mounted paddle shifters and more power would have been just the thing. Lowering the car a tad would have made it look great, too. Basically, give it the hot-hatch touch.
Come to think of it, why doesn’t any car company make a sporty MPV?
There are countless overpowered SUVs with sporting pretensions – which, with their high centre of gravity, massively oversized wheels (which look butch but do horrid things to unsprung weight and hence to ride and handling) and heavy all-wheel- drive hardware, are incredibly pointless devices, far more so than a quick MPV which suffers none of these handicaps.
And the true driving enthusiast knows that all things being equal, a proper super-saloon or fast estate will always deliver a tauter, more satisfying drive than SUVs, given the far more appropriate starting point from which it was conceived.
So the fast SUV is a car styled to exhibit ruggedness but which will probably never venture off-road, driven by people who fancy themselves as keen drivers but who don’t actually care much for driving dynamics.
The sporty MPV, on the other hand, would be borne of necessity – the choice of the petrolhead who needs the space for his brood, but who still likes to have fun behind the wheel.
Touran GTI? You heard it here first.
EDRIC FIGURES THAT A HOT- HATCH MPV WOULD BE THE IDEAL ROAD-TRIP TOOL.
THE SPORTY MPV WOULD BE THE CHOICE OF THE PETROLHEAD WHO NEEDS THE SPACE FOR HIS BROOD BUT STILL LIKES TO HAVE FUN BEHIND THE WHEEL.