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Blue and White Van Man 9 - She Who Must Be Obeyed etc.

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Kia Rio

Blue and White Van Man 9 - She Who Must Be Obeyed etc.

Stan Potter
January 16, 2014

Kia Rio
Our regular contributor Stan Potter writes: This trip to our house in rural France is a bit different. Instead of using our faithful Renault Master we are travelling in the comparative luxury of a saloon car. Some may say that a Kia Rio is not luxury but compared to a 14 year old Renault Master it is a distinct improvement. Reclining adjustable seats, Climate control, lower noise levels in fact all mod cons. We jointly (?) decided on the car as I already have sufficient tools and materials to keep me occupied for some considerable time and the car is faster and lighter on fuel which is a major cost on our commutes.

The van only does about 28mpg which when taking into account its carrying capacity I do not think is unreasonable. The advertised consumption for the car is in the mid 60`s which is probably optimistic. So we shall see. We drove to Euro-tunnel and for the first time travelled on the double deck car carriages. Every other trip we have either had the van or a car with a roof rack which meant we were in the high roof carriages with the vans , coaches and other kindred spirits travelling in vans to their homes in France, Spain or other parts of Europe.

My wife and I are both classed as disabled as due to various medical conditions we both use walking sticks. Because of this we are not allowed to use the commercial vehicle trains. And our van is near the dimension limits for the normal trains but this has been sorted and we book directly using our multi trip booking which is a lot cheaper than individual trips.

We arrived in France and as usual drove to Leclerec in Boulogne to fill up with cheap French diesel (£1.10 p/litre) then for a change we took the motorway to Abbeville. Then, in the interest of investigation, I drove to achieve the best possible fuel consumption. The Kia we were in has a trip computer which can provide actual fuel consumption figures on the move. Holding a steady 100kph the fuel consumption crept up to a steady 63mpg! I gave in and accelerated to the speed limit of 130kph and the gauge gave a reading of 52mpg which I considered reasonable. We continued on our way following our usual route .We have even found a convenient route through Rouen as the Pont Mathilde is still closed (see here). We stopped for coffee and then steeled ourselves for the cursed toll booth on the A28. This passed with no problems. This is when I started to come to have unusual thoughts.

I prefer to do this trip in the Van!!!

The car is quieter, faster, more economical, warmer, and more environmentally friendly and my wife sleeps more soundly. Also we can do the whole trip on one tank of fuel. The van, over the years has been developed for this particular trip. It, because of its small fuel tank, requires me to stop at regular intervals. It has sufficient sockets to run two phones( English & French), satnav, immersion heater for making coffee, inverter for running fridge freezer, and sufficient room to shift position in the driving seat. Also, probably because of various dents and scrapes in the bodywork, other drivers tend to treat it with some caution. Because it is larger than the universal Transit, truckers tend to treat you as one of the brotherhood rather than something to be ignored. As the driving position is somewhat higher than a car you can see problems developing ahead and you get an entirely different perspective of the countryside you travel through, seeing over hedges and into cars that overtake you, sometimes very interesting!!

The only fly in the ointment is that she who must be listened to is complaining that the van is noisy and uncomfortable and because of Boris, the van is not LEZ compliant and is not allowed inside the M25. So it is with regret the Blue & White van’s days are numbered. It will be replaced with a newer van possibly slightly smaller but still able to carry an 8x4 sheet flat on the floor and the creature comforts She who must be obeyed requires.

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