Wreckered road test
If you are my
age you will remember Doctor Who - my favourite being John Pertwee
of Wurzel Gummidge fame (then he died, his brother was in Dad's
Army and is still living and hocking his "lights out"
garbage, round the old folks home circuit). In the cult sci-fi show,
Doctor Who's famous blue police box "the Tardis" was of
course huge inside which completely fascinated me when I was 13.
I'm 40 and I'm still fascinated - but now with the Toyota Tardis.
Nothing seems different from the Yaris Verso model apart maybe from
a more confident looking grille, but what you're seeing, believe
me, is not
what you're getting. From the minute you open the drivers door,
you are immediately shocked: there are no less than 6 steps down
to the drivers seat. This, Toyota say, is achieved by a massive
reworking of the floorpan layout, but oddly there seems to be no
more headroom than in the old version. Puzzled? So was I, but enter
the car from the passenger side and behold - no less than 4 steps
leading up to an additional seating area.
On the road
The Tardis now seats 5 on the lower level and 7
on the upper. How on earth do they do it? So, I bet you're wondering,
how then if the driver's seat is down on the lower level, how can
he see to drive? This is the good bit. Toyota have developed a fibre
optic camera that pokes through the grill and sees the road before
you, then projects it back onto a 9-inch plasma screen mounted on
the dash. Cool.
So, off you go, all 12 of you with plenty of legroom
and headroom to spare.
With tougher springs upgraded from a loadbear
of 880 lbs to 2060 lbs there is no feeling of being overweight and
the bigger torque-ier 1.4 diesel
engine makes definite sure that this little baby
with the big tummy is no slouch either.
Oh and there was to be one more surprise in the cabin..
In the cabin
I was allowed the take the Toyota Tardis for a spin last Friday,
when I and the other wreckered journos usually go for a well earned
sherry. When I invited 10 of the lads and lassies to the Hat 'n'
Stick for drinks they laughed and sniggered with various snide remarks
chucked in, "Never in a month of Sundays", "We won't
all get in", "You're a tit" etc. but I laughed longest
as they sat open mouthed while we motored along.
As we turned into Colindale Road I flicked an eye to my rearview
mirror and noticed an obstruction -the Toyota dealer, to prove the
capaciousness of the car, had placed a Victorian double-gentlemans
wardrobe in the boot space. Just then Marion from the IT room let
out the most unearthly scream ! "Rat! Rat! Rat!", she
yelled and right enough there was a rat running around the top deck.
Mayhem ensued, the door of the wardrobe swung open and out poured
an endless sea of black rats. Seems that some wise guy at the dealership
had stuffed 1500 sewer rats into the wardrobe for a laugh.
I'm tempted to give the Toyota Tardis a bad crit because most of
us were badly rat-bitten and Marion has not been back to work since,
but I simply can't. Eleven people, a double wardrobe and 1500 rats
is some going by anyone's standard.
Full marks Toyota.