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Small Is The New Big

Small Is The New Big

If you are fans of the author Lee Child’s thrillers featuring the character Jack Reacher, you will be excited to learn that a silver screen adaptation will soon reach a multiplex near you. Avid readers will know that Jack, at 6’5”, is one massive, muscular dude. It therefore comes as no surprise to learn that the studio has cast the not-so-youthful Tom Cruise in the leading role. Tom, you will remember, is not noted for being especially massive, slightly lacking as he is in the area of extreme tallness, for example: but you never know. He’s a quality actor, so perhaps he can carry it off.

It’s the same with cars. Take the Fiat Panda. This is a small, trendy car clearly destined for the city and is, like Tom, easy to park in a confined space. Yet the canny buyer knows that a 4×4 version exists and it is a mini revelation off road. It sits a little higher than its towny siblings but that, and the fact that it has a diff-lock, are the only differences yet the car really delivers when the going gets gnarly. In other words it is capable of something it wasn’t considered suitable for. Meanwhile Arnold Schwarzenegger insisted on buying a hairy-chested but utterly pointless Hummer to drive around Los Angeles; a motor which in the UK would require a parking space the size of the Isle of Wight.

The point is: if something doesn’t look fit to do the job, can we necessarily assume this to be the case? The universally loathed Lada Riva of historical notoriety was shockingly awful but its cousin the four wheel drive Niva – in many ways also shockingly awful if we‘re honest – was like a tough little mountain goat when taken into rough country. Diminutive city cars have shown that they are perfectly capable of long arduous trips which they were not allegedly designed for, whilst Range Rovers have had in the past a reputation for being a bit sensitive and temperamental in the electrical department.

So, does size matter? Do we care who actually plays Jack Reacher as long as the movie is good? No, of course not. If we can take Keira Knighley as a pagan warrior queen then we’ll not worry too much about Tom as he leaps up to punch foul villains on the jaw.

What you should take from this is that when buying a car, appearances can be deceptive. Because a vehicle looks rugged and smokes Marlboro, it doesn’t mean it is what you need to the job. For example, there’s a trend just now to buy butch 4×4 pick-ups with huge chromium roll bars and many lights.

People! Hounslow is not in Arizona! You do not live in the outback! You do not need ‘roo bars! These trucks are workhorses; they are not for outings to the seaside. They are mostly fitted with leaf springs at the back to support heavy loads and this will bounce your passengers around until they are overcome with nausea. Just like the movies, when it comes to buying cars don’t let appearances deceive you. Good things can come in small packages. Just ask Mrs Cruise. Actually; no. Don’t.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==