Quickshifter: What other people were reading this week

Quickshifter: What other people were reading this week

Escape capsules drew visitors’ interest over an unsettling week.

IF YOU like to drive, the thought of settling in behind the windscreen might elicit a heady thrill of emancipation or escape, and with it an affirming sense of mastery. Your car can take you away from all that troubles you. And better than most, you know how to command it. It is as though, for an hour or two, your destiny is yours to direct.

That’s an illusion, of course. Unhappy events impinge on us unforeseen, and often there is not much we can do to avoid them. Which makes the happy events – sometimes equally unforeseen – all the more worth celebrating.

Ford must have celebrated this week when its Ranger ute pipped the Toyota Hilux on the sales charts for August, a diamond of good news amid the general dross of a 5.1 per cent market share. The result might not have surprised Toyota, with a refreshed Hilux imminent. But the headline grabbed Wheels visitors, who may have been contemplating a 4x4-powered escape from the week’s more unsettling media images.

Mitsubishi was left in between. Another 100 or so sales – about 5 per cent more – and the headline would have been all about Triton scrambling to the top of the heap.

Wheels’ review of the Ranger also drew strong viewer interest last week, as did reports on escape capsules at opposite ends of the size scale. Wheels drove the angular new Lexus RX, an imposing SUV, and published spy images of a baby SUV from Toyota that was obviously nearing production – something smaller than a RAV4, and an alternative to the diminutive Mazda CX-3.

But escape does not necessarily imply greasy gravel tracks or even long-distance travel. Our assessment of the dynamically revised new Ford Focus was well received. As was Damion Smy’s opinion piece on the arguably more escapist Chrysler 300 SRT, in which he wondered how Chrysler could see  value in producing a big V8 sedan in Canada and Mexico just for us, when Holden and Ford had announced they would end local production of theirs.

Did I just say local V8s? Might have. There will be news on that front here at Wheels online tomorrow. All going well. From about 11am. For many of us, the announcement might even count as a happy event, even if one that had been widely foreseen.

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