Living with Tugg
These blogs are being written on time but published a little later due to launch dates for Classicaraddict. The reasons that I’m doing this is that owning any interesting vehicle is an ongoing experience. Trying to capture those daily moments retrospectively simply does not work.
So after almost 4 weeks what has the experience been like?
To be honest there has been good and bad. In an earlier post, I’ve written how scary driving her at first was. Yet after only a few days and about 200 miles I started to learn how to listen. As I write I’ve driven about 800 miles in all conditions and sometimes with a trailer.
I also spent a little time reading how to use a four-wheel drive properly. For in that aspect and despite their image to some the Vitara is proper 4×4 with separate chassis, lockable front hubs, and a low range box.
The grubby bits are all new to me. Using them is learning experience, for instance, the low range box. When reversing up a friend’s steep driveway instead of slipping the clutch I placed it into low range and let it climb at idle. This is not mentioned in anything I’ve read or seen, yet with a little thought makes perfect sense.
Of course, I did not buy Tugg for reversing up steep slopes. I bought her for helping me with my day job of working as a gardener. My client base is not urban but is rural with larger gardens. The Golf did sterling work but did mean that often I had to lug my equipment long distances. The Vitara makes my life much simpler, I can get a lot closer and combined with my trailer means I can provide a better service to my clients.
For instance, last week when working in a large field we had to move the previously cut bracken. With a wheelbarrow, it would have been a thankless slog. With Tugg and a trailer what would have been at least 3 hours work was completed in less than one. I also had a lot of fun driving around the field carefully in low range. I did try to keep to my own wheel tracks to minimize any possible damage and kept the speed really low. Even on road tyres I was impressed.
The day before when taking some wood from a client I drove up a track that I had got the Golf stuck on a few weeks before. It was not steep, but really muddy and slippy. Having had the previous experience I approached with caution.
In low range Tugg was amazing, the incline was not great but what made the Golf struggle was simply not an issue. After turning her carefully around I then loaded the trailer up.
Going back down the track was slightly more exciting with the trailer pushing Tugg at an angle. With low range engaged all was kept under control. One of the first lessons of offroading applied. Use the slowest speed that is sensible for the conditions.
Those are good things.
The bad is that fuel consumption is worse than I hoped. This is perhaps affected by towing the trailer a lot. Even so, compared to the Golf it is not good.
There is little more rust than I had hoped. Not a major amount, but one repair is going to be little laborious than expected. Doing it will push my welding experience to its limits. I’m sure it will not be an issue, more a challenge. Also, I’m a little behind on the maintenance having not even changed the petrol filter.
Overall I’m finding Tugg really useful and look forward to further adventures.