Our new car is a Nissan Serena. Apparently that is basically what Dad's van is, which is rather embarrassing, but we're pleased with it nonetheless. Apart from the fact that H had had the old car for more than 12 years, the main reason for changing cars now was one of space. The Pajero Io (known as the Shogun Pinin in Europe) was great for H as a single guy and for us as a couple; it was OK for a family of 3 too but it just wasn't cutting it for 4 people, a pushchair, shopping...
So now we've gone to the other extreme and got a car that will seat 8. It'll be useful to be able to take H's parents (or mine) out with us sometimes, or give a friend a ride without having to take out a carseat and leave a small child at home. Most of the time though, those back seats will be folded up, leaving a lovely big boot. There's a lot of head-room and, unlike the Pajero, the floor is low too, making it very spacious and easy to get in and out of. The floor of the car is completely flat throughout, and the seats can move in interesting ways :-)
The area between the 2 front seats (where you might expect to find a gearstick and handbrake) is completely empty, so you can easily walk through to the back. Or, you can fold down and slide the middle part of the back seat forward into that space, and walk through to the boot/extra seats. Then, you can also slide one half of the back seat sideways into that space, making it easy to get into the third row of from the doorway. Phew.
K's favourite feature is the automatic rear sliding door at the passenger side. Just press the button and it will open. He also likes the fitted sun blinds. H's favourite things are the way the seats move and the amount of space there is; we can even fit the pushchair in the footwell of the back seats if we need to. I must admit, I like the geeky data available on the fancy digital dashboard...
On the left is the rev counter and the big '0' is the speedometer. So far, so ordinary. But the main dial on the right measures fuel economy. It lights up to show your current km/litre at any given moment, encouraging you to drive in a more efficient way. This is further supported by the 'Idling Stop' feature, which cuts out the engine anytime you are stopped in traffic. As soon as you take your foot off the brake or move the steering wheel the engine starts again, virtually instantly. It's fun at traffic lights to watch the 'Idling Stop' data in real time, seeing the millilitres of petrol saved gradually creep up. Thanks to the all-knowing dashboard, here are the vital statistics after one week, consisting entirely of pootling around town...
Distance travelled: 186 km
Time the engine has been running: 10 hours 6 minutes
Average speed: 18 km/hr (I did say we'd just been pootling round town, right?)
Average fuel economy: 9.3 km/litre
Time spent in Idling Stop mode: 54 minutes 8 seconds
Petrol saved thereby: 591 millilitres
*** If you came here looking for photos of cute little boys, or stories about life in Japan, or fabric/sewing/crafty goodness, worry not; normal service will soon be resumed :-) ***