Like a sunrise…
When I was in year 12 one of my best friends had a car… we all loved her (the car that is; goes without saying we loved my friend, still do!) and affectionately referred to her as Rhonda Honda… she was (going from my unreliable memory) about 10 years old at the time – she came from an era that was pre computers, pre electric windows, pre air-conditioning, pre central locking – pre anything that a mechanic couldn’t fix with their bare hands basically. She was red and our gateway to freedom. Because of Rhonda I have always had a soft spot for Honda. Rhonda is the only car who I have ever referred to by name.
In 2003 I sold my car as we lived in St Kilda Road and I worked in the city… Nearly 10 years later and I am still getting about on foot, bike, tram, bus and train, as well as sharing my husbands car (although he works 6 days a week and the car is a vital component most of the time). I also have loads of lovely friends who volunteer a school pick up on a cold rainy day – oh and whenever my mum is away (probably a total of 4 weeks a year) I have her car on loan.
We live really close to the shops, the city, kinder and school – so I consider myself pretty lucky. Lucky that I can choose not to have a car. The decision not to have a car was motivated by a few things. The obvious is cost – even if I caught a taxi every other day I’d possibly still come out ahead. But also closely following cost is environmental impact and fitness. When I do have a car at my disposal I quickly become addicted to driving, everywhere.
Taking into consideration all these factors you can imagine that when Soup contacted me asking me to trial a Honda Hybrid for 10 days I was jumping up and down like a five year old at a fairy party – yay!! Quickly my mind was buzzing: where would we go, what would it be like to drive, how do hybrids work? So as the experience unfolds here is what I have done and learnt.
My Honda Diary
Today I collected my Honda Civic Hybrid from head office in Tullamarine. From there Charlie and I headed to the RAAF base at Point Cook (read about our visit here).
It was great to take the car on a real drive to try it out.. within moments I easily navigated setting up my phone’s bluetooth and we were listening to tunes from my playlist. I set the car to ECO mode to really see how far I can get on a tank of petrol.. plus I want to grow a tree (the dashboard has a rewards system for good eco driving and the better you do the more leaves you get for your tree). Day 1 didn’t go so well… I think I lost a leaf! Clearly I need to do more breaking, less zooming.
My other first impressions were – the cruise control was super easy to use (love that it’s constantly “on” so that you don’t have to faff about turning it on, you just set the speed whenever you fancy – so I ended up using it much more that I ever do in our car). Also the car is much quieter – so you do hear other road noises you might not normally hear… when we entered the Burnley Tunnel the noise of the tyres on the road in the echoey tunnel was a bit freaky at first.
Today the kids and their friends had tennis camp and I was eager to be taxi mum for once – and while they were at tennis I snuck in a little “me” time with a trip to Dallas Nails (High St Armadale) for a pedi and a trip to Southland (not really the local shopping centre, but I had a Westfield voucher to use). There was actually quite a bit of traffic on the road (City Link was closed due to computer glitch = traffic jams) so the cars engine was turning itself off quite a bit. It’s a pretty cool way of conserving petrol and energy – when the engine is hot, but the car is stationary, it turns itself off. Sounds alarming – and initially it’s a little disconcerting, but I got used to the sensation really quickly, to the point that I’ve almost forgotten. As soon as you take your foot off the brake the engine begins again – so within that moment of moving your foot from brake to accelerator it’s already fully running and you’re off, the same as a regular car… pretty cool – and so quiet.
Today we went to the Dandenongs – my ECO branch grew a leaf! Among the places we visited was William Rickett’s Sanctuary– I am sure if he was still around today a Hybrid car would totally be the type of car he would want. We also stopped for a Devonshire tea and checked out some wildlife.. what a beautiful day for a trip to the mountains! The Honda zipped up the hills, even in ECO mode
What a fun day! First stop was lunch with a group of girls I used to work with at the National Design Centre back in the day before kids – fast forward 8 years and Kate Rhodes is now in charge of the amazing RMIT Design Hub.. swoon. Love to be surrounded by hot design.
After our lunch we headed off to Immi’s school teachers wedding! What a beautiful day – the sun was shinning and the whole class turned up to see their teacher looking like a princess.
Day 4,5 & 6
And after two weeks of school holidays I finally had a get out of jail free card – my girlfriends and I were heading off for a weekend in Red Hill – in the Honda Civic Hybrid. We had a lovely dinner, lots of cheese and nibbles, champagne, home made granola, coffees, a trip to the market, a beautiful lunch at Montalto, a blissful visit to the Peninsula Hot Springs, more cheese, nibbles and champagne, breakfast at the Merricks General Store, a walk along Cape Schanck, lots of reading trashy magazines and the weekend papers, a lunch of home made deserts before returning to Melbourne in the late afternoon… And the girls all had turns at being passengers in the Honda – and hopefully have a new appreciation for the Honda Civic Hybrid.
Today I decided since I was down to the last two bars on the petrol gage I should fill the tank up… 700km later! Just a day of chores – trip to shops, school drop off and pick up, that sort of thing. I am really enjoying zipping about town (and the country!) in my Honda… I will be sad to hand her back on Friday.
My cousin is in town visiting from Canada – I picked her up and we had lunch down at Kanteen on the Yarra.. a lovely sunny day. Sitting next to us was a group of women painting the view, it really was that beautiful.
Today I also set up the Hybrid competition, so make sure you enter!