Pursuit on tour!
Well, last friday my Pursuit turned 21 ( days old), & I thought what better birthday pressie than a "quick" cruise around NSW? Anyhow, outta bed bright & early Fri, & on the road by 2.30am..Out past my babies birthplace ( Broady Ford) along the Hume off to Shepparton to the border. BTW up til now the pursuit had around 2500ks on her ( mostly city, & freeway driving.. with average slowly creeping down to around the 17.6/100). Cold crisp, foggy morning .. just the right temp to appreciate the V8 growl!.. Up the Newell to Narrandra & stop for fuel, 1st inklings of daylight dawning on leaving the servo..Off I head toward West Wyalong. Mate, That stretch of road ( flat as a tack) dawn breaking & not a car seen for 15mins!, Really tempts the right foot!... Anyhow, I can report that the speed limiter DOES work!.. In 4th & 5th!.. Who knows the actual top end of the 290? The way it got to the limiter is impressive, to say the least.
Back to a respectable 115-120 & onward thru Parkes, Forbes, Dubbo, to Coonabarabran, turning off up the Oxley highway to Tamworth. A few impressions before I continue..The "twitchy" rear end on the Pursuit was a little disconcerting when I 1st noticed it in city driving over road imperfections, especially under spirited acceleration, Once you realise that it's not going to let go in a big way it isn't too bad..It'll give it's "twitch" & still maintain direction, even at speed, as I found out numerous times this trip... The Cruise control is accurate & easy to use, But you need to put a real bootfull on the brake to disengage it!.. I know it can be done on the wheel, but I have the foot habit ( maybe this is only an adjustment?)
Anyhow, onward bound, Thru Tamworth & up the New England to Tenterfield. By this time dusk has arrived & gotta keep the eyes peeled for roos! Turn off up the Bruxner Highway to Casino ( sign says 110ks to Casino PLUS 1st 33 ks winding road!) AND they aren't kidding! This would have to be the most terrifying bit of road at night ( & in drizzling rain), that I've ever driven! One after another they come.. 35 k corners up, down, left, right, then 25 k hairpins.. I think I'm going ok? ( sweat up & concentrating like hell) when I notice headlights gaining on me, I, naturally take this as a bit of a challenge, & proceed into "rally mode"..Still the headlights gain( Hey that's what the wing on the hardtop is for?.. To stop being blinded by high beams) I come to one of the few straight sections & this guy with the headlights in a bloody V6 rodeo overtakes me! WTF!.. Double rally mode, 290 kws here.. we'll see about this! Anyhow, Obviously this guy is a local & knows the road backwards so I latch on to his tail & go for it!... after 15 mins I'm doing everything bar throwing him a tow chain to keep up!.. 70-80 ks into 30k posted blind corners with only 2 red taillights to trust is Bloody hard on the ticker!( & the darkest dark imaginable) Only spots I could reel him in were the short quick straights often touching 150 in 3rd, then braking hard & following around our next hairpin. This type of situation is when you DO realise the Pursuit is a big heavy mother! oodles of grunt, but NOT rally material! The brakes worked a treat ( NOT Brembos) & only toward the last sections could slight fade be noticed. The times the arse let go ( & there were heaps) did give me confidence to go harder though!.. It is really quite predictable & forgiving! ( even enjoyable, such is the sense of control)
Finally we got onto the less stressful section almost at casino & wave goodbye to "possum" in the rodeo and on to Lismore. Saturday was a "visiting work day" ( to pay for the trip!) Sunday, a cruise to Ballina & Byron Bay to see the sights, Then back into it sunday arvo.. Down the Pacific highway. Hooked up with a black VY Clubbie going the same way, & every overtaking lane, off we'd go!.. If you drive the boss "on cam" ( about 3800rpm & up) I don't think there is much around that'll come close, as the Clubbie found out! Most overtaking lanes are up gradients, The Boss exudes torque from low revs anyhow, but touch the magical 4000rpm And This is REALLY when the beast starts roaring!..It is absolutely awesome in this sort of situation!
Stayed the night down near Forster Tuncurry, & up early this morn for the grind into & thru Sydney. Fuelled up on Cumberland H/way, Next stop Albury.. I recorded the distance & fuel at Albury.. 609 ks, 59.4 lires! That in the old scale is just on 29 MPG! which is pretty good, I reckon?.. This was with cruise locked onto 115 ( & a bit) kph. As far as all round economy, for the 3470 ks travelled, the rate was 14.1/100. The trip computer, which started at 17.7/100 is now 14.3/100
To cap off, Just a few observations Re: the Pursuit.. The pursuit runs a 3.23 ratio axle compared to the GT's 3.45, & some doubt has been raised on whether the pursuit can "pull" 5th gear in cruise mode from 100-110kph up hills? I encountered this twice, BUT both were gradients sufficent to realise 4th should be selected! Along the Hume, for instance it was Never an issue!(fairly rockets up the hills!)
A real PET hate I have is the hardtop!.. Pissing rain & fumbling with keys on TWO locks, 1 either side to get your bags out is just not on! Surely a remote could have been fitted? same goes for the fuel flap!
Another issue is the slight but noticable rattle/vibration with the gearstick! once you realise it's there, it bugs the hell out of you!.. & Will it get worse with age?
All in all though.. What a BEAST!..yet comfortable as anything I've driven on a long trip! And WHAT a "looker"... comments galore( ALL favourable) & I'm sure heaps of dislocated necks out there! This car attracts attention like you would not believe, From the hoons on the street corner, the cashier at the servo, the school kids at the bus stop, from both GM & Ford drivers,. (I even had the thumbs up from a highway SS cop coming down the Hume tonight!)
Merc Silver XR6T Man. sedan