North Coast Cruising on Route125 + Competition!
I love the north coast of Northern Ireland. I genuinely think it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
I’ve always wanted a decent car so that we can cruise our way up there from Belfast.
Those of you who have read “Age, It’s Estate of Mind” will know that my car is not currently very cool.
So it was with great delight that i received an email from Toyota who got in touch to see if I wanted to tackle their Route125 adventure in a brand new Rav4.
What’s Route125? Toyota have teamed up with National Geographic to create Route 125, to celebrate 125 years of exploring the planet. The idea is it will inspire more families to enjoy adventures of their own.
Our adventure was to tackle the stunning Causeway Coastal Route….
Let’s start with the car. Look at how mean this thing looks, it’s like something from Men in Black. The moody north coast skies also help!
Tinted windows, stunning 18 inch alloys with big chunky tyres, chrome trim, shiny black paint…. This is more my style. A big step up from the previous Rav4 which didn’t do much to inspire me in terms of looks.
We loaded up our picnic, thermos flasks, walking boots, overnight bags, lots of random guff… and it slotted nicely in to the back of the Rav4 with room to spareThey have these cool racks with netting…. You can drop all your random guff in there and it doesn’t rattle around. Why do all cars not have this?
There’s a rather fancy gadget which at first seemed to be an unnecessary luxury. The rear boot swings open pneumatically at the press of a button on your key fob.
It announces itself with a very important beeping noise, before smoothly opening/closing.
My daughter stood back in amazement shouting “WOW! WOW!” She could have watched this all day.
Much later in the day we realised how handy this remote opening mechanism was. If you’re out and about, say you have dogs, bikes or whatever…. You can open as you approach and just bundle everything in. No need for faffing around. Cos y’know, we all need to save 3 seconds here and there.
There’s so much room inside. Plenty for front and rear passengers. Our daughter must have loved the fact that her car seat wasn’t wedged in like a doorstop.
The drive up was lovely (after some heated discussions about who’s turn it was to drive the Rav4). It’s a big 2.2 diesel engine which feels pretty sharp at times. There’s also a sports mode which tightens thing up for tackling corners… or ummm, roundabouts. This is how crazy i get.
We stopped for a picnic and took in the Atlantic Ocean.
You can’t beat a good picnic with egg mayonnaise sandwiches, pork pies and a big flask of coffee.
The other thing about picnics is… you can never keep them until lunch. I think we had ours demolished by 11:30am.
After our scenic drive, the plan was to hit the north coast for some surfing. That bit didn’t quite work out (another story)… so we were left wondering what to do next. What better than to take our fancy new sports vehicle on to the beach?!
We hit Portstewart Strand, which has to be one of the very best beaches in the world.
And that’s the beauty of a car like this, it makes you want to go and explore. You feel sporty, just by association.
To give an honest review of the car, there were a few things I’d recommend upgrading if I was buying one.
The basic speaker system needs upgrading. The two front speakers on this model weren’t enough for me and lacked some punch. But that’s easily fixed.
However it was great to have DAB radio… If I was able to listen to 6Music in my car it’d make journeys a whole lot more pleasant. Mary Anne Hobbs was our soundtrack.
But it is packed with lots of nice gadgets – like sat nav and a trip computer with fancy graphs telling me what great mpg I was getting. I was surprised at how economical it was – sometimes getting up to 55mpg on the motorway.
We felt quite grown-up driving this car, but still young and sporty. We wanted to keep it. It felt more like “us”.
The north coast also felt more like “us”. By the end of the day we were saying things like “Maybe we could live up here? It’d only be a one hour commute?”
Sadly it’s back to my estate car and the Belfast commute.
To help you get in the adventure spirit, Toyota has teamed up with National Geographic to offer you the chance to win an amazing travel pack which includes. Honestly this is a very cool prize:
All you have to do is like Belfast Dad on Facebook AND leave a comment on HERE this blog saying what your favourite driving adventure would be.
Terms and Conditions:
- Open to NI and GB residents only
- Only one entry per person
- Competition closes midnight 1 November
- Winner will be notified on Saturday 2 November
- Winner will be picked at random using an online service