It is remarkable quite how much random stuff our long-term Master’s cargo area can swallow with consummate ease. Steve Banner reports
On a recent trip our Master had to accommodate two good-sized armchairs, a coffee table, a wrought-iron bench, a standard lamp, assorted garden plants and ornaments including a somewhat malevolent-looking cast-iron toad, some bags of fertiliser plus some slabs. It took in the lot without complaint. Front-wheel drive means a low loading height so we had little cause to complain during loading and unloading either.
But the Master is unfortunately starting to emit more frequent squeaks and creaks from the cargo area. Their intermittent presence became particularly annoying during a long run from Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire to Harrogate in North Yorkshire and back. Unable to figure out exactly where they were coming from, or what to do about it, we eventually shrugged our shoulders and turned up the radio.
On a more positive note, our return trip to Yorkshire emphasised just how good a performer our Master is on motorways. Having loosened up a little with a few miles under its belt, it lopes along nicely at the maximum permitted speed without appearing to be in any way stressed.
The driving position is comfortable too, and does not leave you with a stiff back and aching shoulders after an extended trek.
What with motorway service areas displaying signs warning that thieves may be in the vicinity and advising drivers to remove or conceal anything of value, we were glad to be able to make use of the handy compartment under the passenger seat. Accessed by putting up the seat cushion, and functioning a little bit like a built-in dungeon, it is a handy repository for all sorts of bits and pieces, including high-visibility jackets and muddy working boots.
Talking about handy repositories, there might be a case for arguing that our Master has too much in-cab storage space. All those shelves, compartments and cubby-holes mean that pens, sunglasses, packets of mints and copies of The Racing Post – backing three-legged donkeys is one of the writer’s specialities – all vanish inside the Master’s cabin, only to magically reappear a few days later.
At least there is the consolation that they actually turn up again – but this is usually only after they have been presumed lost forever and replaced.