What makes a great drive?

great drive open road

What defines a great drive? A tough question indeed, but before you consider the answer to that it is probably prudent to ask another question, what actually is a good drive?

When it comes to the constituents of a great drive there will always be a great deal of debate, but to define a good drive itself is very simple; A great drive is a journey taken by car that is, in itself, enjoyable.  It is not the destination that is in focus, and this is what makes it different, clearly a great drive can happen en route to a planned location, but the joy is in the journey and the interaction with the route in a number of ways.

What goes into a great drive?

It is worth noting at this stage that the whole concept of a great drive is subjective, it’s as hard to say what makes a good sandwich or even a good night out. Clearly there are a few standard ingredients in these things like a sandwich at least involving some bread, and a drive should really include things like a road, though for some green-laners that would completely ruin the entire thing!

Dakota Murphey, an independent content writer working alongside the UK’s no.1 provider of high quality safety products for the motorsport industry since 1990 FEV, gives her take on what makes a great drive.

Here are The 5 basic ingredients that should go into a great drive;

  1. A great car, or at the very least a car you like. Even the greatest drives in the world would struggle to be a pleasure in something awful like a Fiat Multipla.
  2. A road, OK so let’s set aside our off roading friends and assume we need some tarmac!
  3. A good driver. This may seem silly but if you are an awful driver the odds are you won’t really enjoy your time behind the wheel and are therefore highly unlikely to actually enjoy any drive at all.
  4. Good weather, although tough driving conditions can be fun for hardened drivers like myself. As a general rule, clear skies, sunshine and a dry road certainly make sure you can enjoy the different aspects of the drive. However, in certain cars, having a slightly damp road can make things a little more, how shall we say it, well… interesting.
  5. An empty road. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing is fun in traffic, apart from perhaps laughing at your friend in the passenger seat who needs the loo.

Now we have established the basic constituents of a great drive we now have to look at the more objective areas.

At the top of this list is the location, and the scenery. For some people, a great drive might involve taking a tour through a major city, though those people perhaps are not avid drivers and just don’t like using public transport. For most people an overriding part of a journey for a journey’s sake is scenic countryside. It could be the Black Mountains in Wales, the rolling South Downs in Sussex or the brutal Rocky Vistas of the Scottish highlands, either way; it’s the views that play a major part.

There are of course vastly different roads offering great views. You may consider a road that is straight and easy to drive the perfect road for you, many would think you were wrong but I said this was subjective! Alternatively, you could crave a twisting turning leviathan of a road, hairpin bends, humps and dips and sweeping corners with perfect camber, the difference could not be more marked.

The final factor that would elicit different responses from different people is the distance and time the drive took. For many, driving for more than 30 minutes is no fun at all, while others are happy to plough on with a smile for hours, taking suitable breaks of course.

So let’s assume the weather is good, you are a keen driver, and you have a 3-hour trip planned taking you on some stunning winding roads through the Scottish Highlands, what more could you want? Well it comes down to the car, no matter what you tell yourself, your beloved family car really won’t set your world on fire. It won’t ruin a pleasant spin, but it’s not what this is all about. So you have a few choices;

  1. You already own a rear wheel drive classic like a big Austin Healy, or perhaps you are lucky enough to have a roaring handful of a car like an SLS sitting in your quad garage. Well that’s great – off you go, enjoy yourself! Leave some skid marks for us to see later on please.
  2. For the rest of us mere mortals, we could carefully select a budget classic like an MK1 MX5 for some top-down rear-wheel drive fun… or even go all Collin McRae and grab a second hand Impreza STI. These kind of cars need research; they can be fun but the wrong car will just be a money pit, so be sure to check sites like www.honestjohn.co.uk/ or owners clubs like the mx5oc.co.uk
  3. Perhaps you know a friend or family member who can lend you a car, maybe your dad won’t notice when you take the cover off his treasured Triumph TR6… but the odds are he will, and the odds are you won’t enjoy your drive worrying about binning your friend’s car either.
  4. You could hire something special from somewhere like apexluxurycarhire.com. This would mean you could tick off the “car” part of the list with something you could never normally afford, and get to appreciate the great drive in whatever high-end car you fancied. Maybe you would look for a punchy German saloon like a nice Merc C-class with a V8, or an Audi A4 RS for that bit of Quattro 4WD fun. You might even really push the boat out and go for some Italian supercar fun… why not?

So there you have it, the answer to what makes a good drive:

Good weather, twisting well-cambered roads, great scenery, no traffic, a long distance and a damn good set of wheels. Simple!

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