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It would actually be, if my companions on this trip weren't these two blithering idiots. Here's how this seemingly wonderful trip turned out to be.

21 Nov 2019


When Julian told us that we will be driving a 2.0-litre turbocharged Audi A4 up north to spend the weekend at the Malaysian's favourite mountain-top resort, I envisioned faster than average highway speeds and a fun, exhilarating drive up the twisty roads of Genting.

Alas, he failed to mention that we will be embracing the tree-hugger mentality for the trip and strive for the best fuel consumption figure - all for the sake of saving a few pennies (isn't Malaysia's fuel cheap enough already?). On the brighter side, we still can enjoy the trip even if we go slow… right?

Irk No.1: Hypermiling

To achieve such incredible fuel economy, we drove without air-conditioning in the intense heat!
How bad can hypermiling be? We just have to drive slowly and hold back the urge to mash the throttle to the floor isn't it? Turns out, it isn't only about speed. Well, you see, the air-conditioning system saps a substantial amount of energy, increasing fuel consumption considerably.

As such, we drove without air-con in the hot and humid climate, it doesn't help that it was raining at one point, causing the windows to fog up, reducing visibility. We can't open the window too much as the drag will impede fuel economy as well. Trying to attain maximum fuel economy means that we have to be careful with throttle control and this made even the slightest inclines a huge pain to conquer.

The A4 was the only saving grace - the car is easy to drive with a plush and comfortable ride.

Irk No.2: The inconsiderate DJ-wannabe

Good music or not, turning the volume all the way up within the confines of a car is not a great idea
Any hint of comfort was instantly thrown out of the window when Desmond decided that he has enough of peace and tranquility. If you have ever been around him, you would have gotten his 'real music' speech at some point.

After almost an hour on the road, I noticed Desmond's phone had been connected to the A4's infotainment system via Bluetooth. Maybe some music is just what we need on this long journey. After all, there's only so much peace the scenery of lush greenery can offer.

The next thing he did was to turn it up to 11, I can no longer tell if it's just a mere difference in taste for music, or our eardrums' threshold for decibels. This might be great if you enjoy his 'real music', or total hearing loss before the age of 40.

Irk No.3: The annoying loudspeaker

Trying to focus on driving isn't easy when there's a loudspeaker doing his best to distract you
It might be a side effect of Desmond's loud music, Julian started talking much louder than usual, almost to the point of shouting. On top of that, his wild gesticulations aren't making it any easier for me to focus on driving. Seriously, if you ever find yourself on a road trip, just keep the conversation to the minimum. If you haven't figured, the atmosphere of a wet market will almost certainly drive people in the car insane.

Loud sounds and a small confined area do not complement each other well. Add that to the stress of driving at barely 80km/h on the North-South Expressway and I'm fairly certain that the rest of the trip will be hell.

Between the loud music and the gibberish coming from the passenger seat, I seriously contemplated bailing out of the car at speed. Maybe I should have brought along a pair of earplugs…

Irk No.4: The mess in the passenger seat

Eating messily, dropping bits and pieces of food in the car is a surefire way to attract pests
Soon after, the talking was replaced by the sound of crinkling plastic bags and crunching noises. Great, snacks, finally this road trip is starting to show some promising signs. Then I spotted at the corner of my eyes, a pair of feet on the dashboard, took another gander and saw the crumbs on the carpet of this spanking new A4.

Most car owners will frown at the sight of anyone eating in their car, and it is for good reason. Eating in a car often leaves crumbs and pieces of food on the carpet, and that attracts pests.

Hmm, maybe we will have a few new companions in the form of ants and cockroaches on the trip back I guess. At this point maybe I should have slammed hard on the brakes and eject the mess on my left out through the windscreen, but that would have been a waste of a decent car.

Irk No.5: We are finally reaching Genting! Or not.

Riding shotgun has its perks and responsibilities, being the navigator is one of it!
As we inch on to the last leg of the journey towards our fantastic resort, the monotonous highway led to a divaricating mess of roads that can either lead us to our destination, or right into the heart of Kuala Lumpur, or past it, into some decrepit kampong.

And if my designated co-driver wasn't fast asleep, I might have been able to know where we are actually heading well before we've missed the exit. Clearly, this is not the way forward, after rousing Julian from his beauty sleep, we are finally back on track, but not without an hour long detour (no thanks to the traffic in Malaysia's capital). Fortunately we still managed to get to our planned destination after a 'mere' eight-hour drive.

This road trip sure isn't what I imagined - stretching the legs of the powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and testing out the handling capabilities of the A4 on the way up the Genting 'touge'. But it sure is a refreshing experience, and we did manage a notably good fuel consumption figure of 20.1km/L on average, using just slightly more than a quarter tank of petrol to get to Genting. The best part? We now get to splurge on gourmet food and thrilling activities on this trip.

Maybe you can give hypermiling a try someday, just make sure your companions aren't such idiots like mine.
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