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A pickup truck, two countries and one tank of fuel

A pickup truck, two countries and one tank of fuel

Friday, 18 de November de 2016

On the gaucho journalist who drove from Porto Alegre to refuel only in Montevideo, Uruguay

The idea came after a trip to Chuy, starting from Porto Alegre, aboard a Jeep Renegade. “What surprised us was that throughout the drive, the car had spent less than half a tank of fuel,” said the gaucho journalist Gilberto Leal, who for many years has been a member of the editorial room of the Zero Hora newspaper. “It was the starting point for a new idea: go to Montevideo, Uruguay with only one full tank.” A short time later, Gilberto witnessed the launch of Toro pickup truck. “We decided then to do it but with a new car. The planning was fast. We got permission from Fiat to travel with the car, we got the authentication and release of documents from the Consulate of Uruguay and the payment for the green card insurance [Carta Verde]. “By then, Leal had already released his personal blog. He chose the Fiat Toro Volcano diesel and invited his faithful partner Priscila Nunes to face the challenge.

There are little more than 800 kilometers between one city and another. The pickup also consumed less than half a tank after 532 kilometers on Brazilian roads en route to our destination. In Uruguay, there were 300 kilometers left to meet the challenge. However, the better roads in our neighboring country allowed us to go at a higher speed,increasing fuel consumption which worsened on a stretch of heavy traffic close to our destination.

“With the fuel marker getting lower, I could not hide my nervousness towards Priscilla’s apprehension,” says the journalist. “We started the countdown to reach Montevideo. With only the fuel left in the reserve tank and the onboard computer allowing us for an autonomy of 60 kilometers, we reduced the speed and reached the Uruguayan capital, 20 km away from downtown. We entered the first gas station we saw with the joy of having fulfilled our purpose. We also had a shock: in Uruguay, a liter of diesel S-10 costs about R $ 5.70 (4.92 Uruguayan pesos). ”

montevideu-01

Everything turned out perfectly! (With the exception of our spending on Uruguayan territory). But this detail was more than offset by the charm of the Toro that captivated the prying eyes of those who had never seen it before. “The gas station attendants praised the pickup truck and wanted to know details about the car. This happened every time we stopped somewhere” recalls Gilberto. They were asked by curious passerby at traffic lights,  had pictures taken on coastal roads and in shopping malls, and were even chased by a luxury car for a few kilometers until they stopped to give information to the enthusiastic driver.

“I had to help Priscilla who was being bombarded with questions about the Toro”, laughed the journalist. In Punta del Este, on their way back, they were accosted once again. But at this point they were already trained, “Priscilahad mastered the main features, and relaxed, responded to every question. In the Marina, in the hotel parking lot and in José Ignacio, the truck was surrounded. We had to show the load box and open the hood so they could see the engine. The comments were always the same: ‘beautiful’, ‘muy hermosa’ ‘¿Es diesel?’, “said Gilberto. They were even offered money for it.

montevideu-03

With very expensive diesel in Uruguayan lands, our adventurers decided to supply only enough to cross the border on their way back. However, after running more than the expected in Punta del Este, they were a bit tight upon arrival in Brazil: “Not all gas stations have the S-10 diesel,” said Gilberto. “The needle dropped to the reserve and the border was never in sight. Finally we entered Chuy with the S-10 at R$ 3.32. We smiled and celebrated with a big hug.”

In his blog, Gilberto praises the car: “The high driving position, the ample windshield area, the electric steering wheel, light and precise, the automatic transmission with nine speeds and perfect suspension helped us conquer the 2500 kilometers on a six day trip. The generous interior, the silent engine and great air-conditioning, among other items, value the driving experience. The multifunctional steering wheel, the automatic air-conditioning with two digital zones, and the multimedia system with a 5-inch touch screen and GPS facilitate the driving, making any trip a quick one, even on the longest stretches such as the one between Porto Alegre and Chuy. The Volcano’s performance reminded us of the easy driving of a passenger car and good maneuverability in traffic, despite its dimensions on the narrow streets, like many in Montevideo. ”

Priscilla also approved the truck. “I drove between Rio Grande and Chuy and felt the comfort, safety and good drivability of the car. Generally, small cars attract me more. Even with its size, I enjoyed the Fiat Toro. The main point was that I felt safe. I found the seats to be comfortable and the trunk, huge.”

The photos in this post were kindly provided to us by Gilberto and Priscilla. You can see more on his blog.

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