x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

A man with many jobs needs a multifunctional vehicle

For a man with many jobs, Dave Crane finds that a multifunctional vehicle is a must have.

Dave Crane's Prado has many uses:
Dave Crane's Prado has many uses: "This is a business vehicle, family car, dog carrier and heavy equipment transporter all rolled into one." Randi Sokoloff for The National

Long-term UAE residents have probably spotted Dave Crane as the master of ceremonies at the Dubai Rugby Sevens or keeping the crowd pumped but civilised at Desert Rock. He also runs a life-coaching business (The Life Designers), does a nice line in motivational speaking and has performed a series of stage hypnosis shows.

Somehow, the Sharjah resident also found the time to get married, to now-wife Azizah, start a family with the birth of daugher Maya this year, and look after two dogs. The car he uses to help him manage with all these new responsibilities is a much-loved V6 Toyota Prado.

"This is a business vehicle, family car, dog carrier and heavy equipment transporter all rolled into one," says Crane. "I don't have a car as a fashion statement; it has to get me from A to B. Period.

"My previous cars were never as reliable as this - I had a soft-top Jeep Wrangler, which was a lot of fun but teeth rattled at high speeds and people kept breaking in and stealing my music."

He also had a 1.3L Ford Cavalier that he says was "even lower maintenance than me", an Audi sports car that he describes as a "secondhand death trap that broke down more times than it started up" and a Hyundai Galloper that was "very cool until it started going wrong and then I wanted to drive it off a cliff".

"I also bought a 10-year-old Land Rover Discovery and discovered why they are so cheap and plentiful," Crane recalls. "I also think the Galloper and Land Rover were serviced by roguish repairmen who would fix one part but 'loosen' another to guarantee an endless supply of my cash over a three-year period - or maybe they just like to see me visit on a regular basis."

But Crane has remained loyal to his Prado, having owned it for seven years, and in that time he has found the car to be reliable with only minor repairs and routine checkups required. As such, he plans to stick to Japanese manufacturers in the future and is considering a Toyota Fortuna for his next set of wheels in the new year. "Repairs are cheap, serviced garages are plentiful and there are no hidden surprises - I don't want surprises, I don't enjoy getting covered in engine oil, I was never the kid that liked to pull things apart and put them back together again."

Crane never buys new because of the instant loss in value as soon as you leave the showroom, but he does get a full service history and use a dealer who'll include a maintenance deal as part of the sale. "I don't want to spend my time fixing the car or waiting for someone else to."

As a result of being a cautious buyer, the only real issue Crane has had with the Prado was a Salik glitch.

"When I first bought it, the petrol station attendant typed the wrong serial number into the machine and I notched up Dh4,500 of fines without knowing," he says.

Unfortunately, this story didn't end happily and, after trying to resolve the issue, he gave up and paid the fines in full.

"There are better things to spend that cash on than someone else's careless mistakes," Crane says ruefully.

But Crane is not likely to spend his cash on something fast and convertible any time soon, especially as the height the Prado gives him "a heads-up at incoming nonsense when the mad drivers start doing their crazy thing".

"I never stretch to something too flashy because that's not my style," he says. "But when the midlife crisis hits, I may change my mind and buy a sportscar and have a facelift!"