Me and my car: Double up on family fun
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Monty Betham has joined Mahindra as an ambassador, driving an XUV500 SUV
What does being a brand ambassador involve?
We drive the cars as any typical Kiwi family would and let fellow families know how they measure up. I think the XUV500s are amazing and, as it happens, we were looking for a seven-seater as a family.
You and your wife Jaymie each have an automatic XUV500? How do you tell them apart?
The models are the same and the number plates are only a digit apart but I’ve got mags on mine and hers is silver and mine is more of a gunmetal colour. Hers is untouched, mine will have side steps and some front bars, it’s going to be pimped-out.
And it’s diesel?
I’m finding the diesel economical, you can get up to 800km on a tank — it’s efficient. Being the older guy, I don’t want to go too fast, and also I can tow things. It’s good for running around with the kids.
Who else is allowed to drive your SUV?
No one else. I might let my wife have a drive but she’s got hers, and my kids aren’t of an age yet that they would be driving.
How old are your children?
My son Riley is 10 and my daughter Hayden is 7. They have that sibling rivalry going and can’t sit still for long. But now they have a bit more room because this is a bigger car than we had before. When we go on road trips we have a few games we play and they have a few devices.
The key thing is to keep the kids happy — it makes road trips more fun.
What do you always have in your car?
I always have a set of training gear and shoes in case there is some impromptu training I can get among. That’s me, boring stuff. And an umbrella too because it’s Auckland and you need one when it rains. And having my bald head, I need shade in the sun too.
A Mitsubishi Mirage. It was a bit square in terms of shape but I was proud of it. You get your licence, you drive to school and you feel like you are an adult.
A Range Rover; I’m not the sort of guy who has to have a Ferrari or some other expensive car. A Range Rover or what I have now; they are practical, usable, they have style and enough speed when you need it. And they look good dirty or clean.
Who taught you to drive?
My Mum, I was about 15 or 16. I got my licence on my third try but I have always been suspicious because when I failed on my second attempt, the guy testing me said, why didn’t you tell me you had already failed?
Any advice to young drivers?
Just relax and enjoy it. And you can’t be overcautious. Take your time and make better decisions.
Manual or automatic?
I haven’t driven a manual for some time, but you can’t beat a manual.
Do you enjoy driving or would you rather be a passenger?
I’ve always enjoyed driving but of late, I don’t mind being a passenger. On long drives though, it seems faster if you’re driving. On big family trips I say, I’ll drive, eh? My wife tends to drive at a more leisurely speed than I do.
Do you judge people by what they drive?
No way, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and someone may be driving a flash car and they’re using it to hide something.
Favourite car scene from a movie?
Growing up we had Knight Rider and KITT; that was my earliest recollection of a car I was fond of. As a kid I went to Universal Studios and saw KITT. I was blown away.
Favourite race driver?
New Zealand has had some really good drivers. I do like a bit of speedway and Graham Standring was very good in midget cars.
Ever had a personalised plate?
I had one when I was growing up, Montz. There used to be someone in my street whose name was Cameron and he had the plate Camz, and I said, one day I want to get a plate that says Montz. I am still the owner of it but it isn’t on my car.