Life as a country vet means Peter Wright requires a “reliable and robust environmentally friendly vehicle that can go anywhere”, and for him, the Toyota Highlander hybrid electric SUV ticks all those boxes.
The star of The Yorkshire Vet series on Channel 5 recently switched from a Toyota Land Cruiser to the seven-seat Highlander.
He recently left Skeldale Veterinary Centre in Thirsk after 40 years, where he initially worked as a veterinary assistant to James Herriot. He then became a senior partner for the last two decades.
Now working part-time at Grace Lane Veterinary Practice in Kirbymoorside, he has put the vehicle through its paces on roads and off-road terrain.
He has experienced all weather conditions over the past few months whilst carrying out his work, visiting and treating animals across the North Yorkshire Moors and Dales National Parks.
He said he had “grown to enjoy the Land Cruiser’s reliable, sure-handling, solid performance that would take me over the roughest terrain to attend to my farm patients”.
“It was a hard act to follow, but the Highlander has lived up to its older brother. It has the added benefit of being a self-charging hybrid.”
“I have driven it over wet, muddy, rutted, and slippery surfaces. It is great to discover that there has been no compromise in reliability and sure-footedness in the drive to achieve greater fuel efficiency and greener credentials.”
He explained that the intelligent all-wheel-drive system kicks in when he requires it, and the two-tonne towing capacity is also an “important” feature.
“The heated seats and steering wheel are wonderful when you have been spending time in a cold barn,” he laughed.
He explained that the Highlander is suitable for his work and can carry his “large variety” of heavy and bulky equipment.
When he transferred his kit from the Land Cruiser to the Highlander, he said he “stood and scratched my head”. “I still had space to spare in the cargo area. This is thanks to the clever interior design that maximises the cargo carrying capacity.”
“The Highlander is fitted out with seven seats, two of which pack away to provide superb boot capacity. The equipment I carry every day means I have not yet used the two rear seats. However, there is still lots of space to seat five people in great comfort, with plenty of legroom.”
The vehicle allows drivers to switch between various driving modes, including trail, sport, normal and eco.
For this vet, driving in eco mode “makes me very conscious how driving technique can help maximise fuel efficiency, particularly on country lanes and farm visits, where stopping and starting is the norm”.
“It goes without saying, on-farm visits where rough terrain is involved, the trail mode is ideal.”
Other articles on That’s Farming: