Longer than the M6 and rising to more than 1,200 metres above sea level, the A75 is not the best place to experience problems of the mechanical kind – especially at 3am in below freezing temperatures.
Yet that was precisely when our long-term Nissan Almera Tino chose to lose almost all of its power. Though it had been humming along at a steady 80mph for some time, the car's 2.2-litre turbodiesel unit suddenly became so short of breath that it refused to spin any faster than 1,500rpm – even in neutral.
Clearly operating in limp-home mode, the engine was unable to drive our heavily-laden car to more than 20mph on the level and the slightest incline had it down to walking pace in first gear. At that rate, covering the 30 miles to the next service area took a long time indeed.
But once there, as if by magic, all was well again. I switched off the engine for a torchlight inspection that revealed nothing amiss – and was grateful, albeit puzzled, that it was back to normal the instant it was fired up again.
The fact that the Tino hasn't missed a beat in the 4,000 miles it has covered since means my night of fright on the majestic A75 is set to remain a mystery. That ailment apart, the Tino has proved a reliable workhorse during its busy spell with Fleet News. As the car's arrival coincided with a house move, the versatility of its interior has been tested to the full with many trips to the local rubbish tip.
Conceived to challenge the original Renault Scenic, the Tino design may be starting to show its age but with good build quality, a seating layout that is particularly easy to reconfigure and a high level of equipment as standard in SVE trim, the Tino still has its attractions as useful family and business transport.
Nissan's Birdview satellite navigation, which lays out the map at an angle rather than flat on the screen, is particularly good and the best I've tried so far, and the tiny camera at the rear provides a view of the bumper so the Tino can be reversed into the most awkward parking slot.
And though it took a while to bed in, the lusty 136bhp engine has run sweeter and consumed less fuel as the mileage has increased.
It now returns average fuel economy in the mid-40s mpg as it cruises effortlessly along motorways in sixth gear, which makes it an efficient and relaxing long-haul vehicle. Except at 3am on the A75…
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (22% tax-payer): £79 per month