I'm waiting for my new car...
So what the hell do I write about now?
A lot of my recent articles have been written around the fact that I've been car shopping. When you are car shopping, it's a time when you become acutely aware of what is on the market and what the various options are like.
Well, at least you do if you're interested cars. All my wife cares about is what colour it is, how many cup holders it's got and whether the tax is cheap.
I notice Richard Hammond wrote an article about the Audi S5 he's been loaned. That must be nice thing: To have manufacturers loan you a car so you can write about it. I suspect in someways loaning a car to RH, JC or JM is a tad risky. Not simply because they are enthusiastic drivers, but because they are enthusiastic journalists. None of them pull punches when reviewing cars. They call it like it is.
To this end it kind of makes me wonder why car manufacturers loan cars out in this way. I know Chris Harris has been banned from Ferrari's because Enzo didn't like something he said about one of their cars. However to maintain journalistic integrity, you have to allow yourself to be critical. The trouble is, the more critical you are, the less likely the makers are to loan you a car to write (or rant) about.
I'd like to be given a car to write about. I doubt I ever will though. It's become apparent to me, while car-shopping this time; that despite liking cars, I dislike most cars. My wife says I'm too picky. I just think I'm particular. I have a refined taste... However car manufacturers probably shouldn't lend cars to people who have strong criticisms about every car and brand going....
I don't like Audi's - I see them as boring cars for dentists and architects. I don't like BMW's (Except the mid-engined M1 and the Z1) because I see them as being driven by ultra-aggressive, utter lunatics, flying down the outside lane a nanometer from your back-bumper, while flashing you to get out of the way. I'm not keen on Fiat because their most powerful engine has less horsepower than a blender and I see them as fragile and expensive to fix. I don't like Alfa, because to get a nice one you have to pay a fortune and they pretty much seem like an expensive, tarted up Fiat. I don' t like Skoda, or Volkswagen, because they seem like an everyman, extra-boring version of the Audi. I'd be about as excited about buying a Skoda as I would be about filling in my tax return. I don't like Vauxhalls, (except the VX220 and it's variants). I don't like French cars because I expect the electrics to fail at some point and cost a fortune to fix. (Except the Clio V6 and the Renault Sport Spider) I don't like Nissan (Except the GTR) I don't like Toyota (Except the GT86, even though it seems underpowered.[I really like the old Celica, MR2 and Supra!]) I don't like Mazda (Except the MX5 - even though that seems underpowered.) I DO like Jaguar, I like the XE and I like the XJ. The jury is out on the XF. I DO like the F-Type.
So what cars do I like? I like interesting cars. I like Abarth, despite not liking Fiat simply because they are a bit unusual, a bit interesting. I love the Ultima Evolution Coupe - and not just because it's 1200 BHP in a car that weighs less than 1000 kg. I like it because it's different. My Euromillions win car wouldn't be a Ferarri or Lamborghini, or even a Rolls Royce. It'd be a Dauer 962 LM.
So why? Most of the cars I list as 'liking' are probably stupid, annoying to own cars, which make your life difficult far more than they make it pleasant. The thing is, a car is like an outfit. It says something about you. If you were a professional MMA fighter, you wouldn't want to turn up to your bout in a pastel pink Nissan Micra with flower decals on and a big sunflower on the dashboard. You have to choose a car that reflects your personality. That's why James May's dream car is a beige Volvo estate.
So what's wrong with most cars I don't like?
Well, let's take the Ford Mondeo. Technically it's a VERY good car. It gets fantastic reviews and is always cited as a great car - every version. However, because it's good and it's cheap, it's very popular. It's VERY popular with fleet buyers, so for that reason you risk looking like a roving salesman, particularly if you put your jacket on a hangar and dangle it in the rear window and wear a white shirt with the collar undone. If you drive down the motorway alone like this, everyone will KNOW you're on your way to a sales meeting or to see a client. If you ever wanted to travel anonymously, THIS would be the way to do it!
Buying these kind of cars and driving them is a bit like shopping at Matalan or buying George from ASDA. It basically makes the statement, 'I bought this car because I needed a car. I don't give a crap what it is. I don't want to know. It's a car, it's cheap, that's all I need to know.'
We're all slaves to practicality, that's why I ended up with quite a useful car in the end. At least I ended up with something a LITTLE bit interesting though. Something which people in the know might nod and smile at... And not over the fact that it's blue and has two cup holders!
[ICT] Irreverant Car Talk
2.5 Years X-Type Ownership review:-
Ford Focus ST3 Test Drive:-