Since we have moved country we have to buy a new whip to transport the urchins around and more importantly fit as many IKEA flat-packs in as possible. We used to have a Golf so we have decided to go bananas and buy – no! – something different.
I am still very keen to go German and as the old saying goes: buy German, feel brand smug but cash poor; buy French or Italian and feel like a bloody idiot picking bits of your car up that drop off for no good reason. Maybe that’s an over-simplification, and not really a saying, but we have rented a car in lieu of buying a car (more about that in a moment) and it’s a piece of crap. It’s a Fiat Panda and I know James May on Top Gear raves about it (and owns one, I think) but I can, with hand on heart, shockingly reveal that the Fiat Panda is a joyless, insipid, crushingly bad alternative to walking.
I have driven more robust remote-controlled cars; it is just so intimate – you can hear every part of the car working. When you put on the windscreen wipers you can actually feel the motors that drive them vibrating the car. That is wrong, no car should be that thin that you can feel minor electrics. it is also so small that I am pretty sure that I could take out the driver’s seat and I’d still be able to drive from the back – in fact, it would probably be more comfortable as at the moment I feel like a gorilla in a circus car.
Germans know how to make cars like they know how to make shoes: stout and long lasting (neither will get you laid, but they’ll get you there in one piece). The Golf was no more or less reliable than a Fiat Punto (which I have owned and was rather fond of…) but it’s just that the Golf was hard; our kids went at that car like a piñata and pulled and pryed every movable piece of it but everything still works. Every lever, every indicator stork, every button. I think that it’s because the Germans have a proper working day whereas the rest of Europe start at 10, has a four hour lunch break and go home at five or they’ll strike…which more often than not they do. The result is that every car is a Friday afternoon car.
UPDATE: After much looking, comparing, teeth sucking and general tyre kicking we have decided to buy, and bought, a VW Touran. I know: it’s just a big Golf and I know: it’s boring and I know it’s just a van with carpets but – but – it goes like the clappers, can seat five people in total comfort and you could fit three or four Russian gangsters in the boot. It has a huge, low opening that would make the dumping of said gangsters into Lake Geneva a doddle. It even has a removable boot tray so you can wash off the blood and vodka in the comfort of your own home.
ASIDE: On our hunt for a car I went with my brother-in-law to a used car supermarché to scope out some motors and try a few out. We saw a couple that we thought would be good for a spin and while we were waiting a salesmen’s phone rang and it had a ‘comedy’ ringtone of a cockerel. My brother in law turned to me and said: ‘cock.’ That works on so many levels that it still makes me laugh.
VW Touran Specs: Silver*, good stereo, shifts, can fit Urgfuk Ikea Shelving unit into the back, has hole for skis, has a proper name**.
* The Swizzers, apparently, hate red or yellow cars and prefer their cars to be silver. The Swiss are Borg.
** I hate cars that have a numbers instead of names like 231, e817 – what’s with that? It’s like you’re buying chemicals or bio-weapons. I know that car makers have sometimes got their fingers burnt and called a car Levarge or something…but it turns out it means felching a camel in yiddish…but come on car makers, grow some.