I’ve just bought a so-called city car. As a person who really loves his cars and driving, this is a bit of a departure to say the least but, if I‘m honest, I‘m never satisfied with the car I‘m running at any one time, believing the grass is always greener with the next model. My last three cars have been: a sports car, a motorway express and a hot hatch. The last, a Cupra, was selected because I felt a subliminal need for my cars to get smaller. This is possibly due to the relentless head pecking we get from green agencies, mad-eyed climate change acolytes and nannying government departments all trying to wear us down with a sort of ‘it’s for your own good’ parental attitude. Gosh, I’m on one today. Couple these gripes with all the rising costs of motoring, the fuel, the insurance, the various additional stealth taxes and I’m sure you can see where I’m coming from.
So, city cars. The idea is for something small, manoeuvrable and easy to park around town that is nonetheless still a real car is not something that is likely to get one’s pulse racing. This is what I thought until I considered car ownership in general. I realised that with all of my recent previous cars I have never, ever, exploited anything like the full potential of their abilities because of the nature of this country’s rules and roads. Certainly, I’ve accelerated quickly but – and I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself – within minutes of starting a spirited drive something happens to bring you down. Your sat-nav might bleep and warn of an impending speed camera or a slow moving vehicle will pull out in front of you and it’s all over. The state of British roads doesn’t help either. Years of underinvestment, bad design and shoddy workmanship (and they call it road tax. Ha.) has resulted in some roads being no better than tracks. Apropos of nothing, you might like to know that over the last twenty years Spain has undergone a massive transformation in road building and refurbishment. The roads out there are a drivers paradise as anyone who has driven up the E902 from Motril to Granada on a bright and sunny morning will attest. FYI, this was all paid for with EC money, including some of ours and yet we must crash and plunge around on roads not fit for purpose.
All this kind of sums up how I’m feeling about driving these days. That’s why I’ve chosen the city car option. Most of my driving is within a fifty mile radius of my home. The city car, I’m pleased to say, hasn’t missed a beat. It’s three cylinder 1L engine has some zip, largely because the car is so light. With all four wheels right out on the corners the handling is remarkably composed and the seats are comfortable. I’ve done one long trip so far and this car was fine – we’re crossing England here, not Siberia.
So, all in all, I am, for once, happy with my car. It’s basic and it’s fun – as simple as that. A bit like owning a friendly dog. Only without the unconditional love, obviously.