Better than Top Gear
I’ve started this page….. not because I think I can do better than Top Gear! More that I’m not enamoured by the presenting that occurs on Top Gear, if you want to listen to Jeremy spitting his opinion they go ahead, if not maybe you’d prefer to be here, the choice is yours! That’s right with the BBC you get a pompous jerk instructing you as to what you do or don’t like & here you get to listen to some of my thoughts & make up your own mind…..
This page is about the cars that I have driven, beginning with the most recent;
Skoda Fabia: It’s my current vehicle. I just can’t help comparing it to my old Xsara & being a little dissapointed. The space is ok…. just, it’s a squeeze and needs logistics when getting shopping in, pushchair, suitcases etc. The fuel economy… on a run, on the motorway the fuel economy seems good, and towards very good; around town…. I don’t think it’s so good, the unleaded petrol seems to get used up quick, compared to the Xsara which was fuel efficient whether on a run or round town. The Skoda is set up in the European style, and the controls are O.K, the controls are fairly bog standard and are managable, but the car does like to chime… when the petrol is low, “CHIME!!!!!!!!” What is it? what’s wrong? is my oil low? engine overheating? No, just the petrol is low, not desperatley low, just a bit low! & this was soooooo bad…. Switch the car on & the oil indicator starts flashing… Why? So check the oil no problem…. still the oil indicator flashes… So a few days later, I’ve read the manual from cover to cover & if the oil flashes it means the car is due for a service……. I give up, & the manual describes how to stop the oil sign flashing…. it’s one of those cooker clock situations… you have to hald buton a whilst patting your head and rubbing your tummy & then it hasn’t worked anyway! The car doesn’t need a service, but the oil sign still flashes! Dispicable is what it is. The space inside, again the Xsara had lots of space, but the Skoda although roomy enough not to feel claustrophobic, the door storage is minimal. Skoda Fabia does however have a nice secret couple of compartments, one down to the right which nicely fits a notepad and has a pen holder! & a secret compartment within the glove compartment (Any body ever found gloves in the glove compartment?). The air conditioning and the electrics are just annoying…. too cold air con, too yucky feeling air con… how to switch the air con on/off it’s a fiddle and how many times I switch the engine off and then the windows won’t shut….. it does have the switch the engine off & you have two minutes to close the window, but it doesn’t allways seem to work… The car doesn’t handle as well as the Xsara, it steers violently around corners, no gliding round corners. The steering wheels too small/uncomfortable, the horns awkward and in the wrong place and makes a terrible little …..honk? hardly, it’s like it want’s to honk, but doesn’t quite manage it, and with my drive being on a slope… somehow water manages to collect & as I open the car door, the water dribbles on me! This car is like an annoying little puppy!
Volkswagon Jetta: Well…. who can picture me in a Volkswagon! Yuck! It was a courtesy car…. It’s a big deisel car, noisy like a tractor. The boot space is big…. well it goes in alot & at the end of your shopping run, you virtually have to climb into the boot, cos your shopping has slid to the back. The car has some performance….. coming of a roundabout on a dual carriageway & I’m at 70 in 4th! What is the 5th gear for? The car likes to “bong” at you… the person in the passenger seat hasn’t got thier seatbelt on… well, it’s not a person, it’s my shopping! Cos I don’t want to have to use the boot, so I take two tins from the shopping & put them on the back seat, this stops the bonging! Then the bonging…. what is it? low on deisel? something wrong with the car? No, the car is informing me that it thinks it might snow!!! What??? There is no snow, there is no sign of snow. The hand brake was horrid on this car… awkwardly placed and took an effort to raise it up… so much so that one evening, I parked up, tired after work, then later found the car had rolled down the driveway! This car was a big lumbering idiot of a car!
Fiat Panda (Diesel): I really enjoyed driving this car 🙂 It’s a small car…. having said that, enough room for my wife, myself & my son in the back. the boot was roomy…. for the size of the car. I could park the car in most places, where I’d usually struggle in another car, the steering is light to handle. I drove this car in Costa Brava, alot of winding roads, & it did make me feel a bit queesy, but then I don’t know if I’ve encountered such winding roads & they go on forever, difficult to keep above 20Mph (I’m guessing the speedo shows Kmph), into third, down to second, swapping gears alot.
Seat Ibiza: A good car, comfortable, reasonably roomy, fuel economy seemed good, no performance quarms!
Ford Focus: I drove this car in Costa del sol. What do we want to know? performance, this car is quite scary…… six gears and 0 to 60 I’m sure in less than 5 seconds, I got a speeding ticket! The car was damn uncomfortable….. usually it feels a little odd driving on the right, as I’m used to driving on the left in the UK, but this car just was really uncomfortable to drive…. and the handbrake was quite convenient….. for my wife! We joked that this was the manafacturer’s idea to get man and wife working together, but ultimatley a really silly design.
Fiat Punto: I drove this car in Tenerife. a small car, it struggled to keep up on the motorways. I got shoulder ache after a week of driving this car. The steering wheel is large. Still the car was fairly old and marked, but it did the job for a week.
Seat Cordoba: My first hire car! a beat up old Cordoba. It was comfortable to sit in and got us from a to b to c around Lanzerote for a week. It would struggle when going uphill, whichwas a problem in Lanzerote with it being made from volcanic mountains.
Citroen Xsara (Owned from Dec 2004 to Apr 2009)
The Citroen Xsara was my first car. I got it on Dec 12th 2005; two weeks after I’d passed my test. It had 100000 miles on the clock. I had it for two weeks & the clutch went! Funny thing is… I first drove the car and the clutch was really stiff, but oddly other people who drove the car said it was a really nice car, but I was worried about the clutch. The clutch was fixed… and expensively so. Next year, the same thing happened at about the same time. We had it fixed by a better mechanic… after that the clutch was much easier to use… less stiff. It is now 12th April 2009, so the car has lasted for 4 years and just turned 149000 miles on the clock. The car has now died… the head gasket went. I’d only had the car serviced 5 or 6 months ago!
The Citroen Xsara was a nice car. It was comfortable… for me if no one else. The seats were nice comfy seats. The dash all worked and wasn’t too cluttered. The steering wheel was good, just the right size & not too thick or thin.
When the car was fairly new to me I discovered that the steering wheel could be adjusted! I thought, “I like the sound of that!” I wish I hadn’t. I adjusted the steering wheel, but soon after found I had a problem with the indicator/steering column. Let this be a lesson to me, never fiddle!
Best thing about the Xsara was the size…. & it may become my TARDIS, as it seems bigger on the inside. I never failed to get everything in, be it shopping & pushchair, or three suitcases, the Xsara allways coped admirably, in the passenger seats as well as the boot.
The Xsara was economical, giving a high mpg, though in hind sight this must be measured against reliability & the Xsara cost me quite a bit in repair costs… now the Citroen spare parts are not too expensive, the problems are; A) finding a garage happy & competent to work on a Citroen, & B) the cost of labour… it
Seems the Citroen can be a difficult car to work on.
I really miss my Citroen Xsara, would have kept it had I had the chance, would have fixed it given the chance, would’ve put a rally kit on it given the chance!
citroen xsara won the world rally championship, piloted by Sebastian Loeb. I don’t know how they made the Xsara go that fast! The domestic model does 0 to 60 in about 13 seconds! Still I allways felt it had good cornering &a better top speed than some. The fastest I took the Xsara being 127MPH! (not on the road
obviously). It reached 127MPH, going slightly downhill!
So long Xsara; you were a lovely family car 🙂