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  My car

No picture this time, because that would be giving it all away.

This will not be a declaration of love. That should be reserved for your partner, not for your car. Indeed, after having owned a number of cars before, I'm sure you'll notice, that I'm very satisfied with this one.

This car is not a thoroughbred beauty. Since I already had more elegant. Indeed, just as in life itself, you can never have only advantages. So this time, I chose a middle-of-the-road beauty, since if one buys a particularly ugly car, you still don't have the guarantee that everything else will be perfect.

Was it expensive, you ask? I feel that a good €20.000 is a lot of money and believe me, I tried every trick in the book, to pay as little as possible for a brand new car. The disadvantage nowadays: Once the car has reached the tender age of three years old and with around 50.000 km on the clock, one can count oneself lucky to be able to sell it for about half the new car price.

Whoever buys a new car and doesn't have it sponsored by a company, must either be swimming in money or else daft, if he/she sells it again after a relatively short period. I sincerely hope I don't fall into this category. Despite the size of the price-tag, I do think, that I have handled the deal quite rationally.

Why? Because it's a comfortable car and if necessary, has five seats, of those, four offer pleasant travelling conditions. In addition there's the boot, which with two passengers and a bit of fiddling around, can be extended to fit a bicycle in completely. The fiddling around however, is necessary, so that no unsightly scratches are left behind.

However, let's go on to the actual qualities of my car. It makes it possible for me to travel long distances of 1000 km and more on one tank filling, and that, fairly quickly. Who would ever have thought, 100 km using just under 5 litres of fuel, and in fact, quite often at the speed limit of 130 km/h. Thanks to the cruise-control, in Switzerland I was mostly the fastest one of all.

No, the limitations of my car haven't yet been reached. It is in fact, even faster than some of my previous sports-cars. As far as the consumption is concerned, in a real summer the results are gratifying, whereas, in a hard winter, they will probably be somewhat sobering. Although I must say, that I'm not the type to switch on the air-conditioning every time the temperature rises a little.

Just recently I was at the TÜV (similar to MOT). The somewhat bad tempered examiner became friendlier and friendlier as the examination went on. Fortunately, I had previously deleted the summons to visit my favoured workshop for a service. I went through the points to be checked and found, that I'd taken care of most of them during the half-year wheel changes.

What is still to be done, is the checking of the air-conditioning, which, in spite of me not using it if I can help it, I check it from time to time, to see if everything's functioning properly and of course, the oil-change which I do myself. By the way, where can you find a car whose oil-level doesn't have to be topped up after travelling 30.000 km?

You're quite right, if you assume that my cars are looked after while being driven. After all, through good treatment the car can only become better, not worse. Thus, I wouldn't even think of using my car to make the town even more unsafe. I prefer to walk or use a bicycle.

Of course, not everyone is in a position to avoid short distance driving, but I am. What I do, is to bundle these trips together, combining the one with the other. This rule is particularly important on cold winter days. Accordingly, my service-interval display only came into action after two years. This means, that up to the present, I have still enjoyed a mobility-guarantee.

Now it is natural gone. Indeed, why do I need one at all? With this car's predecessor, I only had one breakdown in 17 years and that was within walking distance of my house. Even if I do sell the car before it finally packs in, the next owner can reactivate this guarantee through a visit to the workshop.

Believe me, in this model, the front brake pads will also only be worn down to about half after 100.000 km. Nevertheless, I shall replace them. Basically, braking only takes place in an emergency situation and at speeds of under 40 km/h. The rest can be taken care of by driving with foresight and downshifting.

You may have noticed, that I did not allow myself one of those phenomenal sequential gearboxes. I am, and will probably always be a manual gear-changer. Basically, my accelerator pedal is used less than the gear-lever. However, I also don't slam the gears in, but give them enough time to slip in gently. Doing it this way, I still go through the gears faster than most motorists.

Still, I'm not a fan of gearboxes with a lot of gears. At the moment five are enough, as widely spread as possible, that's important. Most of the time I skip the fourth gear anyway and the gear indicator often reminds me, unnecessarily, to downshift. Indeed, it's not as if I crawl along like a snail, holding up the traffic behind me.

No, I've never had such an undemanding car. In the past, some things may have been better, cars however are not one of those things. 04/14

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Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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