We currently own a “Tahiti Blue”* Rover 25. We bought it at around Easter 2002, on a three year balloon-payment-or-return-the-car type deal. The three years, therefore, is nearly up, and we have spent the last few weeks considering what to do next – do we keep it, and borrow the remaining ?3,500, keep it, but instantly part-ex it for something else, or do we give it back, and buy another car?
The truth is, we’ve not been that enamoured with it. It’s not been terrible – it’s never stopped running in the fast-lane of the motorway, or anything. It had the gearbox replaced before we even took delivery, but the subsequent gearbox hasn’t given us any trouble. It has not, like the Rover 45 of our friend, Stuart, blown a head gasket at 2 years old, and required a new engine. It’s just that it makes alarming clunky noises, seems to drift off centre when you’re driving it, and we had endless trouble with the passenger side door – it was a bit of a saga, really, starting with a dodgy speaker, and ending up with the window dropping inside the door, and us having to drive up the M6 with nothing but stolen bubblewrap to protect us from the elements.
Anyway, the combination of being not entirely happy with our car, not at all happy with the after-sales service of the dealership, and struggling to manhandle a baby-seat in and out of the back of a three door car, has led us to the conclusion that we should get rid. But what to replace it with?
The thing is, I really want a Beetle. A new one, I mean. I realise they’re basically a Golf, with a pretty-shaped body on top, but I think they’re slinky and nice, and I really want one. And I shall have one, too, one day. Sadly, there’s no such thing as a five-door Beetle, and if there was, it would probably knock it out of our budget. We really do need a five-door, this time. Getting Daisy in and out of the Rover is crippling me, and in the brief period that I had the baby-seat in the front, it seemed very precarious. She’s safer in the back, but getting her there is hard enough when it’s a slot-in seat that I’m manoeuvring – in a few months, when she out-grows the rear-facing seat, I’ll be trying to get a wriggly baby into the same place, and I just don’t see it as terribly viable. I’ll bang her head and throw my back out on a weekly basis, and on a bad day, both simultaneously.
So, it’s sad. I can’t have a New Beetle. They’re expensive, and impractical, and unsuitable for our current lifestyle, and being slinky and gorgeous, and with a small flower-holder as standard, makes not the slightest difference.
So we’re probably going to get a Skoda.
Some people look at me in mild astonishment, when I explain that we’re deliberating between a New Beetle and a Skoda, but actually, it makes perfect sense. I WANT a Beetle, but can’t have one for practical reasons. Therefore, what I get instead has to be EMINENTLY practical. It has to have five doors, a boot you could live in, leg room for Andr? the Giant, be cheap to buy, cheap to run, and cheap to insure. It has to be THE MOST practical car on the market, because, otherwise, I’ll end up with a car that isn’t the one I want, AND doesn’t meet my needs properly, and that would just be annoying.
I wish there was a better way than parking a Skoda outside my house, though. I realise that they’re little short of re-badged Boras, nowadays, but I’m still a bit embarrassed by the idea of owning one…