Thursday, 7 January 2010
New car thoughts
Now this is the kind of car you need for bad weather. It's a 2009 Volvo XC90, the five-cylinder diesel automatic version, with permanent all-wheel drive, and I would feel safe and confident in something like this. I wouldn't actually buy an XC90, as the running costs are apparently a bit high, and can only get higher, but I will be looking at a Volvo, maybe the XC60, as well as the latest Honda CR-V with the brand new diesel engine and (at last!) automatic transmission.
My 1999 petrol-engined Honda CR-V is adequate for most things, but it's eleven years old, and it clearly won't cope well with the bleaker, wilder weather we'll be getting as Global Warming really starts to bite. I felt quite vulnerable driving home from Brighton in falling snow on slippery roads two nights ago. I never went into a skid or lost control, but the Honda's part-time four-wheel drive - drive to the back wheels cuts in and out as required - didn't feel very reassuring on the freezing snow. Definitely needed a heavier car with drive to all the wheels all the time. I took a very roundabout route home in order to stay on main roads and avoid hills. So a journey that ordinarily might take twenty minutes took forty. I must be getting more cautious than I used to be! Thank goodness I wasn't towing the caravan.
Of course the purchase cost of any new car like this will punch a massive, massive hole in my capital that I can't hope to fill again in my remaining lifetime. But then a durable, quality car ought to last me over ten years, and that makes the costs more reasonable.
No decisions yet; and in any case it all depends on the test drive and the precise deal that can be put together. Perhaps even on the choice of colour. And because I want to use one of my 10-registration plates, the thing can't be registered before the first of March. So the faithful Honda will have a three-month swansong. I hope it's a glorious swansong, and that I can find it a kind new owner.