As a motoring writer I am privileged to have regular access to many cars from many manufacturers. Almost every week that passes will find me in a different motor with a few other one day drives thrown into the equation. I can see that it is in some ways an enviable position to be in and for that I am grateful; but this good fortune is not the reason why I have no plans to buy another car.
My own vehicle is a city car. It’s a Citroen I’m very happy with it. That’s not a sentence you’ll hear very often. It is old enough to warrant an annual MOT but it has never missed a beat and, crucially, it is fun to drive. The acceleration can be said to be the opposite of startling and it does take a while to get up to road speed but when it gets there it is going as fast as everything else on our broken highways.
It is like riding around in a hockey puck. With a wheel stationed right out at each corner it will nip around curves and corners as if born to it. My car is frugal, comfortable, cheap to service and insure, fun and perfectly capable of travelling the length of the country, often in less than ideal weather circumstances as it has proved on more than one occasion. It also costs me £20 in road tax and always will, which brings me to the point.
A few years ago the then Conservative Prime Minister announced that the war on motorists was over. That wasn’t true then and it isn’t now. When our former Chancellor of the Exchequer – a man so odious he actually made me want to actively seek out the company of Piers Morgan – saw that his road tax revenues were dropping because we were all buying leaner and greener cars, he hiked them up. Although he has gone, his legacy, like a lingering lurgy, remains.
Anyone buying a new car after April First (April Fools Day don’t y’know) will have to stump up more cash on VED. This applies even to cars that emit ultra-low or no emissions; a bit rough on owners who want to do their bit for the environment.
If you can afford it or if you’re leasing then it probably won’t affect your buying or rental choices. If you want a new car then a few extra quid will just require a deeper dig into the dosh. The trouble is, it doesn’t end there.
The Cost Of Things
When the price of oil changes because of decisions by fat cats and the money markets, we pay at the pump. Prices can rise over night even though most of the fuel on any given day was purchased months before. Alas, the same cannot be said for price reductions. It’s a rip-off; we know it and they know it and nothing changes.
Hang on, I haven’t finished moaning. Speed limits. Speed cameras. Worse still, average speed cameras, the swine. More European and UK rules of the road than you can shake an enfeebled fist at. Emissions, repair costs, insurance premiums and potential trade barriers because everyone in the EU hates us; the list goes on and this is why I have no plans to buy a new car.
I am so sick of being a money pit; I’ve better things to spend my money on. Obviously, I would love, say, an Audi R8 V10 as my daily ride with perhaps a Range Rover for family outings and the like, but for the average income these things are the stuff of dreams. If you own a regular car and you are reasonably happy with it then it’s a good car. Why not stick with it?
If you can’t drive fast then drive cheap and save the money for a nice holiday. When it comes to how drivers are legally robbed I have become the man who said, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more”. Ergo, short of my motor having a terminal illness, I have no plans to buy a new car. Geoff Maxted