Horse, aka Amandaâ€™s beloved 68 BHP 2002 Skoda Fabia, my commutermobile, has been faltering a bit lately. All through winter Iâ€™ve had long waits in Bas-Vegas car park, waiting for the windscreen to thaw out (Horseâ€™s climate control isnâ€™t the best), and last week the engine management light flicked on and stayed on.
Crap, thought I. And having finally managed to book in for a date Amanda could drop it in for servicing and lend me the other carâ€¦ it went off again. Hopefully for good this time.
Not that thereâ€™s anything fundamentally wrong with it (we hope), but between the two things Iâ€™ve added â€˜new carâ€™ to the list of things I obsess over quietly but have no actual intention of spending money on. That said, my obsessions tend to take a semi-practical nature, so rather than dreaming of a Maserati or vintage Mercedes SL I could never afford, Iâ€™ve been day dreaming about semi-practical cars.
Criteria? Affordable ish. Modern-ish. Proper heating, central locking and automatic windows (non of which Horse, for all his strengths, has in any great measure). Back doors and seats that will fit a carseat. Reliable. Relatively fuel- and maintenance efficient. Fun to drive and a bit sporty.
My current fantasy frontrunner? The Mazda RX-8. Jeremy Clarkson loves it (for what thatâ€™s worth), and I think its a pretty good looking car. It is ludicrously affordable second hand and thereâ€™s a Mazda dealer about 500m from my house with a pretty good looking one on the forecourt. Maybe a test drive is in orderâ€¦ as well as someone explaining the benefit of a rotary engine to me.
But other than this, semi-aspirational cars seem to be few and far between. I couldnâ€™t get excited about driving a Seat LÃ©on or something like that. Any other ideas from my petrolhead friends?