Cars; New and Old....!.!

I recently got rear-ended by a man in a big shiny new Mazda RX-8. Apparently he had only acquired it the day before and though it would be a good idea to race me across a double roundabout then down a long, straight stretch of road. Given that i have many years of experience in racing of go-karts, bangers and other cheaper forms of motor racing this was most likely not a good idea for this man with minimal experience in his new car. The purpose of this document is to describe the differences new cars are now starting to show as compared to my(not really so old) 1999 Vauxhall Vectra 2.5 V6. All info in this document is based on the string of courtesy cars i have been furnished with whilst waiting for my baby to be repaired.

The Cars

My Car

My car, as you already know is a 1999 Vauxhall Vectra SRi 2.5 V6. This is one of the last few cars that has no computer control infesting its every nook and cranny. Yes this car does have a computer but it is only used to provide information to the driver via the central information display. Obviously the computer is also in charge of engine management and such but as for interfering with control and or ancillary gadgets, it keeps its nose out.

The reason for buying this car was simple, i wanted a UK built V style engine and the choice on the marked is quite limited. Land Rovers no longer come with the V8 option they used to, an Ford lovers out there shouting "what about the Mondeo ST220", sorry but ive had fords before and i just don't like them!!!

This car is fast, but not in the way a 19 year old boy would like, it has to be treated with respect and eased into areas of power. If you want a thrasher, get a something Turbo, this car is smooth, it has loads of power but no throttle response below 4500 rpm. The V formation give it the most wonderful purr when running at all speeds, even 6500 rpm(a needles width from the redline and 500 rpm before the rev limiter)... In top gear this makes for 145mph, again not a car for a 19 year old who thinks he/she knows how to drive!!! The brakes are firm but not so firm that they are snatchy ABS is fed in quite cleanly although it still makes that awful noise. Altogether just what i wanted from a car...Unlike Mick Jagger would lead you to believe, you can sometimes get what you want!!!

Vauxhall Corsa 1.1

Ahh, yes.....The Corsa! I went on holiday to Sweden about 2 years ago and as a leaving present our hosts gave us a gift of a corsa(spelling unsure). This corsa, thankfully was not a four wheeled version but instead a small hand carved cup from which one drinks spirits. A car named after a cup cant be a good thing!

The model i was blessed with seemed to be a base model with a horrible plastic interior, i must point out though the gauges where among the sexiest i have ever seen in a base model production car(all be they plastic). Upon my journey from the garage i immediately notice the cars uncanny ability to not go in a straight line at all. Now i don't mean it pulled to the left or right, i mean it randomly pulled where ever it wanted, sometimes left sometimes right but never in a straight line!!

The second thing i noticed about this car was the frighteningly light controls, steering, throttle, brakes and clutch all felt non-exsistant. This is something i have grown to hate, cars should have firm controls that actually let you know what the device you are using is up to. The brakes on this car are so violently sharp that at first i find it hard to brake without the car lurching across the road and the ABS feeding in(unlike the vectra not very smooth at all). Have car builders now started relying on ABS so much that the feel of the pedal is no longer important? it would certainly seem this way! I can bring a car to a stand still quickly and without skids in wet, dry, gravel and oil coated roads. ABS, to me, serves no purpose other than to filter out those who should be driving and those who should not!

!!!People who need a computer to do their braking for them should _NOT_ be driving!!!


At this point the garage had completed the estimate and i had to pick up the Vectra in order to go on holiday(no way was i going on a european driving holiday in a bloody Corsa)! Upon return to England i took my car back to the garage for repairs and got the Polo!!!

Volkswagen Polo 1.1 (2004)

Eewww, a 3 cylinder car! Its only a 1.1 with 3 cylinders, this will be a trying car to drive. The inside of the car looked rather nice with a really novel cup holder that double up as a phone holder too. The engine noise is almost unbearable but then i guess thats because we only have 3 pots. It sounds like a rally car, all be it a badly performing rally car. Again with this car it would seem minimal thought has gone into the brakes(maybe they should be called anchors(either fully on or fully off)), the pedal is, once again sharp and crass and seems to rely on the fact that the cars has ABS for all but the lightest of applications. We seem to be lulled into a padded world by car manufacturers whey by the car will do everything but steer. The steering in the Polo is far superior to the Corsa, it goes in a straight line when i let go of the steering wheel(just). Given the choice of a Corsa or a Polo i reckon the Polo would be a better all round runabout even though its noisy it is a nice car to drive!!!

Peugeot 406 HDCI (2004)

Ahh, a decent size car. The only problem being it is a diesel, never my first choice in cars. Although many believe that diesel's are more economical and environmentally friendly than petrol they really aren't that much different. For starters my Vectra does about 350 miles to one tank of fuel that costs about £40 to fill up, thats mixed driving town and motor way. This Peugeot does about 450 miles on a tank of diesel, ah, a bargain i hear you cry. No! The Peugeot tank takes £60 to fill the tank from empty. So in plain english yes, we do get more miles to the tank but the tank costs 20 quid more to fill in order to get those extra miles.

This car has "Climate Control" as well as about a 1000 other computer controlled gadgets. Hazard lights for example, why would anyone want their hazard lights to automatically come on when they break hard from 50 miles an hour??? I mean i brake hard all the time and i don't need the hazards coming on to let me know what i just did! Rain sensitive wind screen wipers, whats the point in that? I know when its raining and i flick the switch to turn them on, i found they would activate randomly and under light rain all they did was smear the water across the screen so i could see even less than i could through the rain!!! Lights too, i don't want my car to turn my lights on and off for me. I have hands and a brain, if its dark i will switch the light on thanks.

Last but not least the engine and gear box!! Oh my word, i've heard chaps ranting on about how good turbo diesel's are to drive and would be inclined not to agree. No power before 2500rpm no power after 3500rpm? Nice even though it only has 5 gears it feels like i'm driving a motor bike or a Honda Civic Rtype. Im having to change gear twice as much as in any car i've driven just to keep the car moving. A 30mph stretch of road is torture in a car with a turboed 2.0litre engine should not struggle to manage 30mph in fourth gear let alone 5th. Yes this pile of silver junk will not do 30mph in fith gear? Even the Corsa and Polo can do that, i thought that would have been a standard test for cars destined for the UK market. The gear box is one of the most unpleasant, clunky affairs i've ever had the misfortune of using. Ive driven tractors with smoother gear boxes! Basicly if you intend on buying one of these cars DONT!!! Its horrible, the interior is ok but the rest is pants!! By the way the climate control, it just blows cold air on your feet whatever you set the temperature at, and when you habitually wear Adidas Climacool trainers, it gets chilly!!!

Other Cars and Nags

Polo, Peugot and Corsa
Horns, Hooter, whatever you call it. These cars have pathetic horns that are based on a relay switch. This means that if you want to do a quick beep, you cant! A blast is all that these machines can manage. Sort it out chaps, we dont allways want to blast the hooter for 15 seconds just to get the attention of a skirt now do we!!!


Citroen's latest gadget. Lane Departure Warning? What is this if not an encouragement fro people to fall asleep at the wheel of their car. I can see the excuses now "i thought i had switched my LDW system on but i hadnt officer". This a ridiculously dangerous device to add into a car picture the scene. Dave is tired so he switches his land departure warning gadget on, just in case he dozes off. Now lulled into a false sense of security he does just that, dozes off. Suddenly he is alerted by this wonder full piece of technology that he has drifted out of his lane. With his sleep muffled judgment he corrects his course but unfortunately he over-corrects a frantic struggle of left and right turns of the wheel in order to attempt to control this huge skid fails and the car is pitched over the barrier and down the side of the road into a ditch. All because a car manufacturer thought it would be a good idea to give people a lane departure warning system. Not for me mate thanks, im actually quite capable of staying i my lane without any help from a computer!

Joe Shmoe's Story

This is a little story about Joe, a you lad just out of school. He lives about 50 miles away from the nearest population center and there fore needs a car to get a job! The problem lies in this simple statement "He needs a car to get a job!". Joe's Parents are poor, they dont have the cash to buy him a car espceially after having to spend their life saving on getting hime a decent eduacation becasue the state provided system was failing him miserably. So Joe is stuck in his little village without transport to the nearest place where he may find a job. Joe decides enough is enough and applies to a company for a load to buy a car, he doesnt want much, a thousand pounds will do. Joe is surprised to find that a loand company wont lend him the money because he has no job to pay back the loan. Back to the original problem "He needs a car to get a job!" now with the added trouble that he needs a job to get a car.

After a week or two of watching Joe get more and more miserable his parents decide it time to take action, they apply for a loan for him. "You can pay us back when you find work Joe" his parent tell him. Great thinks Joe, at last, my chance to get out in the big wide world and start to earn some real money! After a few days of searching Joe finds himself a job working in the factory packing fruit and line picking. This high pass rate student, educated in a private school paid for by his parent can do no better than a non english speaking immigrant when to comes to finding a job. But Joe is not put off by this, he understands that you have to start at the bottom and work your way up, anyway he is desperate to pay off the loan his parent got him so he can start to contribute to the household and repay the favour they did for hime by giving him a decent education. Joe's first pay packet is for 200 hours work over a month! At his rate of pay(a £4.80 minimum wage) this gives him £960, this is almost enough to pay of the car loan in one go! Ahh, wait a minute, joe notices that although he has earned £960 he is only allowed £720, the goverment have taken some £240 from him to pay for schools and other things he has never used!

Joe is upset at the fact that the goverment has robbed him of almost an entire week of his wages but, being an intelligent chap understands. His parent tell him to spend is first months pay as he likes and they dont want him to worry about paying them back just yet. So Joe goes out, to a club ha has a great time on Friday and again on Saturday. Sunday is spent in a pub with some friends where they eat a home made roast and drink to the first part of life as a self supporting adult!!! Joe has also realised that he is paying tax on almost everything he buys! Again, Joe is an intelligent chap he realises it is unavoidable and deals with it as such!

Monday morning Joe awakens to realise he is late for work, he jumps from his bed, brushes his teeth and gets dressed. He rushes to his car that he filled up with fuel on friday, again he was dismayed to notice that protesters at the fuels station where quoting almost 60%(£30 in this case) of the cost of fuel goes to the goverment, again being an intelligent chap he understands! The A road section of his journey to work is always slow, there is a secondary school he has to pass on the way and so many cars stop in the middle of the road to let their children out. There are also 3 speed cameras on the perfectly straight high visibility stretch of road so the 30mph limit must be adhered to. There is also a roundabout that has a 3 lane entrance and 1 lane exit causing all kinds of snarlups.

Joe rushes along the motorway section of his journey, under several gantries all stating the speed limit is 60mph, Joe is travelling at 70mph today because he is late for work and wants to be a good citizen by attending work as the goverment wants us all to. What joe has failed to realise is that the last 3 gantries he has travelled under have speed cameras stealthily attached to the back of them... Joe has only recently passed his test and can only suffer 6 penalty points before getting banned from driving.

3 days later Joe gets the speeding tickets from the police and is subsiqently banned from driving for 1 year and told to pay a fine of £150, upon his return to driving he will have to do a paid re-test. In the mean time he is losing out on the money from work and he cant pay back his parents for their kind deeds! Joe feels contempt for his leaders, the have not shown that doing the right thing is rewarded, they have only shown that ALL people are to be treated as criminals when behind the wheel of a car. They have also shown that they would rather rely on robotic cameras to provide road safety than use the money from the cameras to get more police patrols on the road to catch those that really are a danger... The puller outerers, the cut up merchants, those who think putting their indicators on give them the right to go wether its safe or not!

Meanwhile, in the year that Joe has been banned from driving the goverment has lost out on £1560 in fuel tax.£2880 in paye tax. £365+ in alcohol tax. They also loose out on £1000 in VAT on all of the _luxury items_ Joe would have purchased had he been working. In total the goverment has lost the country they are supposed to run £5805 simpley becasue Joe wanted to get to work on time. A machine was judge jury and execusionser! For a £150 fine the goverment has cost the tax payer £5805.

The reality of this story become more and more apparent each and every time i get behind the wheel of my car. I have been flashed by speed cameras some 8 times in the last six months and have most likely been disqualified from driving without my knowledge! My current job is such that i dont needa permenant address and the driver and vehicle licencing system does not allow for this. I cant put a permenant address on my driving licence or my V5 simply because i dont have one! How am i to continue my life and work if such a simple thingis not catered for by our all seeing all knowing goverment??? Or should i pay rent/council tax/ water and electric bills just so that i can register my car and licence???



On Fri, 30 Jul 2010 17:37:10 +0100 jim though we needed to know:
you obviously havent got a clue about the polo 1.1 2004 model as its a great car to drive and efficient ,knobhead!!


On Sat, 31 Jul 2010 00:08:06 +0100 Robert Geake though we needed to know:
Ahh, a brave and intelligent poster! Clearly I must have a clue because I have driven one, not for long but I have driven one. It may well be your kind of car but it's definitely not form me that's for sure. Alas, I like a car that I can sit in without my head touching the roof liner, I like a car that you can drive for 800 Miles without a break an not feel like you've just had your internal organs removed.

Unlike you I shan't play the childish name calling game...


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