Unless the forthcoming incarnation of the Vauxhall Corsa is significantly better than the current one, you have to wonder about the true criteria for the title of Car of the Year. The one I drove screamed “I was built to a budget!”. It certainly was quiet, as long as you left it idling out of gear and didn’t attempt to drive anywhere. Unladen, it needed over 4000RPM to do 70MPH in favourable conditions. It found every imperfection of the road surface and rammed it into your lower neck. After three hours of motorway driving, it left me with muscular pains in my thighs for four days. Thank goodness I don’t have to drive it anymore.
I’ve driven a fair few cars, some of which I’ve reported upon before. There are now a few more to add to that list, as follows:
- 1998 Fiat Punto
- Quite why they chose to spread the gears out so much is a mystery to me. In fact, nothing about the driving position is as you expect. Maybe it was designed to appeal to motorcyclists, or something. Quite a lot of poke out of a small engine, and not too shabby to look at, but possibly the most difficult car of its class I’ve ever parked.
- 2006 Honda CR-V
- With this being a SUV, I can’t say I approached it with an open mind. I kind of hate myself for liking it as much as I did. The power comes in great big lumps and, on the motorway, it glides serenely. When you drive something of this size, people actually move out of your way, and it’s surprisingly easy in heavy London traffic. I’m far too much of a closet hippie ever to buy one, but I can see why people do.
- 1997 Volkswagen Polo Mk III
- It’s hardly surprising that the Polo has always come up well against its competition. Not loaded with toys, but exceptionally well put-together and really really comfortable. I bought this one to replace Daisy, my beloved but frankly unroadworthy Rover, and half-expected it to be a compromise. For the money I paid, and the size of the thing, I rather suspected it’d be like the Corsa I hated so much. However it is, in my opinion, a much better car. In a word, it is firm. The steering may be heavy for not being power-assisted, but everything feels very comfortable and deliberate. I took it to from Northampton to Cardiff through the middle of the storm, and hardly noticed. Got pulled for speeding on the way back, so I would to well to remember that it’s faster than it appears.