Saturday 23 June 2018

Moving nicely up-market: The Peugeot 2008, a more rugged and upright version of the well-loved 208

The Peugeot 2008: Getting a grip on options 

The household is seriously beginning to think about the next car. In truth I would rather it be an old Saab, vintage Riley or that rather lovely Lagonda that seems to inhabit my dreams. But as always my way will not be got. The Hyundai i10, which is the house's main runabout and portable dog kennel, will be five-years-old next year, and we should start making preparations for when I won't be in the enviable position of having a host of lovely cars to test drive.

Happiness and friendliness: The BMW X1 and Roscommon Castle proved the perfect match

Go west to discover nature and yourself 

Heading west has always been the default position when faced with a few days off, just as going south into the Dublin and Wicklow mountains is our routine Sunday drive and car test. I remember more than 15 years ago, when testing the BMW Z4 and I was owed a couple of days' holiday. I had decided to go out to Howth but the steering wouldn't let me. The heart took over, the roof was down and instead of turning right, I went left and didn't stop until I reached Galway. It was glorious.

'The fall-out from the emissions scandal is really beginning to hit Volkswagen in some major markets'

Keep it clean and well-oiled 

The dividend from looking after your car well was spelled out for me by a taxi-driver on a very blustery Friday night. He was driving a 2005 Toyota Camry which was immaculate inside and out with lots of veneered wood and leather. He proudly told me that the big saloon, which Toyota no longer sells over here, had done 320,000 miles and never given him a moment's trouble. He put it down to an oil and filter change at least 11 times a year. Fuel consumption for the big petrol engine was great and the car sounded sweet.

AIMING HIGH: the eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat wants premium buyers

Motors: Slugging it out with a €40k Passat ticket 

In a way it was good that a family crisis kept me away from the Irish launch of the new Volkswagen Passat, in the Powerscourt Hotel, at the beginning of the month. My colleague, cub reporter Martin Brennan, was a more than adequate stand-in and his report is here on the right. The test car therefore came new to me, without the PR and marketing hype from the launch night, some of which would have been delivered by Paddy Comyn, son of the previous incumbent of this page, and who has often gone hunting with me and his pet stoat.

Discovering your youth again: But would you settle down with the five-door Mini?

Motors: Five-door Mini... An affair but not a marriage 

Many, many years ago I had a most pleasant relationship. We would meet for fun nights - dinner and drinks, that sometimes ended in breakfast, sometimes not. It was lovely and mutually beneficial. Later I moved to another country and my mutual friend came to stay. It didn't end well. The first night or two were fine but by the end of the week we were poles apart. She had rearranged my cupboards, tried to sort out my life and we had turned fun into complicated commitment.

2015 Dacia Duster

Plug-in or plug-out of owning your own car 

SLOWLY but surely the motoring landscape is changing. Car sales may be very much on the up after some very poor years, but the mix in them is taking on a slightly-different complexion. Expect to see less of diesel and more petrol as better technology has made for some really super power units and definitely they should be the choice for the ordinary motorist mainly using small family cars around town. That's if they don't go electric or hybrid. And, at last, there seems to be real traction in this area.

Audi A7

Audi A7 and Lexus: Memories will be the only luxury 

Despite what those annoying "message to my 30-something self" pension ads say, it is always good to stay in the present and not worry too much about what is around the corner. Especially when that could mean swapping the unrealities of a motoring correspondent's life for the mundane necessities of keeping your own car on the road. I was dwelling on this a bit recently when driving two very premium cars which seemed to suit me really well, but my wallet wouldn't get me within a long mile of.