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Are we there yet ?

This last couple of weeks seems to have been mostly devoted to cars. There's been lessons, driving over to Congleton in Gary's old car, and four test drives. I've visited every dealer in Sheffield who does hatchbacks under the motability scheme (except Audi, I think) and sat in a dozen different models of car.

Gary, bless him, has been ferrying me around from dealer to dealer, climbing in and out of cars, and giving sound advice and support. In return I've fed him proper meals, coffee and buns, Thornton's Viennese truffles and fudge. Today he had the day off, and spent most of it sleeping.

Several models of car ruled themselves out because I couldn't get a comfortable driving position. I'm short, and short in the legs, so I have to have the seat close to the steering wheel in order to depress the clutch fully. In the VW/Seat/Skoda family I found that there wasn't much room for the left leg and I tended to catch my shoes in the pedals as I moved my foot. Also with the Seat, the steering wheel columm is very fat and the adjustment lever sticks out: it scraped against my knee whenever I lifted my leg.
  Shaped seats are very fashionable now, for the sporty look. With having the seat forwards, the handbrake is further back for me. I found in some cars, the curved side of the seat was rubbing against the underneath of my arm as I reached down for the handbrake. There are a lot of things you can adjust now to improve the driving position, but in some cars, no matter what we tried, I couldn't get comfortable

I tried out the Mazda2, which Gary has just got. I liked it, it's fun to drive, but the gearbox can be a little sticky. The Peugot 207 doesn't suit me - I struggle more with finding the right gear and it's just too sharp on the brakes for me. It was the least interesting drive of the ones I tried and besides, for Motability users, it comes in either black, an uninspiring blue, or five shades of grey. Whoopee.... The Citroen was a better drive, but the handbrake was a long way down and the clutch pedal is too close to the side of the footwell.
 The best of the four was the Fiesta. It drove really well and I didn't have any problems with the gears. Also, it's the only one of the four I tried that I can get with a rear parking sensor, as Ford are doing an offer. Tomorrow I'm going back for a longer test drive, and if it still seems good, I'll order one. Next on the list is the Mazda2. It has a slightly tricky gearbox, and I can't get parking sensors, but it is available in a fabulous metallic burnt orange colour.

It was my first experience of car showroom, and I had no idea that they all have toilets available, and cheap or free drinks. The Nissan/Volvo dealer won the prize for fanciest loo, with a tall glass floor vase holding a silk flower arrangement tucked into one corner, and a real, actual towel for you to dry your hands on. The VW place had a stylish toilet too, but also featured a dinky cafe area. We were given vouchers for a free drink - as it was a hot day we chose the Fentimans bottled crinks. Fancy coffees etc were also available, as well as sandwiches and muffins/biscuits to buy. Moat places had vending machines, either about 30p for a drink, or free. The hot chocomilk on some machines was very good. So if I'm ever in an area with car dealers and fancy a drink or need the loo, I just have to wander in and say I'm browsing :)



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
30th Apr, 2010 09:21 (UTC)
The Mazda and the Fiesta are basically the same car (I believe made by the same people) so I would go with the Ford if it has more toys, I can also really recommend Ford as Ian is on his second Fiesta and loves it, and I have the Ford fusion (next size ford up) and love it to bits, neither of us have ever had mechanical problems.
30th Apr, 2010 22:57 (UTC)
I love my Ford (a yellow Focus hatchback) myself, and I've had it since October of 2000. I had a few recalls and issues since mine was the first year they made them in Mexico for the North American market, but generally it's done well by me.
30th Apr, 2010 22:54 (UTC)
According to their radio ads, at least one Cadillac dealer in the Detroit area has a hair salon at their dealership, so you can get your hair done while having your car serviced.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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