Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Driving in Kabul

The BBC have a rather nice piece about driving in Kabul: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20509559

Looks terrifying!

Monday, 15 October 2012

VW Beetle

Some things are design classics. The little black dress? Yes. The Porsche 911? Kind of. The VW Beetle? No.

There is a new one out, and while it certainly still resembles the original Beetle and the previous incarnation, it manages to pull of the modernisation of the Beetle in a much less effeminate way than the last one.

But it's worth remembering that the previous version had been around for a very long time, and was based on an aging Golf platform. 

The new one is based on, er, an aging Golf platform, but manage to look a hell of a lot more aggressive - in the same way that David Miliband manages "tough-guy" much more easily than Ed - but is still essentially a throwback to a time when cars were crap and unreliable. 

So would I buy one? Maybe. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Volkswagen Golf

Is it that time again?

It doesn't seem that long ago that a new Golf was released. Oh, right, looking at the numbering, we're up to Golf Mark 7, and barely anything has changed since the Mark 4.

That's probably unfair, because it evidently has.

Technology is moving on apace, new computer systems mean that cars are getting more and more technologically advanced all the time.

But the Golf still looks like, well, it was designed in 2003.

Nothing special, it is going to look more and more dated as the model cycle progresses. But maybe that's the point - maybe the whole point of the Golf is to give the Baby Boomer market a sense of familiarity. After all, when was the last time you saw someone driving one where their hair colour was not grey?

A dated car, ready for retirement soon. Just like the potential owners.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Some unsolicited advice for the winners of Euromillions

It's not very often I give unsolicited advice.

Actually, I tell a lie. It is very often, after all, that is the very point of this blog, which is sadly read by too few people for me to pack in the day job.

But anyway.

On Friday two people in Suffolk won £148 million pounds. And on Saturday they went and bought pizza for their kids to celebrate.

Now look. Pizza is not a suitable celebratory meal. Nor is a Chinese takeaway, or even for that matter a bag of salt and vinegar crisps.

Generally, unless the usual mode of service involves crockery of some description, it should not be considered a celebration.

So what you should have done with the winnings was to go into a Ferrari dealership, and spec up a Ferrari - totally specced, not just bog standard but the best damn Ferrari you can get your hands on.

Then negotiate the price. Really, really squeeze the price. Mrs Lottery-Winner mentioned that she was Scottish, that should add some credibility to the mix. Get them down as far as possible.

Then deliver the killer line. "OK, so that's the price for one. How much could I have 7 of them for?"

That's what I would do.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Hyundai Santa Fe

OK, I'm going to declare an interest here.

I like the outgoing Hyundai Santa Fe.

And I like the new Hyundais.

In fact, to be honest, my Lexus RX is coming up for retirement and I was waiting with baited breath for this car to arrive.

However, I'm disappointed. To be honest, I'd rather buy an ix35 than this.

Hyundai have retained the Santa Fe title because the outgoing model had a bit of a fan base behind it. But I'd rather that they scrapped the whole lot and just made a slightly longer, bigger version of the ix35 that I like with more kit inside. That, I would buy.

But this, this looks like they've taken the front off the old model and put some plaster of Paris on before gouging it with a chainsaw.

It's not pretty. In fact, it is uninspiring.

The ix35 was brilliant in design terms, the i30 is great. The i40 is another fantastic saloon, and even the slightly odd Veloster is growing on me.

But, I'm afraid, Hyundai has lost a sale with this. I can't be seen in something so hideous, I'm afraid.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Vauxhall Adam

Superminis are big.

In Europe at least, the biggest growth area of the car market seems to be the supermini, which was previously neglected and a dumping ground for cheap, low quality cars based on the cheapest parts from a manufacturers parts bin. And while superminis were previously bought by people on a tight budget, the Fiat 500 marked the start of a turnaround where people actually chose to buy premium superminis.

Well, it wasn't so much that it marked the turnaround. Before that, there was very little option.

So this sudden explosion of superminis that are not so bad happened not really because of new demand, but because the manufacturers started making cars that people wanted.

And now it's Vauxhall's turn, except they've gone for a rather bizarre attempt to take bits from every other manufacturer that is doing well in the sector.

The oddly-named Adam is part Fiat 500, part Audi A1.

It's not exactly an original design.

In fact, it's worse than my attempts to finger paint a Van Gogh.

But, if those other cars didn't exist, how would it be?

Not too bad at all. But unfortunately it's a Vauxhall and it doesn't matter what they do, they can't get away from the fact that people who buy Vauxhalls will go for the dullest colour and none of the options and go for a drab interior. Just like they did with the Insignia, and the Astra and every other Vauxhall that's ever existed.

They just can't buy cars and make an inspired colour choice.

So expect the 3 that sell to be beige and blend into the background, completely unnoticed.