Today is a sad day for me, as i say goodbye to my trusty SUV (RAV 4). Its a guilty secret, please don’t hate me! I have had the much maligned one for 4 years and still love it as much as the day it came home with me. Although that was indeed a truly epic day. First, a car full of mental looking Chinese lads crashed into the back of me and drove off at speed. I took one look at my car which was unscathed, and one look at them and thought better of doing anything. Then I appeared at our ex- council house with my over twenty thousand pounds worth of car to the amazement of Colin next door ‘well of course I used to have a Frontera, not as good as the Astra though…’. I don’t think I have ever felt so smug in all my life! It was then parked there for almost a year, as if I moved it, the neighbours would seize my parking spot so I had miles to walk to get to the front door. A sort of revenge tax on nice car ownership.
Now I know these cars have a bad press, but there is another side to them. Quite simply they are brilliant fun. You are high up, they feel sporty, you have a brilliant sound system, a sun roof and comfortable seats, I had the stereo buttons on my steering wheel (sob). So, Ive made excuses for my ownership of it; I’m an archaeologist, I need it to drive across fields etc etc. But that’s not strictly true, I could use any knackered old Japanese saloon car for that. It’s quite simple, if you have ever driven one, you’ll know why I got one.
Before the brand new Rav 4 (which incidentally is on a leasing scheme hence its return) I had a Renault 5. This was another car I loved and I was seriously in two minds about changing it. However, I was getting a bit sick of having to bale the water out of the passenger side every time there was a bit of rain. Goodness knows how it collected so much, but there was always about 2 inches of water.
This car took me through university, and many many jobs. It had a new engine as I blew up the original one and it also had potential which made it even more special. It could be lowered, have ‘curtains’ installed a big exhaust and a fifteen grand sound system. It would then still be worth two hundred quid and would not be cool, but it would have been a project. I could have gone to special Renault car days and teenage boys would be envious. The five had a small fuel tank which required frequent trips to the petrol station. I suspect it also had a hole in the fuel tank due to general age/ crapness. The fuel consumption was in fact very similar to the RAV, in fact it was probably more. Therein proof that small cars are not as environmentally sound as they are marketed to be! Still the opportunity arose to improve my (car) lot in life and so I took it.
I think part of my fondness for the RAV is that it is that wagon that took me to the hospital and the stork that delivered two healthy babies back home. It is the wagon that took us on some brilliant surfing adventures pre- children and family holidays post- children; ‘hubby make sure you wedge that spare nappy in the tiny crevice to your left, it might be essential; oh, no another car-seat poo!’
However, it is also the vehicle that caused me to lose my no claims bonus when a maniac trying to write off his car drove into me on a roundabout, and then blamed me! Strange foreboding warnings not to buy the car occurred in the last few weeks, such as the price actually going up by £300 every time I enquired of its value. And, of course, I have received many looks and comments over its disgracefulness. The one thing that remains with me though is the return trip to the supermarket when I opened the boot and a very expensive bottle of wine fell out and smashed on the floor in front of me, and neighbour Colin, which made it even worse.
So, farewell, old friend and hello, new (to me) Zafira, may you experience many car-seat poos and travel sickness and more importantly help us create some happy memories.