Taken for a ride


While my car is being repaired (they haven’t worked out the cause of the problem yet) the garage has lent me another car.

It is a brand new car. This possibly demonstrates how much the garage trusts and values me as a faithful customer. Or perhaps they know that after a few days of driving around in a new car, I will be unhappy with my original six-year-old vehicle once it is back on the road. They might be hoping I will want to buy a new one.

Mrs R. likes the new car. I don’t.

It is a special eco-friendly model. It has noisy low rolling resistance tyres. It has a sewing machine engine. If I want to overtake someone I need to write it in my diary so I can start accelerating two days in advance.

It also has two special eco-features which annoy me.

The dashboard has an indicator to show me when I should change gear. There is a number to tell me which gear I should be in and an arrow which tells me whether to change up or down (but it is not clever enough to tell me to reverse when I have parked in front of the garage door). I have been driving for thirty years without the car telling me when to change gear. I resent the bossiness of it.

The vehicle also decides to turn the engine off when you stop at a traffic light. The first time this happened I got a bit of a shock. I just assumed that it had broken down, so I tried starting it again. The engine started as soon as I put my foot on the clutch. It is not only bossy, it also thinks it knows better.

My irritation is only slightly reduced by the fact that it has travelled 100 miles on a thimbleful of diesel.

14 Responses to “Taken for a ride”

  1. 1 Sarah

    My new car has these ‘features’. I don’t mind the dash board gear indicator it’s the 14 year old sitting beside me telling me to change gear that I find annoying

    • Sarah – try gaffer tape (see Steve’s comment below).

      • 3 Steve M

        Alex. On the car or the 14 year old (carefully leaving the door open for the obvious reply)?

  2. 4 Simon

    does the gear change indicator change colour (towards the Redness) if you choose to ignore it? – At least it doesn’t tut which I find even worse!

  3. 6 Steve M

    Fixing a piece of gaffer tape over the offending (offensive?) light is an effective way of dealing with the problem.

  4. 8 Fiona

    Have seen the “change gear now” feature in the dual control car you can hire for learner drivers from the local garage. Bit silly if you ask me as surely part of learning to drive is the realisation that when the engine is screaming as you drive along at 30 miles and hour it might be worth changing out of first 🙂

  5. 10 Adele Chaplin

    Have to say the one I like least is the turning off the engine while stationary thing – I think that’s just downright dangerous – pedestrians are basically stupid, if they hear no engine they don’t realise the car is going to move!

    • 11 Steve M

      Adele. Isn’t that what the horn is for?

      I may regret that comment.

      • 12 Adele Chaplin

        You’re right Mr M, you will regret that 🙂 and yes, but I don’t want to lean on the horn at every junction!

  6. On the positive side, should you ever find yourself in switzerland with the new car, you won’t need to worry about the law there that states you have to turn off your engine at a red light.
    You were planning on driving to switzerland weren’t you?

  7. 14 Tina

    I’d like to say for the record I shall never willing own such a car…

    unless that is it is like Knight Industries Three Thousand and can also…

    – have sensible two way conversations with me,
    – tell me where and when the bad guys are,
    – leap to my rescue at a moment’s notice and
    – leapfrog over annoying stuff when the need arises..

    then and only then I might consider it

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