A friend decided it was high time he got another set of wheels. His previous hot hatch developed a “personality” early in the piece, but the Peugeot GTi 180 was the business when it came to speed and handling, or at least it was ok for the time. After the last bolt rattled loose and the last electrical circuit committed harakiri, it was time to move her on before she failed to proceed and threw her evening-gloved hands into the air forever.
The last year has been a long one as for my friend Mr “A”. Each Aston martin seemed even more unreachable, and every Hot Hatch brought back a distant and unpleasant memory. Each day brought Mr A. closer and closer to complete nervous collapse as if never again would the feel of a engine screaming for mercy be under his command. He despaired that he might never again torture a clutch and the thought of being tethered to public transport made him giddy with grief. There was many a time spent choking back just a little bit of vomit.
He took the bull by the horns and grasped the nettle. Enough was enough and a new car needed urgently to be moved to a position of absolute and utter top priority. He dragged me out of a sound sleep at the crack of lunch time and in a flash chucked us into the trusty 370Z , as we set sail for Parramatta Road. Every big city has a Parramatta Road. It is loaded to the gunnels with car yards of every shape and hew. Each has a dizzying array of sparkling new motor cars to amaze and delight. Mr A. is picky though. No SUV’s here, and anything without a roof isn’t near to making it onto the list. No, only a hot hatch will do, no magic solution here.
After much searching, for several minutes, some contenders emerged as if thrust majestically upward by the lady of the lake. But the Sword she brandished had more than one edge, and each edge needed caressing to find only the sharpest and finest blade. Polo GTi was an early front runner but its blade was deemed too small. As we drifted along in a thick treacle of traffic, a Subaru dealership floated into view, and like Camelot, began to glow. In an instant we had moored alongside and in no time at all had our noses pressed firmly against the window of a WRX Premium like a couple of love-sick schoolboys. Although it was the hatch, its lines seemed to have mellowed over and no longer made me bilious. The enormous WRX fenders made her look fit for battle like a knights trusty steed.
As if silently whisked into existence by Merlin himself, the Lady Jess appeared in her robes of office perched atop a fine pair of stilettoes as if each could be used as a deadly weapon. She triumphantly held aloft the golden keys. As she did so, she smiled gently, and a shard of sunlight twinkled off her lip-gloss, and Camelot glowed even brighter.
I had never been a fan of this steed. It was too brash, too loud, and dare I say too common. The Lady Jess was having none of it and in a thrice had us galloping across the countryside to the squeals of delight of all on-board. I wanted to hate it. I wanted the steed to be rough and unbroken. But no, there was nary a whinny or a neigh out of place. The steed was fleet of foot and more powerful than Black Beauty herself. In short, she was magnificent.
Mr A. slapped me hard and in a flash the steed was gone. I blinked and rubbed my eyes, but it was true. I was in a Subaru dealership, I had just tested a WRX, and I loved it. It wasn’t a dream and I wasn’t hallucinating. The world had shifted back to its rightful axis. Oh NO! I’ve become a yobbo!
The WRX really was fabulous. It rode beautifully and went like stick. The Premium has a tricked up stereo with a touch screen and built in Satnav all pumping through big butch speakers. So as to be sure to please everyone, the whole package was topped off with some tasty leather seats. Wow!
The spell had been broken leaving an comforting feeling of wellbeing in us both. We still had cars to drive so promised to call Miss Jessica to let her know how things went. She waved gently as we left. As I looked back the sun sparkled off her lip gloss once again like a guiding star. Maybe it wasn’t a dream? We forged back into the treacle where it took what seemed to be an age to get a few k’s to the next showroom.
This experience was somewhat different. There were a cluster of brands under the one name strewn over several buildings. The whole shebang suffered badly from delusions of grandeur. Alfa, Renault and even the Citroen DS3 was to be inspected. Although Honda too, proudly displayed her products, none took the eye of Mr A. Renault was an immediate bust as there were no Megane Trophies to be had. We looked at the Citroen DS3 which looked great on the outside, but the inside looked cheap and nasty and the price would make a grown man feel faint. Then came Alfa. The salesman was your archetypal salesperson and may as well have had a gold tooth. For some odd reason he was trying to steer us toward the Mito QV almost refusing us a drive of the delicious Giulietta. The Mito looked the business apart from the cheap white placky triangle with the Alfa cloverleaf on it. It was ugly an out of place on the front fender and looked like someone stapled a tit on a pumpkin.
The inside looked OK but it took some doing to get the man to furnish us with the keys. The sales routine started before the car even hit the road. He was driving, and after thrashing the tits off the Mito, he screamed to a halt to swap drivers with Mr A. By now we were both deeply traumatised and Mr A. drove like Miss daisy just to get us back to the dealer in one piece. We both had developed a severe allergy to this man and couldn’t bear him being within coo-ee of us. The Mito was only OK. Now Mr A. had already said several times that today was the first time testing and he would be ready to move in about a fortnight. It was to no avail and the sameman just got more obnoxious with the “hard sell” and the “big close”. We even got the “it’s the only one left and won’t last this afternoon” line, so we left. This meant two more contenders had been dumped leaving only the Golf and Polo. It goes to show pushy sales people can do themselves out of a deal just by acting like complete ninnies!
The Polo was more or less knocked out by the time we had driven another few K’s so by the time the 370Z rolled into the VW parking lot the, Golf GTi looked to be the only German in the fray. Unlike other VW dealerships we’ve experienced recently, this one was pleasant and the cute boy just threw us the keys and told us roughly where to go. Thank the gods we had Satnav to get back because we got totally bamboozled by the labyrinth of backstreets. The main road was still out full of treacle so our salesman said there was some good turns down by the park. Yeah good luck with that! It turned out there was some kind of local festival a few streets over and it too was chock-a-block with soccer mums and “P” platers. Of the 25 minutes we we gone, about 2 of them was not in one of the two bottom gears, but I’m told the DSG is quite good and the motor quite nippy.
Whether it was the universe conspiring or simply bum luck, the decision coloured by the days’ events lead to an inevitable choice, should the WRX be white or grey and a sedan or hatch. Perhaps Merlin had secretly transported us in time and space, or perhaps the traffic just gave us the irrits. I know for sure the brusque tone of the pushy Alfa man left a sour taste in our mouths which pretty much made the choice for us. It’s funny how some things work isn’t it?
Once the dust has settled we’ll check back you to let you know which WRX was selected. If you’re having trouble choosing a car, maybe Merlin could help you too!