Saturday, January 25, 2014

Here, there, everywhere

Really busy day yesterday.

I dislike doing posts which are basically "How was your day ?" but I think this time it's worth it ...

It's my dad's birthday very soon (which I almost completely forgot about - doh!), so I've made the trip up to see the parents. Sister is on the way too (apparently just in time to run into storms - lol). But ... that was after a planned trip to Lexus Cheltenham.

When I got my CT, it was to replace a Ford Focus ST which was ... boring, impractical, gas guzzling and very poor around the bends. I don't drive that fast but I very rarely slow down for the bends. I like a car that handles well and is responsive to your input. I like my toys too and having to go through the following procedure for long trips was ... annoying :

Setting up the iPod for a trip :
Unscrew the aerial.
Connect iPod to FM retransmitter, start iPod playing
Tune car radio to the right channel
Sigh in frustration as it loses the music due to jamming by commercial radio.

Yep - even with the aerial disconnected, the retransmitter was still too feeble to have a reliable link. And listening to the music is very high on the priority list. So the Focus had to go early due to being horrible. Remembering back, I suspect I dodged a broken third gear in that car too as third was getting increasingly difficult to engage. I was also curious about getting away from a manual to give a poorly left leg (clutch foot) a chance to recover. It didn't like stop/start traffic much.

The CT is an outstanding car. If you're in the market for something a few years old and aren't that bothered about speed, there are 3 year old CTs available now that are passed that big depreciation phase. I'd thoroughly recommend them. It's one of the best cars in its class for flexibility, economy, toys and space. The only drawback is the speed, 10secs to 60 is slower than I like. That said, it'll always give you 10 secs, without the stress you put on the gearbox and clutch in a manual car when trying to get maximum speed out of it.

What's replacing it ?

A few months ago there should be a few posts about the new Lexus IS :
It's slightly bigger and has a bigger engine and motor. Yep, it's another hybrid. Given the choice between turbo diesel and hybrid, I'd choose hybrid every time. They both have similar characteristics :

Lots of torque for flexibility
Massive economy numbers
Turbo lag which is matched by motor lag

However, while hybrids rightfully claim total reliability (breakages of the hybrid system are virtually unheard of on the Lexus Owners club forum), a turbo charger works in a very nasty environment. The exhaust gasses which power them will (definite) disintegrate a turbo from the inside over several years. The family has suffered from turbo failures and turbo problems in VW's, Freelanders ...

I'm on my soapbox there I'm afraid. A turbo is an elegant solution to a problem but it comes with a reliability cost.

Right - new IS. It's quicker and it's even better inside than the CT. Going up the cost a bit allows them to make less compromise on what they include. That said, there's a few features on my CT that are either missing (heated leather seats come in higher up the range or are expensive) or expensive.

It'll come "soon", definitely before I get chance to play with it on a work trip in a couple of weeks. Possibly even next week. We shall see. Yesterday ended up being :

Work until all done - no meetings this time to slow me down. I hate working Friday afternoons but will not leave urgent work unfinished. I'll make the time to sort that out before chilling out at home.

Oh ! Miss L spotted me in time to wave and say hello ! She's always smiling that one and will always give me a wave even if I don't spot her first. I know there's a few who spot me and go "It's Pete ! Run away before he spots me ..." lol.
(And I got a miniwave from the Snow Queen on Thursday which made my day)

From work, it's up the road to Cheltenham to the garage. Had a decent length of test drive. Coulda done without the magical mystery tour around Gloucester to avoid holdups on the motorway. They're building a new service station near Cheltenham. Bit daft that, it's not needed. What is needed is extension to a junction to the north of Cheltenham which would ease traffic problems there. At the moment, you can only go one way from it instead of both.

The car was impressive, so I ended up getting Persuadertronned into getting it (5 Geek Points if you spot the reference). There's a few big reasons for taking the plunge again :

Interest rates may go up, which would make it more expensive in a few months.
Free satnav
Deposit contribution
Lets me push a big end-of-contract payment out a few more years

All very sensible reasons. But that's not why we buy things like this. We buy them for the way they make us go "WHEEEE" when going round corners too quick. After struggling for inspiration for a few years with the CT (Vera after the reg plate was not an option), I've already come up with two :

Ghost - it'll be silver and it is silent inside even when pushing it
Khan - because it's Better.

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