Our Cars – Carless Whisper: The 2014 Nothing Whatsoever At All

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Recently, I made the executive decision to sell my BMW 5-series, whose ownership I documented extensively in the award-winning Beaterland series (Seriously, it was a close battle for the Pulitzer between me and Chris Haining’s Carchive). After the buyer had made the lengthy journey to my town, paid the reasonable sum of money and collected the 1995 BMW, this is what I replaced the car with.

Two metres per five metres of air in my parking spot.

This post tells you how I’m dealing with the latest development in my car fleet.

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The improvements compared to BMW ownership are obvious from the get go. First of all, the running costs are basically next to nothing. Visits to the filling station are a thing of the past, and I’ve now stopped buying windshield washer fluid altogether. That is also due to the fact the washer jets do not work on the Peugeot, and it’s in the auto shop anyway. This and the Saab and Polo being stored means I have nothing to drive with.

Head and legroom are also a great improvement on the BMW. While the E34 wasn’t a cramped car in the cabin, now I can basically stretch as much as I’ll ever need. And there are plenty of places to put my cell phone, even if a power outlet or a cigarette lighter is conspicuous by its absence, and I am again completely cupholderless. Also, it has to be said the panel gaps are frankly enormous. Just sitting in it, especially on a cold day like today, I can definitely feel a draft in my face despite being stationary. That’s something I need to look into.

And while I always had a major problem fitting anything in the BMW’s shallow trunk, it certainly isn’t an issue here. I can practically store anything wherever I want, especially a full set of tires that always were a problem to transport in the E34. Same goes for the hallway mirror: it’s one of those objects that simply does not fit through a ski hatch. Not a problem now – and neither is parking, really. I can fit this into any parking space I come across, without any fear of parking dings. An absolute joy in town, combined with the excellent all-around visibility.

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To my surprise, audio was even on the list of furnishings. Though I do have to mention the wiring is embarrassingly visible to the naked eye, and the speakers aren’t much to speak of. To be fair, it has to be said that any static is virtually imperceptible.

But in the end, despite the air conditioning working like a breeze, the driving experience does leave me cold. There’s something in the absolute straightahead position that feels indescribably vague, and especially on a snowy day like this I can’t help but feel the front isn’t connected to the road at all. Of course, the steering was at times somewhat vague in the BMW as well, so getting used to the current situation hasn’t been too difficult.

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For a short period, I also experimented with a 1987 Lada Samara, just because the opportunity came along. But then again, I ultimately wasn’t convinced it was really better than nothing.

[Images: Copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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