Car appreciation... the aesthetics, the engineering, etc

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  • Ah the good old Skoda Popemobile. For when you truly don't give a shit about what the car looks like. Lol.

  • My van keeps blowing rear brake and signal lights and the rear ac vent is blocked. Back to the dealers to see how good the warrantee is. I’ve never had anything new enough to worry before!

  • I think they are a really reliable and useful car - a great tool which all some people need a car for to be fair.
    I just often drive it and feel disappointed that I didn't buy a big old rwd estate because it would be more fun to drive and feel less cheap and plastically. It's the only car I've had that I haven't wanted to drive fast - maybe I'm just getting old!

  • I usually carry 200-300kg of kit to a job, sometimes double that.

    A VW Passat estate has a max carrying load of 670kg. I assume a Skoda Superb is similar.

    Have you had a look at those to see if they'd fit the bill dimensions wise?

    They are pretty big.

    A builder mate uses one as his work car. He also has access to a pickup, but can do the majority of what he needs with a Passat estate and roof rack.

    Someone else might be able to comment if it would be worth upgrading springs if you're running close to the max weight on the regular. But if the majority of the time it's half the max weight I'd have thought it would be fine.

    The other advantages are; the great comfort, mod cons, high safety rating to protect your child, and it doesn't look like a works van so if people look in the back they're more likely to think you're just moving house not moving tens of thousands of camera kit (that is what you do right?).

    In fact that last point is a large reason my mate has stuck with VW estates over a van or pickup for his main vehicle.

  • I'd also add that you want something comfortable with good sound deadening and Cruse Control if you're doing the sorts of journeys you describe.

    You'll end the journey less tired.

  • I’ve got two cats in the 996 and four (!) in the C55.

    Diesels tend (in passenger cars, not so often in vans) to be turbo charged as otherwise the performance is sluggish. As knock isn’t really a thing with diesels you can feed them a lot of boost, which tends to give you a big slug of torque but no real powerband- it’s “woosh/change gear/woosh/change gear”.

    People with diesel cars talk about torque and say power doesn’t matter on the road- these people are lying, and you should ignore them.

    For my estate car I wanted both power and a lot of torque, which means either forced induction or lots of capacity- and turbo charging (below a certain, fairly silly size of turbo relative to your engine size) tends to follow the “woosh/change/woosh/change” model, so I got a 5.4 litre naturally aspirated petrol engine as that is both torquey and will, when you fancy it, spin round to 7,500rpm with an entertaining induction hammer at higher revs. Ask Richie how much petrol this uses if you want to see a grown man cry, however.

    Diesel, no matter what you do, is a filthy fuel and should be avoided if at all possible. Petrol can be made (relatively speaking) very clean. You can run a modern Bentley engine on the exhaust of a classic one, which I thought was impressive for e.g.

    Ultimately I’d get out and test drive some car like vans, and some van like cars. Maybe something like the Sharan might work?

  • I've done some pretty long journeys in a big variety of cars, I'm not tall but I do have a bad back, and have done for 15 years. For example I drove coast to coast in America in 3 days, including one 1100 mile day. Yesterday I drove 500 miles. 2 years ago I drove to Puglia in Italy. These are just examples.

    The biggest thing for me in terms of comfort are seats that aren't old and cruise control.

    Older seats, no matter how plush they might have been when new, have sagged and no longer provide the support they originally did. Like a battered wingback leather chair that looks inviting but ultimately is terribly uncomfortable.

    Cruise control allows you to rest your right leg, people who don't suffer with sciatica might never realise that constant slight variation in ankle angle and leg extension controlling the accelerator over long distance motorway driving can be very painful, especially triggering shooting nerve pain.

    Yesterday I got into the car already in a bit of pain, but I got out at the end with no more pain than I started which is a really big deal. Especially if you have a kid and need to be active and involved the next day.

    The other big factor for me, as someone with bad tinnitus and partial hearing loss, is sound deadening. Cars have a lot better sound proofing than vans and the resultant tinnitus aggravation from driving long distance in an older or cheaper car or van is really noticeable that evening and the next day.

  • Just to add to NH’s post, I drove to Morzine and back in a Recaro SPG race seat and was extremely comfortable- firm and supportive FTW.

  • @cyoa left-field option, but have a look at the Honda FRV. 3 seats up front so kiddo can sit with you and you can permanently remove the rear seats.

    Not a great option if you’re planning on more children though.

  • Cruise control isn't something I've considered so will investigate.

    Sound is something I've considered but assumed I'll suffer through. I rented a Toyota CHR the other day (was all Europcar had at short notice) for kid duties (he bailed at the last minute so it sat outside my house unused at 150 quid for the privilege). I thought it was broken when I pushed the button and started to pull away. Silent. I should feel used to pedestrians not looking from years of central London cycling but it's slightly scarier when you're driving a hefty SUV.

  • 5.4 litre naturally aspirated petrol engine
    Ask Richie how much petrol this uses if you want to see a grown man cry, however.

    My mate bought a 4L supercharged XJR and he reckons that makes about 15mpg. Is the Merc even worse?!

  • I know diesels are bad but at what mpg do they meet in the middle with a thirsty petrol? Or is it all about the NOx and particulates.

    I've been looking at the 1.6 blue motion Passat estates. 30 quid road tax and mega mpg seems pretty good for a big estate

  • Tangent - why would someone disable 'emissions gear' (is that the DPF I mentioned?) - presumably bottlenecks power or something?

    DPF and EGR valves. The main issue is they wear out / clog over time, and garages be like "We can fit a new one for £800 or take it out for £100. What'll it be?"

    In theory it should be picked up at MOT time, but judging by some of the cars (and vans, especially vans) on the road...

  • Trying to get my head around torque converters. Because input rpm > output rpm, you get an increase in torque at low rpm, and as the input speeds up, the output also speeds up giving a lower multiplication from input to output rpm. Because of this inefficiency, you then add a lock up clutch to get input to output to 1:1 ratio, rather than relying purely on the fluid in the torque converter for power transfer.
    Is that right? Or have I got it all backwards?

  • 21 mpg today, for a few minutes over an hours drive, mixed London and motorway, at an average of 41mph. Two MTB’s on the roof, and what I would call a “spirited” 70mph on the motorway.

    Drive it using the paddle shift, without bikes on the roof and you’d certainly see single digit fuel economy, and quite possibly blue flashing lights in the mirrors.

  • As a comparison, the L200 averages about 30mpg in the real world, a mix of country and town roads with very little mororway and a small amount of light offroad. My right foot is far from light and a determined miser could probably eke out a further 7 or 8mpg. This is for a turbo diesel shunting around the best part of 3 tons of truck, frequently laden with large lumps of decidedly non-aero materials.

  • Just found out I’ll have to pay ulez from 2021 on the 2009 1.6d Berlingo. Bit gutted really.

  • Looking in to how dpf and egr work. They don't wear out. They break. They also need maintenance.

  • Non supercharged doesn't make much more mpg. XJR is a luxury barge.

  • All that horsepower but can’t go round corners for shit. Mate says it’s fun to put your foot down tho. And you can’t really complain for £600!

  • @lynx how is the A2

  • I’m on about 30mpg I guess, in a CLA45 AMG. It’s only a 2 litre but putting out 381bhp. It’s fairly ridiculous.

    Family estate though.

    Anyway I’ve only done just over 12,000 miles in over 2 years so I don’t feel too bad.

  • At that price the suspension and tyres aren't going to be great. But will be cool gently oversteering around roundabouts

  • Still awaiting my collection. Guy is waiting on covid results.

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Car appreciation... the aesthetics, the engineering, etc

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