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Car
Sunday 27th January 2019 7:50 pm

I now have my new car and I have driven it. I want to say that I like that it starts when I turn the key, except that it's a button, not a key, and because it's a hybrid when I press the button it's silent. It starts up the petrol engine when it needs to, which it did when stationary the first day I had it, because I couldn't work out how to turn the heating off (after pressing all the buttons I discovered it was the one marked 'off'). At one point it frightened the life out of me when I got out to check that the lights were on and not the fog lights or anything else and it started up just after I got out of the car.

I like that you can move the seat up. So I can now sit up straight enough to get the sun behind the sun visor in the mornings. And the lights of cars coming towards me aren't so blinding. I feel like I'm driving a 4x4. And have a tendency to hit my head on the sun visor.

It has a lot of gadgets, most of which I haven't used yet because I'm still getting to grips with the driving and the heating. The driving especially, because it's an automatic. I was fine the first day, but ever since whenever I want to put it in any gear I end up in neutral. I'm very glad the screen tells me what gear I'm in because I keep wondering why I'm not moving. And my instinct after putting it in reverse is to go upwards (for first gear) and then end up in park (which also means the car doesn't move).

When they redesigned the car they made it 20cm longer, which is in the boot. Although given that there's less space between the front and back seats, I don't know where the rest of the length went. I have, however, managed to make the boot smaller. In my old car there was a part of the boot that lived above the main boot that meant it was all flat if you put the seats down. Since the new car was the same width, and the old car was only going to be recycled, I took it out of the new car. It does fit, but not quite as well, so you have to be a bit careful about where you put stuff. Which ends up in having less space overall.

But I have less in the car. I found a lot of stuff in there I didn't know I had. I remember what the sellotape was for (making sure the headlights stayed attached after a pheasant flew out in front of me) but I have no idea why there was blu tack in the car. I don't remember ever needing to blu tack anything in either of my previous cars.

After buying a new car for the first time, I am going back to second hand after this. It's just such a lot of faff, whereas buying second hand is so much easier. And I feel like it's a bit posh for me. I miss having a bottom of the range, doesn't do anything fancy car (as much as I liked listening to the tennis on 5 Live Sports Extra on the way to work this week).


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Car
Monday 7th January 2019 10:20 pm

I have solved all my car problems (and I realised I have four things about it that aren't quite right) by buying a new car. It's the same as my old car, only newer and a model up. And still red, of course (I have found that it's not just me who finds having a red car makes me invisible on the roads, but how can I have a car that's not red?). Which is about the only thing I didn't compromise on when I bought it.

Toyota seem to have decided, in updating their cars, to make them 20 cm longer. That 20cm is in the boot, which is fine. But then to make up for that they made it so the back seats don't go forwards. And I think they made it so there's less leg room in the back, but it's hard to tell because I test drove a car where you could raise the front seat, so then I had to have it further back. I really wanted a car where I have to move the seat all the way forward, but it seems that the only way to do that is to buy a car for tall people, in which case I can't reach the pedals. Or chop my legs off, but that seems a bit drastic.

They have removed a lot of storage from inside the car. According to the salesman this is to accommodate air bags. A comparison of the car I sat in and my car tells me this is completely and total rubbish. The trouble is that I have a lot of stuff in the car. On the other hand, I might not need it all in there. I opened a compartment I hadn't opened for ages and found, among other things, an ice scraper. I own four ice scrapers, in various sizes. Last winter I used one once to remove snow off my car. I think it's safe to say I don't need four of them. Especially as the new car will have heated wing mirrors. Although I have no way of knowing if they ever work because I haven't seen my wing mirrors with ice on them since before I moved to a house with a garage.

I have got a hybrid. They are more expensive, but you save on petrol. I reckon by the time it dies I should break even on that... Annoyingly hybrids only come in automatic (which are completely unintuitive to drive - and since the left foot isn't doing anything, why not have some controls down there? It would be the perfect place for the radio volume controls). The only thing that reconciled me to the automatic is some research that tells me that's how hybrid/electric cars are going, so by the time I need another new car manual won't be an option any more, so it won't matter that I've forgotten how to drive it.

And it's a 1.5. I currently have a 1.0 which is enough power 99% of the time. It's possible I won't notice the extra power because I've never had a car which can pass a lorry while going up a hill on the dual carriageway, so I'll probably forget that it's a possibility with the new one. Although in the new car I won't be able to go down to fourth gear to try it. (The more I think about it the more crazy it is that there's nothing for my left foot to do)

The hardest thing to figure out will be the lack of CD player. I had to compromise on that to get a digital radio (for 5 Live Sports Extra tennis listening purposes) and more important a digital speedometer (and not to end up with a car that felt like a downgrade from my last one. I tend to listen to all the Big Finish CDs (and sometimes some music CDs) in the car. The new car does have a USB port, so I can always put whatever I want to listen to on my mp3 player, if it doesn't work with my iPod. But I have a load of CDs hanging around and I like the CDs. Even if they take up space, I still like them. But when I get round to getting rid of my old computer I'll only have two CD players in the house (and I did look into plugging a CD player into the USB port of the car and it can't be done due to lack of power).

(I know I need to do a Never Seen Star Wars post for this month, but I'm still deciding what it should be - and have spent a lot of my free time lately researching cars).


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