Still humiliating the opposition at 80,000 miles
Nothing, but I don't dwell on, or indeed remember trivial problems I can fix in 10 minutes.
Subaru Impreza WRX, hatch, auto., 1998, grey import, assume 250 BHP.
Put 6,000 miles on this car in May 2005 during a visit to the UK and France. Before I arrived, the car had been subjected to attempted theft (so much for a tracker as an anti-theft device) so required the screwdriver start method. Trip to a Subaru dealer was needed to get a replacement ignition barrel. Note: a spare key from Subaru can cost an arm and a leg. Also picked up a full size wheel/tyre, but be advised this sticks up proud of the floor level, so shaped H/D foam rubber is required.
Although car had been serviced, it was soon clear that almost nothing had been changed. My 2002 sticker was still on the fuel filter, front pads were wafer thin, and air cleaner was clogged. Aren't there any honest car servicing mechanics left in the UK? So on the trip, changed air cleaner, oil filter/engine oil, ammeter/air-con belts, front brake pads, transmission fluid, fuel filter. Quick aside: Why do Motor Factor stores jockeys want registration number (when chassis number would surely be more relevant)? If it's in order to supply the correct parts, it's not infallible, as the oil filter was wrong. They must be getting on to a DVLA site. "Welcome to Police State UK" (works best in German accent). UK-supplied brake pads faded out in less than five minutes of minor-road driving.
At 75,000 miles, the autobox had become jerky and a fluid change did not cure it. The small fuel tank (either 50 or 60 litre) started to compromise average speed in drives across France. Regular green petrol has been the lifetime diet of this car, and fuel stops come up every 3.5 hours. With fuel stations few and far between, you need to carry a can, or "pit" as soon as the gauge drops below half. Autoroute petrol stations have problems accepting cash or a non-French card, so getting in and out in less than 10 minutes is a minor miracle. Nevertheless, you can assume at least a 100km/h average even with fuel and meal stops.
From a standing start at the tollbooth you are up to 100mph by beginning of the road proper, which is what you need to get clear of lane-swapping idiots. And the higher-speed, two-lane combination of French National routes eliminates the dodders found on British motorways. "For He shall come to judge the quick and the dead." Contrary to accepted wisdom, French are not "mad" drivers, but tend to follow too closely and are not cowed by the prospect of passing a far quicker car. RHD is not such a problem, but Subaru is basically unknown in France, so you might want to pick up servicing spares in UK, before chilling on the food, the wine, the culture.
It's hard to break the performance car habit, as this defines what you are, and more importantly what you are not. Namely, someone that can be overawed by a car-on-the-firm so-called executive with an inflated ego and an out-of-control spending habit, but in reality is one salary cheque from personal bankruptcy.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd June, 2005