Is your car losing that new-car smell/feel/taste? Are you simply bored with it? Have you lost appreciation for the subtle nuances simply because you drive it every day? I have a great way to learn to love your car again. Drive something worse for at least a few hundred miles. That’s all it takes!
While in Paris, we decided to rent a car and go bomb around the countryside. We visited numerous chateaus, putted around quaint towns and circled about 60% of Paris. Renting through Europcar, we were graced with a fairly-new (~6,000km on the odo) petrol Peugeot 206 5-door. Some highlights:
- 75 horsepower!
- 0-60 in just under 15 seconds!
- 44 MPG!
Filling up in Europe is deceptively expensive. “Oh, hey, somewhat over a euro per liter, under four liters per gallon, not terrible!” This is sort of like the “Roughly how many piano repairmen are in Chicago?” type problem; estimates here and there can compound how far off you are from the true total. After driving about an hour and a half, the refueling bill was about $70 USD. This is for a sub-compact! I looked a less-efficient cars in awe for the rest of the trip. I saw a GTO a day after my return to the States and thought to myself “That car gets 16 MPG; my equivalent fuel bill would have been almost $200!”
When I slipped behind the wheel of my car, everything was right with the world. The clutch wasn’t a hilariously-light affair with a three-inch engagement point. The steering wasn’t so light that I felt as if I was steering with a soggy baguette ring. The engine could accelerate! Acceleration is banned in France. I like accelerating. I really did enjoy the shifter in the 206. The 6-speed Getrag in my car is getting a bit notchy at only 50,000 miles.
My car is nowhere close the the optimal configuration for automotive enjoyment. It’s an open-diff, nose-heavy FWD with a funky rear suspension (Ford ControlBlade). If I was coming home to a mid-engine RWD vehicle, my appreciation would be that much greater.