I polished a hire car…
There I’ve said it, the secret’s out. I polished a hire car – I couldn’t help myself!
So now your thinking? Weekend treat? Unexpected upgrade? Killed my daily? Actually a bit of all three… Rewind to last weekend and the treacherously unseasonal weather – call it April power showers. Well yours truly, on the natural high that only a run of 12 hour night shifts can provide, attempted to re-create that famous scene from the Spy Who Loved Me where James plunges his Lotus Esprit, chrome Wolfrace alloys and all, into the Sardinian coast.
Well, exchange Sardinia for an Essex B-road, then swap those crystal clear blue breakers for breached river bank brown and you’re there. Annoyingly a FIAT Marea, a KIA Sedona, a Rover 25 and a BMW 5-Series have over the last ten years effortlessly ploughed through exactly the same spot, smeared with a negligible amount of standing water. However, the evil henchmen in GM’s Russelsheim lair cunningly decided that the best place for a forced air intake is as close to the ground as possible… yep… you can guess it…
Anyway, I’m awaiting the results of my aquatic experiment, but in the mean time a courtesy car arrived. Several of them in fact. Car number one was a rather smart black Astra, very nicely equipped and featuring three pedals. So I made a call, reminded all concerned my additional premium to ensure an automatic transmission equipped car. No problem, a rather smart delivery milage Corsa arrived, also in black, and sharing the same cubic capacity as a ride on lawnmower. So I made a call, reminded all that my additional premium guaranteed at least 1600cc. No problem, car number three procured. Eventually… A day later I went to pick up the two pedal Toyota I had been promised, but there was a surprise – a 61 plated Prius sat waiting in Enterprise’s back lot.
A Prius on AROnline!?!?!
Yep, an evil risible environmental joke, driven by people who wear hats and hug trees. You know the thing, no brakes (and no road tax neither).
Hey, I’m a car guy, so actually I got a little excited (to the extent I wound all the windows down to see if I could hear it pull away) to have the keys, no sorry remotes to something different. This is where it went wrong. Everyone knows the special qualities of a hire car – faster in all gears (including reverse) than a regular car.
As the hire depot is on the side of a dual carriage way, I had to deploy my size ten to the MASH position on the accelerator. So I looked over my right shoulder and my right foot selected MASH. Rather like a lift changing floors, there was a whhiirrrr noise to a heady 40mph. Just like a normal car and actually a lot quicker than one anticipated in all honesty. The only difference being the swap from whhiirrr to brummm at just below 20mph when the infernal combustion engine made itself heard. That was the problem I mentioned – this affront to all car enthusiasts the world over, drove like a car; a rather sweetly chassised one at that.
Actually, this indignant eco-slur to the world’s highways happened to be a rather good car – a broad power band (no woeful diesel-like, all or nothing power band), good visibility, plenty of adult space in the back, a taught yet comfortable ride, all very acceptable. It had to bite somewhere. So even though I had signed for a full tank I squeezed £9.08p of unleaded petrol in for a brim-to-brim mpg test.
Rather annoyingly the gloating pump reminded me that petrol happened to be 6 pence a litre cheaper (or 27 pence a gallon in old money) than diesel. Next it took a scientific hammering on the nation’s motorways, at speeds enough to keep up with the fast moving traffic, *cough* I mean 70mph. Well, 287 miles and three days later I visited my personal nemesis – the filling station.
Upon squaring upto the unleaded pump I gently squeezed the trigger, all the way to the click, click, click – so the verdict? 29.999 litres or 43.5mpg real world brisk use. Or factoring the petrol to diesel cost ratio, more economical than my CDTi (which sits at 44-45mpg what ever the weather). That’s why, chuffed with this result, I went home, got my bucket out and gave my hire car a wash.
Then a polish. Then a wax. Even the little green Enterprise “E” on the tailgate. I know it’s not normal, but then neither is wanting a Prius…
Now he’s busy working towards retirement. Hmm.