Well, after driving the same car for over ten years now I’ve finally found a new one that I like. A Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin.
The Daihatsu Sportrak that it’s replacing has served me well, it hasn’t broken down, and has only not started a few times because of a knackered battery. But I have replaced: the exhaust twice, the battery twice, the timing belt twice, four new tyres, a new fuel line, the exhaust pipe from the engine, had the radiator reconditioned after it started to leak, had the heater matrix reconditioned after it started to leak, the power steering belt and idler, the spare tyre cover, painted the bull-bar and tow-bar twice and the wheels once, as well as having the brake pads replaced and pretty much every bulb. After 90,000 miles it still drives fine.
I started to look for another car a few years ago, but the only car that I actually went to see was an MG roadster at a Rover garage.
I quite liked the look of them, I still do, so I ordered a brochure and searched on the internet for a second-hand one. The one I found was a dark red colour, after 2 blue cars I fancied a change, and it looked fine and was at a good price. The price was so good that I would have been able to buy a hard-top for the winter and keep the soft one for the summer. Which, in jolly old England, is about 2 and a half weeks in July. I obtained the keys from the sales woman and managed to get in it. I’m about 6 foot 2 inches and so had a bit of a struggle. Once in the drivers seat all I could see was the sun-visor and the clips that hold the soft-top in place. I’m sure that anyone outside at the time would have seen a bump in the roof where my head was. It was very cramped and very dark, with all the dashboard, seats and the roof being black. The one thing I didn’t like was seeing all the brackets and so-on that help the roof to fold away. Needless to say I didn’t buy it.
The only alternatives were the Land Rover Freelander (too wide for the garage), Toyota Rav4 (too expensive for what they are), Jeep Wrangler (only available with a 4 litre engine) and a Ford Ranger (a pickup). Back then I just decided to put an MP3 CD player in my Sportrak and keep it until it dies.
Today the Pinin is the closest thing on the market to the Sportrak. The Rav4 is the nearest contender but I’ve never liked the way that they look. They seem to be more like a bubble car and less like a tough workhorse. Which, in my line of business, is essential.
I had a good look around the Pinin while it was in the showroom. Some of the things that are included I wasn’t really all that concerned about having. Leather seats and air-conditioning I wouldn’t have said were high on my list of “must have’s”. I just wanted something that was reliable, hopefully that’s true, and a car that isn’t too reliant on computers and fancy electronics. I like to feel that I’m in control of the car and not the other way around. I don’t even need central locking.
Time will tell after I’ve picked it up. I’ll no doubt still be cursing and swearing at every other driver on the road and at those idiots who park too close in Sainsbury’s.