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Does a new car mean new problems?
The L Word

Does a new car mean new problems?

by Sarita Rao 3 min. 26.01.2018 From our online archive
If you're thinking to snaffle up a bargain car at this year's Autofest, you might consider the negatives, writes Sarita Rao
New cars: More trouble than they're worth?  (LW)

This time last year, I was preparing to snaffle up a bargain at the Autofest. Of course, my distinct lack of planning meant I had no idea what car to buy, and, by the time I'd worked this out, the Autofest was long gone, like an Audi driver who has just chased you out the fast lane.

I did eventually decide what car to get and ordered it at the beginning of summer. I narrowed my options down, test drove them all, but, finally, the decision came down to what I could fit into my incredibly small garage. That, plus the fact only the VW salesman was willing to put my bulging stash of cash above the need to take a cigarette break.

My new car arrived on 6 December, as if Saint Nicholas himself had delivered it. This is the first time I have ever owned a car straight from the production line. It even smelt of new car.

I didn't shed a tear over my old monster as it rattled down the road to its new home (yes, someone actually bought it in cash, but that's Luxembourg). This one is a smooth ride, and I can finally accelerate to join the motorway in front of that speeding lorry, not behind it. It's automatic, and my right shoulder has been celebrating ever since its arrival. And this car doesn't tell me it's 48 ⁰C in winter.

Technology that makes no sense

Of course, I am constantly trying to change gear, and the switch from diesel to petrol, coupled with the car's fuel injection, means I am also constantly at the filling station. Add to this the need to keep it clean (a hopeless task when the kids eat breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner in the back), and it is becoming a bit of a burden.

The Sat Nav gives me choices for Bonnevoie North or South. I didn't know there were two parts to this neighbourhood and have no idea in which one the street I am looking for is located. And a bonus question: Who knows the difference between the blue, red and orange routes? Whichever I press, it always seems to take me the same way.

There are worrying things, too, like lots of sensors that go mad every time I park. If they get clogged with snow, a warning light comes on. If anyone drives close behind me (compulsory on some roads in Luxembourg), all sorts of flashing warnings and beeping noises fill the car. How much better it was when I could blissfully work out if I could fit into a parking space with a slight nudge of the bumper.

New cars go faster

Speeding is the other problem. I have written long articles about how much I hate people who speed, but now find I am turning into one. I don't notice, but, suddenly, I am driving at 135km per hour on the motorway, or nudging 60km in residential areas. My old car physically groaned if I attempted more than 100km, and I couldn't get it into fourth gear unless I was doing over 60km.

Now, I appear to have seven gears, that switch themselves. In fact, I am barely driving the car any more, other than with my right foot.

Would I swap back to my old tin can on wheels? Well, of course, not. Apart from the daily workout, I got from driving it and the adrenalin rush of wondering if it would make it to the next destination without something falling off, I feel safe and cocooned in my new metal bubble, which feels apt because that's exactly how I feel about living in Luxembourg, possibly the easiest and safest of places to live.

So, if you're deliberating over whether to buy a new car during Autofest, just take the plunge. Like moving to Luxembourg, you'll never look back, except maybe to swear at that Audi driver who has set off your car alert system.