You’ve already dealt with the balloons. This is just one example of what the car dealer thinks of you. He reckons that you are so moronic that if he hangs a few colourful balloons outside his showroom, you will think there is some kind of ‘do’ on, so you’ll be unable to drive by.. It gets better, because while the Fiat is very similar in concept to the Mini – they’re both fashion statements first and cars second – it is much cheaper. And as a little bit of icing on the cake, here is a car that doesn’t have to be grey or silver like 75 per cent of all the other cars on the road. It can be powder blue or egg-yolk yellow or child’s lipstick red. You can even cover it in stickers. And you should.. But what of the new model? Well, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a looker. With its black-painted sills, it appears sleek and slinky, more like a coup? than a family hatchback.. This is a reviewer’s nightmare. It’s like asking a restaurant critic to write about a McDonald’s burger that has exactly the same ingredients as all the others but in a slightly different arrangement. Some colleagues of mine recently worked out that there are currently 153 different options available across the twenty-strong 911 range and that, as a result, there are 9.6 trillion mildly different permutations of what is basically the same bloody car.. Elsewhere in the world people buy cars for all sorts of reasons. Value. Economy. Speed. Space. Comfort. But in Miami people buy, or rent, cars for showing off; for demonstrating that back home in Philadelphia their shower curtain ring factory is doing pretty well.. Which brings me on to the ideal Swedish car. It’s the new five-seat BMW 328i, which in Stockholm is probably sold to school-run mums as an eight-seat MPV.. All of which brings me to the Ford Focus. It’s called the EcoBoost and it meets the new green legislation in the cleverest, simplest, bestest way yet. It runs on an engine so small, the cylinder block would sit neatly on a piece of A4 paper. That small.. Which is why I was so cross with the elderly Australian tourist I encountered on London’s Kensington High Street recently. ‘Why are you driving this piece of shit?’ he asked. I explained that I was testing it and that, actually, it was rather interesting. But that didn’t calm him down one jot. He was so angry that I
should be driving such a thing, he started hitting it with his shopping bags. ‘It’s shit!’ he screamed. ‘And you should know better.’. The idea was simple. The manufacturer had taken a van and then fitted back windows and seating in the rear to create what was a very practical, supremely comfortable and extraordinarily cheap family car.. I suppose I could raise a safety question. Because, while its antics are a massive giggle on a track, I do wonder what will happen when it’s raining and your head is full of other things and you try to go round a roundabout at 25 mph. There’s a time and a place for oversteer and I’m not sure 5.30 p.m. in suburbia is it. Best in these circumstances, then, to turn the traction control on.. OK, Sister Maria, try tailgating me now. In theory, this is the chocolate pudding that won’t make you fat. It’s the cigarette that repairs your lungs. It’s the gravy-resistant silk tie. And it has been that way since the first incarnation burst into the world of tanning salons way back in the early days of Mrs Thatcher.. Then, afterwards, it was back to London, where the sporting brogue became as comfortable and as quiet as your favourite armchair. Some of the fixtures and fittings are not quite as satisfying as they are on its proper brother, but the architecture is great: the high centre console put me in mind of a Porsche 928, and there’s no getting away from the fact that there are many toys to play with. Possibly because I had an Autobiography-spec car.. I suppose I should explain that by far the worst offender that night was me. This is because I was in a rage at the politicians who allowed this system to be implemented. I was in a rage at the lightly dented Ford Galaxy in front that would not pull over, even when its driver had the chance. I was in a rage at the mathematicians who were responsible for the 50-mph limit. But most of all I was in a rage because I was in an Audi. A big, twin-turbo RS 6 that was the colour of a dog’s lipstick.. Lexus IS 300h F Sport.