MONDAY - First decent drive in our Jaguar XE diesel long-termer, a round trip of 150 miles: London, Midlands, Gloucestershire.
This is the 178bhp diesel with eight-speed auto, which strikes me as top value, given that it starts around £32,000. It goes, too. I was surprised to discover its 0-60mph time was only 7.4sec, because the powertrain – comprising a 2.0-litre diesel with 317lb ft plus eight easy-shifting ratios – gives a strong response at any speed.
One criticism: having driven quite a few electric cars lately, I’d like the XE’s response to be more linear, especially from rest. Like many, the Jag gives you a pause followed by a surge.
The best thing for me is the superb driving position. Knowing how many packaging hurdles designers have to negotiate, I can hardly believe how tailored it is: perfect seat shape and position, ideal control layout and instrument view, great sight lines. It will be a wrench to give this car back.
TUESDAY - Latest dopey idea: buy an ex-Army Jeep. Actually, the idea’s not so new. I’ve had it since I was a kid, when some of my father’s friends in outback Australia drove about in vehicles they’d bought straight from the forces for £100. We laughed at their crudity back then.
Now, I see a wartime original as the perfect garage companion for a Lotus Seven or Citroën 2CV: huge capability combined with supreme simplicity.
Take a look at the Milweb site, said a helpful friend, you’ll find dozens. I did and he was right, but as a result the idea died. Ten grand gets you a basket case, the number of varieties is intimidating, false provenance seems an issue and, like many simple, high-value vehicles, Jeeps attract bodgers. Think I’ll just keep enjoying other people’s as they drive by…