Bicycles. Yes, I know this is a magazine about motors, but there are times when it is important to be able to squeeze difficult objects into those motors.
In my experience, nothing is more difficult than a pushbike of the non-folding variety. Even taking the bike’s wheels off doesn’t seem to help much at all, but imagine trying to find an interesting automatic coupé that can take a bike inside. That’s just what I’ve been doing. So any thoughts of £1000 worth of Renault Kangoo can be dismissed right now.
The obvious place is to start with the fairly generous four to five-seat coupés. I find myself looking at BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz CLKs, but that seems so very obvious. So let’s go a bit weird and take a look at the Citroën C4, which, I think, is distinctive and, in VTR+ trim, guarantees a bit of excitement. The prices aren’t outrageous, either, because I came across a 2007 1.6 HDi with a reasonable 90,000 miles at £1800. There’s a hatch-like rear end, which may even mean that both wheels can stay on the bike, although I wouldn’t want to bank on that.
The French have form when it comes to compact coupés, and that brings us to the passed-away Renault Mégane. It has a suitably big rear end, like all the Méganes, and it would be interesting to see if a bike would actually fit. You can pick up tidy one-owner examples for not too much. Well, from under £4000, which delivers an unwanted 2.0-litre petrol in Privilege trim and an even less desirable automatic form. That might help when the handlebars are hooked around the centre console. It’s certainly worth a go.
I was briefly distracted by 2004 and 2005 BMW 645s with some impressively high mileages at around £5000. The boot is big, but not that big. Access to the rear of larger four-door BMWs lets you get a ‘racer’ (1970s term for a drophandlebar five or 10-speed) in the back. I don’t really want to damage a 645.
It would, of course, be super-silly not to pay some close attention to a Vauxhall Astra GTC. I rather like the idea of a 2.0 CDTi SRi, and a 2012 example with just over 50,000 miles is £7000. There are a fair few around.
What about an Audi A5 with folding rear seats? Surely, that would do it. You will pay about the same money as the Astra, but it will be a car from 2007 or so, a 2.0 Multitronic. There should also be a shout for the Volkswagen Scirocco, and the £7000 start point brings into play a 2009 2.0 TDI with a stiff 100k mileage.
Obviously, the solution is a superestate like an Audi S-something, or just a flipping bike rack.