I must say I’m a bit concerned about the future of the banger. In 10 or 20 years’ time, I may be too incoherent and senile to care, but right now, it doesn’t look that good.
Insurers Admiral did the usual attention-seeking thing and revealed that there are just 799 Ford Granadas in circulation. Or at least on our roads. Well, that always happens: what was once street furniture eventually, through natural wastage and rust, becomes a rarity. This isn’t bangers dying out: it is just them becoming classics. What is supposed to happen is that you move on to the next generation of neglected and overlooked 2000-onwards motors.
Things like a Honda Civic, which is a recurring favourite of yours. A 2001 Civic 1.4i with 112,000 miles as an unwanted dealer part-exchange costs £295. It has those massive wide-eyed headlights and just some age-related cosmetic marks and knocks. That’s value for money right there.
The Toyota equivalent is the Corolla. A 1997 1.6 GS can still do a job, especially at £475, which seems rather pricey actually, but if it never breaks down, then that’s a just-add-petrol situation.
The point I am making here is that these are the utterly reliables that have proved themselves in the real world. However, the next generation of potential bangers is not looking good. A reader writes – and I will protect his identity – that he has recently spent quality time delivering hire cars and what he is experiencing is not great when it comes to wear and tear. Obviously, hire cars lead a very hard life indeed, but these are 19-plate vehicles and are no more than 10 weeks old and with mileages that are less than 1500.
So let’s start with some worn carpets on a Hyundai i10 and Honda Jazz. More serious is a service light being on at 3500 miles with a Ford Tourneo Courier. Annoying is a frozen touchscreen on a Ford Focus and irritating, especially for neighbours, is a repeated alarm activation on a Citroën C4 Cactus. Driver’s door switches not working on a Mini Countryman need to be snagged and false tyre pressure warnings on both a Jazz and a Mitsubishi Outlander are a surprise.