First of all I would like to thank all of you for posting your super clever suggestions for getting my backside into an interesting seven-seater.
Grateful as I am for the input – I must confess to having completely ignored it. Which is why I’m now the proud owner of a 112,000 mile Volvo V70, 2000 on the “W” and powered by the 2.4-litre petrol engine.
It does fulfil the basic criteria of seating seven, although with two of those rear-facing pop-up seats in the boot. That’s right, sometime before everybody got excited by Vauxhall’s ‘Flex 7’ seating system, various other manufacturers had already had a very similar idea.
The rearmost seats are suitable only for children of course. Which is no bad thing: I’ve discovered they actually can’t wait to climb aboard, hide from parental oversight and then make rude gestures at following motorists.
Before we got to the idea of a rear-facing Swede, I persuaded Mrs. R to have a drive in a Zafira. Which she reckoned was really rather downmarket. We then spent an hour of our lives that we will never get back in a Toyota showroom, looking at a completely underwhelming Verso that was priced so optimistically I couldn’t speak for several days afterwards.
I have to admit that, when you’re actually facing the prospect of putting your name on the V5, it’s the boxy shape of a typical people-carrier that serves as the biggest turn-off. Just the thought of having a lump like that on the drive, blocking out the sun, was enough to make me shudder. Estates are just so much more lifestyle. Plus we – and that’s the royal ‘we’ of HRH Mrs. R – has minimal requirements that include leather, climate and an autobox.
Plan “A” was to find a Merc W124 estate with pop-up seats in the boot, but that one bit the dust when Mrs. R kicked up a fuss about driving a vehicle that was older than the 11-year old Saab she currently pilots. I find more modern Mercedes scary to look at and not entirely reliable.
So we ended up with the Ovlov. I bought it utterly blind – which was stupid, but exciting. Fortunately the old girl seems to be in decent enough fettle and – so far – has cost nothing more than petrol to run.
That said, if I had to do the whole exercise again I think I’d probably just chuck some old foam into the back the Land Rover and tell the kids to make a den there. Next time I’ll think thing through better.