"Siri, give me an allegory for the state of British car buyers.”
Honestly, I didn’t see that coming. Every time I open a newspaper, which is too often for my constitution these days, I’m told we’re all, basically, doomed. Goody gumdrops.
Gloom: the ideal conditions in which to own, frankly, a Toyota Hilux. Failing that, the ideal alternative for the modest suburban dweller with access to a competitive but somewhat limited company car scheme would be a Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer.
The Country Tourer is ideal for modern life. It looks like an ordinary estate car. It is beyond anonymous. It is like an airport hotel room shorn of mirrors. It says nothing about its keeper, thus making them the target of nobody’s venom.
Nobody will place a passive-aggressive anti-urban SUV sticker on its windscreen, and yet it is taller than a normal car and rides on soft tyres so is immune from the potholes that cost local councils – which means you and me – more than £1 billion a year in compensation. It is also extremely spacious, and you should never, but never, underestimate the advantages of a large boot with a flat floor – perhaps even a washable insert – in a looming crisis.
And beyond all of this, it has a Vauxhall badge on it: because why the hell would you care what kind of badge it has at a time like this? It is the perfect car for austere, concerned, changeable, unpredictable, crises-ridden times. Naturally, then, Vauxhall conspired to sell just 24 of them last year.
So it has been pulled from sale. Compare and contrast, then, with the new Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet. If we must. And I’m afraid we must.
It will go on sale next year and has been created partly because of demand in the UK. Is there a new car you are less likely to buy, I wonder? If you drew up a list of ‘the kinds of car that somebody who really likes cars is likely to walk into a dealer and place a deposit on’, how high do you think the phrase ‘a mainstream compact crossover with a fully convertible roof’ should place? Would it be above last?