Why I keep driving the lemon

My Renault broke down again on Friday, two days after returning triumphant and repaired from the main dealer.  By some unfortunate happenstance, my warranty hadn’t been renewed last year, and I paid what I now find to be more than the value of the car to have a faulty dashboard part replaced.

The battery is totally dead again.  Last time that happened, I took ages to get it fixed.  This time – who knows?

Maybe I should mention it keeps giving me electric shocks every time I get out – I thought it was just me, since supermarket trolleys and filing cabinets also give me electric shocks.  But since there have been repeated wiring failures on lights, ignition, dashboard, etc etc, maybe there’s another place where the battery is shorting out against the car frame?

Knowing that the repair costs are starting to rack up to more than the value, it’s probably time to look again at buying a car – last time I did that, it was a horrible, confusing time, not to mention expensive, so I am far from looking forward to it.

But given that it breaks down so often, why do I keep driving the Mégane? And why am I still thinking about another Renault?

It’s the cockpit experience.  Although the Mégane was my ahem, 4th ((Rover – shook itself to pieces; Ford Fiesta – crashed; Skoda Favorit estate – mystery radiator problem)) car in a very short driving career, it was the first nice, reasonably new car.

The pedals feel great.  They’re smooth and responsive (except when the hydraulics failed those two times).  The steering wheel is reassuring.  The stick radio controls are really handy, and the CD player works.  The radio gets louder when you accelerate, and quietens down for the slow bits – and best of all, you can almost always hear it over the engine.  The seat adjusts in five dimensions, including time and space. There’s room in the back seat *and* the boot. Although not quite enough after the Skoda estate car.  The handbrake clicks reassuringly, it doesn’t rasp gratingly. I know nothing about what goes on under the bonnet but all the bits I relate to directly feel nice.

I’ve been driving P’s car over the weekend, and it’s, erm, not quite so refined.

If I replace the car, I should go for a smaller one.  Most of my journeys are small hops across town with only me in the car.  (Of course, with a green hat on, I shouldn’t be making those journeys by car.  But I still can’t cycle. And even if I could, a bike would not be ideal for hoiking piles of leaflets across town, a job I do surprisingly frequently.

I initially went for a Mégane over a Clio because I looked in the boot and thought “I can’t go camping in that.” But having seen how some people manage to fit the most amazing amount of kit in the smallest of cars, maybe that’s no longer the best way of thinking?

So is there a small, not eye-wateringly expensive car that has the nice cockpit experience?

3 comments on “Why I keep driving the lemon

  1. Try the other French marque. My Citroen C4 appears to tick all your boxes. I don’t think there’s any significant difference in reliability between makes any more, all the popular makes are boringly similar, so why not go for something with a bit of design flair?

  2. Mum says:

    google “honest john”. Does car reviews and buying guides etc. Can be v technical, but not always!!

  3. Mum says:

    look especially at review for what you’re driving now! Appears serious electrical problems common 😦

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