As some of you know I travel a bit for work - usually tend to fly and then pick up a hire car.. I usually quite enjoy this as I get a whole host of different hire cars to test out - I've driven everything from Smart cars to Mercs and pretty much everything in between and given they're hire cars you can give them a good spanking to see what they're really like..
However today will go down as a black day in the calendar as it was the day I experienced the WORST car I've ever been given.. The day started bright and early at 5 a.m. for me and started off promising as I jumped in my car and went to the airport to catch my flight to Birmingham. Managed to get a nice end space for the 1er (always important to make sure you only need to worry about 1 side getting door dings!! LOL!). Flight was on time and then when I landed in Brum - I went to pick up my hire car... this is where my day started going downhill.
The hire car I had been allocated was a Seat Ibiza 5 door 1.2 TDI Ecomotive - thinking it was part of the VAG group, I thought it might not be too bad (I've previously had Altea's and Leon's as hire cars and although nothing special, were fine/comfortable to drive). As I was looking over the car - I noticed that it didn't even have alloys - it had rather cheap/ill fitting wheel trims and the front grill had been filled in. Happy that there was no major cosmetic damage - I jumped inside. Only to be greeted by a massive sea of the cheapest/least tactile grey plastic you could imagine. EVERYTHING was plastic (the entire dash, the steering wheel all of the finishes - not a touch of leather or aluminium anywhere!) - the steering wheel looked like something out an old Renault and like a lot of it's older French contemporaries it had a stupid stork under the indicators to control the stereo! (which kept on getting in the way!).
Punched the location (Leicester) into my sat nav and then started her up... and immediately it sounded like a bag of spanners - VERY agricultural (in fact I've heard more refined tractors!!) - so I set off. Exited the car park and immediately tried to join the motorway - and this has to be one of the laziest engines I've ever driven. My foot was burying the accelerator into the carpet and there was just no response from the engine - the only noticeable difference was the rattle and crashing and banging from under the hood got louder!! - after what seemed like an age, I managed to get up to motorway cruising speed (and it didn't sound to happy at sitting at this either!).
The one astonishing thing about the car though was the fuel economy - i did a return trip to Leicester from Birmingham and it hadn't even used 1 digit of fuel on it's digital readout.... needless to say I was more than delighted to step back into my car when I got home and started to notice and appreciate a little bit more of the thought, design and aesthetics that BMW put into it!!
I thought nothing could be worse than the 1.2 Nissan Note they made me drive a while ago.... I was wrong!