Monday Long Termer: 27/01/14

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By Nathan Green

Forced induction diesel engines- frugal, efficient and torquey. The combination of crisp, cool winter air providing a dense charge and a brand new turbocharger force feeding it into the engine means even the relatively small capacity 1.3 CDTI engine in the Corsa can actually provide enough grunt to rouse an occasional smile.

It’s certainly not quick and the chassis isn’t great but this is not a car designed to go fast or excel through the twisties. It was designed to be cheap, reliable and comfortable to drive daily. Unfortunately, the fact that it is cheap means it is inevitably flawed and therefore achieves neither of the latter two points with much style or conviction.

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The car needing a replacement turbocharger at 52,000 miles is testament to the poor reliability. I honestly think car manufacturers are willing to compromise on the quality of the components they use when making “cheap” cars. Some people believe they engineer certain parts only well enough to last their warranty period. All I know is Vauxhall’s dealer network would collapse overnight if they lost their income from non-warranty repairs and routine services. The same applies to every other car manufacturer. Trust me, their after sales provisions bag them millions of pounds each year. 700 odd quid of that has just been provided by my employer. Rather them than me!

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So, it’s flawed. So what? Aren’t most things flawed in some way? I certainly am. I bet you are too, if you’re honest. The point is, there’s no shame in being flawed because perfection isn’t what we’re really after. If everything was perfect, there’d be nothing to moan about. We’d be bored. And mute. We must accept that most things are flawed. For example I have always wanted a manual BMW E46 M3 in Estoril blue. In fact it’s my affordable dream car. Now, I already know it will be flawed in some way, but the next time I have £10,000 going spare, I’ll buy one because I want to look at it on my driveway and drive it hard, purely for enjoyment. I will enjoy it. I’ll enjoy it very much. However, I will still use the Corsa as my daily driver because covering 15,000 miles a year in the 3.2 litre BMW would cost around £4000 a year in fuel alone.

There’s the flaw- the fun comes at a price. The Corsa costs me less than £30 a week in diesel and I am free from all the other financial burdens associated with car ownership. This little car may just save me enough money to bring an M3 within my reach in just a couple of years time. It is financially facilitating ownership of my dream car and, like all cars, it inspires a sense of any place, any time freedom. I like it already, flaws included.

Total Mileage: 289

Fuel Cost: £30

Repair Costs: Zero

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