Tag Archives: Vauxhall Corsa

Monday Long Termer, Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 Life: 07/04/14′

By Nathan Green

(Editor’s note: I love Nathan Green, you love Nathan Green. We all love Nathan Green. Unfortunately, today he sent me a piece that compares women to cars. Now, Nathan is a kind and thoughtful human being who respects women as equals. I also believe him to be comfortable with his sexuality.

Anyway’s for shits and gigs I decided it would be better if the piece (‘piece’, heh, heh) compared men to cars. In line with this I’ve changed any mention of women  to men. Mainly because it would make me laugh. But also, ’cause it makes me laugh. Oh, and *it is* odd comparing living breathing, creative, highly developed and often sidelined ‘groups’ to inanimate objects that you can buy with money.) 

Men, if I may, I would like to draw some comparisons. I promise these will be mostly positive and reflect only my own opinions. I promise not to be derogatory, sexist or misanderistic. Probably.

Why do I feel apprehensive about this? Everyone knows that cars are almost always named after men so there is already an existing link. Furthermore, I shouldn’t really be scared of offending anyone because, let’s be honest, there are plenty of less desirable objects to be compared to than a handsome modern Ferrari, a vintage classic Mercedes or even a filthy dirty Vauxhall Corsa.

I, myself have been compared to a variety of things that are much less complimentary. I won’t give examples, I’m sure you won’t have to try too hard to fill in the blanks.

Anyway, as many of you know, up until about 6 months ago, I was a car sales executive, which is an over embellished way of saying I sold cars. During this time, I was in a committed, long-term relationship. In fact, weirdly, my career in car sales started and ended at the same time as my relationship.

As a car salesman, I drove lots of different cars, each with their own personality and individual aesthetic qualities. However, I only had one lady in my life. Nowadays, I only have one car, my darling ‘Long Termer’ Corsa Life and I am free to date whomever I choose. As long as they reciprocate my interest, of course.

Whilst spending time with my friend Natalie, last week, we looked back through my iCloud Photo Stream at some of the cars I drove during the two years I spent selling them. It made me think about how each one of them made me feel, what strengths and weaknesses they showed during my time with them and, most importantly, the best experiences I had when driving them – experiences I can now recall as cherished memories. Let me introduce you to some of my past conquests:

My first sales position was at a Ford dealership in Redditch where I was given a silver Focus Zetec TDCi as a demonstrator. It was a great car. The car that really sticks in my mind, however, from that time was a brand new, bright orange Focus ST that I was lucky enough to drive before it was available to the general public.

A bright orange essex person.

A bright orange essex person.

The ST is the hottest of the new generation Focus and, I hate to be so cliché in my comparison, but it’s a stereotypical Essex boy – overdone exterior accentuation, tight bodywork, bulging bumpers and a large mouth. It looks like fun and it really is. It also has many impressive features, both inside and out. It certainly got lots of attention when I drove it around town.

I took this particular car out only a couple of times but it made more of an impression on me than my daily driver Focus did during the four months I used it. I suppose one could compare my experience with the ST to a few short moments of passion and excitement. I could easily lose myself behind the wheel, and quite possibly my drivers licence. Ultimately it was unsustainable. I’d love to drive an ST again, I just wouldn’t buy one.

Another brief fling I can boast about was with a Vauxhall Corsa VXR, again the hottest derivative of its model type. It was short, good looking, well-proportioned and makes all the right noises (Ed: oh you shouldn’t have.. wait we’re talking about me, right?). It was also completely bonkers. (Yep, talking about me.)

A short handful...

A short handful…

It was probably no faster than the Focus ST but, due to a significant weight deficit, it definitely felt faster, maybe even lunatic quick.

Driving the Corsa VXR quickly through wet country lanes lined by trees and peppered with potholes was comparable to jumping on the back of an angry masculinist after cracking a joke about woman being people too- you’d better hold on tight because if you lose control, he’ll kick your arse!

I remember I used to put the back seats down just to hear more from the sporty exhaust, the sound waves bellowed and amplified in the boot space filling the cabin with a beautiful high pitch resonance, particularly when the turbo came on song.

While the VXR was thoroughly enjoyable to drive, it was actually rather exhausting because it was hard to drive sensibly and driving it with spirit required total focus and a fair bit of effort.

Unfortunately for me, it was also too expensive to run on a long term basis. I guess it was comparable to a very exciting but very high-maintenance man who would only make sense as a weekend luxury. You simply wouldn’t have enough energy or money to keep him completely happy seven days a week.

Another favourite is my friend Matt’s 2007 Honda Civic Type-R which I drove back from Redditch and delivered to him in Stroud. Matt is fully aware that drove it hard because, well, I told him.

A two-timing red-head. In a car lot.

A two-timing red-head. In a car lot.

 

VTEC engines are built to be thrashed, it would have been rude not to oblige. I had merely a quick fling with his Japanese hunk before passing it on to him for something more long term. I am happy to report they are still very much in love.

And so, this brings me on to my trusty Long Termer, the 2007 Vauxhall Corsa Life. As an object, it is not beautiful – it was not styled to impress the eye or indeed excite any of our sensory receptors. It was not designed nor engineered to make your palms sweat with its cornering abilities or provoke a tingling sensation in your loins when accelerating from a standstill.

Plain Joe

Plain Joe.

It was created to be consistently dependable, uneventfully reliable, boringly efficient and pound stretchily frugal. And it is. It is also filthy dirty most of the time.

Despite the seemingly negative slant on this summary of the Corsa, I am actually content driving it every day. It does exactly what I need it to do and does so to the best of its limited abilities. As a mode of transport it is absolutely fine, however if I had a boyfriend with the same attributes I would not be so content, apart from the filthy dirty bit. Perhaps.

Cars and men – comparable in some ways, but luckily, completely different in almost all others.

Weekly Mileage- 324

Fuel Cost: £30

Repair cost: £0

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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Monday Long Termer: 17/02/14

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By Nathan Green

Standing water, fallen trees and landslide debris- just a few of the obstacles I had to contend with last week while navigating the tarmacadam transport network around Stroud and the surrounding areas.

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On Thursday, the Met Office imposed a severe weather warning on our fair town, stating that only the most necessary of journeys should be attempted due an increased risk of injury. Am I the only person who saw this as a challenge?

In my opinion, so-called ‘severe weather’ adds an exciting twist to the normally mundane task of driving an 80 horse-power hatchback. Not only does it offer an opportunity to test the limits of the car  but it can also present a challenge to one’s own abilities.

I believe it is of paramount importance that we regularly challenge ourselves. Indeed it is only when we step outside of our comfort zone that our true potential is revealed. Mother Nature threw down the gauntlet and I, armed only with a Vauxhall Corsa and an insatiable hunger for success, decided to accept.

On Wednesday evening, howling winds and sideways rain relentlessly battered the county. In fact, the winds produced by the weather system rotating above us were so strong that both bridges across the river Severn were closed. Luckily, the adjoining M5 motorway between Stroud and Cheltenham was not.

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Despite an unnerving combination of 70mph winds, poor visibility and extensive road works, my friends and I were able to uphold our date with the diving boards at Cheltenham Leisure Centre.

This is a weekly endeavour which, in my opinion, is a non-negotiable social activity. The consequences of not attending could be a severe- holing up in a local pub and drinking ale until our livers fail. Better to get on the road and brave the adverse weather conditions.

So, challenge accepted, friends collected, Met Office advice rejected.
Driving on the motorway is usually a tiresome and uneventful experience; add standing water and ferocious crosswinds to the mix and a 20 mile journey along a straight road becomes a task in of itself.

The Corsa is only a medium-sized hatchback, however the roofline is much higher than on earlier models, making it more susceptible to rocking and rolling when impacted by rampant gusts of storm-charged air.

Motorway driving normally requires minimal steering input. Not on this journey. As the storm raged around us, I kept two hands on the steering wheel, making constant adjustments to counteract the effects of the invisible external forces trying to disturb my dead ahead bearing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed it, but, strangely, I preferred it to the normal yawn fest of straight line driving.

Standing water was another issue we had to contend with and this can lead to serious, high-speed accidents, especially on the motorway. The Corsa actually dealt with this issue without any complaints or disturbing behaviour. The skinny, budget-brand tyres offer limited grip on even the driest of roads, however, their minimal cross-section is a definite advantage in this weather, enabling the car to chop through puddles of water instead of aquaplaning across them, aiding me in maintaining directional control while my passengers quietly prayed that they would escape death in the Corsa Life.

Still alive, we arrived at the leisure centre where we threw ourselves from the boards in a very unsafe manner until injury and/or lack of energy called an end to our shenanigans. Unfortunately, it was I, the driver, who picked up an injury. I’d torn a muscle in my neck meaning I could no longer move my head independently from my body, an action that is frequently required when driving. The 20 mile journey back to Stroud was definitely a challenge and not one I enjoyed at all. It never rains, but it pours.

Mileage- 402
Fuel cost- £40
Repair cost- £0
Repair cost (2014 total)- £809

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