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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Why the perfect winter car is a hot topic

I SHOULD go to London more than twice a year. Largely because if I did I’d quickly learn that - even in November – tube stations are no places for wearing a wax jacket.

It was slightly surreal wiping the sweat from my brow on the platform at Oxford Circus, contemplating as I waited for my connection to King’s Cross how it could be so hot and humid when I knew just thirty seconds upwards people were buttoning up their coats and popping up their brollies. Never at 8am on a November morning had I wished I’d been wearing shorts!

Sweltering tube stations aside, however, we as a species have got wearing the right clobber for the right conditions nailed. You don’t have to be Ray Mears to work out that wandering up Skiddaw on a snowy morning in a t-shirt isn’t a bright idea, in much the same way that disembarking from Ryanair’s finest at Barcelona is going to be jolly uncomfortable if you’re wearing a woolly hat and a scarf. The same, I’ve long reckoned, goes for cars.

That’s why I’m currently in the process of adding the four-wheeled equivalent of a wax jacket to my motoring wardrobe. For the first time in my motoring career I’ve ended up with the scenario where both my vehicles are what you could call summer cars; rear-wheel-drive two seater sports cars, which are about as suited to chilly commutes as sandals are. What I need, then, is a winter car.

A summer car and a winter car are much better than entrusting everything all year around to just one set of wheels, largely because you can afford to have something fine-tuned to each rather than one blunter instrument which isn’t really ideal for either.

My housemate reckons his Saab 9000 is the winter car, partly because it was developed in Sweden – where they know thing or two about cold mornings – and partly because it has a heater more powerful than Simon Cowell’s influence on The X Factor. Having driven it several time and realised it has to channel upwards of 200bhp onto winter’s slippery roads using its front wheels alone, I’d disagree.

The perfect winter car, I’d wager, would have to be four-wheel-drive to deal with all that treacherous tarmac, quick enough to get you to your destination before the sun sets at 4pm, comfortable enough to ease the winter blues, reliable enough not to let you down first thing on an icy morning AND equipped with a stupendously powerful heater.

In other words the Audi A4 - which means I’ve recommended a car I've never really had much time for. Maybe the heat on the tube’s been getting to me!

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