After embarrassing central locking moment, today we had embarrassing key moment. Last minute Christmas shopping isn’t for the feint hearted – and so it was that we found ourselves on the top floor of a multi-storey car park in central Bristol, in driving rain, loaded down with presents and minus the V40 key. All to the soundtrack of the Salvation Army brass band.
In the mayhem of Christmas, this is just about your worst car-related nightmare. With half the West Country under water, trying got get this one fixed was going to be interesting. I had given the key to Jessica on arrival and she promptly, erm, misplaced it.
Volco Assistance must have been giggling in their mulled wine when I explained what had happened. The first idea was to recover the car to a dealership, who would wave the magic wand and open the doors. But then it was decided there wasn’t enough headroom to get a recovery lorry into the car park and perhaps a hire car would be a better option?
That would mean driving to Marlow to collect the spare key from the Volvo press office, returning to Bristol and unlocking the car. In this situation, being British it is always best to sit down and have a cup of tea.
As Jessica rummaged for her wallet, she spotted a small hole in the the lining of her handbag. Small but just big enough for a car key. And being British, we didn’t panic once, honest…
Possibly my most embarrassing car moment of 2013… I noticed yesterday that the V40 wouldn’t lock when I pressed the key fob. `New car, broken key fob seemed unlikely but with Christmas shopping looming, it seemed wise to get it fixed.
After an hour of pointless fiddling under the bonnet and battling with a encyclopaedic manual, I called Volvo service. There was a nice man standing on my doorstep within 90 minutes.
His remedy, according to the Volvo Bible was to disconnect the car battery for 30 seconds, which should reboot the system. Failing that, it was off to nearest dealership for a diagnostic check-up. Painful.
The disconnect did nothing and I waved goodbye to my cheery chap envisaging a trip to the dealer. That was right up until the moment I set off for the garage and notice a rather discreet warning diagram on the dashboard that showed the boot was ajar.
The V40 is SUCH a super safe car, with every type of flashing warning light to tell me of impending doom. So, although it was my own fault for leaving the hatchback slightly open, why didn’t it give me a more audible, visual alert?
It obviously goes fast, very fast, and it definitely costs a small fortune – but what should you actually expect on Christmas Day when you open the front door and discover Santa has left an Aston Martin on the driveway?
Well, don’t imagine it includes a glovebox because the dashboard is so uncluttered, a storage space has been dispensed with. There’s no legroom in the rear – unless you are one of Santa’s very little helpers – and there’s nothing as vulgar as a head-up display either.
What the Volante does boast is a rather splendid brolly that matches the colour of the paintwork. If has its own secure fixing in the boot. The seats are definitely on the firm side of comfortable, despite multi-electrical adjustment. So you might need a fluffy cushion to stop numb bum on longer trips.
And if you don’t have a public profile, you certainly will have after driving a Vanquish for a few days. I parked slightly over the white line in Waitrose car park and you should have heard the fuss from miffed locals! That wouldn’t have happened in a Ford Fiesta I can tell you.
Jeremy One of the reasons I like our silver HSE Discovery is that Land Rover has resisted the temptation to turn this particular vehicle into a bling thing.
You know the sort of 4x4s I’m talking about – the ones that never get muddy tyres and have been loaded with chrome wheels, blacked out privacy glass and side steps (if you can’t step up into a 4×4 what are you doing driving it?).
So today I was slightly taken aback to find that I was driving around conservative north Yorkshire sporting fairy lights on the front of the Discovery. That’s right – the Disco has sidelights that look like something you would drape over a council house at Christmas.
No privacy glass, no chrome wheels but headlights that are quite shocking to behold in the Dales or elsewhere. Fortunately, it’s possible to turn them off and still be seen in the daytime…