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My Sooty Affair

The sky's the limit in your imagination. And your imagination only.
First of all, I would like to apologise, once again, for the lack of posts. As my exams come to a crawling close they have been coming through thick and fast recently, meaning that quite a tedious amount of my time has to go to some revision so I actually know what I'm doing.

But back to cars. If you were a petrolhead from a young age, I'm sure at one point before you started driving you had a think about what your first car would be. Obviously the sky's the limit when it comes to your imagination, but if you were like me when it came to thinking about your first car, you try to stay realistic. Here in the UK at least, car insurance plays a very big role and significantly cuts down the cars you'll be able to run if you have normal amounts of money. But recently, I have gone a little bit mental.

After looking through countless adverts featuring your average 1.2L hatchbacks with the luxurious 'no air-con' and 'very worn buttons', nothing was really catching my eye, understandably. Being a petrolhead, my main issue is that none of the cars in this category have enough oomph to provide a safe and enjoyable driving experience.
It's cars like these that make your first motor an unpleasant one

This bugged me a lot. So much in fact, I started to get desperate. I got so desperate, I started looking at what Jeremy Clarkson describes as the 'fuel of Satan'. That's right, I started looking at some diesel machines.

My initial thinking was that although similar displacement diesels don't have much more power (they often have a little bit less), they come with typically twice the torque of their petrol cousins. So even though it'll still take me a while to get to 60, I won't have to redline every gear just to keep up with the Kia Cee'd in front of me.

Damn you Cee'd and your reasonable price!

Torque is wonderful 'stuff'. It allows you to get that head-thrown-back feeling without really ever going that fast. It also allows you to keep in 5th at 30 MPH and still have acceleration when you require it. Nice.

I was trying to keep realistic once more by keeping the car price below £2,000 and watching out for the insurance number. And this had lead me to fall for one of the most anti-petrolhead cars out there. Brace yourselves: I have fallen for a Vauxhall Astra 1.9CDTI [150]. Wow Jack, you have such an amazing taste - not!

But wait, hold on. There is logic to my love. This is a car that is widely available for around the £2k mark, the insurance is not sky-high (although it will require a bit of saving), and it actually has pretty impressive performance.
Oh come on, it's not that bad.

With 150bhp and 236lb/ft on tap, this mid sized hatchback will get from 0-60 in a smudge over eight seconds. Flat out, you'll be flirting with 135 MPH. And yet at the same time, this is a car that will achieve 50 MPG on the combined cycle.

The news keeps on getting better. Diesels are ridiculously easy to chip-tune. This is less complicated than it sounds: depending on your car, a chip is quite literally plugged into your car and that's it. The result gives you noticable power increases and even fuel savings. For the Astra, you'll see power bumping up to 208bhp and torque sitting at a Ferrari-crushing 411lb/ft.

There's certainly worse interiors out there   

So, do you see logic in my choice, or do I need to sit in a dark room and re-think my life?

From your favourite petr- er, dieselhead.
My Sooty Affair My Sooty Affair Reviewed by Jack Cooper on June 12, 2014 Rating: 5

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