Tuesday, 3 January 2012

How many miles do you drive?

I realise that these days it's politically very incorrect to celebrate any kind of driving milestone, but I took guilty pleasure this afternoon from seeing the odometer on our Subaru reach 100K. Just a number, I know, but an elegant one.

We have had the Subaru since shortly after we came to live in N Wales, as you can hardly expect your neighbours to be sympathetic to your being snowed-in up your hill unless you have some form of 4WD vehicle.  We chose the Forester in spite of its modest fuel efficiency, hoping that it would be a comfortable workhorse.  And so it has proved, and after a first year of gearbox and alternator problems which cost a great deal to put right, it has been extemely reliable and has cost little more than routine servicing, expertly carried out at Prosport in Stockport.  It had 25,500 miles on the clock when we bought it, so we've averaged 12.5K a year.  It's now ten years old.  Over roughly the same period (and please bear in mind that from late 2005 until mid-2010 I was commuting daily to Manchester and - before he came to live with us a year ago - regularly visiting my father in Rochdale) we put 135K miles onto a diesel-engined Golf which we traded in last summer for a newer model.

So it's easy to see where a big chunk of our disposable income has gone during this time.  Since I took early semi-retirement I've been doing a lot less mileage, and I don't think that use of my motorcycle really counts at all, though its engine is of a size to use more fuel per mile than our Golf.  It does 3-4K per annum.

For many years L and I had a succession of comfortable Saabs - again not very fuel-efficient but well-used and well-maintained and therefore not an environmental disaster?  All these things are relative, I guess.  I started my motoring career 45 years ago with a 150cc Lambretta scooter, and then a 948cc 1965-built Mini Clubman. I still enjoy driving and have always believed in working vehicles hard, carrying passengers and goods, using roof-racks, pulling trailers.  I treasure the independence that being a driver and rider has given me.  My future vehicles probably won't see 100K - and the environment will breathe a sigh of relief.

Is driving for you a pleasure or a necessary evil?


  1. I like driving, I usually by a car that mixes performance with practically, current motor is a Turbo charged Volvo petrol estate. Its a good work horse, and certainly shows most cars a clean set of heels when asked. I have had it since new - she is an 05, and that makes her nearly 7 years old now (March) yet she has less than 55K on the clock. So I guess I am a sinner with a conscience too.

  2. Subarus are great cars Ian. We've had three - an L series followed by two legacys, all estates. Not many other cars look like cars but offer 4WD, ten forward gears and two reverse and a flat four boxer engine for low centre of gravity.Excellent build quality, love the frameless windows, but a bit expensive on fuel and servicing costs.

    Now a Skoda devotee but Subaru will always be a favourite.