Modern Life Is(n’t) Rubbish.


After a couple months of owning my first properly modern car, it’s time to reflect.

A lot of you who know me will know that I’m a stickler for all things classic. Classic music, classic films, classic cars. Essentially, anything between World War 2 and 2000 tends to interest me.

Where this especially extends to though, and what I’m most likely known for, is my love of classic cars. After all, I own five classic Volkswagens right now. Nobody at the age of 20 has any need for five classic Volkswagens. Since I’ve started driving, I’ve had a classic car on the road, with a brief period (…Subaru) of a slightly more modern car, but even that was still archaic in it’s nature – the original Subaru Impreza was released in 1993 for crying out loud. Compared to most things on the road now it may as well be a tractor. A very sexy, very loud tractor, but a tractor nonetheless.

A sexy, sexy tractor.

But yes, for the best part of 3 years of driving, I’ve always driven a classic Volkswagen Golf, a Mk2. A GTI, a Turbo Diesel and a plain old straight Diesel. As of September, that changed as I entered the 21st Century for the first time – a 2014 Volkswagen Polo.

Why the change?

A few months back, my mother ordered herself a brand new Volkswagen Beetle. After much begging, I was put on the insurance of it, and was allowed to drive it. This was my first time driving a good modern car (keen readers will know that yes, I’ve driven a Fiat 500, and had a stint in a Ford Ka too… But I did say good modern car.) and my mind, simply put, was blown.

Compared to having a 45BHP Mk2 Golf that struggled with a slight incline, the first thing that I noticed about it was the power. If you want to overtake something, you don’t have to think about it. You just do it. 105 of the finest German horses propel you (with the assistance of a turbo) past, without a moment of hesitation. There’s times when I would drive the Diesel Mk2 to Donegal and we had to say a prayer that it would make it up half the hills – I’m not even joking.

This wasn’t for a scenic pic, I had to let it sit for a minute after a slight hill to let it sort itself out.

The fit and finish, oh my. I got into that Beetle, and everything worked. Nobody had to explain to me what parts are broken and not to use. There were no creaks, no weird noises. “Is this what everybody else experiences when they get into their car?” I asked myself. Yes Tomo, yes it is. This is the future. No, this is now.

I needed a slice of this life. I had to have it. I had tasted it, and now I needed it.

Okay, so why a Polo? Why not a Golf?

One word. Inflation.

One thing that I did notice about the Beetle, was it’s size. It seemed way too big for me. The modern Beetle is based on a Golf as everybody knows, which means it shares the wheelbase and rough overall size. As somebody who drives dainty old Golfs, this was a huge step. I mean, the Beetle is the same size as my Subaru estate. Enough said.

New. Fancy. Different.

However – it dawned on me, that inflation doesn’t just apply to the Golf. It applies across the range. Which means, in theory, the Polo must have gotten bigger too, right?

Correct. The Polo is in fact much closer in size to the Mk2 Golf than the Mk7 Golf is, and if you ask me, looks essentially the same as the Golf. Yeah I know, not the exact same, but everything these days looks the same anyway.


So what are your thoughts?

Well, it’s a fantastic car. However, I don’t love it. And I’ll get back to that in a bit.

I’ve owned my Polo for just under two months now. I thought it was actually three, but a quick look tells me that I took her home on the 13th of October. In that time, I have amassed over 3,000 miles on it. Yes, you read that right – Three thousand miles. 

Round, round, get around, I get around…

That’s on average about 250 miles a week. Trips to university and to the very edge of Donegal meant that I have been on the road basically non-stop. That’s a lot of time to get acquainted with a car, and form a bond with it, yes?

Sadly though, with this, that’s not the case.

Wait, what?

Now, don’t get me wrong. This Polo is a fantastic car. It’s taken me on some fantastic trips and taken me on adventures with no skips whatsoever. But that’s kind of the depressing part of a modern car if you ask me.

The thing about modern cars, to me anyway, is that they’re merely an appliance. You go out and finance or buy a modern car with no second thoughts, like buying a dishwasher. I was told an anecdote once about a family who hadn’t planned set out to buy a car, and came home with a Hyundai jeep. It just happens. It’s not really an event, or anything special.

I’m sorry sweetie, it’s not you, it’s me.

I’m not saying this is true for everyone, but when you set out to buy a classic car, it’s an event. Every other car I’ve had to buy, when I went to buy them I went over them with a fine-tooth comb. In the case of Sophie, I even had to build half of her before I could take her home. You go and you decide that yes – this is the one. When I bought my Polo, I went, picked a colour and said “Yep, that’ll do”.

As such, we tend to form an attachment with these older cars. Like a relationship, you’re with it through the bad times as well as the good. When it breaks down, you don’t take it to a dealership and demand they give you a new one or fix it – you accept it, do what you can to fix it, and hope that it doesn’t happen again. Through this we create a bond, and they become a part of the family. Nobody ever said that they felt like their dishwasher was a part of the family.

I’m sure some day I’ll love you Polly, you just need to let me down first.

As such, I’m yet to get attached to the Polo. I’m an extremely sentimental person (which, sadly, is one of my greatest downfalls) and it was pointed out to me that I probably won’t fall in love with the Polo until it lets me down, and maybe that’s true, in a weird and twisted way.

Hopefully that doesn’t happen, as I sorta need a reliable car for the amount of driving I do. Eventually though it’ll break. And then I’ll love it to pieces. Flames to dust, lovers to friends, reliable Volkswagens – all good things come to an end.

Yes, I just quoted Nelly Furtado. And that’s perfectly okay.

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