Buying a used car is a mine field. Firstly you need to weigh up what you want, then you need to work out how much itíll cost you so the nice granny thatís only done three miles in ten years in her Toyota doesnít fleece you. Once youíve sorted that, you then have the worry whether the nice old lady has actually stolen the car and the police will repossess it within minutes of you parting with your cash. Next thereís the issue of whether the engine will erupt in a mushroom cloud of smoke a week later or that the floor has been welded to another cars chassis and is a write off.
Of course there are advantages to buying a used car, most notably the £££ís youíll save thanks to the original owner essentially throwing a few thousand pound down the drain in depreciation as they drive away from the showroom for the first time. This is the situation I am hoping to find myself in very shortly. Yes the time has come for me to part with my beloved Hyundai Coupe and I think that after many months of deliberation Iíve decided on my new muse.
Now those of you that regularly read my articles will smugly be sitting knowing what car it is Iíve fallen in love with. Itíll obviously be the car I hark on about all the time as being the best value, best performance, best styling and driving package Ė the Honda Civic Type R. In fact I may very well have declared previously ďI will buy a Honda Civic Type R nextĒ so not too cryptic then. So the fact that Iím going to buy something else will probably come as a surprise and cement my reputation as being untrustworthy Ė my apologies.
Having driven a coupe for the last four years, Iíve rather enjoyed being a paradox to the usual coupe driver demographic Ė hairdresser or a man going through a mid-life crisis. Therefore Iíve decided to continue down the coupe route and having exhausted the now-extensive list of options available, Iím going for a Mazda RX8. The best thing about this is the fact I can write about the Wankel engine and not get in trouble.
Stop sniggering because despite the embarrassing name, the Wankel, or more commonly termed Ďrotaryí engine is as impressive an engineering achievement as the pyramids. Well, that or a Corby trouser press. I doubt youíre reading this explanation through your laughter, but put simply the engine works by rotating a triangular piston in a vaguely circular cylinder. What that results in is the smoothest engine available and one that can rev up to 9000rpm. So despite the engine being a 1.3 litre in Ďnormalí terms, it naturally produces 231bhp and as you skyrocket past 7000rpm youíll be met with a similar scene to when they make the jump to hyperspace in Star Trek.
Unlike the majority of coupes available, the RX8 is rear wheel drive so it is perfectly balanced and handles just beautifully. So whilst the front wheels do the steering and the rear ones do the driving, you have time to plant your right foot and watch everything go blurry again, or admire the interior. The car I drove was so clad in leather I thought Iíd taken a wrong turn and ended up in Soho. In fact the car belies the fact itís from Japan Ė a car building nation renowned for reliability and speed but not flair. Not so with the RX8, both internally and externally the car is drop-dead-gorgeous.
Itís a bit like trying to explain a Monet painting without being in front of it, but trust me it is jaw-dropping. The rear light clusters are see-through a la the Lexus IS200, the bonnet bulges like the engine is trying to escape and Iíve not got to the best bit yet. Normally coupes have the most inaccessible rear seats known to man. The RX8 has hidden rear doors that open on reverse hinges that alleviate this problem without spoiling the cars side profile.
This isnít to say the car is as practical as a hatchback because itís still got the coupe features of a tiny boot and a front bumper so low it will scrape up snow in the winter and small woodland animals in the summer. Despite this and despite the horrendous petrol bills I will be faced with (25mpg!!!) the Mazda RX8 is the used car for me. Four year old versions are now below the £10,000 mark and for that you get one of the best cars of the new millennium.
Affording the petrol wonít be a problem either - Iím looking forward to my diet of baked beans for breakfast, lunch and supper.
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