So it is not any more the woman of the house who is making the decision. And, of course, it isn’t the man. It never was, never will be. We know our place. Even the children don’t get much of a look-in these days.
The dog would like a say but the mutt will just have to put up with it; accept a biscuit as recompense and stick his nose out of the window as long as it has been well-secured. No, apparently these days when it comes to deciding what new car to bring into the household, it is the grandchildren who seem to be making most of the noise.
And if anecdotal evidence from the showrooms over the last few weeks is anything to go by, there is a nation of Greta O’Thunbergs out there saying it must be electric, electric all the way for their parents and grandparents and if they aren’t getting their way now, they don’t want the family car to be traded away until they do.
Of course, electric does not suit everybody yet but things are improving fast in both terms of choice, range and infrastructure. There probably won’t be sufficient supply to meet demand but, to keep a lid on expectations and to show that you are thinking in the right direction, it is worth trying one out even if it is just to experience the seamless rush of power and the wonderful quiet.
What everybody has a right to is a comfortable seat that can be adjusted for all the drivers in the household so they can drive in a safe and secure fashion. For the majority of us that is relatively easy, however, I was struck recently by a letter I received which was in response to an article, ”Women more likely to be injured in crashes”, on this page by Geraldine Herbert at the beginning of last month.
Tim wrote from Rathfarnham, Dublin, to say that, apart from the injury-risk factor, women also face challenges caused by their physical height. His own wife – who measures a petite 5ft – is no longer able to find a manual car that “fits” her. Quite simply, she is unable to reach the clutch-pedals in most cars, unless she sits with the steering-wheel almost embedded in her chest.
She currently drives an Audi A1 S-line, which – fortunately – does not present such a problem, but there are very many other cars (including BMW) which are, quite literally, beyond her reach – unless, of course, she opts for automatic. And even then she finds she is scrunched up against the steering wheel.
As a lady who really likes her cars, Tim’s wife finds this restriction becoming more and more problematical.
It is the same here at home. My wife is an inch or so taller than Tim’s but finds the seat cushions of many cars are too long for her and leave her legs sticking out rather than nicely planted on the floor. There are pedal extension kits that can be bought but they must be fitted properly and, of course, they then might make the car impractical for other users.
Meanwhile the all-electric Renault Zoe scooped City Car of the Year award in the TopGear.com annual awards ceremony. The car has a range of 395km (WLTP) and interestingly 100pc recycled material, using old seat belts and plastic bottles, are used for seat and interior trims on various models. Prices start from €26,990 (after VRT relief and SEAI grant) – at which it fights with the new OpelCorsa-e and Peugeot e-208 as the most affordable EV small car in the country.