Please forgive me - it's fossil fuel...

This household is about to buy a new car, a supermini, and it won't be electric and it won't be a hybrid.

Before you yell, no-one is sadder about this than me.

As an early adopter and general planet-hugger, I already switched to a diesel car with double the MPG (and diesel particulate filter) a few years ago. So, the prospect of a car that is cleaner still and costs about 90% less per mile is a very tantalising idea. [By the way, I won't even enter a debate on the stats and benefits of electric - if you want a decent argument on the topic, follow Bobby Llewelyn on twitter or read his blog - he knows his stuff.] 

So, firstly, the car is not for me, but my better half; so ultimately it's her decision and has to fit her needs. I will only drive it occasionally. (Unless, perhaps, she was getting a car that was faster than mine, in which case I might hanker after it all the time :-) But she's not.)

Secondly, electric cars currently just don't suit our needs. A lot of criticism comes the way of the current breed of electric cars, most centred around range, which is typically 100 - 140 miles on a charge. For many, many people who are based in towns and doing lots of short trips and school runs, this type of vehicle would surely meet their needs. However, it just so happens that our life doesn't follow that pattern - in fact we both have long distance journeys to do as our main journeys (so not only can we not share one car, but we need two). Turns out those journeys are beyond the distance of the average electric range and we also don't have the necessary charging means at the other end. I think an electric car would be brilliant to have - but we need a simpler life. (I reckon that's true regardless.)

So, much as I believe that electric cars represent a realistic future and can deliver some cracking performance, the current range limitation rules them out of our driving pattern for the time-being. Next time round might be a possibility though.

Now, what would be a good alternative for our lifestyle is a hybrid car, which combines fossil fuel and electric power to deliver more MPG and extended range when there is no battery power. Volvo, for example, have just announced an S60 saloon than can deliver about 125mpg and drive 1000 miles on a tank. Awesome. Truly Awesome.

The issue with this breed of cars basically comes down to cost and choice. There are not that many models available at the moment and they are also beyond our current target budget (and form factor) of a super-mini. I can pretty much guarantee that if Skoda produced a hybrid Fabia at Skoda prices, it would be a no-brainer purchase.

But they don't. No-one does. 

So, that leaves us going for a conventional fossil burner. Another requirement is to have an automatic, which also limits the choice and price - and in the end the best all-round value vehicle we have found is the Skoda Fabia with 7 Speed DSG auto box (a beautiful piece of equipment in its own right, complete with "flappy paddles" as the girls on Top Gear would say). Better still, the auto is actually more economical than the equivalent manual! I am confident it will be a smooth and economical drive, as I have the 6 speed DSG on my Octavia and it's nothing short of fantastic. These cars must be popular as the waiting list is currently 4 - 5 months.

Once again, it will be a step change in economy and lower emissions compared to the car it is replacing - so it's all in the right direction. I hope you feel forgiving. 


When Music-on-hold goes bad

The Avoid List

Born of Frustration - James

Hanging On The Telephone - Blondie

Heaven Knows I Am Miserable Know - The Smiths

Hold the Line - Toto

How Long - The Eagles

Hung Up - Madonna (“Time Goes By So Slowly”) 

It's So Funny How We Don't Talk Any More - Cliff Richard 

It's Yer Money I'm After Baby - The Wonder Stuff

No Rush - Josh Turner

Paper Planes - MIA (“All I want to do is ... and … and take your money”)

Patience - Take That

Relax Take It Easy - Mika

Ring Ring - De La Soul (“Hey you doing? Sorry you couldn’t get through. If you leave a name and a number … I’ll get back to you”)

Sam’s Town - The Killers ("Why do you waste my time? Is the answer to the question on your mind")

Say Something - James (“Say Something Say Something Anything Your Silence Is Deafening”) 

Shutt Uppa Ya Face - Joe Dolce

Still Waiting - Sum 41

Talk Dirty To Me - Poison

Things Can Only Get Better - DREAM

Under Pressure - Queen

We Have All The Time In The World - Louis Armstrong

You Don't Care About Us - Placebo

You Never Give Me Your Money - The Beatles

Utility Company no-no's

Back To Black - Amy Winehouse

Boom! Shake The Room - DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince

Every Light In The House Has Blown - Cledus T Judd

Firestarter - Prodigy

Greased Lightning (“It’s Electrifying”)

Hot And Cold - Katy Perry

Lights Out - Santigold

Relight My Fire - Take That

Short Circuit - Daft Punk

The Light - Proclaimers (“A Light Shines On That Helps You To Steer, Makes Everything Clear, Well It Might In Your World But It Doesn't In Mine, Ive Been Stumbling In The Dark For Years”) 

Une Annee Sans Lumiere - Arcade Fire

Suggestions for a Utility Company


Darling Leave The Lights On For Me - Belinda Carlisle

Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle) - Outhere Brothers (Energy!  Energy!  Energy!  Energy! ) Nb: Only Listen To The Clean Version!

Energy - Earth Wind And Fire

Light My Fire - The Doors

Our Friends Electric - Gary Newman

Power Of Love - Huey Lewis And The News

She's Electric - Oasis

Telephone Line - Electric Light Orchestra

The Power - Snap

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths

Whatever You Want, Whatever You Need - Status Quo

You Are Not Alone - The Eagles

You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone