Ber­lingo says au­thor­ity

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

YOU’RE not just buy­ing a car. You’re buy­ing an im­age.

A friend re­cently pur­chased a Subaru Forester S-Edi­tion, the speedy turbo ver­sion of Subaru’s ex­cel­lent wagon. ‘‘ Good for you,’’ I said. ‘‘ Shows how se­cure you are with your mas­culin­ity.’’

‘‘ What are you talk­ing about?’’ he asked.

Seems my pal was un­aware that in cer­tain mar­kets the Subaru Forester is iden­ti­fied as a ve­hi­cle of choice among the les­bian com­mu­nity. It’s the spiky hair­cut and clompy boots of the car world.

Not that I can talk. For many years I owned a Mazda MX-5. ‘‘ Hey, grand­dad,’’ yelled some teen girls from a cab one night. ‘‘ En­joy­ing your mid-life cri­sis?’’

I would have shut them up with a snappy re­join­der ex­cept I couldn’t think of one.

Also I was dis­tracted be­cause I’d ac­ci­den­tally plugged the GPS into the air­con.

So I traded up to aBMW coupe. No mid-life is­sues there. Still, car im­age only mat­ters to peo­ple you don’t know.

One of the tough­est blokes I’ve ever met has just bought a weeny Citroen Ber­lingo. This guy can tear down and re­build a V8 in the dark, yet he’s full of praise for his eco­nom­i­cal lit­tle French diesel hatch-wagon.

Here’s one rea­son. The Ber­lingo’s load­ing bay is nearly two me­tres long, which means he can pile in all of his ri­fles (he’s a cham­pion sport­ing shooter). Quite a few fel­low ri­fle­men are sim­i­larly taken with their baby Citroens.

Just think about that the next time you cut off a small de­liv­ery-type wagon in traf­fic.

Those driv­ers have an im­age to pro­tect. SPEAK­ING of im­age, Carsguide test tsar and road­side ob­server Paul Gover writes: ‘‘ Spare a thought for this BMWM3 driver. The car is bright orange. He has his very ex­pen­sive bi­cy­cle on a roof rack. Driv­ing through the city TRIPLE TREAT AU­TO­MO­TIVE en­ter­tain­ment can be re­duced to a sim­ple equa­tion: power ver­sus weight. This is why Toy­ota’s low-mass GT 86, at just 1200kg, wins such awe­some re­views. But let’s cut that weight by more than half. And re­move a wheel. Then we have Mor­gan’s 3 Wheeler, a 550kg de­vice made by the Bri­tish com­pany some 60 years af­ter it pre­vi­ously aban­doned three-wheel­ers. This V-twin retro rocket might be on sale in Aus­tralia next year, as Mor­gan seeks local com­pli­ance. It lacks not just a fourth wheel but also a roof and doors, merely in­creas­ing the fun. Sub­trac­tion is the at­trac­tion. he is flagged down. By some­one who thinks he is driv­ing a cab!’’ NOT the world’s great­est SUV, Mazda’s long-lived Trib­ute com­pact soft-roader is bril­liant used value, with strong ex­am­ples avail­able for way be­low $16,000. Or you could spend a lit­tle more for this low-km 2005 V6, on sale for only $18,990 in South Aus­tralia. carsguide.com.au.

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