Christmas Wish List

We are in the final run up to Christmas now, with around a week to go before gifts are exchanged, we all eat too much, and then start thinking about how we can return or re-gift whatever it is that we’ve got.CHAL Banner

To avoid that whole scenario, here are a few things I’d like to see this Christmas. Think of it as my unrealistic and unobtainable Motoring Wish List.

Winter Tyres

We look at the pathetic amount of snow we usually get in this country and wonder what good winter tyres would be for those three or four days a year. Having experienced winter tyres first hand, I can honestly say they’re fantastic. Working better than normal tyres from around 7°C or below, they offer more grip, shorter stopping distances and greater control. In the UK temperatures drop to an average of 7°C or less for five months of the year, and the worse the conditions get the better the tyres work. It’s not all about snow, as even a cold dry road will see winter tyres working better, so switch now.

MG

The brand that refuses to die. Surprisingly, the basic product is pretty good. The MG6 is a spacious, fast, agile hatchback, especially in diesel form, that doesn’t cost too much either. It won its first ever British Touring Car Championship race and is designed and engineered in Britain (though not actually built here).

But nobody knows about it thanks to a lack of funds to spend on marketing. Or anything else. So come on SAIC, MG’s owners in China, put your hand in your pocket and send over a wheelbarrow full of cash so the guys at Longbridge can actually tell us about your car.

Speed Limits

Speed kills, we’re often told. No it doesn’t. It’s inappropriate speed that kills. Inappropriate speed limits can also lead to more dangerous roads, as a limit set too low encourages dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. Lincolnshire is littered with long, straight, clear roads limited to 40 mph which are routinely ignored. Many motorways could quite easily accommodate speeds of 80, 90 or even more. Conversely, many urban roads, especially outside schools, should see limits cut to 20 or even 15 mph. We need a wholesale re-evaluation of every speed limit in the country rather than arbitrary figures picked out in the 1930s and 1960s.

Forza Horizon

Yes, it’s a video game. Available only on Xbox 360 (and frustratingly on this one I have a PlayStation3), Forza Horizon takes the racing genre and opens it up on to hundreds of miles of made up Colorado highway. The cars available also include such delights as diverse a Pontiac GTO Judge, Lamborghini Countach LP500 QV, McLaren F1 and Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. You can send a GAME voucher to the usual address…

Lotus

Unlike MG, everybody knows that Lotus exists. The Elise is universally liked, while the Evora is arguably the best balanced sports car ever to have graced the British roads, yet last month Lotus managed to register one single car. Ousted CEO Dany Bahar made bold claims, even outlining an ambitious five-model plan to revive the company’s fortunes, but not one of those has turned up yet. How long can a manufacturer, even a niche one like Lotus, survive on sales of one car in a month? So please, lease a Lotus. Now.

Drink Driving

Sadly this is still a problem. At least we have reached the point now where if you do decide to have a few drinks and then take to the road, you do at least know that it’s both illegal and dangerous. My gut feel is we’re now left with only those that either a) don’t care or b) do it accidentally. Whilst hard hitting campaigns might slowly reduce the numbers in the latter category, nothing’s going to work on the former. Reducing limits won’t really help either and a zero alcohol level is just plain ridiculous – my morning mouthwash contains alcohol and I don’t really want to be banned for smelling minty fresh. Cars are getting safer, but that’s all undone when a drunk is behind the wheel. Please, stop your friend or colleague if you see them stumbling around with their car keys.

Track Days

In the health and safety mad world we now live in there’s very few places to really let your hair down. Yet for the price of a train ticket to Birmingham I can take a car to Silverstone and spend hours driving it around as fast as I possibly can. Speed limits mean nothing, there’s nothing coming the other way and everybody is expecting you in their rear view mirror. All you need is a driving licence, a car and some cash. Most days even include the use of an instructor, so you can become not only a faster driver but a better driver. And, when you or your car has had enough, there’ll be loads of petrolheads around, some with exotic machinery, so that’s the conversation sorted. If you’ve never tried a track day, you owe it to yourself to have a go.

I could go on with plenty more things I would like for Christmas, but I’d like to hear your suggestions. Comment below on what you’d like to see in the motoring world this festive season.

[button link=”http://www.contracthireandleasing.com/car-leasing-news/christmas-wish-list/” rel=”nofollow” color=”orange”]This article was first published at ContractHireAndLeasing.com on 18 December 2012.[/button]

Phil Huff

Phil is a motoring writer for print and web, failed racing driver, car hoarder and banger rally competitor. Nominated for the Headline Auto Rising Star award and a MGMW member, Phil freelances for outlets as diverse as Diesel Car magazine, DAD.info and Cambridge Magazine, amongst many others. He also maintains a fleet of unloved motors, but spends most of his time driving an old Corvette.

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