Blog: Graeme RobertsLifesavers over luxury

Graeme Roberts | 30 November 2010

That whimpering sound you heard on the breeze yesterday afternoon was me, on my knees, pleading with the BMW delivery driver not to take the 520d Touring back to the mother ship.

Which of course he did, the week of 'product familiarisation' was up and the car had passed muster as family transport, taking all a toddler and baby could throw at it and swallowing our giant tandem buggy whole along with a heap of Christmas shopping. And managing over 40mpg in some tough winter conditions. While Mrs DepEd basked on heated seats and set her side of the car to 'tropical'.

The reluctant farewell took me back to my consumer writing days when I was often glad to see the back of a test car but not, usually, if it had worn the likes of BMW, Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes badges.

Back in the Ancient ['99] VW Sedan this morning for the nursery run - after a week of no use and two days of snow it started without hesitation - 'twas time to reflect on what the Bimdub had that I'd really like in the next family car.

Keyless entry (not on the 520) and start is a great innovation and, of course, built-in satnav, Bluetooth, USB audio ports and heated seats are all nice to have. But I think it's the safety equipment that is the biggest advance. Curtain airbags protect heads and various forms of stability control step in seamlessly to help out when the going is rough. All through the snow in the BMW yesterday, I could feel brakes being momentarily applied, engine power backed off for a second and progress on ungritted roads was effortless. Today, the VW slithered about, its wheels occasionally spinning and I had to do all the work. We got there and back but it wasn't as easy.

That, I think, is the greatest advance of the last decade. Luxuries are all very well; potential life savers are priceless.


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