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Making use of rear space - 13th March 2019
An adult-sized bicycle fits with the rear seats folded down, but only with a front puncture. Once repaired, the wheel must be removed for the bike to squeeze in. Also this week, I’ve missed our previous A6 saloon’s electric seat controls to easily adapt my driving position. A stiff right leg after a two-hour 90-mile trip was uncomfortable, but I won’t complain about a near-60mpg figure.
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Does a premium car like an A6 really merit its premium outlay? - 6th March 2019
Before I joined Autocar last autumn, I had a spell as a school teacher (long story, don’t ask). I needed wheels, but money was tight, so I played it safe with a finance deal for a lightly used Toyota Aygo.
A modest choice, especially for someone who loves cars – but needs must, and there’s a reason it’s the archetypal ‘teacher’s car’. The finance was only £120 a month, running costs and maintenance were low and I consoled myself that at least I was buzzing around in what is actually a sharp piece of modern, ergonomic design. It’s now on loan to my in-laws and I’ve got a soft spot for it.
The contrast to my life today is clearly stark. I’m back working in an office, in a job that’s on familiar territory and doesn’t test my sanity (well, not often). I am commuting again – an 80-mile daily round trip – but at least I’m doing so in this Audi A6 Avant. Compared to the Aygo, it has four wheels, it’s the same colour – and that’s about it.
But as I hit the static M25 the other morning, I found myself considering this contrast in fundamental terms: just what has such a car added to my life, and now the novelty has worn off, is such luxury worth it?
When I get home at night, having spent in total about three hours behind the wheel, I’m still knackered. But the difference is I’d be completely spent if I was doing it in the Aygo.
Small cars are hard work over distance, especially on motorways. The A6 is a cocoon, the minimal road noise and Audi’s renowned interior finesse creating a calming ambience that soothes away stress, even on the stickiest of journeys. In truth, that novelty hasn’t worn off, and the same can be said for the ride. B-roads were a back-battering chore in the Aygo, but the A6 – even on conventional springs – smooths over all but the worst craters.