But then you start to wonder, have you made the right choice? Doubt creeps in and you find yourself being critical of the quirks, that up until recently you found endearing. Then it hits you, you’re just being picky and the characteristics you love actually far outweigh the bad.
You’ve finally decided on the new car for you. You’ve done all the research you can online (for the purposes of maintaining the relationship analogy, this could read ‘stalked on social media’) and the car ticks all of the boxes on your extensive checklist – the ownership experience definitely has a honeymoon phase followed by a freak out.
The CarAdvice.com.au Garage has a fleet of long-term vehicles that we spend at least three-months with to get to know the vehicles more intimately. It may be a simulated experience, but we use them like we own them. For me that means the day-to-day parental runaround, groceries, getting out of town on the weekend and testing the manufacturer’s claimed fuel consumption.
A few months ago I was assigned the Honda HR-V, and I was excited. During those first few weeks I loved everything, it’s a small SUV and I expected it to be great around town. Easy to park, a decent-sized boot, Honda’s famous ‘magic seat’ system (watch the video to see it in action, it’s impressive!) and it’s a good-looking car.
The HR-V and I did everything together in those early ‘honeymoon’ days. I’d admire the glitter in the paint on a sunny afternoon, drive to a supermarket the next suburb over just to spend more time together and rave to my colleagues about the smooth way it handled dodgy roads and it’s confidence in tackling quick-draw traffic.
Then the boredom started to kick in and I found myself fantasizing about driving other cars. This was part of the reason that experience started to remind me of relationships.
I felt guilty for checking out the other cars that were lined up in the CarAdvice garage every day. It would be comparable to having a hot boyfriend and walking past a construction site every day (during summer when the shirts come off) – lots of visual temptation.
So I started to find things to pick on. The holographic lines around the speedometer were a genuine distraction on the road, almost making me feel cross-eyed. Being a bit of a bowerbird (I have a fascination with flashy things) I had initially found the unusual feature a nice touch.
The HR-V has a very nifty side-view camera with guidelines to help with merging in traffic and parking. The problem was that it came on every time I indicated. At roundabouts and intersections, I’d hit the indicator and suddenly the footpath next to me would take over the display. Those are the moments I usually change the radio station, and I found the side-view camera interrupted my routine.
The USB and 12V outlets were hard to find, under an almost bridge-like structure below the centre-stack that houses things like the air-conditioning controls. They were under and right around the back and took me a couple of weeks to find. I was getting frustrated with the lack of USB point to charge my iPhone.
However, as I got to know more about the car over the following weeks, I realized how silly I had been. The side-view camera was awesome when it came to judging parking gaps – and it was easy to turn off. On the end of the right-side stalk there was a button – or the settings could be accessed through the infotainment system – it was as simple as that.
As I mentioned before, the USB outlet was there all along. A colleague eventually pointed it out after enjoying my whinging for a little too long, like any good friend would when you’re going through that phase where you just talk about how annoying your partner is – all the time.
The point is, that purchasing a car is a major investment so don’t be surprised if it’s a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. Time really does breed familiarity and by the end of the loan term I was genuinely sad to see the Honda HR-V go.