My car history part 17: Back problems

So, I’d made my mind up to get rid of the practical, efficient diesel hatchback after only a few months of ownership.

It wasn’t quite as efficient as I’d hoped – particularly on the commute I was taking regularly, and I was finding the seats quite uncomfortable. It was starting to have a few age/mileage related issues too. And she was hardly a looker.

But I’d decided to not rush into it this time, and do my research.

The Peugeot RCZ had caught my eye. If I was willing to overlook the fact that it was French, then it seemed a very tempting choice – 44 or 42 mpg from a 156 or a 200bhp engine – rear seats (small, but many of my previous cars had zero back seats), decent boot space, and quite exotic looking.

I took one for a test drive, and liked it.

But did I like it enough?

I’ve driven too many cars for a 10 minute test drive, bought them, and then found annoying characteristics. I needed a long test drive.

I managed to get a 20 minute test drive. But this was the 156bhp model and think I preferred the 200bhp version; I needed to compare. But the nearest in the spec I liked was over a 100 miles away. And pricey.

I was also worried about my back.

I’d been having some problems due to an old back/coccyx injury, my long commute and the utterly useless office chairs at work. I’d started the ball rolling with the Health and Safety people who were supposed to be getting me a new chair, but the usual inefficient bureaucracy & red tape were causing delays and I still had a crappy chair, and my back was not very happy with me.

Hopping into my 20 year old MX-5, with it’s snug sporty seats, I was comfortable.

So perhaps sporty, bucket type seats helped my back more than the rather non descript seats in the Leon. The RCZ seats were rather sportier – but I wasn’t convinced that they were comfortable enough.

Perhaps there were some other options?

Over the next few weekends I test drove an additional seven different cars.

I’d decided that fuel efficiency and practicality weren’t the biggest factors after all, and added some less sensible cars back onto my ‘desired’ list. The cars I drove were:

  • Nissan 350Z 3.0
  • Mazda MX-5 Mk3.5 2.0
  • Volvo C30 2.5
  • Mercedes SLK 1.8
  • BMW Z4 2.0
  • Toyota GT86
  • Jaguar XF 3.0D

Yes indeed – 5 of those don’t have back seats and hardly met my new ‘sensible’ mindset to cars. But it’s incredibly rare that I need them; I’d borrow the girlfriends RAV4 if required.

Oh, and I took out another RCZ – just in case.

In truth, I didn’t test drive the GT86 in the end – I just sat in one. And unfortunately knew that it would be no good for my back.

Plus it was out of the price range!

Nissan 350Z - a sensible car option?
Nissan 350Z – a sensible car option?

Some only fit in the price range (£8-10K, £12K at a push) by having high mileage/older age.

So which one would I choose?

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