Long may she reign

I finally got my new car – woo hoo! It’s a Subaru XV.

All hail the Queen XV! Long may she reign.

The car salesman spent 30 minutes taking me through all her buttons and functions on Friday afternoon. After he explained each one I intoned “well, I won’t be using that one” or “I DEFINITELY won’t be using that”.

He was horrified and insisted they were very exciting features that I should master. Yes, they sound lovely, but we are talking about someone who has never successfully used her high beams since she got her license almost 40 years ago.

I simply muddle my way through the darkness on the Wakehurst Parkway, frantically praying I won’t see any ghosts in my rear view mirror.

Speaking of high beams, my new car has automatic ones that switch on and off in response to external conditions and traffic. I am VERY excited about that function, particularly the automatic part.

I got the car salesman to tune the car my favourite retro radio station and also switch the headlights to automatic, then I drove cautiously out of the car yard, past my traded-in Renault Captur – aka the orange lemon.

As I accelerated up Pittwater Road I started to cry. I think it was a mixture of gratitude and relief.

I felt so grateful that I could afford to buy a new car and so incredibly relieved to be rid of the orange lemon.

The eight years I spent with that piece of junk have been deeply stressful, unhappy ones. It has been a problem from day one.


Unfortunately I was stuck with the orange lemon for so long because I couldn’t afford to replace it. But blimey it was expensive to keep it.

Within the first year of buying the Captur, numerous pieces of the interior had broken off and the driver’s side window spent six months out of action.

Within 18 months, the car needed two litres of oil every 2-3 months, which the service centre insisted was within the manufacturer’s guidelines.

The computer chip for the gearbox failed when I was driving across the Harbour Bridge one day, which was pretty terrifying. The computer chip for the petrol cap failed a year later.

A few months later, the car started shuddering like it was Apollo 11 re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere whenever I used the brakes. It turned out there were several problems with the brakes, including a leaking thingamajig that could have resulted in them failing.

In April 2021, my ownership of the Captur hit its lowest point. I was driving past the Gosford turnoff on the freeway, climbing the hill towards Calga, whien multiple warning lights started flashing, including the spanner symbol light, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and traction control system warning light, Toxic Fume Filter System Warning Light and a hill start assist warning message. A few seconds later the car carked it.

The engine had blown up. After sobbing to various Renault representatives they agreed to pay for most of the repairs, but I was still $3000 out of pocket.

When I finally picked it up again, I drove to the hairdresser to get my roots done and, as I was looking for a park in busy Darlinghurst, the car started frantically beeping at me.

I looked down and the dashboard was flashing “Stop!” and “Engine failure” messages.

And I thought “This can’t be happening”.

I called the service centre and told them the car they’d just given a new engine had been flashing failure messages. They said I would need to get it towed back to the service centre.



I cried. I called DD and cried some more. I got my roots done and then I called the NRMA. I forget what was wrong with it that time, I think they’d forgotten to attach a clamp or a screw or something.

The final straw came when I took the car for a service in November and pointed out that the driver’s side window wasn’t working for the second time in the car’s life.

I got a message a few hours after I dropped the car off that said the window’s motor had failed and it would cost $1200 to replace.

When I said I was very disappointed it had failed twice, the nice French service manager cheerily replied that Renault cars were notorious for having this problem.

Right. So that’s something to be proud of?

The car also needed a new engine belt, which incensed me, as its new engine was barely a year old.

But I sighed and paid for that, plus a $250 test to determine why the air-conditioning coolant was leaking.

I shudder to think how much money I wasted on that money pit on wheels.

There was not one tiny bit of sadness in my heart as I switched off the engine for the last time.


The XV feels so solid and lovely to drive. I love it.

Lots of other stuff has happened since I last spoke to you, but it will have to wait until tomorrow as this blog post is turning into War and Peace.

Hope you had a good weekend.

Song of the day: U2 “Lemon”

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