Suffice to say, I completely dread Chinese New Year “pilgrimages”. These visits are made all the more painful by the fact that I’m single. Because of my bachelorhood, I’ll be forced to endure questions on when I’m getting married, all the while resisting attempts by my mother to sell me off to the lowest bidder.
Once that particular minefield has been negotiated, and before the conversation trails off awkwardly as we gravitate towards the pineapple tart jar, I’ll have to fi eld questions on “What I Do For A Living” and “Which Car I Like Best”.
The first question is taken care of quickly, but the second is usually my cue to launch into a rambling monologue. But you know us writers. We’ll cast around aimlessly for ages, but once we find something we can relate to, we latch on like so many starving leeches.
(Or, it could be that because of my extraordinary social ineptness, I’m interpreting the question wrongly – like going on endlessly about cloud patterns to non-meteorologists when someone asks about the weather.)
It first starts with the notion that fast, exotic and astronomically expensive isn’t everything – which, I’ve come to realise, is a bit counter-intuitive to your average Joe. So, if their eyes haven’t glazed over yet, I proceed to then break the news that my favourite car so far isn’t even a car.
It is, in fact, a van. Or more accurately, a light commercial vehicle. But whether you want to call a spade a spade or a multi-purpose gardening implement, it’s hard to escape the fact that the Renault Kangoo was built for more, ahem, utilitarian pursuits.
Yes, the Kangoo handles like a soggy marshmallow, its 0-100km/h time is best measured in days (20.3 seconds actually, but same difference) and its 70bhp 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engine is a little… agricultural.
All signs should point to me hating it, but here’s the thing – I don’t, primarily because it’s far and away the most honest vehicle I’ve ever driven. “I’m a van,” it seems to say. “So what?” In a time when overwrought seems to be the order of the day, the Kangoo is a breath of fresh air.
At this point, the person I’m talking to will most likely have adopted a slightly glazed look, or started walking to where the bak kwa is as an excuse to end the conversation. Either way, I’d like to think it’s a win-win. For me, that is, because I’ve successfully fended off more questions while getting to indulge myself a little.
As I grow older, I realise I’m deriving far too much glee from seeing those glazed expressions. I wonder if I should get that checked out...
Daryl counts driving the Ferrari 599 as the closest he’s come to having a religious experience. And he doesn’t think he’s that antisocial
This article was written by Daryl Lee, Associate Editor for Torque.