CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Cotswold voice: There is a reason why a Toyota is the Jihadist’s vehicle of choice

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:23 19 December 2014

The Rav 4 is, to be frank, as dull as a drizzling Monday

The Rav 4 is, to be frank, as dull as a drizzling Monday

Archant

Adam Edwards: The year was 2002 and neither my wife or I had ever heard of a Rav 4. We were directed to the Waitrose car park where scores of them were lined up like Dinky toys

My late wife, bless her, wanted a sit up and beg motor. She wanted a car in which to potter through lanes and sail down B-roads. She dreamed of a machine that tanked through mud and yet looked over hedges, a mechanical beast in which to go poop-poop. In other words she wanted an elderly Land Rover. Only my man with the oily rag pooh-poohed the idea. Land Rovers go wrong, he said. Land Rovers are expensive to run, difficult to drive and furthermore the heaters don’t work. What she needed, he said, was a four-wheel-drive Toyota Rav 4.

The year was 2002 and neither my wife nor I had ever seen or heard of such a car. However we were directed to the Waitrose car park where we were told there would be scores of them. And it was true – there they were, lined up like Dinky toys.

The Rav 4 is, to be frank, as dull as a drizzling Monday. It is a hairdresser’s car with a hairdryer for an engine. It’s not much to look at, doesn’t go very fast and is not exceptionally comfortable. And yet despite all of the foregoing I bought one; a second-hand one with 50,000 miles on the clock. And very soon I discovered it had two startling qualities – it was as rugged as any Land Rover and it never went wrong. In the 10 years in my possession it never failed to start. In the hundred thousand miles it was driven not a single part ever went wrong. It was indestructible, as the Top Gear team discovered when they tried to wreck its elder brother, the ubiquitous Toyota pick-up truck. There is a reason why a Toyota is the Jihadist’s vehicle of choice.

Anyway after my wife died I sold the ancient motor to my good friend Philip and he discovered, as I had, that while it may have looked like a big girl’s blouse it was in fact as hardy as a corps boot. So hardy in fact that when a tractor reversed into the old Rav, Philip refused to accept the insurance company’s verdict that the car was a write-off and instead took it to his local panel beater. It now looks as if it has been dragged through a hedge backwards, which of course it has, but it still cruises imperiously through the Cotswolds.

I mention the above because I missed the old car. In fact I missed it so much that after a year without it I decided to ditch my branded German wheels and re-invest the money – a thousand quid - in a 17-year-old spit of my old Rav 4. And it has been the bargain of the century. It had 90,000 miles on the clock when I bought it. Twenty thousand miles later it still is beetling over hill and dale and so far nothing, literally nothing, has gone wrong with it.

There is a view, particularly the further west one goes, that a car should have no more standing than a washing machine or a dishwasher. The average Devonian, for example, treats his or her wheels with disdain. They don’t wash the outside or clean the inside. It is a functional metal box to get from A to B.

This isn’t true in the Cotswolds. The car, in our hills, remains a status symbol. A black Range Rover with personalised number plates is still the boast of the rich weekender. The flashy European carriage, the expensive convertible and classic coupe continue to swing through the Cotswolds with the swagger of Motown backing singers.

I am not quite sure why this should be so. It was about 30 years ago when the engineers finally cracked cars. Radiators stopped overheating, fan belts didn’t snap and exhausts no longer belched black smoke. The sight of a shirt-sleeved bloke peering into an open bonnet is as dated as a fireman stoking a steam engine. Nowadays even the cheapest car works perfectly well, is safe and goes fast. The rest is vanity.

Which brings me back to the Rav 4. Philip and I now drive around the Cotswolds in our elderly, unflashy Toyotas. We look down on the Range Rovers and BMWs as vulgar meretricious vehicles. We talk of our bent and bruised Japanese four by fours in much the same way as I imagine an enthusiast will wax lyrical over a classic 1949, Series 1, split windscreen Land Rover.

In fact I had taken to comparing my 1997 Toyota Rav 4 to an elderly Land Rover. It was, I argued, just as elegant and practical. That is until I noticed the bumper sticker that some swine from my local pub had stuck on the back windscreen that read ‘No shampoo kept in this car overnight’.

---------------------------------------------

This article by Adam Edwards is from the December issue of Cotswold Life

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Yesterday, 14:39

Recorded in the Domesday Book, Bicester has a rich past relating to sheep, horses, leather working, lace making and military. It’s a treat to visit somewhere new, and so it is with a first-time visitor’s perspective this postcard by Tracy Spiers is written...

Read more
Yesterday, 12:44

Celebrate the other side of Yuletide in the South Gloucestershire village of Marshfield, where on Boxing Day a curious procession from another age can be seen making its way along the High Street...

Read more
Yesterday, 12:29

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Friday, December 14, 2018

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search