Ok, I am forced to admit. As mile-munchers go, the Sirion is not perfect. Who would have thought it eh? A tiny, Oriental city car is in fact not the best vehicle for touring large chunks of the UK.
This month, the Sirion has been to the very top of Scotland and this week has covered many miles visiting friends and car specialists as I research features. I rather approve of this back drop of lovely Land Rovers for instance.
The above shot is from a visit to Land Rover specialist Chris Bowler, at Cambrian 4×4 Farm. As ever, despite being incredibly busy, he was wonderfully generous with his time, and a future feature was fully researched. More details on that to follow later. The Sirion was the perfect tool for this job, as the road to Lampeter is huge fun to drive. So, while I should have taken my Land Rover, I opted for fun! Besides, I didn’t want Chris to spend too much time laughing at the state of my Disco…
Then, it was off to England to catch up with chums. Again, I had considered taking the Land Rover, but this has developed yet another oil leak – this time from the transfer box. The acronym FFS applies nicely here – don’t worry if you can’t translate it. Given that it is also leaking engine oil (mainly from the sodding oil cooler unions that have plagued me throughout this car’s ownership) and that it slurps diesel compared to the Sirion’s parsimonious petrol habit, the costings weren’t in its favour either. The 2CV I fancied for this trip not at all.
The journey started well, and much haste was experienced, though not around left-hand bends. The Sirion continues to suffer baffling (literally I think) power issues. In fact, the Sirion proved far too happy to blat along at 80mph. It didn’t seem to like 70 as much.
For lunch, I opted to find a scenic village to hide out at, rather than suffer the woeful inadequacy of motorway services. I enjoyed this approach very much, especially with home-made chicken sarnies to munch on.
All was not entirely well though. The M6 through Birmingham had revealed some shortcomings in the Sirion. Namely suspension. The raised section of motorway has strips across the motorway and hitting every one of them at the 50mph you can legally do there was like driving up a kerb. It hurt! Then, a few seconds later, it hurt again! I’m used to being cosseted in Citroens. This was horrible! Town roads were even worse. I honestly think we’d be better going back to dirt roads.
More distressing was the lack of power. I’m really not a power lover. There’s much more joy to be enjoyed from thrashing a little car. But motorway driving becomes very stressful when you’ve got barely any power. You know what happens. Things bunch up and slow down, then all the repmobiles rapidly gather speed again. In the Sirion, you are forced to try and anticipate when this is going to happen, so you don’t end up going backwards in a sea of fast-accelerating vehicles. Then there’s overtaking. With two hours of slow roads between motorway and home, inevitably there is a need to get past slow things. More power allows these manoeuvres to be carried out nice and swiftly. 989cc does not allow this. As it happens, I’m quite good at building up momentum before hurtling onto the wrong side of the road – a technique perfected in the 2CV – but it can still lead to uncomfortable moments. Especially if the car suddenly loses power (as it did once) or you have to execute the overtake in view of a ‘safety’ van.
So, while I’m still a big fan of the Sirion, especially for hurtling around the deliciously smooth roads we have here in mid-Wales, I really need to get me a distance machine. In the next Blog, I shall (probably) talk about just how difficult a decision this is to make.