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And so I have been away for the past three years. Much has happened since and I was pretty much occupied with getting my life together, a new home, coping with whatever that came my way rather unexpectedly.
Presumably, I thought that my time with my Toyota 86 would last forever but it didn't. The idea of having that remarkable car was sound but the execution of keeping it wasn't.
As it wasn't possible to have my cake and eat it too, I sold my Toyota 86, rather reluctantly after a transmission rebuilt and overhaul. The rear was getting too crammed and my girls were growing up. Unable to improvise made worst by the landscape of car ownership costs in sunny Singapore meant that I had to move on.
"The Germans invented the diesel engine...and may other things that changed the world"
Contrary to my usual belief, I moved on with a Mercedes CLA200 or what Mercedes calls a "4-door coupe." A good transition from a Toyota 86 because I get to retain the frameless windows, a sexy "coupe like" shape with good lines and most of all, four doors, decent cabin space and a larger trunk. German technology built in Budapest, Hungary.
That extra comfort meant that I need not fret over every bump or porthole. The era of the raw sportscar was over. Right now, it was Android Auto with Google navigation and better air conditioning. The CLA200 isn't a rocket by nature but the 156bhp powerplant mated to a 7-speed DSG was certainly no slouch in bed. My wife didn't like the poor throttle response and I couldn't agree more. Being me, I soon had it tuned to 174bhp at the crank to push out about 340Nm of torque, fitted her with a set of 19-inch Varro VD06 alloys and the rest was history...
"In a Subaru vehicle, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive optimizes traction and balance because it is laid along the length of the vehicle."
While I was exploring for a family utility vehicle to replace my ageing Daihatsu Terios, I wanted something at a good price point, spacious, reliable and handles well particularly in wet weather.
Fortunately, Subaru had been paying attention to the weather forecasts and the 2.0 XV, equipped with the new Eyesight as well as the familiar All-Wheel Drive was the crossover for us. The drive in this automobile with a CVT articulating a "non-CVT" nature was the real deal breaker. Under normal driving conditions, the CVT sounds like a regular automatic transmission and generally does without the "electric blender notes" as it changes gears throughout the drive. You literally get to see your rev needle bounce up and down. Such a joy...
But I will tell you that the standard Navigation is quite unfriendly to use and the time taken to acquire or re-acquire lost GPS signals as you go in and out of indoor parking could leave you waiting till the end of time. While this may get you thinking if you'd be better off with another more expensive European crossover, that's really up to you.
As you can see, I have moved on but not exactly in a trajectory as some of my friends may have predicted. It's time to go continental but my love for Japanese made cars will forever have a place in my heart.
Blessed to have the best of both worlds...