Vive la bagnole ! — My French love affair

I’ve been a happy owner of a French car in over eight years with my now aging Peugeot 406 from 1996. When I bought it in 2001, it felt like a brand new car, and a major step up from my previous (and first) car: a Volvo 142 from 1970. One of the coolest things of the 406 was its 4-digit code you had to enter on the left side of the steering wheel before you could start the engine. Not only did it make me feel super important when I stepped into the car, it was also a pretty advanced anti-theft feature. Perhaps most important of all, it was a very rewarding feeling to see your passangers’ reactions every time they first discovered this killer James Bond feature.

The Peugeot 406 has been serving me well during all these years, but recently, it’s been struggling to keep up with the little things, like showing the outside temperature on its internal display, or letting me in through its drivers door, or not dropping its exhaust pipe on the ground.

One day when the 406 was taking me to Patrick for lunch out at Tuna Park (Sweden’s most popular shopping mall!), Patrick commented on its poor shape and said it looked “tired.” I think this might have been the last nail in the coffin for the 406′s already weak self-esteem, because just a few days later it broke down completely on the parking lot at Tuna Park and wouldn’t let me start it — the James Bond feature was broken!

I had to tow it to my sister’s car dealer and I realized that even if they can probably fix or work around this problem, it might be time to start looking for a replacement. I was also told that I should be happy if I could sell it for anything more than 1,000 Euros…

After some thinking and investigation, I’m now a proud owner of yet another French car:

Citroën C4 HDI 1.6 EGS (2007, diesel). My third car.

I love it! It’s very fuel efficient, it has a very neat 6-speed semi-automatic gearbox (Citroën calls it EGS), and maybe most important, it actually lets me drive it! It’s classified as an environmental friendly car in Sweden — the CO2 emission is 120g/km — but right now I’m still enthusiastically trying to find reasons to drive it, so if you count the distances I’m driving it without a meaningful destination, the CO2 emission is a lot higher.

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9 thoughts on “Vive la bagnole ! — My French love affair

  1. William

    Dude, i would trade my car for that 1970 Volvo 142 any time. That is what i call a car with soul ! How could you have gotten rid of it??? Plus, that bird-poop green is amazing !

    Reply
  2. maxauthority

    Hmm, I think the first car (the Volvo) was the best, the 406 was also ok, but the Citroen is just looking boring without charisma. I really have to agree with William, that the Volvo 142 was just cool (although if it was broken, I can understand you got rid off it, old cars are very nice, but often have technical problems)

    Reply
  3. David Tenser

    William, maxauthority: The Volvo was so cool and brought back a lot of memories (my parents used to own the same model when I was a kid), but it didn’t work well in our Scandinavian climate. During wintertime, when you needed it the most, it wouldn’t start.

    David: no, it’s just one clutch so you have to work with it. But it has paddles on the steering wheel and if you drive manual and use the paddles in sports mode, it’s snappy enough for me (0.4 seconds shift time). :)

    Reply
  4. Dmitry

    Citroen is nice. Been considering to get one this week, but decided to purchase a Peugeot 308 because of it’s slightly bigger interior space and glass roof :)

    Reply
  5. Dmitry

    David Tenser: And more importantly, there is a new revision of the automatic transmission on Peugeot, which is said to be more accurate on when to switch gears (both Peugeot and Citroen offer only the 4-step tiptronic here, and six-step sequential one is not even an option).

    Reply
  6. Jonas Sicking

    Aww, I could have introduced you to the wonderful world of german cars. Specifically german Porsche. They are actually not that expensive if you get them used. Just got a new (used) one to replace the last one I had that somehow got a lot of mechanical problems, possibly related to me crashing it through a fence and into a shrubbery… Payed probably just a third of the new price and it’s a 2005. Of course, CO2 emissions still isn’t very good.

    Reply

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