I've got to say that I am enjoying this thing. To be fair to it, there's is actually quite a lot to like about it. I like the seating position, I'm not really high up, like a proper 4x4, but I am marginally higher than most cars, or at least, most cars that aren't four wheel driving off roaders, or people carriers. Needless to say that on the school run however I would be no higher than any of the other parents. Lets face it, those mums need their big 4x4s, it gets pretty leafy around here in the Autumn!
But that doesn't bother me, and so far in my month of ownership it seems to be going very well indeed. Time for the first fill shot...
I've covered nearly 300 miles since I got this car, and although miles per gallon isn't my first consideration when buying a car I do like to keep an eye on how I'm doing. Of course, when Mrs Clint's behind the wheel any of my calculations are pretty much thrown out the window, as she likes to drive it like she stole it, but so far the driving has been done solely by me. Like I said, my shoes are a lot lighter than Mrs Clints, and so far it would seem that I am acheiving mid twenties to the gallon. I've not worked it out properly yet, but I think that such a large car with a little (in comparison to it's size) engine is never going to be the best. But that being said mid twenties is more than acceptable, especially when compared to that little Aixam I was running about in, this must be four times the size and weight, and I'm getting atleast twice the M.P.G that I got with the Aixam. Not to mention it must be a thousand times nicer to drive!
Inside there is acres of room, the seats are big, and comfortable. It's not as luxurious as say a Jaguar, Mercedes, or Lexus, but it's loads better than the likes of the C-max, and the Multipla. Much like the Beetle, the front of the dash and the windscreen seem to be miles away from me when I'm driving along, but unlike the Beetle this doesn't feel weird. I guess this is because the Beetle is something that looks like a car, and so in my mind I was expecting normal car type proportions inside. Whereas this looks like a people carrier, and so my mind is set to roomy people carrier mode, and just accepts that he windscreen will be miles away! I dunno, but whatever it is, I do quite like it.
What I still can't get used to is those massive doors! With the doors open there's just this huge hole in the side of the car. This must have the biggest doors ever to be fitted to a car. But that being said they're hinged in such a way that even when some moron parks too close to you in the supermarket car park they still open wide enough that a fat guy like me can open them and get inside without any trouble at all. Better yet, if Mrs Clint and I are out in it, and we spot our two little Monsters walking back from school or whatever we can just stop and open the door to let them into the back. Mrs Clint doesn't have to get out or anything, she just leans the seatback forwards, and they climb in behind her. Of course that isn't what usually happens, usually we just toot the horn and wave at them as we drive by! But the option is there should we feel the need to stop and pick them up! Kids today, I think they need all the excercise, and fresh air they can get!
Speaking of fresh air, and big holes in the side, the door isn't the only big hole. With the windows rolled down the hole in the side of the Avantime is massive! Inside the Avantime is a button for open air mode. Basically this just opens everything up in one go. The weather recently has been a little bit poor, and at one point I thought that there was no end in sight as far as the rain was concerned. This, no doubt is good for the plants that grow, but not so good for someone who wants to press the open air mode button on their Avantime! I want to push that button, and enjoy the final throws of Summer and early Autumn driving around in my Avantime with the roof rolled back and the windows rolled down! Whats the point in having a car like this if I can't do that? I was starting to wonder if I'd ever get to see what it was like. I even parked it in a multistorey car park the other day while I followed Mrs Clint around as she looked at every item in every clothes shop in Southampton at the weekend! Just so that when we got back to the car park the Avantime would be dry, and I could try the button out! To Mrs Clints confusement I did try the button out. We got in, I started it up, and I pressed the button!! "What the heck are you doing?!" Exclaimed Mrs Clint. As the motors whirred and the windows rolled down and roof rolled back I looked at her, one eyebrow raised like I had a fish hook caught in it, and just said, "Open air mode!" I could tell by the look on her face that open air mode wasn't impressing her at all, and then she spoke, "OPEN AIR MODE!!? ARE YOU INSANE? IT'S RAINING AND I'M FREEZING!! Close it back up!" With the window and roof finally fully open I said that I knew it was raining, and although not freezing I figured that inside a car park would be the perfect place to try it as it was both warm and dry. I pulled out of the space and as we started to head towards the exit I pressed the button again. As before motors started whirring and the windows and roof all closed pretty much at once! I looked at Mrs Clint and said that was pretty cool, I feel like Joe 90, or the Thunderbirds or something... That was F.A.B... Even though we were still in the warm dry car park Mrs Clint looked at me and just said, "No, you're a knobber!" Well the jokes on her, she married me!
Well a couple of days later the sun did make another appearance, and as I was having a slow day at work I was straight out there for a little blezz about in the Avantime in open air mode! To be fair to it, it was pretty damn good. I'm not going to say that it's as good as the Beetle, or Focus cabriolet when the roof is down, it's not. I'm not even going to say that it was better than a T-top, but it is way better than your average tin-top. I'm guessing that this is the sort of idea that Citroën were after with their 2003 to 2010 C3 Pluriel convertible, but I think the Avantime does it better. I realise that the C3 Pluriel could be configured as a hatchback with a multi layer insulated top, or a full length landaulette, by opening the roof partially or to the back window or any stage in between. Or a fixed profile convertible (like a BMW Baur copnvertible), with the roof open to the back window, the roof assembly folds into a well in the boot floor. It could also be a full convertible with the roof side rails unlatched and removed, but the trouble with this was, what would you do with the side rails? Leave them at home? What if it rained while you were out, this is England after all! Lastly the Citroën C3 Pluriel could even be configered as a roadster pick up by folding the back seats down to form a pickup like bed with a drop down tailgate. All brilliant concepts, but they don't seem to work all together in one vehicle. Plus the Citroën C3 Pluriel wasn't exactly a good looking car, and despite liking the concept, it didn't work for me, and although I wouldn't say that I'd never have one, as, lets face it, I've had some pretty odd stuff, but the Pluriel doesn't really make it onto the list of cars to own someday! Whereas the Renault Avantime has been on the list for eighteen years now, and the last month or so wafting about in it has proved to me that it was a pretty damn good decision, and at this point in time it's pretty safe to say that I'm chuffed to nuts with it!