Friday, November 30, 2012

A motoring idea you'll warm to in this winter weather

HERE'S an idea you'll warm to. Why don't we fit cars with proper boilers and thermostats?

T'was a cold and frosty morning when the thought struck me. Faced with needing to take a car rather than the bus into work, I unlocked the garage and started up a stone cold Mazda MX-5 which immediately fogged up the moment I dared to exhale breath while sat inside. I was one of the lucky ones; elsewhere, the good people of Southport were scraping the ice of their windscreens.

Here's the rub. Almost every car I've driven on a cold morning, even shiny brand new ones, still require the efforts of some cheap de-icer before you can set off, and then a good few minutes before the icy chill of winter leaves the interior. Nor can you do the old trick of warming the car up while you sit indoors with a cuppa - not only is it illegal, but you might as well stick a sign on your pride ‘n' joy with “STEAL ME” writ large all over it.

With the exception of a wonderful January weekend in Wales, when I donned gloves and a woolly hat so I could enjoy the crisp mountain air in the MX-5 with the roof down, driving first thing in the morning at this time of year is no fun. Unless of course, you run a recently-made Range Rover. A car which comes with a little gas heater and a time-adjustable thermostat, just like your house does.

In the same way I've always wondered why houses aren't fitted with electric windows, it perplexes me why proper thermostats which you can preset to come on when you want - which have been around for ages - don't come as standard on more cars. If you know you're going to setting off at eight every morning, wouldn't it be great to preset a proper heating system to come on fifteen minutes earlier, so your pride and joy is all toasty once you step inside and the engine isn't having to cough into life at minus four?

Don't get me wrong - there's all sorts of aftermarket preheating systems you can fit to your motor - but I'm just amazed the car industry at large didn't cotton onto the whole winter-is-cold thing years ago.

It's one motoring gadget you wouldn't give a frosty reception.

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