Even though it's a design classic and one of the original hot hatchbacks, the Volkswagen Golf was only the 7th most popular car among first-time drivers. However, with its roomy interior and muscular performance, it is one of the most popular cars among first-time drivers with families, which is exactly the reason why Jamie East picked one up.
It's just a shame that no-one told Sky Atlantic's Thronecast presenter about the dangers of fitting a roof box.
"I was ridiculously old and already a father of two before I got a car that I actually owned. I'd passed my test years before (when I was 19) but for various reasons didn't get 'round to buying one until I was nearly 26.
Before the trusty royal blue Golf entered my life I'd always managed to beg, borrow or – well just beg or borrow a car whenever I needed one. Living in London isn't like anywhere else. I'd lived in Derby most of my life where having a car is useful. In London, they're a nuisance – you can't park them anywhere and people love nicking them.
So, there I was with a 10–year–old Golf, driving down to Cornwall, The Strokes first album blasting out of the CD player (plugged into the stereo via jack lead, obvs), like the king of the world. I'd chosen the air freshener, the stereo (which took me longer to pay off than the car – thanks, Egg) and the roof box.
Ah yes, the roof box. When your heart says Thule but your head says the cheapest you can find. When your head says, "you'll never fit all that in" but your bum says, "just sit on it till it shuts". Parents of young children will always remember the first time they realise the amount of absolute trash you have to carry around everywhere, 10 days in Padstow with a toddler needs more equipment than Botham's walk of Britain. I was quite proud of managing to fit everything in.
An hour later I was smiling smugly to myself while driving down the M5 towards Exeter, looking in the rear–view mirror and pitying the fool whose North Face coat was floating across the central reservation. Along with a kid's body warmer and… oh god… my wife's leather jacket.
You tell yourself you won't risk your life for mundane material things – but those are the words spoken by men who remember to lock their roof boxes, not by men who aren't as attached to the first expensive coat they've ever bought – and certainly not by men who have to tell their wife a crow is pecking her coat to shreds.
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