Some of you may have seen (or at least heard of) the film The Transporter, featuring Jason Statham as an executive delivery boy for the rich and infamous. The first film in the trilogy (the third of which is in cinemas soon, apparently) starts with a hooter of a car chase, with a rather sporty and well kitted-out Beamer. Unfortunately I’ve not actually seen more than the first 15 minutes of the film, so that puts an end to my review.
The reason for that introduction stems from my experience in the last half an hour, where I had to pick Sarah up from work and deliver her to the university campus where she was catching a coach, as fast as possible. Not because Sarah was late, but because I forgot. She had organised this with me several days ago, and yesterday evening I went round to her house so she could put a bag in my boot to save her worrying about it today. And yet, somehow, I completely forgot about it until 10 minutes after I was supposed to have picked her up. Grrr.
Some might put this down to the fact that my wife is at work and thus unable to remind me of what’s going on. Some might just attribute it to me being a muppet. But if I’m honest I can’t really pin the blame on Ellie, whom I’ve seen only briefly recently, as ships passing in the night – almost literally (she gets in from work around 11:30pm, and leaves the following morning at some unearthly hour). On this occasion, it just completely slipped my mind. I had intended on setting an alarm, aware as I was of my tendency to lose track of time and space, but clearly I’d forgotten to set the alarm. So it was only when Sarah called me at 4:10pm asking if I was lost that I realised what day it was, what time it was, and how the laws of mathematics had ensured that those ten minutes would be subtracted from the time I had left to get to Greenstead.
On the plus side, it did give me my first chance to drive my new car in anger. I’m not saying I completely flouted the traffic laws, but I’ll admit I gave it some welly where I could. The Ford Escort GhiaX has a respectable 1.8 litre engine, pumping out a good 150bhp on a good day. The brakes are simple but effective, and give a good positive response. However, being the luxury model rather than the sports model, the GhiaX focuses on comfort and tranquility at the cost of ultimate performance. Yes, the large-bore engine does develop a good wallop of power, but only when you get the revs right up, and gear changes are noticeably sloppy – more the fault of the engine than the gearbox. Straight-line acceleration is reasonably good, considering it’s pulling a relatively heavy car, full of padding and sound-proofing and air-conditioning and suchlike, but I wouldn’t describe it as exhilarating. Cornering is about average, with the overall setup being adequate enough to keep the car feeling safe, while not necessarily giving enough stability to be able to really hammer it through the bends. And the exhaust sounds like a congested bee. Albeit a rather large bee.
In conclusion, then, the Escort GhiaX is a fantastic little car for pootling around, doing the shopping, visiting grandparents, giving people lifts to the station, and soforth, but attempting anything even remotely… well, fun, the car fails to impress. It is, after all, a Ghia, not a Cosworth. For ferrying people from A to B it’s very comfortable and pleasing to drive, but it won’t get your heart pumping no matter how fast you drive.
And, just so you appreciate the effort I went to, Sarah did catch her coach in time. In fact, after all that, the coach was late.