Our small sub-nuclear family has three cars. My Mini (which is still wonderful despite expensive tyres), SWMBO has a Citroen C3 and Squid has a very old Polo 1.4. Over the new year break, the two cheaper cars decided to start losing bits. Charge out of the battery (in the Polos case) and the bolts securing the under-engine pan (in the Citroens case). The Polo I can understand - its 11 years old and has 150,000 miles on the clock. Its an old car, and bits are wearing out.

I'm less charitable in the case of the Citroen. Only 4 years old, Ex demo car, one careful lady owner. Its the build quality is just rubbish. She's broken two springs already (and believe me, SWMBO does NOT do off-roading). The bolts holding the engine-pan (the cover under the engine between it and the road) is just held on with push-on clips and bolts. Anytime you have to change something on the citroen, its a long-drawn out process, requiring fingers 10 inches long. The headlamp bulb replacement on this is a nightmare.

I think this year I'll just buy the girls another couple of Minis. Not Cooper S's of course. Something smaller. And less ugly than the new estate Mini Clubman..