The joys of being a motoring journalist

I’m not saying it’s the best job in the world but if your interest in cars borders on a potentially unhealthy obsession, being a motoring journalist is a pretty fair gig.

True the remuneration is unlikely to provide sufficient wherewithal to buy your own Maserati (or Bentley, Bristol or Porsche) but that doesn’t matter.

As a professional motoring writer, with a key media outlet, you will have access to all these and more.

Back in the day when I was a front-line journalist, writing about the automotive industry, I was one of those privileged to have a fresh test car delivered almost weekly. And I realised recently that I miss those days.

The heady excitement that the latest car would bring lay in anticipating its arrival as much as it did in seeking to discern something new to say about its design, its power train, its fit and finish and, crucially, its handling.

My favourites were always the big ‘pluto-barges’. An S-Class Mercedes, 7-Series BMW or Lexus LS was always a source of professional interest and personal pleasure to me. These cars showcased a car maker’s technical ingenuity, boundless imagination and manufacturing skill.

But I also loved being able to spend time with a new Ford Focus or Toyota Yaris.

These apparently lesser vehicles were, usually, an object lesson in economics. The profit in each unit was so low that the design and engineering of each component demanded more intellectual energy than any owner would ever imagine.

It was a huge joy therefore that for three weeks I have had the privilege to spend time in a Lexus RX 450h, Lexus LS600h L and the Fiat Panda 4×4.

A luxury SUV; an even more luxurious saloon and a Tardis-like city utility vehicle that can also climb an Alp. Bliss.

Forget the practical reason I drove these three completely different cars. Focus instead on the joy that their arrival provided to my soul.