If my car were Windows Vista, it wouldn’t unlock without asking me if I’m really sure I want to unlock it. The door would only open once I had confirmed that yes, I do want to open the door and no, I don’t want to play with the little purple dinosaur. Once I confirmed I wanted to open the door, it would then make the sound of a door opening but not actually unlock the door until I had confirmed that opening the door is what I really, really want to do.
It would take 60 seconds to actually unlock. At least.
I would then have to go through the same routine to start it. Every time I select a gear, it would ask if I’m sure that’s the gear I wanted. If I put it into automatic, it would play calming music and its windscreen would display a lovely blue/green iridescence. It would then ask me what gear I wanted. The tiptronic gears would have a delay of between one and ten seconds, while a display would flash a moving gear symbol at me along with the text, ‘Changing gear’.
For no apparent reason and without notice, my car would not move beyond second gear for long periods of time, forcing me to crawl along the hard shoulder. Then it would announce it had finished updating itself and fixing its file system and suddenly take off at great speed.
It would occasionally switch off the engine and, when I had coasted to a halt, ask me if I wanted help to fix the problem I had with the engine. I would have to answer yes, then it would restart and tell me how much it had enjoyed helping me to find a fix. Occasionally it would break down completely and parts would fall off. It would then ask if I wanted to find a solution. When I answered in the affirmative, it would tell me which parts had fallen off. When major parts fall off, it would ask me if I wanted to tell Microsoft about the problem I had caused.
If my car were Windows Vista, it wouldn’t start on cold mornings, hot mornings or mornings when I was in a rush. It would sit in my driveway flashing ‘Not Responding’ on its windscreen. If I took out the battery and reconnected it, then it would start first time every time. Occasionally, calling someone called Task Manager would help, but by no means always and it would take a huge amount of time for him to answer the phone. It would be safer just to disconnect the battery first thing.
When I tried to sound the horn, it would go online to find the right Codec for my horn and then fail to find it. Three hours later, it would go 'parp' for no apparent reason. Refilling it with petrol would be a challenge because there isn't a petrol cap release lever. I would have to sit at the petrol pump until, finally, it would ask me if I wanted to open the petrol cap. It would then play me a 30-minute video in Malay of why petrol is dangerous and only open the cap if I had clicked YES to agree that I understood the risks of using petrol. The fuel meter and reality would be completely disassociated.
Every time I took it for a service, the service manager would tut a lot and talk about critical updates, then keep it in the shop for two weeks for what he calls a ‘service pack’. When it came back, random bits would stop working. I would get messages telling me that the indicator wasn’t working, would I like to have the window opened so I could put my hand out to indicate my direction? If I said no, it would report me to the police for unsafe driving. If I said yes, it would tell me that it had fixed my Optimum Advanced Traffic Directional Warning System and ask if I would like to fix it again next time automatically? If I said yes, next time I tried to use the indicator, it would ask if I wanted to have the window opened so I could put my hand out to indicate my direction.
If my car were Windows Vista, it would have SatNav. Every time I programmed a route, the system would tell Microsoft where I was going and why. It would only work in Xhosa and a little known dialect of deepest Mongolia unless I agreed to have a Windows Live account, in which case it would work in the language of my choice for precisely fifteen minutes or four roundabouts, after which it would default to Xhosa until I accessed my Hotmail account and agreed to play with the purple dinosaur and accept MS into my life.
If my car were Windows Vista, I’d be highly likely to upgrade to Car 7.0 out of sheer desperation. But I sure as hell am thoroughly road testing the new car this time around. Because if I’d truly appreciated how bad this car was going to be, I’d have stayed with Car XP at any cost...