Have you noticed that like dogs, some cars seem to share characteristics with their owners? This was brought home to me when I attended a mindfulness course in that long ago, pre-Covid world we used to inhabit. You may laugh, but I felt less frazzled at the end of it than I did at the start, although the irony of looking back at the stuff that worried me then, compared to now, is obvious.

The tutor was a scholarly man in his 40s, who looked a bit like Tony Hawks the comedian (best known as author of the seminal ‘Round Ireland With A Fridge’), but shorn of Mr. Hawks’ naughty twinkle. Instead, this man radiated a gentle-but-kind seriousness. He wore sensible shoes and brown corduroy jackets and had a sonorous speaking voice that, during meditation exercises, seemed to encourage falling into a light sleep.

Mindfulness Man drove a Nissan Leaf, and when I discovered this, I wasn’t in the least surprised. Every week his first generation example – the one that looks like a child’s shoe – whispered into the leisure centre car park, and its gangling owner would uncoil himself from behind the wheel. Even from a distance he radiated benign concern, and the pure-electric Nissan Leaf suited him well. They were a pair of human and automotive herbivores in harmony.

Which brings me to the unashamedly carnivorous Range Rover Sport, surely the last word in consumer culture exhibitionism. It’s a lazy stereotype, but Sport drivers, particularly owners of the frankly thuggish looking first generation car, seem to like their registration plates personalised – often in bafflingly illiterate ways – their windows blacked out (why, when it’s obvious that they want to be noticed?) and, I’m guessing here, their steaks almost raw. These cars look loud and often sound it too, making throbbing hot rod noises as they barge their way from place to place. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been tailgated or in some way harassed by one.

Not long ago I entered a 30mph zone on a narrow, twisting lane approaching a village. This was flanked by high hedges and had more blind spots than the average Cabinet meeting. Suddenly my world grew a little darker as my rear view mirror was filled with the blockish front end of an ageing Range Rover Sport, whose bull necked, red faced owner, a sort of own brand Donald Trump, had presented its giant, cheese grater grille to my back window. The result was the car equivalent of a Rottweiler sniffing a Yorkshire terrier’s bottom.

I knew that this man would do anything to overtake. On an undulating stretch of tarmac with dips that would conceal an oncoming car, followed by a blind bend, his Sport twitched violently to the right and roared past, its slab sides inches from my door mirror. Fortunately, nothing was coming the other way, as the Sport was flung into the blind bend at about 50mph. Its pace didn’t slacken as it streaked through the village and thundered away. This was a moment of sociological cliché, and perhaps shamefully, I quite enjoyed having my prejudices confirmed. You may well know the feeling.

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