"I need the quote, the whole quote, and nothing but the quote," I asked with my guilt-ridden neo-postmodern-quasi-proletariat fists clutching the table. The receptionist remained placid, and with a laconic smile shoved a taxi voucher into disbelieving fingers. "What's this?" I cried, willfully suspending my disbelief in the Jungian evilness of the collective society, however she remained calm as a latter-day class revolution on YouTube.
"Please take it," she insisted. "You can get a rental car while your BMW X3 is being repaired. A Mitsubishi ASX."
Was this a blue pill being offered? Damn it, where’s the red pill or – better – what happens if I’d swallowed both? No time to ponder the ethical matrices of probability. I allowed myself to follow the entropic arrow of time with reasoning so tautological it consumed itself with truism, and I arrived at Thrifty Rental and was given the keys to a 2017 Mitsubishi ASX LS.
'What did the X stand for?' I mused. It certainly didn’t stand for AWD as this car was a front-wheel-drive only. It also didn’t stand for fun with gears, as this chariot of the masses had an automatic gearbox. Mmm… Time to delve into the manual. Ah, here it is. Active Sports Crossover. I chortled since the Mitsubishi editors hadn’t noticed that Crossover didn’t begin with X. What else could they have missed, I wondered?
They’d also missed the fact the 2.0-litre petrol engine was as likely to be sporty as seeing bats in a desert. Wait, there could be bats in a desert, but that didn’t change the fact the engine’s pretentious claim wasn’t true. Try as I might, I couldn’t extract back-wrenching acceleration from the meagre 110kW engine, and it remained as disappointing as the hidden toy at the bottom of a cereal packet before they were deemed a choking hazard.
Still, the car’s interior turned out to be the disappointing yang to the lacklustre yin of the engine. Hold on. Weren’t these meant to be opposites? Perhaps there was more to the interior than initially met my eyes. The seats, despite being cloth, were supportive, and the gauges clear, if unexciting. There was a touchscreen, seven inches or so it claimed, which allowed Bluetooth connectivity to my Android telephone. This allowed limited voice commands, which misunderstood me as often as a student reading a Shakespearean sonnet, but still workable given time. A lot of time.
The car had climate control, although not dual zone, but despite this the acres of plastics in the cabin were harder than a mathematician’s proof. Still, the two weeks of driving were frugal, and I estimate the car sipped less fuel than Hunter S Thompson on a weekend in Vegas. A text appeared. The X3 was repaired and time to return this workhorse back to the Thrifty stables.
I drove back to the repairers, afraid and hating myself for not finding this car endearing. Wondering why I was attached to the Teutonic machinery instead of this – a car that does well in the budget sector. Perhaps it lay with the lies that spawned its name, ASX. As we note from Bernard of Morlay: "Stat rosa pristina nomine; nomina nuda tenemus".