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Featured Expert: Inside Lane

May 29, 2014

The car financing experts meet the car experts. This week, Car Loan Warehouse got the chance to interview Tyler Heatley, editor-in-chief of Inside Lane. Tyler is lucky enough to drive and review hundreds of cars every year, and today he’s sharing his expert opinions on everything from what to look out for on a test drive to his ultimate dream car.

When buying a new car, what aspects are most important to you?

For me it is all about the communication between man and machine. There are far too many cars out there that will happily get you from A to B, and whilst they often suit their purpose of ferrying people around, these cars tend to be ‘white goods’ – they lack soul. To put it another way, your washing machine does a great job of washing your clothes, but you never catch yourself saying “great job washing machine, I’m so glad I have you”. It serves a simple purpose and so there’s no emotional connection.

I recently tested an Alfa Romeo 4C – and whilst some people would complain about its lack of refinement, including no power steering, I loved it for its purity. You could feel the cars pulse and completely understand what each wheel was doing beneath you. That is when a car stops being merely a mode of transport and becomes something you truly enjoy driving.

If you could drive any car for the day what would it be and why?

I am very lucky that in my line of work – I get to drive hundreds of different cars every year, from supermini to super car. I’ve had the chance to drive some astonishing machines such as the Aston Martin DB4, Jaguar E-Type and Ferrari 458 Italia. However, a car that has alluded me and may well continue to do so, is the McLaren F1.

This biblical car was the ‘pin-up poster’ of my generation, utilising the very best Formula One technology. For over a decade its 243 mph top speed was unbeaten, thanks to its mighty BMW V12 engine. It might have a form follows function design, but the McLaren F1 is still quite something to behold, even today.

What is the worst car you have ever driven and what made it so bad?

Last year I drove a 1973 Vauxhall Firenza HP, and it remains not only the worst car I have ever had the displeasure of driving, but also the scariest. I have driven a fair few old cars and so I knew that by modern standards, this car has to be treated differently.

From the moment I climbed in, shocking build quality issues leapt out at me. The seat wasn’t straight in its mountings, the pedals were so far off to one side you had to sit diagonally to use them and the speedometer bounced around erratically. I know it’s old, but these were all issues when the car was new. It rolled in the corners more than a listing ship, making the steering wheel something to cling onto as opposed to steer the Firenza. However, the part of the car that resulted in me handing the keys back after just 15 minutes – was how poor its brakes were. It would have slowed down faster if they were made out of cornflakes!

Are there any particular manufacturers you feel always hit the mark with their cars?

There is no such thing as perfection in this industry. No single manufacturer that has been around for a significant period has a flawless record, but if we were to restrict things to current car lineups, then the accolade would have to go to either Porsche or Mercedes-Benz. Both manufacturers have a range that is hard to fault.

Porsche have engineered their current cars to perfection, be it the 991 911 or their latest model, the Macan. Each ticks all of the boxes for its particular segment, whilst adding that unique Porsche feel. Mercedes-Benz have also come a long way in the past 10 years. Whilst their cars have never been shocking, the company have tailored their range to the current market perfectly. With a car in every segment, delivering German reliability and build quality, the three pointed star has a strong contender for class leader in all of its models.

If Tyler’s tips have inspired you to go looking for a new car, the Car Loan Warehouse can help. You choose the car, and leave the rest up to us. As experts in car financing, the Car Loan Warehouse works with dealers and lenders to find you the best car loan around. Try our quick and easy car finance calculator for an instant quote.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.