Driving: The post where I go on an MOT, Servicing & MINI adventure courtesy of HR Owen

by Sasha Wilkins on May 30, 2014 · 7 comments

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I think it’s fair to say that I am extraordinarily accident prone. Dyspraxia doesn’t help, as it means my spatial reality is Not Good, but it can’t be blamed for the more annoying things that seem to happen on a daily basis. Like, for example, when my car registration plate fell off on the way to the MOT Test Centre. (That’s an automatic fail, if you didn’t know.)

 

So a big thank you to HR Owen, who came to my rescue, with not just an offer of an MOT and service, but the loan of a MINI whilst my car was in the garage. Last summer I got to hang out in an HR Owen Lamborghini Aventador, and they are known for their luxury car sales, but I had no idea that they provided MOT tests and servicing too.

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So the next morning I made use of their collection and car return service, with an extremely nice gentleman managing not to look as though he was going to cry when he swapped a jazzy, box fresh MINI (above) for my filth bucket convertible. Sadly there wasn’t a Lamborghini on offer, although upon reflection I don’t think Camden is *quite* ready for that.

(Although I could have taken advantage of their Service While You Shop offer at Westfield London, which strikes me as an excellent multi-tasking option, as well as avoiding the extortionate Westfield parking charges. They also offer a 90 minute Pitstop option for MINI servicing.)

And, speaking of charges, where one might expect a purveyor of such glorious car shininess to charge the earth for its services, I was sent the standard invoice for the work done on my car, which was the same – and in a few items less, than my local garage charges.

Given that my father is a car obsessive, I’ve spent most of life around cars and car people, and can spot a patronising ‘girls don’t know about cars’ attitude at a hundred paces, which unfortunately happens regardless of whether I am in a car, with my father, or on a press trip – where you’d really think they’d get the message, wouldn’t you?

I’m pleased to say that at no point did a single person from HR Owen make me feel anything other than a valued user of their services. I also particularly liked that they flagged work that would need attention in the future, but that they didn’t think was necessary at the service: I’ve had garages that have sworn that everything was essential NOW, putting the fear of God into me and my bank account, so this was a refreshing change. I thought it was intelligent to note, for example, that there was no recent evidence of a timing belt change, which I’ve never had pointed out to me before.

I’m adding the list they compiled, as those who knows my car will snigger:

Roof leaking and in poor condition-replacement recommended (as anyone who has exited my car with a wet bottom will testify)
Aerial bent (downside of living in Camden – vandalism from drunk passersby)

Bodywork damaged on various areas (that lamppost has never recovered either)

So a BIG thank you HR Owen for all their help: I had huge amounts of fun driving the MINI. It was my first time behind the wheel of one, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was nippy, responsive, really economical on petrol, and fitted into the tiniest of parking gaps all over London.

I’m so used to driving my two seater, with its inconveniences (tiny boot, no places for a supermarket shop, no room for the Baddog to stretch out), that it was a complete treat to have a car with a back seat and spacious boot for all my stuff.

HR Owen specialise in BMW/MINI (Acton, Central and West London centres); they also specialise in Audi (from Central and SW London), and would like to offer LLG readers a 10% discount to all BMW, Audi and MINI new customers on their service and/or MOT. Just mention LLG when you book in.

There’s a map of HR Owen centres in the UK here

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