But when 'my' Golf GTI Edition 35 went back to the VW press office a few days ago I was genuinely upset. Because OY61 EBM, more than any car I've either owned or run, fitted my life like a glove.
Over seven months and more than 12,000 miles, the unassuming white Golf performed every task I asked of it with aplomb, panache and all the other nouns that mean 'really rather effectively'. And despite the colour, it certainly was more than white goods to me.
People often accuse VWs of being dull, boring or soulless, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Sure, it was practical, sensible, reliable and did everything I asked of it. But competence doesn't necessarily equal an absence of enjoyment.
once the winter tyres had been binned) to keep me smiling.
Fun and sensible all in one
But the key to all this, the real winning stroke, is that the Golf was able to do the fun stuff without compromising on the practicalities. And quite frankly a car that can combine unfussed daily commuter, B-road hooligan, full-to-the-roof cargo carrier and autobahn mile-muncher is a pretty competent machine in my book.
BMW 125i M Sport will cost you less.
The engine, too, isn't the most sophisticated-sounding thing, particularly at a cold idle, where its gravelly grumble bears a passing but alarming resemblance to a diesel clatter. Regular GTIs get the smoother, newer EA888 motor it's worth noting, the Edition 35 using the older, gruffer EA113 shared with the Golf R, Audi S3 and SEAT Leon Cupra R.
Then there's the question of fuel consumption. This has been a surprisingly serious issue for those who have driven the Golf, me included. In principle, how much dinosaur juice your performance car sucks up shouldn't be a make-or-break concern. But the main MO of the Golf is that it plays the sensible game too and, to that end mpg in the high 20s is a bit much to take.
I did promise I'd conduct a test for a few thousand miles on super unleaded, too, as I'd been putting in regular unleaded most of the time and wanted to see if higher-octane stuff would yield any improvement in economy. So between 15,103 miles and 17,191 the Golf was treated to a super-only diet.
No doubt the next-generation Golf GTI, due next year, will improve upon that; in an age of ever-rising fuel prices it will have to. But I don't want to end my reports on what has been - for me at least - the best car I have ever had the privilege of driving on a daily basis. Had it been 10 per cent fuel efficient and it would have been perfect...
Car: 2011 VW Golf GTI Edition 35
Run by: Riggers
On fleet since: December 2011
Mileage: 18,139 miles
List price new: £31,030 (inc. £1,770 infotainment pack and £440 for parking sensors front and rear)
Last month at a glance: Trying to persuade VW not to take the car away from me!
Service please! (says the Golf)
It's a visit back home for the trusty PH Golf GTI. And the opportunity to play beatthe nav'
Low-ish fuel economy's been bugging us, so we decide to try out the GTI's dieselcousin
Paris road trip proves GTI's impeccable cruising credentials
Golf GTI Edition 35 arrives, complete with wintry rubber
Winter tyres go south; the Golf proves a popular choice at PH HQ
Original review of the Edition 35:
Driven: Golf GTI Edtion 35