These Caribbean traffic islands see me motoring back and forth

A Caribbean holiday combines a trip down memory lane with a highway to the future for motoring editor Andy Russell.

Caribbean island streets are motoring past, present and future and my first sight of the forthcoming Ford Edge sport utility vehicle, above right, in the metal.

Even when I’m on holiday I never completely escape from the world of motoring but I do find checking out cars in foreign climes a real pleasure.

I’m just back from a Caribbean cruise which, while wandering round the various island ports, proved a cross between a blast from the past and the shape of things to come.

And it was rather timely – a bit like A Christmas Carol with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future replaced by the cars of motoring past, present and future.

Turning the clock back there was a wealth of Japanese cars of various ages and conditions with almost forgotten names – such as the Nissan Sunny and Primera. And it seems the standard of driving takes more of a toll on the bodywork than any extremes of weather, especially given that there is no salt on the roads.

That said, while many of them are still being driven, I was amazed by how many homes have a dilapidated old car in the front yard in various states of disrepair, many being swallowed by the vegetation. In fact, I began to wonder if there might be more cars off-road than there are on the road. What most of them have in common is they are all on bricks – much like many of the wooden houses – without wheels.

The blossoming Korean car-makers are also playing a big part in the current crop of models and it seems the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson – badged as the ix35 in theUK– are particularly popular. And around the harbour at Gustavia, the capital of St Barts, just about every other car seems to be a MINI Cooper Convertible.

And I was rather amused to see the smaller version of Nissan’s Murano sport utility vehicle is called the Rogue – not very enticing.

The highlight for me was seeing the Ford Edge which goes on sale in Europe for the first time next year.

The large SUV will become the third in the Ford fleet, joining the compact EcoSport and mid-size Kuga.

It’s a good-looking model which, combined with the Ford Blue Oval badge, should also make it attractive to potential buyers.

As for the drivers, I found them particularly courteous and well-mannered – just as well as I was on a cycle tour so that made life easier.

The most difficult thing of visiting a different island each day is working out which side of the road you should be on because, with British, French and Dutch influences going way back in history, some islands drive on the left and some on the right. Confused… I was!

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