Me and my car: Karen Walker

By Donna McIntyre

Fashion designer Karen Walker is known for her effortless style ... which might partly explain why she is such a fan of a luxury hybrid.

Picture / Ted Baghurst
Picture / Ted Baghurst

What do you drive?

2013 Lexus RX45Oh Limited in white pearl.

Why this car? You're a "green convert"?

I've been driving a Lexus RX for almost seven years. I fell in love with the RX the first time I drove in one with the hybrid car service I use in New York and switched to Lexus at home for both our cars almost immediately after that trip.

I chose it because it's luxury but also hybrid which isn't all that easy to find and certainly it was very rare when I first switched. You get all the bells-and-whistles of a luxury vehicle, and a big vehicle for that matter, but it's also guilt-free.

There are so many things I like about it: the size, the hybrid thing of course, but also, being a luxury vehicle, it's got all those yummy little things that make a difference to the experience - heated and air conditioned seats, heads-up display, remote control boot opening and closing, Bluetooth connection to my playlist, great stereo, etc. I not only drive a Lexus but am an ambassador for them.

What is the main consideration if you buy a car?

The brand and the design.

First car you owned?

A Fiat Uno when I was 18.

Your dream car ...

I don't know. I'm not really that sort of person to covet a dream car. I love what I drive and I don't feel the desire to window shop for other cars.

Favourite car colour?

Black or white.

How important is the design ... considering your design profile? And do you do anything to "customise" your car?

The design and the brand are all that matters in cars and in pretty much anything. I don't do customisation on cars. If it's a good design, it doesn't need anything added.

Who taught you to drive?

My parents when I was 15 years old. I got my licence at 16. Those were the days when you had a 30-minute test and were given your full licence on the spot.

My first lessons were in the big carpark at Ellerslie Racecourse on Sunday afternoons. They were huge and there was absolutely nothing to drive into. My parents were both excellent teachers; very sensible and calm. In the almost 30 years I've been driving I've never had an accident so I guess that says something about my training.

Manual or automatic?

The RX has both manual and automatic so I have the choice but I never take it out of automatic. Why? Because there's enough to think about in life without adding changing gears to it!

Most memorable road trip?

My first drive from Christchurch to Queenstown. Astoundingly beautiful.

How often do you clean your car?

I get it valeted every two or three weeks. I don't like a grubby looking car. And the interior's always spotless. I'm very fussy about that. No empty coffee cups or water bottles!

And what do you listen to in your car?

I alternate between the BBC world service and whatever's on my playlist, this week it's Jay Z.

What's a great day trip out of Auckland?

I like to take the car over to Waiheke and explore the vineyards and beaches.

Does what people drive influence how you perceive them?

I'm afraid to say yes, without a doubt.

What irritates you most about other drivers?

People who don't know the road rules and bad manners.

Would you rather drive in Auckland or take public transport?

I drive or walk.

Who else is allowed to drive your car?

My husband.

Do you have a special number plate?

No, I'm not a big fan of vanity plates.

Bike and cars ... is there space for both on New Zealand roads?


As told to Donna McIntyre

- NZ Herald

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