Mel Homer, morning radio host at Mix 98.2, likes to reminisce about bench seats in the Kingswood, great tunes on trips and long, hot Whangamata summers

You drive a 2003 Lexus RX330 four-wheel drive?

It's olive/silver, and I've had it for a few months. We bought it from my father-in-law, so I knew it would have been immaculately maintained. (And it was family rates ...) It's smooth to drive and has a great stereo. Plus there is a button to eject snow - very handy on the mean streets of Auckland.

Who else is allowed to drive your car?
My husband.

First car you owned?
A 1975 VW Golf. It was awesome.


Your dream car ...
My mum has a 1982 Jaguar XJS convertible that I'm fairly fond of. But my dream car? A 1974 HQ Holden Kingswood. With a bench seat. My dad had one when I was growing up. More than once Mum and Dad put us to bed in the Kingswood while they were at a dinner party. Me in the front, my sister in the back. Good times. Imagine road-tripping around the country in the Kingswood in summer. Okay, granted you'd have to remortgage the house to pay for the fuel.

Favourite car colour?
Can't go past black. So slimming and sexy.

Who taught you to drive?
A few people - my dad attempted to but we were too similar in character and both ended up in a strop after half an hour. Then my friend, Andre, gave it a whirl. That was semi-successful, he was very patient. Finally, I had lessons through school. Job done.

How do you keep your three sons happy when you're on a long road trip?
It's getting easier as they get older and can amuse themselves with their iPods, but I find periodically throwing food into the back seat works a treat.

Note: Choose your food wisely. Throwing lamingtons just makes a mess.

How often do you clean your car?
I am very messy. My car does not get cleaned often. It's an extension of my handbag. Tardis-like, is probably the polite way to describe it.

Manual or automatic?
Automatic. It's just easier. But I learnt in a manual, and an old boyfriend taught me how to do racing changes with the clutch, so I feel well-rounded in the automatic/manual argument.

Most memorable road trip?
Heading to Whangamata from Auckland in my friend's VW Kombi for New Year's Eve. A Kiwi teen's rite of passage! The anticipation, the great tunes, the wind in our hair ... the wind really was in our hair because the window was broken and wouldn't wind up. That feeling that anything could happen, and it was all going to be amazing.

Apart from the radio, what do you listen to when you're driving?
My iPod, usually. Sometimes I judge distances by albums. Paul Kelly's Songs from the South (both albums) will get you to Tauranga. At the moment I'm listening to Kimbra's The Golden Echo a lot. And you can't go past the Black Keys or Foo Fighters for great driving music.

Great day trip out of Auckland?
Matakana. What a gorgeous area. Except I always forget to pay the toll so it ends up being an expensive trip.

What irritates you most about other drivers?
The lack of ability to merge like a zip.

You've lived in a few countries. How do Kiwi drivers compare to other drivers?
I've lived in Australia, Germany, Sweden and Hong Kong. People always ask me how I found driving in Hong Kong, expecting me to have had bad experiences, but I found Hong Kong a great place to drive. You just needed to expect the unexpected. And be very good at merging from 10 lanes into one when going through the cross-harbour tunnel. If anything, I find Auckland traffic worse.

If you could change one road rule, what would it be?
The only one I would have changed was the turning left one. But that's been nicely sorted.