And while it certainly did the trick, the Cornetto didn't last that long. I'm sure they were a lot bigger when I was younger.
But our new long termer is the exact opposite. I remember superminis in my youth being exactly that – mini – but our new Volkswagen Polo is surprisingly roomy inside.
Our resident car expert informs me that the latest Polo is not far away in size terms from the original Volkswagen Golf. Part of this is due to a general trend of people getting bigger but another aspect is that cars these days need to be larger because of the amount of crash protection and luxury equipment they have to carry.
And luxuriously equipped our Polo is too. In 1.4 TDI SE five-door trim, costing £11,890 on-the-road, it comes with anti-lock brakes, remote central locking, front and side airbags, electric windows and mirrors and air conditioning as standard.
But our car has some options fitted: an electric glass sunroof, alloy wheels with anti-theft bolts, integrated child seat, fog lights, rain sensing wipers, berry red pearl effect paint and anthracite leather seats which bumps the price up to £13,495.
Confusingly, and quite annoyingly too, our car is missing one vital ingredient – a CD player. This is an optional extra on SE-spec Polos and hasn't been specified on our car. It is interesting to note that our other supermini long termer, a Ford Fiesta Zetec costing £10,100, has a CD player fitted as standard.
And as every member of the Fleet News editorial team hasn't owned a tape for at least 10 years, I'm afraid that we'll be relying on the good old radio to keep us entertained on our journeys.
But enough grumbling about the lack of a CD player because the Polo has so many other good points. The 75bhp diesel engine is a gem and, although it's not a ball of fire, its unique three-cylinder soundtrack and fuel economy around the 60mpg mark more than make up for the lack of go. We have yet to fill up the car since its arrival but the way this tank of fuel is lasting, I have no doubt that we will get pretty close to the claimed economy figure of 61.4mpg.
Another plus point is the roomy cabin which can seat four adults fairly comfortably, a neat fascia which uses high-grade plastics and pretty exterior styling which, in my opinion, makes it the best-looking supermini on sale.
Although the Polo is not designed for the core fleet driver covering a lot of miles, I will certainly take the little Volkswagen on a long trip in the future – so long as I can find some cassettes to keep me entertained on the journey.
Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% tax-payer): £39 per month