Me & My Car: Cristina Ionda, small but swift
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Cristina Ionda plays pathologist Gina on The Brokenwood Mysteries TV show, Sundays 8:30pm on Prime
What are you driving?
A 2008 silver, automatic Suzuki Swift. My hubby bought it from a dealer in Auckland. I like that it is cute, fast, economical and it’s easy to drive and park. Although is small, it has plenty of space inside.
Who else drives your car?
My hubby but only if he behaves — lol.
How often do you clean it?
Once a month or when it needs it.
What do you always keep in your car?
Sunglasses, cap, rain jacket, hiking shoes and a bottle of water. We live in Auckland and the weather changes all the time. The first three items are always in demand. And I have the hiking shoes because I often take a walk on the beach or in the reserves. The water is essential as I find myself thirsty while driving.
What do you drive in the The Brokenwood Mysteries?
A 2007 Holden Commodore Wagon police car.
Do you prefer manual or automatic?
I enjoy driving and I prefer automatic cars. It’s so convenient.
Who taught you to drive?
I was 18 years old in Brasov, Transylvania. First it was my father and after that I had a driving instructor. I got my licence first time. I was very proud. I had to take a theoretical test followed by a practical one and a skill test. On the skill test I had to lateral park and to drive avoiding street cones and again park in reverse all in less than two minutes.
Have you driven much overseas?
I do drive when back in Europe and I believe, by comparison, Kiwi drivers are polite and ready to help other drivers. There are exceptions, where you find drivers that don’t signal when changing lanes or going 35km/h on a 70 or 50km/h speed limit road.
Advice to young drivers?
Always be aware of others while you are driving. Don’t let hazards surprise you.
Your most memorable road trip?
I enjoy driving around New Zealand and I had a fantastic time while driving from Christchurch to Queenstown. The scenery is amazing and all the people I met were nice. Back home I had really enjoyed the Transfagarasan road. Top Gear rated this road the best driving experience in Europe. It is a majestic road into the mountains — wild and scary but so beautiful.
If you could go on a road trip anywhere with any actor?
I would say the southern scenic route in New Zealand with Sam Neill in a red 1967 Chevrolet Impala, as it will just float on the road heading to a great winery.
Favourite movie car scene?
I remember a Sydney Pollack movie with Al Pacino called Bobby Deerfield. The car that kept the memories alive …
Favourite racing car driver?
Ayrton Senna is my favourite race driver. He was the greatest. I am not an expert in car racing but I enjoy a good Formula 1 race.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
I enjoy the Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty. Great beaches, lovely scenery and people.
What music do you listen to?
Depends on the mood I am in. I would start with classical rock or country music and then shift to French or Italian. And probably end with Leonard Cohen.
Do you judge people by what they drive?
I never judge people on their cars but I enjoy seeing a beautiful classic car on the road.
If you could change one road rule?
I would change the speed limit on the motorway to 110km/h as I believe that this is still safe and feasible.
Technology and cars? Love it or loathe it?
I like new technology and especially the electric cars. I would like to drive a Tesla. I don’t fancy the driverless car concept; it’s a bit scary and takes away the fun when driving.