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Barbara Budd and her Acura TSX

Moe Doiron/Moe Doiron/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Barbara Budd

Profession: Actor and narrator; former co-host of CBC Radio One's As it Happens

Age: 59

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Hometown: St. Catharines, Ont.

Notable achievements: Five seasons in leading roles at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and performances in theatres across Canada; four award-winning recordings on the Classical Kids label; acted alongside Tom Selleck in Three Men and A Baby.

Currently: She's a narrator in Late In a Slow Time on a new CD called Wild Bird; she just wrapped up a run in the Toronto performance of Love, Loss and What I Wore; she's working on a non-fiction book and a one-woman show

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She was the voice of CBC Radio - the co-host of As it Happens for 17 years. But Barbara Budd returned to her first love - the stage - after her contract wasn't renewed in April. And that's not the only big change in her life. She just bought a 2010 Acura TSX sedan.

Why did you buy an Acura and not another luxury brand like BMW?

I'm not a BMW kind of girl. I'm more practical.

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And there's something about the BMW that you go, 'Oh, I drive a Bimmer.' Now that sounds really snotty. And I didn't want it stolen out of my driveway, either.

I'm a very loyal person to my friends, to my companies. And Honda, I've loved. I wanted to stay with Honda because I've been in two accidents where I think other people would have died and I was saved by a Honda -even the police said, you're an ad for Honda.

I wanted to stay in the Honda family, but I couldn't get the colour I wanted. I didn't want black, white, or silver - I didn't want a colour that made my car harder to find in a parking lot. I'm getting older now and I wanted something I could find that's a bit different. So I became really female at that moment, I've got to find the colour I want so I stepped up to an Acura TSX. The colour is called Basque red pearl.

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What's your favourite feature on the TSX?

People have been stopping me to say, 'I love your car!' It's the colour they love. It's not red, it's not wine, it's not cranberry. It's almost like a blood orange.

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And Jeanne Beker, the fashionista from Fashion Television who was starring with me in Love, Loss, and What I Wore, said, 'Do you know that blood orange is the new black?' Well, I just bought a car that's practically blood orange.

What would you change on the TSX?

I wish it had a slightly bigger trunk because my trunk is my garage. I don't have a garage so opening my trunk is often an embarrassment.

What's in there now is a jumbo pack of toilet paper that can't fit into my house, Christmas presents that I bought early and wedding presents I bought. I have to drive carefully so they don't get smashed.

What do you prefer - leasing versus buying?

For the first time in my life, I'm leasing. I've bought new cars and I've bought used cars. In the last 15 to 20 years, I've been driving Hondas. And I've found myself in a new financial situation recently.

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I shopped around and I became an expert on test-driving vehicles. Because this is such an interesting financial climate every car manufacturer was offering fantastic deals on purchase or zero per cent financing. I leased because it turned out to be more economical for me than to purchase new. I had a great leasing deal.





What was your first car?

My very first car I bought in 1977 when I was 26. I'm a very practical person and I bought a used yellow, Datsun station wagon because it had the lowest mileage on it and it was a good price.

I was an actor and had very little money and I drove that car into the ground. Everybody laughed at me because my sister's first car was a brand-new MG and she bought it when she was 24. I, on the other hand, looked like I should be making deliveries for a florist or that I'm a professional dog walker or I have five kids.

It was unsubtle in its colour, but I loved that car. I saved up and I paid cash for it: $1,100.

Did it ever let you down?

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It never let me down until the floor rusted out from underneath the accelerator. I had driven it for so long and I didn't have rubber car mats so the salt and the water from my boots unbeknownst to me rusted the car underneath the carpeting.

One day I went to get in and I was wearing high heels and my heel went right through! I almost ended up like Wilma Flintstone with my feet going through it!

Is driving a chore or pleasure?

I love driving. I love driving with friends in the car, with my son or nephew in the car because those conversations that happen in a car are very special. Maybe it's because you're not looking at one another, but I find there's an honesty that happens in a car that doesn't happen when you're face to face.

Some of the funniest conversations have happened in the car. For instance, my son when he was 7 informed me from the back seat of the last car I had, out of the blue, he said, 'Mummy, I know how Jesus died at Easter time.' And I said, 'Oh, really, how did he die? He said, 'He got nailed at lacrosse.' While I was trying not to drive off the side of the road, he added, 'Shouldn't they have told him to wear a helmet?' That's one of my favourite conversations from the car."

What's your dream car?

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I love Jags - a very dark green Jaguar.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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