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12 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи GKL Car and Van Rental in High Wycombe Bucks Berks Oxon Flexi Hire cars in Bucks отключены
RENAULT Twizy – Electric Car Technic 13kW Auto

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New Range Rover Sport by Sam Young

The new Range Rover Sport has something that everyone has waited a long time for. Now its here, well sort of!

They are in the dealers to look at and to test drive although if you want one then be prepared to wait.

So waiting a bit longer then?

Is it worth it? YES. Absolutely it’s worth it.

Compared to the old Range Rover Sport it is like it is made by a different manufacturer who likes efficiency, driveability as well as the usual well put together luxurious cabin, Then add some stunning styling which again ages the old one by over 10 years, easily!

Styling follows the Evoque but in a bigger package and it suits it very well. It manages to be futuristic without being ugly and will be current for a very long time to come.

The SDV6 engine will be the most popular and suits the car well giving enough performance for 80% of the world with the rumour of the SDV8 from the Range rover being available from the middle of next year.

For the serious go fast crew there is the Supercharged V8. Which makes a welcome change from the current V6 twin turbos that are flooding the market in the luxury and performance sector of the market.

Yes I know they are more efficient but if you are buying a 500+hp 4×4 is that really the game here? If that is what you want then there is another rumour of Hybrid power plants due at the end of next year also.

To drive the SDV6 is incredibly easy to live with day to day. Whether it is stop starting in traffic or on a run to Scotland from London you get the feeling it can do it all. There is no fuss with it no matter what you do with it.

In fact on a test day on a track the Supercharged V8 at over 155mph was scarily easy to drive and could stop from 80-0 in about 40ft. The scary part is that I could probably do all that whilst on a conference call, drinking a coffee, answering an email and browsing for accessories online for my new Range Rover. Not that I would of course on the roads, but it gives you an idea of how easy they are to use.

I will not spend too much time on the interior as it is easily as good as before if not better, the handling is a lot better thanks to a new Aluminium chassis, and that is on and off road.

The Price is a decent price at just under £60000 for the HSE which unlike some other manufacturers will give you mostly what you need in a luxury car. Going all the way up to £90000 for the Supercharged Autobigraphy. Again if your comparing to other 4×4’s then yes the supercharged is a lot of money but compared to high performance coupe and GT type cars then no it is not over the top.

Imagine your Aston martin DB9 coupe that you can fit 5 adults and luggage in, then drive to the top of Ben Nevis then back to Silverstone for a lap and being able to do the same kind of speeds and getting out and playing a round of Golf at some point.

So worth the wait then, lead time will drop to something reasonable over the next year. The next question is can you wait longer again for the Hybrid or V8 Diesel?

Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2D 175 Sport by Sam Young

This is the second car in Mazda’s next generation of vehicles, the first was the CX5. This is using what they call Skyactive technology, which essentially makes everything lighter. No everything lighter Yes even the bolts.

You wander if it is made of anything substantial.

Well it is and this Tourer is a big estate car, not that Mazda will like their Sport Tourer being called an estate as they love sporty things. But let’s be honest these cars are firstly designed to carry stuff. This is very good at that.

Which bizarrely makes a nice change as there are a lot of Tourers, Touring, Shooting breaks etc etc etc that are not that big. Kind of goes against having an Esta. sorry a Tourer.

There is still a market and it is nice to see there is a decent size Tourer that does not look like a van and can look sporty as well.

Mazda are very good at packaging their cars into models with good amount of kit between them. No scimping on Navigation for example on a top of the range car (see the New Golf GTD review).

It does not really feel Japanese either and is far more European in terms of look feel and quality. Do not get me wrong it is no 5 series or A6 but it is not as far off as the price suggests. When you come down a level to the next brand level then it scores highly against the likes of VW and Volvo just for styling to start with.

The power is strong on this engine but there is the danger of using more front tyres than you would normally as if loaded these can spin up and the traction control comes in regularly. The advantage of the attention to detail in the Skyactive department does make it feel lighter and smaller to drive than it actually is but not to the detriment of build quality. A neat trick that made the CX5 drive as well as it did.

I think this is going to benefit the bigger cars more than the upcoming new 3 and the 2 as there is more to save. We will see.

So its big, good looking for an Esta. Tourer, goes well, and is full of equipment. Can not fail can it?

Well it is still a Mazda and although they are carving out a new niche in the market of sporty but practical (aside from MX5 of course) that SAAB left behind there is still a scepticism. Similar price to the V60 and Passat and more than the Mondeo at very good value presently. Once this pricing detail is sorted then there is no reason not to.

Maybe go for the 2.2d 150 for the 109 co2 and the better price and it may mange a 150hp better than the 175hp but that is up to you and your tyre provider.

New Golf GTD MK7 by Sam Young

Another one that had to be waited for as in typical VW fashion, the nice ones are launched later than the standard cars.

So it is just over £26000, it has 184hp and its 109 co2. It is a five door hatch and it looks lovely (for a 5 dr hatch).

The co2 and the power is a great result for the company car market but is it worth 3 series saloon money?

It is going head to head against 320d Efficient Dynamics, A4 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technik and the C class Executive SE at this price. Yet it is a Golf. If you are into badges and what your keys look like on the pub table then enjoy one of the three saloons and there is no reason to read on.

If you fancy something a bit different and something that you can find in a car park then carry on.

There is nothing wrong with the big three brand Small Exec Saloons. They are all good cars and they will do what you want them to do and give you little to no trouble.

So why have a Golf GTD, because it looks like the kind of car where you can have some fun, you can look at yourself in a shop window in it and it stands out where ever you drive it. It has LED’s and xenons as standard, it has the GTI body and chassis and even has a twin exhaust with privacy glass all as standard. Not standard on the above saloons.

So outside looks good.

Inside comes in the retro tartan, do not get me wrong when I heard about this I was apprehensive, especially as the option to not have is only full leather at £1600 ahem! However it is absolutely fine and being Grey, black and white is not over the top. Speaking of options Sat Nav is an option, excuse me? It is standard on the regular GT but not on the top of the range GTD.

Saving grace is that it is only £750 to have it and is absolutely worth it. The interface for the multimedia system is great with the ease of a touch screen or you can still use buttons and normal knobs. Nice flat bottom steering wheel, carbon effect plastics throughout (decent quality, it is still German) and LED mood lighting.

So what about the witch craft of making a 108 co2 engine that still produces 184hp? Honestly I do not know enough about the technical but where it differs from the 150hp in the GT is initially not much, usual load of power from 1500 rpm to 2500 rpm then the difference is after that. This one keeps going and delivering more and more power right up to 4000rpm which on a diesel is a massive achievement.

You can also change the drive mode as well from ECO (when your low on juice) to normal (driving around with the wife/ husband and kids) and sport (when you are on your own or with the girl/boyfriend /assistant).

Handling is very good, OK its not Rear wheel drive (a la Mercedes and BMW) but the front wheel drive handles amazingly well thanks to the XDS diff and it will not kill you if we get any Snow again.

So if you like your car sensible and reliable with quality and not ruffling any feathers then you know what to go for. For something with all that and extra this could be the one for you.

Citroen DS5 Hybrid Dsport by Sam Young

First impressions of this car is WOW, it looks like the kind of car you drew as a kid of what cars would look like in the future if they didn’t fly.

Inside matches the outside, lots of chrome, aluminium, black gloss and aircraft style switches throughout as well as overhead. In fact with the head up display it could probably do with flying.

The downside is that you have to wipe your mind of how a regular car is laid out and this takes some getting used to, along with the large dials for the AC, the multimedia system and for the drive mode. In fact without proper tuition it’s easy to turn the car in full electric mode whilst trying turn the radio down.

On paper this is one of those cars that should tick every box:

· Low CO2 (109) even on the sport version with proper wheels and sticky tyres

· 4wd Not full on but enough to get you out of trouble in most situations

· Zero Emmision when charged you can drive the car in only electric mode

· 5 seat family hatch

· 163 hp diesel and 37hp electric motor giving a total of 200hp

So what more could you want?

Well at over £28000 it ain’t cheap but for the every car you have ever wanted that does everything?

Due to the battery in the boot this is dramatically smaller than the competition in its class and price (3 series, A4 Avant) and is similar to New Golf.

You won’t want for spec at this level as pretty much everything is standard, Leather, Navigation, Bluetooth, connectivity to Mars probably as well as ipod, USB and SD card.

There is always the badge as well. On one hand Citroen have played a neat trick with the DS element using its heritage of luxury to bring forward to the 21st century although there are a lot that will say it’s still a Citroen.

This didn’t harm them though when they took on BMW’s Mini with the DS3 and despite only having two versions compared to the seven different versions of the Mini (yes that’s right SEVEN not including the van) it still more than holds its own.

I do wonder though whether this is bridge to far for the brand. The DS3 at under £15000 and usually under £13000 is a far cry from £28000 investment for this DS5.

In terms of quality the car I think is over qualified for its brand. It easy to see where the money has gone into this car and I think Citroen could have produced this car for under £25000 and still would have produced a very nice car but Citroen being Citroen they didn’t and pretty much took the Sportlounge concept and then built it regardless of cost. The same happened with C6.

Whereas other manufacturers build a concept then give it to the number crunchers then the production version emerges. Which is never as nice as the concept but is more realistic and more importantly realistic on price in today’s market. Look at the New Mazda 6 compared to the Mazda Shiro concept.

Performance

So back to the actual car, this is best as a round town car. Up to 15000 miles per year would suit it. The electric element of the engine is great and I have driven this car at over 40 mph is electric mode only which is way better than the Toyota and Lexus which can’t cope past 25.

The other bonus is that because the engine is diesel then it to is more efficient than the petrol equivalents. The only downside to this and all hybrids is that they need an auto gearbox. In the Citroen to makes things more efficient they use their EGS box.

This is a clutchless manual as opposed to a CVT box. Similar to DSG in concept only. Because that is where it ends. The DSG is a great gearbox, the EGS is well just not.

Which is a shame because the moments of loss of power, that occur are down to this and until you get used to it can be scary. The Diesel is a good engine, the electric motor is good shame their hard work is ruined by the thing that controls them both.

In terms of MPG it’s difficult to say. I am also currently testing the New Leon with the New Volkswagen Audi Group 2.0 TDi 150 engine which has no hybrid, no electric mode and according to the trip computers there is very little in it. Around town I didn’t get over 46mpg.

And even on a run didn’t get over 50mpg. Now the only spanner in the works for this is that I think the trip computer on this car only measures when the diesel engine is used and for the benefit of Citroen I don’t think it takes into account when the car is in electric mode as the fuel gauge never really moved when used round town.

If this is genuine MPG then the car seems to have made a lot of effort to really not get that far ahead of the regular diesel world.

There are new lower co2 versions of the regular engine DS5 due out now which will reduce the price and the Dstyle has plenty of spec for most. But as a showcase car to look at and sit in it is still WOW and still makes you feel like you’re flying to work instead of driving. You certainly won’t lose it in the car park.

I think it would be hard for Citroen to match the WOW factor of the looks and interior to the engineering I just wish the gap was closer between the two. If you like things a bit different for your next car it is still worth considering for the lower mileage user.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid by James Marks

Hybrid T Spirit

A stylish car, that draws admiring looks !

Very efficient, with average consumption of 60 + mpg, but can achieve 70 +, with petrol at 5p a litre less than diesel, no road tax with emissions at 85g/km, plus no London congestion charges, this car is incredibly frugal.

The car is very comfortable and well equipped, with extremely comfortable front seats. The car was designed to accommodate hybrid drive from its conception, with the battery accommodated under the back seat, so no sacrifice to interior or boot space.

The T Spirit also benefits with blue tinted dials, and stitching, with LED embellished lights, adds an upmarket feel.

The build quality is good, and the Yaris Hybrid benefits from a low centre of gravity, with minimum body role, and reasonable, but not sporty performance.

Overall, very impressive.

Tesla Roadster by Sam Young

So you want an electric car? You want it to have a 250 mile range? You want it to get 0-60 in less than 4 seconds and handle like the best track cars on the planet? And be able to take the roof off.

Sound impossible, it is if you’re a large manufacturer producing millions of cars every year with petrol, Hybrid, Diesel and electric engines in all shapes and sizes.

However if this is the only thing you do and you produce one car, with one power train then a car like this is not only possible but exists now and but has been around for a few years as well.

The only downside is the price which is not ever officially released but there won’t be a lot of change out of £100000.

I’m afraid it’s the situation if you want something to do everything then your going to have to pay for it. That said when you compare it to high performance 2 seaters (EG SLK 55 AMG) then you wouldn’t get a lot of change out of £60000 anyway.

In terms of driving, stunning, it handles, it goes and just keeps going and going and going before you get to the point of far to fast for anyone else’s good although you will be smiling. You can charge it anywhere, Tesla have their own charge points and have done for a while and they are not more than 165 miles apart. It all sounds like good sense, no waiting for the government to sort out charging points, no waiting for manufactures to work out what plug to use and you can go 250 miles.

No wonder it commands the price that it does. There is some really exciting new product coming from Tesla in the next 2 years which will see other manufacturer getting worried but I’ll let you know about that when I get the official word.

Infiniti M35H at the EV Show by Sam Young

Infiniti have only been in the UK for a couple of years, although hugely successful in the United States their brand of performance handling vehicles mated with 3.7 petrol V6’s and 3.0 V6 turbo diesels didn’t win the hearts of eco minded and eco walleted uk.

Until now. With the launch of the M35h Infiniti have their first car under 160 gm/km co2 at 159. So it’s a start but when you drive this thing its more of a getaway from everyone else producing large executive cars.

The performance is great from a big car, it handles like a coupe, can out accelerate most things with 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds and yet looks like a refined large saloon car with fuss, no spoilers or big air vents unlike the Red Bull Racing F1 car where Infiniti are major sponsors.

The power comes from a 3.5 V6 and an electric hybrid power-plant this means that around town under 35mph the electric motor whispers you around then on the open road it switches between the two dependant on driving style. This is what gives it its headline figures of 39.6 combined MPG and 159 gm/km co2.

The real party piece though is in its execution of managing the power. Hybrids have always had the issue of not really knowing which bit of the engine to use in different situations, they usually need a little think. This is something that people have just got an accepted as a driving style of a hybrid engine as they have all suffered from the same thing regardless of who makes it.

The difference with the Infiniti is the power does genuinely seem to be seamless giving an ultra smooth ride between the power-plants.

The bar is changing next year with 130co2 being the magic figure for businesses to hit with their company cars and there is more to come from this manufacturer, lets hope the new models are executed as well as this one.

Citroen DS5 Hybrid at the EV Show by Sam Young

Fresh from the PSA hybrid paddock is the DS5. From the DS range of higher appointed vehicles and higher end styling in those respects the car does not disappoint. Being touted as an alternative the usual German suspects of A4, 3 series and C class the DS5 has enough good style to be a consideration inside and out.

And with the exit of SAAB this could be what the market is after.

The Hybrid is the top of the power-trains in DS5 with other more regular Petrol and Diesel variants available. PSA group first launched the power-train in Peugeot 3008 hybrid last year and are set to extend it into the 508 range also and on paper it seems it has everything.

In the DS5 200hp, 4 wheel drive capable, co2 of 99-109 depending on spec and big enough for a family of four and luggage. Sounds almost to good to be true.

In the DS5 200hp, 4 wheel drive capable, co2 of 99-109 depending on spec and big enough for a family of four and luggage. Sounds almost to good to be true.

There is another figure on paper which may redress the balance which is the price, the hybrid is £6000 more than the standard diesel version. But for every car you have ever wanted rolled in to one is it worth it?

Driving experience inside the plush cab is a pleasure, although there are a couple of French moments in the plastics departments, not in terms of quality but in terms of how many different soft touch plastics can you get in one dashboard? When you first drive the car runs in full EV mode then as you carry on this changes depending on how you drive. You can however manually select what you want whether it’s Eco, Sport, Normal, 4×4 or EV.

Overall the drive is fine when pottering around if you get tempted by the sport setting though prepare for a shock. In this mode you get 200hp, 163 from the diesel and 37 from the electric, the issue is the management of the power as on top of traditional turbo diesel power spikes you then get the electric doing its bit as well then when you push on the diesel engine makes a lot of noise (because its diesel of course) although your not expecting it because the electric has been so quiet previously.

The result is a bit of a muddle when pushed although when driving more regularly it all calms down again to be being the nice car it looks and feels like.

Renault Twizy at the EV Show by Sam Young

“Electric for the people” could have been the cry from Renault with this vehicle. The 4 wheel quadra-cycle (not a car) is around £7000 plus £40 per month for the battery. It is the most affordable way of having an electric vehicle.

It can carry 2 passengers and has a roof, if you want doors you go to the next model up (remember its not a car) if you want windows on the doors, you cant (again not a car).

The performance is good for urban use, 40 mile range, 45mph top speed, quick enough off the line and rear wheel drive so really handles, so as a second around town only vehicle perfect.

On the drive it had been raining so on a wet track I got wet with a lack of windows and sealed doors but was still smiling as the drivability is really good fun for such a low speed vehicle, the brakes however you must be wary of they are not powered brakes, this means as hard as you put your foot on the brake is as fast as you stop there is no ABS, no brake assist not even a servo assistance to the brakes literally just you and this is even more apparent when you carrying the extra weight of a passenger. But then again it’s not a car it’s a four wheel electric bike.

The future for this could be good for Renault, the interest is massive and the looks futuristic not normal like some of the other electric vehicles on the road and this is the appeal.

If you have children under the age of 10 my prediction is that this kind of vehicle is their first vehicle they will drive and I think there will be other manufacturers looking at Twizy and other versions over the next couple of years.

Vauxhall Ampera at the EV Show by Sam Young

There has been a lot of talk about this car, this is the car that will change Electric vehicle driving and ownership, this is the car that will save General Motors, This is the Electric car that can do 300 miles. (Although with the help of a petrol engine so does that make it electric or Hybrid?) And it looks ok as well.

Lots of statement and questions the big one being if it’s not Hybrid or only Electric what is it?

Well the difference between this and Hybrid is that the engine never technically powers the wheels, the engine powers a generator and this turns the wheels, the same generator is also powered by a bank of batteries and conversely the generator can also power the batteries back up. The result is what is called a range extending electric vehicle.

Sounds complicated, it is. The good news though is that it works and works really well no power switch issues, no lag in performance, the ability to charge every night if you pottering around town all week then when you go away just add some unleaded and your ready for a 300 mile round trip.

Price wise its quite serious £37500 is the starting point for the Ampera with another model £2000 more. The Chevrolet version is about £1200 less though. You do get the government £5000 grant though which does reduce that price but don’t expect any deals like you would get with other Vauxhall or Chevrolets.

This car cost millions and millions at research and development and for good reason they have produced a practical electric vehicle that has no range anxiety like all of the other current electric models out there.

There is only one fear with this car, because of the rate of development of this kind of technology how long are we away from a pure electric 300 mile range car (see Tesla Review) which will see this car redundant.

For now though it is the best option out there.

The New Audi A6 2.0 TDi 143 SE Saloon by Sam Young

Had the opportunity of a couple of hours with the new Audi A6 last week. This was a standard 2.0 TDI 143 SE Saloon.

That is the last time I mention standard in this review.

I had to keep making sure as I was given the keys that this was a stan. sorry regular car with no extras. This is because on revamping the A6 Audi have decided to spec their cars more than ever before.

The key points that I was surprised at were Leather, keyless start (although not keyless entry) and full colour navigation,Bluetooth is an expected option for this kind of car along with the usual electricals (one touch elec windows, elec heated mirrors etc).

So we have a large premium brand saloon with an economical diesel engine including full Leather, Navigation and Bluetooth.Fleet dream surely?

From the outside it looks like the car wasdesigned front to back as the designing is almost sporty at the front end with good looking lines that flow along the sides and then quite a regular rear end. Don’t know if because the rest of it looks so good that the rear disappoints or if it just disappoints.

Inside nicely laid out and no more red digital displays which always used to remind of watches off the 80’s. Now white Led displays and dials take over and as the Nav appears from the dash, like a Bond gadget, you are ready to go.

The seats, did I mention they were leather, are definite comfort style with not a great deal of shape which can have you sliding a little when cornering but nice enough on a stan regular model.

The engine was the trusty 143 unit Audi have used for a while and is just as OK here, good on fuel Ok on Co2. Audi are going to be launching a couple of new engines in the first part of next year which will have better co2 credentials this on top of the engineering masterstroke of the new 3.0 TDI Auto which only emits 139co2. So the engine range will bevery strong.

Not much wrong with this car the ever aspirational S-line comes with the styling tweeks and changes to the suspension and brakes and upgrade sport seats and S-line badges aplenty but I think this SE model based on pure value on paper is a good option. Unless you’re a … hard Audi S line fan I think most would go for the Standard car.

BMW 520 Efficient Dynamics by Sam Young

So have BMW done it again? The new 5 series with an Efficient Dynamic badge. Well the figures do match up.

119 Co2 (under the magic 120 for BIK)

184 BHP engine

62 mph in 8.2 seconds

Combined MPG of 62.8 (according to government test)

On the face of it the answer is yes they have again pushed the boundaries with another eco but very useable saloon car. Standard trim is very nice to: 17” alloys, keyless start, parking front and rear, auto lights, cruise control with limiter, leather trim, Bluetooth and that’s just the highlights.

So hang on, is this a BMW with standard equipment as long as your arm holding a broom? The company that I still hear customers talk about “ you have to pay for a radio and if your lucky you will get 4 wheels”.

Yes it is. On the face of it this car ticks a lot of boxes, similar to all those boxes ticked by the 3 series but bigger and with more specification and similar co2 and mpg credentials but this does come with a bigger price tag.

Although compared to its competition the more you pay for this carthe more you will save on the other aspects of running it. Fuel, Benefit In Kind taxation and therefore national insurance contribution. This is a similar situation that Volkswagen have had with the new Passat.

More expensive car but offset with all theother running costs being reduced.

To drive it is very comfortable. Some might say a bit too comfortable and not dynamic enough but with the joy of a button you can changethat. Three different modes. Sport, comfort and Eco pro.

Sport and comfort speak for them selves, changes to the throttle response and fuel intake and suspension and weight of steering but what of EcoPro. This mode really tones everything right down to essentially give you maximum fuel efficiency possible and then tell you how many miles of fuel you are gaining by driving it in that way. I gained 2.7 miles in a 9 mile section driving this way.

So three cars in one WOW! Well I’m not sure. I think this is the only area where the little brother beats its big one. The 3 series did it without having to change mode so you could be cruising along doing 65-70 mpg then if you need change down and shoot past something quick instinctively without thought you could.

To do that in this car you need to set the car up first which you wouldn’t necessarily have time to do in road traffic situations.

It would be interesting to get on long term as I think what would happen is you would drive it in comfort most of the time, then sport if you fancied something a bit more involving and when the low fuel warning light came on you would use eco pro to get you home.

Still sound great but not sure if the real MPG figures would be asclose to the claimed driving like this. So it could end up being a bit disappointing on this front.

All that being said although you have to pay a bit more it is very well spec’d, a great size (only just smaller than a 7 series) and on paper has great figures. New A6 and E class are due for a more eco engines early next year but yet again BMW are first to the market.

Range Rover Evoque SD4 190 by Sam Young

The Reason for the short test title is due to the massive interest in this car. My local dealer is currently doing at least 5 test drives per day with this car instead of an average of 10 over a week across the whole previous range.

I managed to get one for a few hours.Initial impression is that the car is not a s big as it looks in the photos.Land Rover have done a very good job in designing a car that looks bigger thanit is. Its competitors in the market (Audi Q5, BMW X3) are all bigger. The Size is much more like a Qashqai.

But that’s the only similarity.

The fit and finish of the car is every bit Range Rover. There was not a place where I spied some cost cutting at all. I drove the coupe version of the SD4 190 4×4 manual in Prestige spec. There arethree trim levels.

Pure is the start then there is a split between Dynamic (sportier) and prestige (luxury). There is little to no price difference between Dynamic and Prestige they are just aimed at different markets.

Engines available are 3 diesels, a 2wd 150BHP, 4 wheel drive 150 BHP and a 4 wheel drive 190 BHP with auto available onboth the 4×4 power trains. Petrol is only in the Dynamic model with a 240bhp 4×4 engine.

The business sellers will be the diesel manual as all of these come under 150 co2 even in 4×4 versions. With spec onthe pure including Leather and Bluetooth as standard the Dynamic and Prestigewill be for people that really want those specs with the majority going forpure with or without Tech Pack which gives you Navigation and host of other tech goodies.

It Drives really well not bouncy, not agricultural just very well planted for urban use and although we didn’t test it off road it’s equally at home. The 190 engine has plenty of power and great take off due to the 4×4 set up and the gearbox is a short shift, even sporty.

So the what’s the downside to all this?There is at the moment a 5 to 6 month lead time for one of these and because of demand that is not likely to get any better for a while. Also a little bit of concern from potential customers worrying about the previous generation RangeRover and think that its terrible on co2 and fuel. This is the first of a new generation for this brand with their larger vehicles getting a serious eco makeover over the next 12 months.

So get your orders in early. This is a particularly strong car to lease at the moment due to the strong residual values and we have some great rates on this car.

BMW 320 Efficient Dynamics by Sam Young

Long Term Test BMW 320 Efficient Dynamics saloon. Just given back a BMW 320D Efficient Dynamics after a year.

This car not only moved the goal posts but got on a plane went to another planet introduced it self to the locals and re-invented the low co2 car game!

This was due to its on paper performance figures, 109Co2 g/km, 163 Bhp, 0-62 in 8.0 seconds and all this in an exec saloon. You may know all this already because the whole eco and motoring world has been talking about it. But what is it actually like to live with.

To look at it actually looks a bit sportier than the standard SE model of which it is spec as. This is due to smaller 16inch Streamline Alloy wheels. Only 16inch alloys I hear you cry. Yep, because the car runs on a lower chassis to reduce drag so it does not look out of place.

Inside it is very BMW sensible but not overly short on spec for a standard car with Auto dimming rear view mirror, Rear parking sensors, Professional CD Radio and Dual Climate control all as standard.

The Drive

This is where the car shines. Rear wheel drive more torque than the regular 2.0 D which has 184 bhp means it can be a very lazy manual to drive and has tremendous pick up for over taking.

Due to what BMW have done with the flywheel and clutch you can drive it very easily at 1200 rpm the only issue is telling your brain that you do not need to have it at 1800 to 2200 rpm.

The other thing to tell your brain is that when you are in neutral and you take your foot off the clutch the stop start cuts in and turns the engine off. It will start again. Its not broken. This makes a big difference to urban driving. In the cold when it does not work as well I lost about 6-7 mpg just because of it not stopping and starting.

You can de-activate the system if you do not trust it just do not expect the car to do as well on fuel as it can.

The Fuel.

All manufacturers test their vehicles to a government test for publishing mpg figures. This rarely happens in the real world and we only use it as comparison. This car was averaging at a 1000 miles per month with mostly urban use at 49.2 mpg. For this kind of car that is something else!

Also it is not a car you particularly have to drive ultra carefully to get this figure either, just get used to the start stop, used to driving at 1200 rpm most of the time and that is it.

So what is wrong with it?


Nothing much. It is very sedate and corporate in looks so does not stand out particularly, that is personal taste of whether you want to stand out or not. There are an awful lot of them on the road even in this model now. The good news is there is a shiny new one out early next year with the same statistics but different look if you want something different.

If I were to be really picky the car does not stick to the road as well as the regular 320D SE or M-sport due to low rolling resistance tyres instead of regular and if it snows leave it at home!

This is a car that ticks more boxes than any other, good for the planet, good for the wallet, good for the image and good to drive. When they invent a 4×4 version that you can put 12 kids in, which runs on sea water, that does 60 in 3 seconds then there will never need to be another car again. Until that day comes though this is quite a good bet.

Vauxhall Astra 1.7CDTi Ecoflex Exclusiv by Danny Lee

At first glance the new Vauxhall (seat Leon look-a-like) Astra is a breath of fresh air compared to the previous estate agent pretending he is driving an unmarked police panda mark 5 version with all new chassis, body and sleek dash board even the gear change is a vast improvement you do not feel like the stick is going to come off in your hand as you try selecting one of those poorly radioed gears.

The model GKL has had the fortune of reviewing was the 1 .7 CDTI 16v ECOFLEX (110) EXCLUSIV with satellite navigation, Bluetooth and parking sensors and with a top speed of 70mph (cough cough) a fuel consumption of 68.80mpg is starting to make this car quite an attractive competitor but wait lets not get carried away the list price is still over £20,000 and you do not get alloy wheels which when comparing it with the Volkswagen Golf Match you can spend a couple of hundred pounds more and get a far better specked car with alloy wheels.

So to sum up the Vauxhall Astra, the new generation, it is far better than its predecessor, handles and drives better and is spacious although coming back from a long journey … my back but that is just me being over fussy. It is going to be a great used budget medium family car after our friends at the big rental company, which I am sure I am not aloud to mention but they are very enterprising and have flooded the market with well test driven vehicles. So there we have it my view on the new Vauxhall Astra not all negative I think the Astra has some really good points which would surprise my colleague down the west country who says I reckon if it is not German it is not any good.

Would I give up my love for the VW Golf for a Vauxhall Astra? NO Chance!

BMW 520D SE by Tim Norton

I was very excited when this car arrived, 184 bhp, 58 mpg and 129Co2, sounds too good to be true. 1200 miles later and I have to say the car has exceeded all my expectations other than probably due to my heavy right foot it only averages at 42.1 mpg.

With Bluetooth and leather trim as standard this car really raises the bar for standard specification, the I drive means you can operate your mobile safely, it also has a complete owners handbook which you can view on the I drive. This has proved to be a real benefit as my 3 year old son loves to press every button in the car and I have to re set everything once he has gone to bed. The boot is massive, certainly big enough for most families although probably not the Lee family with all their junk!

I must admit that having a new car can make you very paranoid and I find myself permanently checking on the car, parking well away from anyone else. The first weekend I had it I made my family walk an extra half mile because I would not park near the Marks and Spencer door bashing crowd, maybe I just have to accept I am getting old, how much are those tartan rugs these days? To conclude this is an exceptional car that does everything and more than I need and until it snows I would recommend it to anyone.

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