The Diesel Car long-term reports in every issue give you the lowdown on the most important cars on sale today – here’s a reminder of how some of our testers fared last month.
Driven by Jack Carfrae
In an effort to obtain yet another opinion on the A1, I lent it to my other half, Sara, for the majority of this month. She works at a primary school in the next village, so her car usage is considerably different to mine – a five-mile B-road journey twice daily, encompassing her fair share of school run traffic. That’s a stark contrast to my lack of any sort of commute but regular motorway and A-road trips.
Sara’s main gripe is the Audi’s stop-start system, which doesn’t come into effect until the engine has run for a long time. It simply won’t work on her short daily route, which includes a sometimes lengthy stop at a railway crossing. Equally, I can’t get it to work even when the blowers/air con are on their lowest setting – everything has to be switched off for it the engine to cut out of its own accord when you come to a halt.
On the plus side, she’s very keen on the general solid feel, the boot that’s large enough to accommodate her obscene amount of books and similar claptrap, powerful air conditioning and the fact that “you can overtake people in it”. In short, it’s a serious step-up from her usual transport – a 2001 Daihatsu Terios.
It’s always an interesting exercise to get a second opinion from someone who doesn’t judge cars regularly or on a purely subjective basis. Sara’s experience with the A1 also highlights the fact that conventional diesel-engined cars aren’t always the best choice for those who rarely stray further than a ten-mile radius – that’s when hybrids may actually make some sense.
|Date arrived:||6th January 2011|
|Mileage to date:||6,801miles|
|Fuel consumption:||70.6mpg (official combined)
55.0mpg (on test)
Driven by James Marchington
My love-hate relationship with the Rodeo continues. On the one hand, it has given me hours of enjoyment as I strive to nudge the average fuel economy ever higher. It stuck on 34.8 for what seemed like an age, despite fighting the temptation to welly it up the hills. One happy morning it clicked over the 34.9 mark, where it has steadfastly remained. If I ever reach the satisfyingly round 35.0 I’d like to hope the family will share my joy, but I think a chorus of “Get a life” is more likely.
On the other hand, the Rodeo is proving to be a Tardis in reverse – smaller on the inside than it looks from the outside. That huge loadbed is beside the point unless you’re in the habit of carrying around builder’s rubble. Anything remotely valuable or delicate must travel in the cab – which is smaller than you’d think. Certainly smaller than the quarter-size double bass that I helpfully agreed to collect for the boss. I managed, eventually, by folding the front seat and the wife, and laying the double bass across both of them. Luckily we didn’t have far to go.
Then again, driving behind a Hampshire farmer in his Discovery, he turned sharp left and headed up a steep grass slope. I didn’t even switch to 4-wheel drive, just crossed my fingers, put my foot down and followed him to the top. It made all that struggling with the double bass seem worthwhile.
|Date arrived:||2nd November 2010|
|Mileage to date:||8,779miles|
|Fuel consumption:||33.6mpg (official combined)
34.9mpg (on test)
Driven by Lisa Curtiss
Sadly counting down the days now until the glamour car in the pack heads off to owners new. It will be interesting to see what price it could be on sale for – given it is no longer produced. More of this though in the next and final report when I pop along to a few Renault dealers to see what value they’d put it at, given its condition and mileage, and what options there might be from Renault offering that elusive combo of great looks, decent performance, a degree of street cred and reasonable fuel consumption.
This got me thinking if I could afford it, would I buy this particular model I’ve got so fond of. Yes, for sure, against its current rivals from other manufacturers, and I say that having put each through its paces with some vigour.My dilemma comes with rivals from Renault, and that for me, means jumping across to the dreaded green pump and into the stupendously good Renaultsport Megane 250 Cup. At least if until they bring out another stylish diesel hotty which sadly isn’t something we expect or are aware of at the present time.
The Laguna GT is a decent car, but too large for my needs, and Clio-wise, the super-frugal sub 100g/km Expression tempting, but, I fear it would feel rather underpowered for my enthusiastic driving style. It’s a shame there’s not a diesel Twingo GT as having driven the petrol version, I think they offer some of the best driving fun to be had and seriously worth the money.
|Date arrived:||30th July 2010|
|Mileage to date:||8,504miles|
|Fuel consumption:||47.8mpg (official combined)
39.8mpg (on test)