Saturday, 9 June 2012

COLUMN - June 2012

Here is my column from the June edition of The Local Herald. Topic this month was a short review of the Volvo C30 and Peugeot 207, both of which can be found on the Car Reviews page. Also featured is a bit about what to expect in the near future. Enjoy...

We’re heading towards the (albeit short) summer now and it’s my favourite time of the year. The BBQ can come out and if we’re lucky then we may even get some sunshine. What’s more, I have some great features for my website and column coming up over the next few months, ensuring that this summer will be a memorable one.

The one I am most excited for is a mountain biking trip I have arranged. Mitsubishi have been kind enough to lend me an L200 with a bike rack, and I plan to take it to Llandegla Forest in Wales, and make a short video with some highlights of our day. I will also be reviewing said Mitsubishi, the L200 Barbarian Black Edition, the Honda Accord Tourer, the Peugeot 508 and the Volvo XC90 so those who enjoy reading my reviews have something to look forward to as well. All these will be featured in the near future so keep an eye open.

This month I have completed a few reviews and these will be found on my website. Firstly there was a Volvo C30 R-Design. I was curious as to how good it would be as I knew that Volvo were marketed as a premium brand, but I was always a bit of a sceptic. However, the truth of the matter was that it is a truly brilliant car which is the highest scoring to-date with a review score of 46/50. Yes it’s only got 4 seats, but its 2.0-litre 5-cylinder engine is a magnificent one, and it drives superbly. The driving position was spot on, the seats comfortable, the controls user friendly, and the styling impressive. The list goes on quite frankly, and I didn’t want to give it back to Volvo in the end.

One of the things I love the most is an early-morning blast down a nice A-Road. Wales has a lot of nice A-roads, and so it seemed the perfect place to take the C30. It wasn’t long before I forgot that I was driving a diesel completely. For starters the C30 doesn’t sound like a diesel thanks to that 5-cylinder power plant. More significantly it doesn’t handle like one either. The front end feels agile and the steering sharp. It never feels nose heavy and the gears are long so that you don’t need to change gear every 3 seconds.

The heavens opened on the way back and the rain was torrential as I drove up the M56. I didn’t care though, because I had already had my fun and nothing was going to sully my mood by then. It got even better in fact, because even with the country road blast the C30 averaged 50mpg, and that is very impressive indeed.

For those looking for a cheaper family diesel I tested the Peugeot 207 Sportium. This was fitted with a 1.4-litre HDi diesel engine producing 70 PS and is priced at £13,695 OTR for the five-door. Metallic paint will cost an extra £440 but this aside you will not want any more kit. Air conditioning, tinted rear windows, touch-screen navigation/media centre and a sports interior pack all come as standard.

To drive the 207 isn’t bad at all. Whilst the engine isn’t the most powerful, it more than holds its own at motorway speeds whilst returning a combined 67.2mpg. Road tax will cost £20 for 12 months too. Overall then, a good family car for those looking for high-spec but on a lower budget.

Dan

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