Thursday, 11 October 2012

COLUMN - October 2012

Here is another chance to see my column from the October edition of The Local Herald. I wrote about two cars this month; the Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian Black and the Volvo V60. There are full reviews for both of these over on the car reviews page, so feel free to check them out. I hope you enjoy the column!

This month I have 2 brief reviews for you, for two very different vehicles. The first is an efficient, luxurious Volvo. The second is an extremely large Mitsubishi with a paint job that screams ‘Gangster’. Although these cars are worlds apart, they are both brilliant in their own way.

I shall start on the sensible side and talk about the Volvo. It’s called the V60 and is a medium-sized estate. Having recently received a styling update, it is a very handsome car. What’s more it arrived on my driveway carrying a diesel engine that I admire. The 2.0-litre, 5-cylinder diesel engine found in quite a lot of Volvo’s is an absolute gem. In my D3 test model, it produces 136PS. However, it is also available in a D4 163PS if you’re looking for a bit more oomph.

The great thing about Volvo’s is that you can choose a wide range of trim levels to suit all tastes. My test car came in the SE Nav spec, meaning sat-nav was standard (amongst a whole other host of gadgetry). However for the same price you can have an R-Design, with its twin tail pipes and sporty bodykit. The choice is yours, and you won’t be disappointed with any of them.

The seats are some of the most comfortable I have ever sat in. Even the 136PS model feels like it has plenty of go. The cabin is impressively quiet and filled with lovely materials, and the whole car feels like it will last a few centuries. I absolutely loved the Volvo V60, and it won’t cost you the earth to run either; the 2.0-litre diesel with its start-stop technology is tax band C, meaning £30 for 12-months tax.

The Mitsubishi then. Well the L200 has been around for some time now, but the model that arrived on my driveway was a Euro 5 compliant one. That changes a lot. Previous editions of the 2.5-litre DI-D were not particularly refined and rather noisy. However this new one I had was superb.

It seemed a lot more quiet and refined, but still had plenty of grunt with 178PS and 350Nm of torque. Also this was my first encounter with a manual-gearbox in an L200, and I think this is much better. For a start, the fuel economy is improved significantly. Buy the auto and you’re looking at 28mpg at best. The manual however can achieve in the high-30’s, and that really does amount to a saving at the pumps.

The styling is where the L200 already does well. In standard form it is one of the nicer looking of the pick-ups with its curvy body. However I had the Black Edition. This means a black roof, wheels, wing mirrors, door handles, side-steps, grille, light-surrounds and graphics. Coupled to the body colour of Polar White it looks absolutely stunning. This really is a car that turns heads, and wherever I stopped I had somebody looking or telling me just hoe much they liked it.

Inside you get a touch-screen sat-nav, leather seats and enough space in the back for adults. Some of the materials do look a bit cheap but you have to remember that this is still a commercial vehicle, not the Ritz.

Two very different cars then. On one hand we have the sensible and safe Volvo that will last you a lifetime; a truly great car without a doubt. Then on the other we have the Mitsubishi L200 ASBO which is big and doesn’t fit through small villages. It doesn’t matter though, because that’s what makes it so great!

As always, see my blog for more.
Dan


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