Monday, 10 December 2012

COLUMN - December 2012

Here is my column from the December edition of The Local Herald. Being a Christmas edition I thought I'd treat the readers, and so managed to cram three short reviews in. There's a bit on the Honda Civic, Peugeot 208 and Volvo C70; all of which can be found in full on the Car Reviews page. I hope it brings you a bit of festive joy!


By the time this edition falls on your doorstep we will be in December and approaching the festivities and feasting surrounding the Christmas holidays. So as a starting point for this column I wish you and all of your family and friends the very best this Christmas.

That’s enough of the niceties now, and so I shall move onto some more petrol-head matters. This month I have three cars featured and a whole host of great features on the horizon. The first of these cars is the Honda Civic. Mentioned last month, it is another low-emission high-mpg car aimed at saving you money on your running costs. And I loved it.

The engine I tested in said Honda was the 2.2-litre diesel unit producing 150PS and 350Nm of torque. That’s a lot, and means that this car is no slouch. However thanks to the green technology which includes low-resistance tyres and an ‘Eco’ mode, it can achieve 67.3mpg combined and emits a mere 110g/km CO2. That means it will cost you £20 for 12-months road tax. Combine this to some space-age looks and a whole host of clever features, and what you end up with is a great car that will keep on impressing you for years to come.

Second of my feature cars this month is the Peugeot 208. First thing to say is that Peugeot have certainly found their styling again. This car looks fantastic. From every single angle, inside and out, everything has a sense of style. My model was the Allure and with a full leather interior the interior is simply breath-taking. The stylish seats, fading plastics and micro steering wheel all give it a proper classy feel.

The engine under the bonnet of my test car was a 1.6-litre petrol producing 120PS. This gives the little 208 some performance too. If you can’t wait for the planned GTi then there is a 1.6THP with 156PS, and I’m trying to get my hands on one to test. The 208 is a fun little hot hatch in the true French sense of it. It may not be mind-blowingly fast, but it puts a big fat grin on your face and handles like a dream. Don’t let the small, compact-looking exterior fool you either because inside the cabin is spacious like you wouldn’t think possible. I was truly impressed with the 208, and I like the direction Peugeot are heading.

Finally I must mention the Volvo C70. Yes, at this time of year a convertible is far from ideal I admit. However because the C70’s roof is a metal one, you really don’t feel like you are in a convertible. There is plenty of headroom, and even space in the back for adults; limbs and all! So where does the roof go? Well the C70 is rather long. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a doddle to drive, but take a step back and look and you really can see how the spaciousness is achieved.

Under the bonnet was a 2.0-litre diesel coupled to a superb 6-speed automatic gearbox. The changes are effortless and the power plentiful. My car was the 150PS version and that was plenty. Inside it was the usual Volvo luxury and nothing left desired. I even got a chance to get the roof down (believe it or not) and I can honestly say the C70 is brilliant. The mechanics of the metal roof are impressive enough but the driving experience is another level.

As usual check out my blog for more on all the cars, and keep an eye out for my Christmas Special feature because it will be a good one!

Dan

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