Friday, 13 March 2015

COLUMN - March 2015

Here is another chance to see my column from the March edition of The Local Herald. 2015 is proving to be as busy- if not busier- than last year. I managed to cram this review with three cars, from The Ford Fiesta with the acclaimed EcoBoost engine, to a Fiat Punto with a less impressive engine. Sandwiched in between these two is the Citroën C1 Airscape; a car rather similar to the  Peugeot 108 Top! featured last month. I had fun with these cars so enjoy the column, and be sure to check out the full write-ups on the Reviews page.

I’ve had another busy month, and so I shall get right into it. The Ford Fiesta is one of Britain’s best selling cars, and after spending a week with my ecoBOOST Zetec, I can see why. Coupled to the highly commended 1.0-litre ecoBOOST engine, this looked like a winning combination from the off.

The Zetec trim in my test car had been somewhat stretched, with the addition of a Satellite navigation system with DAB radio (£500), an alarm (£100), city stop collision mitigation (£200) and the city pack (£300), but in truth each of these are highly subjective extras. I do think the Ford navigation system is a good one though. The best feature for me was the powershift transmission. With the loss of stop/start technology, road tax becomes £30, but this is a price worth paying because the auto box has 6 speeds. Which on the motorway makes a huge difference.

The Fiesta has a wonderful chassis and Ford have got the setup just right. The sporty models would be my choice though; I prefer the look of the Zetec S than the regular Zetec; in particular the wheels on my test car left a lot to be desired.

Next up we have a car similar to the 108 Top! featured last month. Very similar in fact, because the Citroën C1 Airscape is in essence the same car. It has the same 1.2-litre engine, 5-speed manual and £0 road tax. The looks are rather different this time around, although I will admit the rear on Peugeot and Citroën do look similar. I’m still not 100% struck on the front-end styling of the C1, but I rather liked the alloy wheels, and the colour combination of black with red mirrors and roof.

The convertible variants of these city cars add yet another trick up their small sleeves. With the re-design the interior has a much better feel to it. The technology levels have improved. And then, at the touch of a button, the roof opens up above your head. But this doesn’t come at any cost. There is no wind intrusion with the roof up, and I actually think the roof lining on the Airscape is nicer than the standard car. So here you have a properly good car, with impressive technology (the touch screen multimedia system works well), impressive practicality, and with my car costing £12,930, at an impressive price too.

Finally we have the Fiat Punto Jet Black 2. This is a special edition, available in 3-door only, and aims to combine style with low running costs and a good trim level. Priced at £12,000 it really is an option for a first car, and you certainly couldn’t complain. The looks pay homage to the name; Crossover black metallic paint, smoke 17-inch alloys and privacy glass. There’s a unique badge at the back as well, to set the Black Edition apart.

Step inside the Punto and you’ll start to see some of the goodies on offer. Climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free and iPod connectivity. Fire up the 1.4-litre engine and head out for a drive and you’ll notice the sports suspension too. One thing I didn’t like though; the rear parking sensors have a rather annoying tone. Plus I still get the feeling Fiat are trying to tart up a car that could probably do with a replacement.

On a more interesting note I paid a visit to Rufus Carr Ford in Clitheroe, and have ordered a new car for Mrs Woods! We pick it up on March 1st so I’ll give you more on that one next month! Or check out my twitter for more up-to-date information. Any guesses what it could be?...

Dan

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