Friday, 17 April 2015

COLUMN - April 2015

Here is another chance to see my column from the April edition of The Local Herald/Clitheroe Local. There's a little nod to our new car in the Fiesta ST which was picked up on 1 March from Rufus Carr Limited in Clitheroe; and what a great car it's turning out to be! Also featured this month are the Ford Transit Courier and Ecosport. And finally for a bit of something different there's a Fiat 500C thrown in for good measure. As always you can find full reviews for all of these via the 'Reviews' page. Enjoy!

It’s been a busy month again, and I can now tell you how much we’re enjoying the new car after a month with it. It scored 50/50 when I reviewed it last year, so it will come as no shock that we’ve opted for a Ford Fiesta ST. Spirit Blue was an easy choice of colour, and we even opted for a Mountune package for good measure. And I wish to make a point about Rufus Carr in Clitheroe. Never have I experienced such a friendly dealership without the usual “how can I get your business today” nonsense. It was a pleasure to deal with them. I’d happily go back, and would urge you to do the same.

Now back to reviews. There are two more Fords featured this month. Let’s start with the Transit Courier. This is a small and van based on the Fiesta platform. It came with a 1.6-litre diesel engine which produces 95PS and 210Nm of torque. That’s plenty to get you moving even with a full load, and goes to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox. There’s plenty of tech, with Ford SYNC system and cruise control (£180) making life much easier on a long drive.

And if you’re planning to do long drives then I’d recommend the diesel. You can get the Transit Courier with Ford’s brilliant EcoBoost engine, but this isn’t as economical on a long run; the diesel offers 74.3mpg on a combined cycle. CO2 emissions are 100g/km but this isn’t as relevant because it’s taxed at the fixed commercial vehicle rate of £225. The Transit Courier looks great and is very versatile; with a lot more room inside than the exterior shape would have you believe.

Next up is the Ford Ecosport. It too is based on the Fiesta platform, but is more of a crossover vehicle. The styling is certainly bold as well. I like the front end, but the spare wheel stuck on the back still hasn’t grown on me yet. The interior is very nice though; it’s very familiar to a Fiesta driver but offers a higher driving position and in my test car’s Titanium spec comes generously equipped too.

The engine in the Ecosport I tested was, you guessed it, an EcoBoost. And I’ve grown rather fond of this engine. My car came with the 125PS version, which is the one to have. Although it’s only a 5-speed the ratios have been tweaked to give better motorway cruising. And best of all the Titanium model I had- including a few options- costs just £16,500 and I think that represents excellent value for money.

Another popular car is the Fiat 500. So much so the entire range now seems to be built around it. The model I had on test this month was the 500C. This has a fabric roof which retracts in two stages, the latter of which makes it feel very airy indeed. The styling of the 500 is best described as ‘cute’ in general, but in particular the convertible is certainly more appealing to females.

That being said I didn’t mind driving it. I love the 0.9-litre TwinAir engine. It has 105PS, 145Nm of torque and, most importantly, a 6-speed manual gearbox. In a car this size that translates into a very nippy car indeed. It certainly surprised a few passengers that such a small engine could shift like that. The only issue I have with the 500C comes with price. As tested, my car came in at £18,460 which I’m afraid is simply too much.

Dan

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