We’ve had a busy month again, and first up is a car with one of the best engines of recent years; Ford’s highly-acclaimed 1.0-litre EcoBoost. This time it was fitted to a Fiesta Red Edition, which has a striking visual package of black wheels, a black roof, black mirrors and gloss black grille surround. There is a ‘Black Edition’ which is the opposite of this, but I find it odd looking. Inside the Red Edition has yet more gloss black and red, giving a sporty twist to the usual Ford quality.
This Fiesta also boasts the most powerful variant of the EcoBoost found in a Fiesta. It offers 140PS and 180Nm of torque (rising to 210Nm for short bursts on overboost). Surprisingly there’s very little turbo lag and as such the power delivery is instantaneous and this little engine packs quite a punch. I would love to see it with a 6-speed gearbox in the Fiesta as this would really complete the package. That being said this is a fantastic car to drive. The chassis is perfect, and with some direct steering makes for a great handling car. The only problem with the Red Edition is that for £1,200 more you can have an ST, and that places the Red Edition in a very awkward place indeed.
Over to the other end of the spectrum now, because on handing the Fiesta back I took delivery of a Land Rover Discovery. This is often overlooked in favour of a Range Rover Sport, but I for one think it has a lot going for it. This is a very capable car indeed with some serious off-roading ability. There’s adjustable air suspension, various terrain modes and with some options such as the Exterior Detection Pack (which includes wade sensing) and the Vision Assist Pack (featuring Surround Camera System) you really have all bases covered.
But as well as this rugged ability the Discovery is also wonderfully luxurious, and therefore brilliant on the road. The 3.0-litre SDV6 is an absolute gem, and when coupled to the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth and refined. Motorway cruising is bliss, and in the cabin it is always quiet and peaceful. On a long run you can expect combined fuel consumption of 35.3mpg which I don’t think is bad at all for two-and-a-half tonnes of Land Rover. I thoroughly enjoyed my week with the Discovery, and it’s a car I’d actually own and drive… I better get saving up!
Last up this month is another luxurious 4x4 in the Range Rover Evoque in new Autobiography trim. This sits at the top of the line-up, and it certainly looks the part. On the outside there’s a combination of ‘Dynamic’ model sporty touches with dark privacy glass and ‘sparkle’ alloy wheels to add a touch of luxury and class. Stepping inside the Autobiography I fell in love in an instant. The combination in my test car of Cirrus and Lunar was simply superb. There are heaps of leather- from the dashboard to the door cards- and everything in the cabin felt solid. Finished off with a nice brushed aluminium veneer, it was simply a wonderful place to be.
The engine I had was the 2.2-litre SD4 diesel which offers 190PS and was coupled to a silky-smooth 9-speed ZF automatic transmission. On the motorway the revs are ridiculously low (1,600rpm at 70mph) so cruising is effortless. Throw in combined fuel consumption of 47.1mpg and this car certainly makes sense. You need to be wary of the options though, because with a list price of £49,805 on-the-road this is a pricey Evoque. Just to have the rear seat entertainment- although brilliant- is another £2,000.
That’s all for this month, and as I write this we’ve put an entry in for our first rally! Wallasey Promenade Stages here we come!..