Archive for The Motor Forum "We are mature men in the highest cadres of our careers"
 


       The Motor Forum Forum Index -> Test Driven
Big Blue

Holiday Autos

Well the last of three trips over the summer has ended so it must be time to review the cars I have rented.

First up was the Skoda Octavia.



Base model diesel but I can see why this is a de rigeur choice for company car users on some kind of list: it does everything a family car should do and uses very little fuel (5.5 googlies per 100 leg-stumps which is apparently 51mpg) on the charge from Vienna to Nitra and then back to Bratislava with some tootling about town in between. I was initially taken aback as this must be the first car I've driven in about 3 years without controls on the steering wheel. How quaint.





Very comfortable and relaxed motorway cruiser which was met with some delight by the rear seat passenger.



It is also very spacious and the hatch rear end is great for getting stuff in with ease. This is how much a family of three takes on a short holiday to Slovakia and Sicily (maybe not the first choice of dual-destination holiday....)



Despite that hatchback this latest model does just look like a recycled Audi A6, which is no bad thing. I quite liked it.



So all in all decent controls, very comfortable, well made and frugal. Probably what most cars in this sector are and if not they should be.

Next up was the worst hire car of the summer: another Skoda, this time a Fabia Combi (that's estate to you and I). Here is a picture of the number plate.



That is the only photograph of this thing that I took and I only took it to show the Magyar in the petrol station the number so I could buy a motorway vignette. "Thing" is the correct description. This was horrible: noisy, much of the interior was seemingly made of wafer thin made of 1970's Bakelite and the engine / gearbox combination seemed to have met at a party whilst drunk and decided to get it on as there was nothing better on offer. It cruised on the M1 in Hungary at 140-150kph as I expect any modern car to (last year's Punto excluded!) but the cacophony that was associated should not be inflicted on anyone.

To sum up: if you are looking for a car in this sector of the market, don't look this way.

Now that's July over with and in August I had a week+ in France. I used mother's DS4, about which much has already been written so I won't drone on about how fucking great it is: just accept the fact that these are fabulous in all respects.

This past few days, however, I have had time in the one car I have wanted to hire since they were released; the one car I would put my hand in my pocket and buy new with my own cash if need be; the one car that is cool, classless, dainty and timeless.



I wasn't disappointed in any way at all. It punched its way up to 140kph as required; it made an indicated 160kph on a couple of occasions and it flicked into corners, round roundabouts (something the rest of Europe sees as a thing to approach slowly as opposed to a test of a cars cornering and direction changing prowess) with aplomb and brio just like a little Italian box should do. More importantly the roof comes off, something my daughter found to be the best thing on the planet ever!







Our teenaged niece was also enamoured with this feature such that when we drove from the pre-wedding dinner to the ceremony the roof HAD to be off, despite protestations from W2.0. They are surprisingly spacious and after some juggling I managed to fit a full-size samonsonite, 2 hard backed cabin cases, a swiss-gear rucksack, a child in a child seat, a spare child seat (out of storage for the arrival of the next one) and 2 adults in it. If we used soft luggage we'd have got shed loads more in there. My 6'2" B-I-L demonstrates the room up front:



The only thing to say about this car to demonstrate just how desirable they are compared to others is this: our nephew is 16 next week, a contracted ice hockey player, attends gymnasium (super-selective grammar schools) and from what I can make out most of his friends on Facebook that comment on any photo I post of him are attractive young females. He wants a Mini-Cooper as his first car. He "wanted" is now the term: he wants one of these.

Roadsterstu

The Octavia looks good, aside from tiny wheels with plastic covers and a plastic and button-free steering wheel.  Plastic steering wheel. Ugh.
PG

Re the Fabia - who signs off these shit engine / gearbox combos in cars? Clearly nobody who has ever driven one in the real world. My one drive in an Alfa was a MiTo that has gear ratios so wide apart that it was almost impossible to drive.
Frank Bullitt

I despise a plastic wheel in a car like little else, it's one of the key interfaces and nothing beats a nice bit of leather.

Agree on the DS4 of course, and I must try a 500 for myself at some point rather than being piloted in a friends - what engine was it?  Another friend's wife has a 500 1.2 Lounge that she got on a PCP at 12 months old which costs her 120pcm and needed no deposit over the PCP'd 1.2 Pop she traded in for it that was costing 100pcm; they didn't care about the scratches all up one side, either.  I can see a nearly-new twinair appealing as a daily driver at some point.
Martin

I've never been in a 500, sounds like it wouldn't be too bad getting one as a hire car at some point in the future.  The proportions/stance are all wrong to my eyes, even the Abarth version, it's not a patch on the MINI (previous model...)

I'm really surprised at it appealing to a 16 year old boy though!

A nice steering wheel is really important, one of the most important elements of a car interior.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Roadsterstu wrote:
The Octavia looks good, aside from tiny wheels with plastic covers

Doesn't it just - those wheels and trims spoil the entire car IMHO
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Martin wrote:
I'm really surprised at it appealing to a 16 year old boy though!

Almost as surprising as its "sister" Ka appealing to a 50-something year old male !
Martin

Chris M Wanted a V-10 wrote:
Martin wrote:
I'm really surprised at it appealing to a 16 year old boy though!

Almost as surprising as its "sister" Ka appealing to a 50-something year old male !


Not really, most I see are driven by people...errrrr....older than me!

Thinking about it, I can see why a 16 year old would want to drive a car that girls really like!
Big Blue

Martin wrote:


Thinking about it, I can see why a 16 year old would want to drive a car that girls really like!


Yes, when his sister showed such interest in the car (and his mates show a lot of interest in his sister!) he asked me about it.

       The Motor Forum Forum Index -> Test Driven
Page 1 of 1
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum