The Motor Forum Forum Index The Motor Forum
"We are mature men in the highest cadres of our careers"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   Join! (free) Join! (free)
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Holiday Rental 2016 Part 3

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Motor Forum Forum Index -> Test Driven
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Please Register and Login to this forum to stop seeing this advertising.






Posted:     Post subject:

Back to top
Big Blue
Nuclear

My Car: Alpina B5 BiTurbo Touring Nr15 (The Gorilla); Yamaha R1 (the Black Whanger); The E46 323i With No Name

Joined: 01 Jan 2007
Posts: 10861


Location: SW1. Back where I belong.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:49 pm    Post subject: Holiday Rental 2016 Part 3  Reply with quote

OK, so I take a fair few weeks off in the summer so three rentals. Family holiday for us; one to see W2.0's parents; one to see my Ma. France was last on this long, hot summer. and to move us from Nice to the Var? It's a Grand Scenic I assume (it has 7 seats). And it's got a Diesel engine.



Spec wise it's night and day different to the Astra. This car has almost everything, including a Bose high fi. It swallows our luggage with ease and the seat configuration options are fabulous. You can see why families that take extended families out occasionally want these kind of cars.

The seats were very comfy, but Iím unsure if this is just because the ones in the Astra that was used the day before were so bad. The interior was the typical Renault mix of very good materials, some †bordering on excellent, and utterly risible shite (the main culprit being, again, the auxiliary stereo controls made of recycled Kinder-egg casings) whilst ergonomically I have a severe issue with the instrument binnacle being off to the right of the field of vision. I'm not sure what purpose it serves to have to move your eyes to the right (left if you're in the UK) away from the road to see what speed you're doing, to be told to change gear up or down by the Stasi-icon or even to see how much heavy oil is left in the ballast tanks but to me it was a minor annoyance, as opposed to a fundamental flaw.



The equipment, as stated, was excellent and the half leather seats, rear seats that folded into the floor, more power outlets than a 1930s detached house, rear window blinds and tables for rear passengers are all great family bus spec items. So much so that I have been ordered to buy the BMW after market table for T4 so she can draw, have her cup on it and park her sunglasses whilst watching the TV that sits between the seats. †It must have been nice as even W2.0 who struggles to get comfy on anything (apart from me) said the seats were "good" (this is massively high praise from a Slav....). I must mention the speed "bong" as per the Clio we had at the beginning of the summer. You can disable the "bong" in the OBC but as soon as you enter a Nav route and use the Nav the "bong" is back and no amount of delving can stop it. I used the nav to find a particular car park and the hotel we used for one night and hated it.

So we know it's a great car to be in, to move your family in and to probably move a wardrobe in, too. I did a couple of runs to the civic recycling in it with some shite I cleared out of the shed and it was good enough for that, too, but to clear the house properly I need an artic at least, but that's not for this thread. What is it like to drive?

OK, it's a van that wants to be a car. I sat the seat as low as it would go and that made it more car-like and I could find a comfy position without any issues. But the clutch....OMG I hate manual cars these days, especially a family bus like this. What in the name of heaven does a family van need a manual for? If I could describe the clutch action in a single, hyphenated word it would be "pogo-stick". At the bite point the tension suddenly changes such that it feels as though your left leg is being subjected to the interval training of a 100m sprinter for perfect starts. I stalled it at least 4 times during the hire period, but at least it had that traffic auto stop-start thing so it just fired up again. I kangarooed it a few times also and on the way back from Frejus one afternoon W2.0 laughed and said "you can't wait to get rid of this car". At least I think she said "can'tĒ.



One other reason for me stalling was the gear change. Vague is word used when describing an approximation of the facts. That is what this gear change in the range 1-4 is, an approximation. 1st is so far over to the left that you think it's reverse so select third. Then stall. The change down to second for some power to overtake or go into a roundabout becomes 4th and zero-power nothing-happening territory. 5-6 is fine, so an element of user shitness can be taken into account but having driven a manual Astra for nearly 2 weeks and 2k kms just before this one, only a very small account.

On to that turbo-lag. If I were a litigious type I'd cite turbo-lag on diesels as a major factor in many road traffic accidents. Make no mistake this car has plenty of power and then some to shift along at autoroute speeds and also autobahn speeds if so desired. Provided you can stir the gears correctly you're never nervous about changing lanes or passing on an N or D road. Drop below 1800rpm though and be prepared to wait. If you're under 1500rpm be prepared to die waiting. Then at 1801rpm be prepared to be launched into the scenery like the jump to light speed in Star Wars, Episode XXXIV (who are they kidding: when they've made as many films in the Star Wars series as the Bond franchise they can start taking about success....). Now the Gorilla pulls a similar trick but "off-boost" it's still making a shit load of power, whereas this little turbo-diesel is making no power and then suddenly a load of torque. I think this is the real reason Renault plans to dump TDs, before they get sued for causing accidents. OK so 42.8 MPG was pretty good, but not unexpected given that below 1800rpm it was seemingly using no fuel as it didn't react to full depression of the accelerator. In this rev range it made the aforementioned Astra seem like a powerhouse.



So once we've dealt with an intransigent clutch spring, a lag-filled power plant and a cake-mixer gearshift what do we have to deal with? It drives like an MPV: push it and your occupants are rolling around in their own vomit whilst you have worn your pre-molars into stumps with the panic of hanging on for grim death. It's not made for that so consequently it's a very comfy car to be in. If you like driving don't bother or buy a second vehicle to satisfy your needs. Which makes it very French. You have a wife (the MPV) to look after the house and family and a mistress (sports car / superbike) to get your juices flowing.

So before I go, some things about the French and Roundabouts. I've always seen roundabouts as a handling and accuracy challenge and enjoy them. In France the drivers are terrified of them and I saw off many cars that should have left me for dead through a series of roundabouts between the A8 and Draguinan. Anyone else noticed this? Or am I just a nutter? It seems most English drivers are lawless bastards anyway as I almost never see mass-speeding as much as I see it in the UK, so perhaps this explains it.

Finally the car was really nicely appointed aside from 2 issues with previous hirers. One was the rear side blind clip on the passenger side had been ripped off by a previous renter making it unusable. The rear roller in the luggage compartment also couldn't be easily rolled out as another (or the same) hirer had snapped off one of the clips that holds the seat belt out of the way, presumably by getting annoyed that they couldn't pull the belt out for a 6th passenger and just yanking on it instead of looking to see how it worked.

So despite not liking this car much, I love its purpose and practicality to the moon and back. Its users, on the other hand, seem to be ham-fisted apes that can't use the ancillary items without breaking them. And some can't use a clutch either....


_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
gooner
Twin-charged

My Car: Insignia low tax special and Fiat Panda Eleganza

Joined: 23 Dec 2006
Posts: 8923


Location: here, there and every bloody where!

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember my Megane had the same sat nav and iirc the bong is to alert you to the location of speed cameras and I was able to disable it quite easily. But that was 6 years ago so don't ask me to remember how!
_________________


- Insert clever and/or amusing quote here -
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Chris M Wanted a V-10
Supercharged

My Car: C-Max'D, CapturD and GOK the Wok

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 7160


Location: Captur'd by 1 5UMO near Camberley. Forum F1 champ 2011 and 2015

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many of the complaints you have are brought on by euro , legislation and/or trying to get high euro-NCAP scores - gear change indicators, lack of power off-boost then a rush etc etc, and I share your annoyances on most of these.  Hopefully once Brexit is completed we may get some drivability back into UK-spec cars (although personally, I doubt it)
_________________
Wanted a V-10 ; settled for half a V-6
October 2012:
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Martin
Nuclear

My Car: BMW 535d M Sport & Boxster 987.2

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 14425


Location: Higham Ferrers

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trying to hit a co2 number has definitely made things worse, but I had diesels for years that didn't do anything until 1,800rpm or so.  The solution was to use the gearbox to ensure the engine didn't drop that low.  The 320d I had recently was an Auto so the only issue was refinement, lag didn't come into it as the gearbox covered that off.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JohnC
Supercharged

My Car: 435D Coupe

Joined: 23 Dec 2006
Posts: 5098


Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's lag? I reckon it is something only encountered by those used to autos who forget to change down when faced with a manual
_________________
Every man is the architect of his own future.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Big Blue
Nuclear

My Car: Alpina B5 BiTurbo Touring Nr15 (The Gorilla); Yamaha R1 (the Black Whanger); The E46 323i With No Name

Joined: 01 Jan 2007
Posts: 10861


Location: SW1. Back where I belong.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The point is in the 21st century where there are autonomous cars driving about why does the driver of a dull-wagon family box need to change gear? Even commuter scooters have auto-boxes!

Lag is experienced by the driver due to the engine's utter inflexibility which has required multi-geared gearboxes. The original FZR1000, the father of my R1, had a five speeder and I remember the tests at the time (mid-80s) said that was all it needed because it pulled in top with no need to change down even around town.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Frank Bullitt
Nuclear

My Car: .
View My Motor: .

Joined: 29 Feb 2008
Posts: 12848



PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Blue wrote:

Lag is experienced by the driver due to the engine's utter inflexibility which has required multi-geared gearboxes. The original FZR1000, the father of my R1, had a five speeder and I remember the tests at the time (mid-80s) said that was all it needed because it pulled in top with no need to change down even around town.


It sounds like you are confusing lag and threshold - threshold is where you are pulling too-few revs for the turbo to adequately operate, lag is the time taken when the turbo is in its operational zone for it to react.

I don't buy the argument this is all down to emissions, the 1.6HDi in our DS4 pulled well and cleanly from close to idle, and I'm also not sure leaving the EU will make the slightest difference unless we expect the French manufacturer of a French car to install a different map for the uk.

Sounds like in many respects it's a great car for the job, we did look at the 5-seat Scenic when we bought the Picasso but the then reasonably new model was too expensive for me and the old version felt very old next to the CitroŽn. All be it there are some mechanical maladies, I suspect getting use putting a bit of effort in will soon overcome that!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Big Blue
Nuclear

My Car: Alpina B5 BiTurbo Touring Nr15 (The Gorilla); Yamaha R1 (the Black Whanger); The E46 323i With No Name

Joined: 01 Jan 2007
Posts: 10861


Location: SW1. Back where I belong.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Call it what you like: if the car doesn't pull until 1800rpm the engine is an inflexible piece of shit.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tim
Nuclear

My Car: is multiplying

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 13134


Location: Over the rainbow

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Blue wrote:
Call it what you like: if the car doesn't pull until 1800rpm the engine is an inflexible piece of shit.


You're describing every modern-ish turbo-diesel.
I think you'll find that if the car had been fitted with an auto you would've been just as frustrated by the combo of an auto transmission in 'dull-wagon family box' spec (i.e. not a 'sport' setup) together with the attendant engine lag.

Clearly there's no substitute for cubic inches  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PG
Nuclear

My Car: Jaaaag XFR; Shogun "truck"; Peugeot horse "van"

Joined: 23 Dec 2006
Posts: 10156


Location: Shropshire

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin wrote:
Trying to hit a co2 number has definitely made things worse, but I had diesels for years that didn't do anything until 1,800rpm or so.


Every modern 4 cylinder diesel I have driven suffers terribly from the nothing / everything / you have to rev it delivery driven by CO2 and MPG. And they only really seem to work best on the motorway, then they are great for flying along at 80 leptons sipping very little fuel. And people are still talking about refinement not being good enough.

For me, the best 4 cylinder diesels were and still are the ones that actually behaved like I expect a diesel to behave - pull from nothing and plug away all day with a wall of torque. Those like the VAG 1.9 PD 130 engine in our A3 and the 3.2 we have in the Shogun.

I think the stalling thing is not helped by the fact that you have to put in an awful of of revs to get too many modern small diesel engine to move off. Whereas I expect them to go from tickover. I almost pranged a Volvo V40 D2 loan car as I stalled it at the first junction I got to.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PhilD
Nuclear

My Car: Fiat Grande Punto Sporting

Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 15807



PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris M Wanted a V-10 wrote:
Many of the complaints you have are brought on by euro , legislation and/or trying to get high euro-NCAP scores - gear change indicators, lack of power off-boost then a rush etc etc, and I share your annoyances on most of these. †Hopefully once Brexit is completed we may get some drivability back into UK-spec cars (although personally, I doubt it)


You trolling again Chris?  
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Big Blue
Nuclear

My Car: Alpina B5 BiTurbo Touring Nr15 (The Gorilla); Yamaha R1 (the Black Whanger); The E46 323i With No Name

Joined: 01 Jan 2007
Posts: 10861


Location: SW1. Back where I belong.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The auto gearbox would help, especially if it was a decent modern thing as opposed to a 1975 Borg-Warner 3-speed! I remember the debate I had with an old friend on autos and "kickdown". You'd almost never try and ram your manual into 1st for 2seconds before an up change for an A-road overtake, preferring 2nd instead and compensating power for a bit of engine flexibility, but an auto-box WILL do just that if it's the absolute fastest way to accelerate.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tim
Nuclear

My Car: is multiplying

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 13134


Location: Over the rainbow

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with an auto diesel (in my limited experience) is the initial move away from a standing start - summon full steam ahead and there's a lag from the engine AND the gearbox.
Once they're up and running they're not too bad
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Martin
Nuclear

My Car: BMW 535d M Sport & Boxster 987.2

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 14425


Location: Higham Ferrers

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not had that experience, but I've not driven many diesel autos either.   There isn't any hesitation from either engine or gearbox (even in comfort) away from a standing start in mine, it just goes. It's an excellent TLGP matchine if that's your thing. †The 320d wasn't quite the same, but still pretty good.

Last edited by Martin on Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
DetmoldDick
Turbocharged

My Car: cooking on gas

Joined: 26 Dec 2006
Posts: 2578


Location: Detmold, Germany

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Alfa 147 diesel was transformed by having it chipped. Not only did it make more power at the topend, it made it far more driveable. Lag and low-down lethargy were almost totally absent.
_________________
A thing of beauty is a joy forever; Keats.

However loud it may be, in space, no one can hear your shirt.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Humphrey The Pug
Nuclear

My Car: Depends on what has the most fuel!

Joined: 31 Dec 2006
Posts: 14646


Location: Here

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably a 1.6 dCi, your clutch action description is spot on, they are so snappy.

The 1.5 clutch is far smoother, as is the power delivery, apart from losing a bit at the top end, the 1.5 is a far better engine than the 1.6.
_________________
Mummy, Daddy, Sissy, Sassy Baby.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tim
Nuclear

My Car: is multiplying

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 13134


Location: Over the rainbow

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin wrote:
I've not had that experience, but I've not driven many diesel autos either. † There isn't any hesitation from either engine or gearbox (even in comfort) away from a standing start in mine, it just goes. It's an excellent TLGP matchine if that's your thing. †The 320d wasn't quite the same, but still pretty good.


Your car isn't going to be the same though as its a 3 litre and presumably all BMWs are towards the sporty end of the response profile anyway?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Martin
Nuclear

My Car: BMW 535d M Sport & Boxster 987.2

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 14425


Location: Higham Ferrers

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The engine makes a big difference, but the latest auto gearboxes are a big improvement in terms of response.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
simonp
Supercharged

My Car: is silver again

Joined: 14 Aug 2007
Posts: 7063


Location: Wiltshire

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have a Chrysler Pacifica. It's huge.
_________________
Washed it!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Martin
Nuclear

My Car: BMW 535d M Sport & Boxster 987.2

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 14425


Location: Higham Ferrers

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simonp wrote:
We have a Chrysler Pacifica. It's huge.


One of the better MPVs apparently.  Why something so big?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Martin
Nuclear

My Car: BMW 535d M Sport & Boxster 987.2

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 14425


Location: Higham Ferrers

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a little test to make the drive home more interesting. †At 30mph in 6th the engine is at 1,000rpm, put your foot down and very little happens until 1,250rpm when it's doing 37-38, the little turbo wakes up and off you go. †If you go from zero to full throttle at that point, there's a slight lag (fraction of a second) before it goes, but nothing to worry about and only something you'd notice if you were in full manual at that speed in the wrong gear.

All this is academic when you're in auto mode, even in comfort it likes to be in a gear that gives you over 1,500 revs when you accelerate, so you never feel any lag or delay.

Interestingly, although probably only to me, at 1,500 rpm, the engine is developing 150hp and 460lb ft torque according the the sports dials.

I do love the effortless performance, which really suits the type of car it is, but the throttle response and the way you get so much more reward for using the full rev range in the Boxster makes up for the (relative) lack of torque.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Chris M Wanted a V-10
Supercharged

My Car: C-Max'D, CapturD and GOK the Wok

Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 7160


Location: Captur'd by 1 5UMO near Camberley. Forum F1 champ 2011 and 2015

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PhilD wrote:
You trolling again Chris? †

Not exactly - it seems to me that BB wants a performance sports car and not a diesel family wagon that should be driven with restraint.  Whenever the time comes for a holiday vehicle, it tends to get slated as it rolls, is slow and unresponsive, not as well trimmed/equipped as an Alpina........ but the kids loved it !
_________________
Wanted a V-10 ; settled for half a V-6
October 2012:
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Big Blue
Nuclear

My Car: Alpina B5 BiTurbo Touring Nr15 (The Gorilla); Yamaha R1 (the Black Whanger); The E46 323i With No Name

Joined: 01 Jan 2007
Posts: 10861


Location: SW1. Back where I belong.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I raced motorcycles I had a LWB petrol engined Transit. No turbos, no heavy oil, no refinement but when it had a big tool rack on board, a bike, some spares, me and my spannerer it still went forward when I depressed the accelerator. I'm happy that these family cars don't offer the handling excitement of my R1, otherwise I'd not need an R1, but they don't need to be so stupefyingly dull to drive. The best times I've had behind the wheel have been with shitty vehicles that had no right to be fun, like some tiny Japanese van I once drove about in with a column shift and if we look back to a couple of summers ago when I had the ludicrously underpowered Fiat Punto that couldn't make the hill up to my mother's house without a run-up it redeemed itself on a cross country blat from Marseille back to Salernes.

I don't expect these cars to be wardrobe carrying missiles like the Gorilla but I don't expect a modern car to need to be over a third of the way through its rev range before anything happens and I also expect them to have some of the spec items I had on my 1986 VW Golf Gti (trip computer!) and to have updated some of the items that were on Renaults of the same vintage (that fucking stereo control module). In the same way that when you see a girl in a bar and go to chat her up and discover that she talks like a wastepipe being treated with Drano the entire illusion is destroyed, so these cars get a hard review because some things should not happen in 21st century cars.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
simonp
Supercharged

My Car: is silver again

Joined: 14 Aug 2007
Posts: 7063


Location: Wiltshire

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin wrote:
simonp wrote:
We have a Chrysler Pacifica. It's huge.


One of the better MPVs apparently. †Why something so big?


There are 5 of us. It's not too bad to drive, although the brakes struggle with its heft when fully loaded. It has lots of toys, including remote controlled electric doors and tailgate. One irritation is that the Sirius satellite radio gave up the ghost after the first day. I suspect the car came with a free sub from new and it ran out just as we picked it out of the lot.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Roadsterstu
Nuclear

My Car: threelitreturbosixallwheeldrive

Joined: 11 Jan 2007
Posts: 12728


Location: Over there.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Blue wrote:
Call it what you like: if the car doesn't pull until 1800rpm the engine is an inflexible piece of shit.


Indeed. Referring once again to our police Arstras, the earlier cars of the generation BB hired used the old 1.7 diesel. These were rough, noisy and utterly shite when off boost. They stall easily like they just can't be bothered. The later cars of that gen, despite still being shit, at least got a new 1.6 diesel that is willing, flexible, happy at very low revs (and doesn't need a drop to 1st to turn into a T junction)and a lot quieter.

Off boost lethargy in a diesel is, as BB said, dangerous.


_________________
T6
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Motor Forum Forum Index -> Test Driven All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Card File  Gallery  Forum Archive
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum