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History Repeating: XJ40 Part 9

outback

Phase Three – 1981-1986: Trouble at ‘Mill

With Jaguar’s fortunes improving under Egan’s new regime, Jaguar’s car range underwent something of a sales renaissance. Now they were built properly, customers could appreciate their elegant lines and refined character anew. So despite the continued sales depression in the vital US market, Jaguar would go on to sell 21,632 cars worldwide in 1982 – up from 15, 640 the previous year. Despite this positive outlook however, Egan began actively seeking an exit from the BL straitjacket, at one stage telling a colleague in exasperation; “we’ve got to get clear of this lot!” Continue reading

2014 Renault Twingo Review (Interrupted)

DTW fails to test drive the New Twingo.

Twingo Front

Following our disappointment with the Citroen Cactus, a viewing of the Renault Twingo has yielded a pleasant surprise.

Importantly, unlike other recent Renaults, the styling is not inspired by something from one of Mr van den Acker’s collection of sports shoes. The fact that it reminds me of a Fiat 500 is made more excusable if you consider that it, and not Fiat’s current version, is a truer spiritual updating of the original 500. Continue reading

Theme: Concepts – Little Wonder

opel-junior-05

The 1983 (is it really that old?) Opel Junior was one of the stars of that year’s IAA at Frankfurt, where it debuted. Small and pert, the little Opel was the work of a team of designers at Opel’s Rüsselsheim styling centre, under the direction of Hideo Kodama. Amongst his team was Gert Hildebrand and neophyte, Chris Bangle, who, it is said, was responsible for the concept’s modular interior.  Continue reading

Theme: Concepts – 2013 Honda Gear

It seems Honda didn´t think too much of this little concept car. They showed it at the Montreal Motor Show in 2013, at the same time the Detroit Motor Show was being held.

2013 Honda Gear concept car

2013 Honda Gear concept car

To be honest, I found this by accident. In 1992 or 1993 Honda showed a small concept car with a feature that has become a very common, the false reverse-raked c-pillar.  I wanted to see the originator of this idea and then show a few of the cars that have used it these last 20 years: Continue reading

Theme: Concepts – From Dialogue to Thesis

proto_dialogos_51

The 1998 Lancia Dialogos concept

During 1996, Lancia began work on a new large car concept. Lancia design director, Mike Robinson was briefed to create a car that would honour marque traditions, while also being a showcase for upcoming in-car technology being developed by Fiat at the time. The concept was also intended to preview the next generation full-sized Lancia saloon style.  Continue reading

2014 Toyota Aygo 1.1 VVTi – review Part 3

This has turned into something of a long-term test. With a third chance to drive the car, DTW has some extra insight on living with Toyota´s second smallest car.

2014 Toyota Agyo 1.1 VVTi

2014 Toyota Agyo 1.1 VVTi

Perhaps the most illuminating aspect of adding another four days to the tally of six, is that a few important details have turned up, all of them bad. DTW conducted most of the original testing when the days were longer. This time, night driving in humid weather has shown up two details that might

Continue reading

BMW´s front wheel drive hatchback

Just a few days ago I noted that we at DTW had not treated BMW to some of our ire. Here is some ire. Or something passing itself off as such.

2015 BMW hatchback

2015 BMW hatchback

The car above is the 2015 BMW 2-series “active tourer” which is a five-door, front-drive hatchback with a great deal in common with the 2011Ford C-Max which is five-door, front-drive five seater hatchback (below) that sells for a lot less. And looks better.

2011 Ford hatchback. With a sliding door.

2011 Ford hatchback. With a sliding door.

While admitting that Chris Bangle´s 5-series was, after all, a very good design which still looks fresh, much of the subsequent output from Munich has been Continue reading

Concepts: Essence of Alfieri

maserati-alfieri-concept-show-floor-rear-side-view-2

Déjà vu on the show circuit 

Earlier this year at the Geneva Motor show, Maserati displayed the Alfieri concept; a preview for a new Maserati Grand Turismo, aimed at the sort of affluent customer who might otherwise choose a Porsche 911, Aston Martin or heaven help us – one of those vulgar new Mercedes-AMG things. Continue reading

Concepts: Ride A Rocket

mini-rocketman-concept-0

Mini’s 2011 Rocketman Concept

At the 2011 Geneva Motor show, MINI debuted the Rocketman concept and from Paris to Peterborough, Mini enthusiasts wept with relief, because here at last was a proper Mini-sized MINI, rather than the lumbering behemoths that were actually available for purchase. Continue reading

A glimpse of the future for the DS brand

Automotive News Europe has reported that PSA have launched a China-only vehicle, their second. It is the DS6 crossover.

2014 DS6

2014 DS6

The appearance is generic SUV while the grille and lights show China´s DS styling. From there back, it´s file under “Forget”.For a brand allegedly majoring in style this is a major puzzle. For a firm as indifferent to the meaning of DS, this entirely to be expected. And we can see this as sign of the future developments for DS, along with the possibility of Continue reading

JLR: The Challenges Facing a Challenger Brand – Part 2

JS45310812

In the second part of Driven to Write’s examination of JLR, we dissect Land-Rover’s market stratification, Ford’s powertrain legacy,  and JLR’s still imperfect reliability record.  Continue reading

Theme : Concepts – Yet Another DS Stunner!

DSuperficialeSteaming Hot News From Paris

Following on the heels of the Divine, the Paris Salon was today stunned by another offering from PSA’s ambitious DS brand, its latest concept the DSupérficiâle. Originally thought by diehard enthusiasts to be a homage to the D Super, itself the successor to the classic ‘no-frills’ ID19, PSA was anxious to dispel such misconceptions. At the press launch, DS spokesman Jean Conneries, standing in front of a still-shrouded shape, explained the philosophy behind the car.

We are foremost a French brand. We must build on that as the 21st Century progresses. However, in the past we have mistakenly concentrated too much on those aspects of heritage that are specifically Citroën. France has a huge heritage that it has bequeathed the World and foremost in that is philosophy. The philosophy of this car is ….. philosophy itself! Continue reading

1997 Isuzu Vehicross reconsidered

Spare a thought for the Isuzu Vehicross. Isuzu revealed the Vehicross as a concept at the 1993 Tokyo Motor show and the production car went on sale in 1997. Who thinks about it today?

1999 Isuzu Vehicross

1999 Isuzu Vehicross

The Vehicross survived for four years until 2001 and has sunk without leaving very much of a trace. However, it merits a second look. In 2013, Michael George at Jalopnik wrote : “Let’s check off all the ways the Vehicross is a unique snowflake in the most boring automotive landscape of all. A design that still seems futuristic today? Check. It comes from a much-beloved dead brand? Check. Sophisticated all-wheel-drive technology that makes it a highly-competent off roader? Check. General mechanical toughness? Check. Rarity? Check. Always designed to be a one-run niche vehicle? Check.” For this reason he sees it as future classic. If you want one, look here  where a 1998 with an absurd 3.2 litre engine is for sale for £6500. That´s not a lot of money for a rather interesting motor car. Continue reading

Theme: Concepts – 2000 GM Precept

This brief post seems to fall into our monthly Theme category as it is about a concept car. It was inspired by Sean´s post about Tatra´s retirement from making road-going automobiles and what might have been.

2000 GM Precept concept car in motion

2000 GM Precept concept car in motion

In the last few years of the Clinton administration a sizeable grant was made to the US car builders to help them develop fuel efficient large cars. Among the goals, the companies were to aim for was to reduce fuel use to 80 mpg. We seem to be slowly getting to this although with smaller cars. GM´s response to this grant was the Precept, the appearance of which seems to me to not too unlike a Tatra. Whether this is a case of convergent evolution or actual direct inspiration, I can´t say.

The GM Precept used a formula familiar to us today although the packaging is rather inconvenient – more on that later. An Isuzu 1.3 litre, three-cylinder, direct injection turbo was located in the rear of the car where the boot should be. That explains Continue reading

1968 Jaguar XJ-6 road test: “A load of old Baltics” (Part 3)

Today we reprint another transcript from the vaults. This story set the template for the continental motor trip that became a staple of automotive journalism. In this extract, Archie Vicar continues touring from London to Latvia in Jaguar´s new XJ-6. His mission, to test this important new saloon and to recover his hand-made shoes left behind on a previous jaunt. The striking original photography is by Douglas Land-Windermere.

1968 Jaguar XJ-6. One of Land-Windermere´s striking images of the car.

1968 Jaguar XJ-6. One of Land-Windermere´s striking images of the car.

From “Private Motor Car Owner” (pages 34-39,  page 109, page 116, December, 1968)

Day Four
Getting into Latvia was a breeze. We presented our passports and sacrificed a few cherished boxes of Craven “A” cigarettes and we were in. Even the sight of the new Jaguar, in De Luxe trim and virtually rust free, didn´t make the unshaven brute at the border blink. It seemed like we would sail through under the dusty hem of the Iron Curtain.

But then we spent 9 hours waiting at a road-block deep in the middle of nowhere.

Dashing through fields the size of Rutland while caning the XJ´s 6-pot engine (cc/170 in³) I appreciated the civil ride (courtesy of the telescopic dampers). Then I noticed what looked like a telephone box. I knew something was skew-whiff since they don´t have ‘phones in Latvia. It was a check-point. Dropping my fag into the deep-pile lambswool carpet, I gripped the controls and stamped on the stop pedal for all I was worth. An alarmed-looking sentry sprang from the wooden crate and noticed a hundred yards of dust rising behind the tail of Browns Lane´s barge. Such was the violence of the braking that CONTINUE READING

 

JLR – The Challenges Facing a Challenger Brand

f-type___rr_-_skyline_DesktopHero

Driven to Write examines the JLR success story…

Jaguar Land Rover’s commercial renaissance over the past five years has prompted a deluge of scepticism in some quarters, because on the surface of things at least, its rapid turnaround has stretched belief. When the Ford Motor Company sold the Jaguar and Land Rover brands to Indian industrial giant, Tata Group for £1.2bn in 2008, both businesses were loss makers – Jaguar in characteristically epic fashion. Continue reading

More Renault: 2015 Renault Avantime, sorry, Espace

Renault have decided to abandon yet another category of car. This time they have given up on space-focused people movers.

2014 Renault Espace

2014 Renault Espace

The Renault Espace was a trend setter and for two decades ruled the roost in the MPV class. The original version is now three decades old and still has a tidy, neat appearance of purest industrial design. This sat well with Renault´s custom of quite rational cars. The last generation did not get out of the show room fast enough. It was Continue reading

History, as Written by Both Winners and Losers

Museums of the Alternative Motoring Universes of Both Porsche and Tatra

Porsche Gmund 04

A recent visit to Austria was intended to lead to a return by way of Prague and, en route, a further diversion would be made to the Technical Museum Tatra in Kopřivnice. The Tatra company has a long and fine pedigree, and the streamlined 30s Tatras of Hans Ledwinka and his team, as well as their post-War successors, have long fascinated me and, to someone frustrated by cordons, the museum tantalisingly offers that “some of our exhibits and models are available for you to touch”. In the event, time conspired to make the zig-zag trip north impractical, though I strongly hope that I will have another chance.

Continue reading

Armchair Motorshow – Concept: DS Divine

What is to be made of the DS Divine concept car? Is it a Good Thing that PSA now has Peugeot, Citroen and the DS brands to manage?

2014 DS Divine concept front three quarterAs we know, PSA has decided, in its wisdom, to divide its efforts no longer in two, but three. From hereonin (or, at least until PSA has gone to the hereafter), the Sino-French giant will furnish the market with Peugeots, Citroens and DSs (the latter to be shorn of the Citroen moniker sometime next year, in the UK at least, so it is reported). One can assume that the thinking here is that: a) it gives the opportunity to spread capital investment in new platforms across three brands and, therefore, potentially, more cars sold; and, b) that PSA can charge a premium for those sold under the DS badge. To be fair, it seems that Continue reading

Theme: Concepts – Renault´s mixed message

Look at the future as it was in 1995 and look at the future circa 2015. Are we going back in time? Sideways?

2015 Renault Laguna or Initiale or Safrane or something

2015 Renault Laguna or Initiale or Safrane or something

I was moved to write this when I saw a breathless announcement at French Cars In America that there was a new Renault Laguna on the way. They alleged that the car was going to be shown at the Paris Motor show (happening around now, if you reading this in 2016 sometime) They got their story from Auto Plus. While cross checking it I found that Auto Express had nothing to say on the matter at all. So, I don´t know if the car really will be sold or is just a Photoshop story. Assuming the car looks a little like the one shown above we have another Continue reading

Theme: Concepts – 2008 Saab 9X BioHybrid

Saab biohybrid

Getting it Right at Precisely the wrong Time

At the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, Saab presented a concept that perfectly encapsulated the future direction the marque needed to have taken. That its non-adoption occurred was probably inevitable given the factors massed against it; Continue reading

History Repeating: XJ40 Part 8

1980_jaguar_xj_1

Phase Three – 1981-1986: Picking Up the Pieces

As we have seen, the first two phases of XJ40’s development story centred around the various battles played out in order to retain Jaguar’s identity. This third phase however, would become dominated by efforts to remove themselves from BL’s influence entirely.  Continue reading

2011 Nissan Juke 1.6 review

 The received wisdom is that the Juke is an odd-looking vehicle with no obvious purpose. Is this true? I drove one in order to find out.

2011 Nissan Juke

2011 Nissan Juke

To avoid disappointing people I´ll get the driving stuff out of the way immediately. After three hours on a route that took me from Stansted Airport to almost exactly the dead centre of Britain I had covered every major road type available in England barring gravel and mud. On motorways the Juke in 1.6 litre flavour can keep up with traffic and proceed to license-losing speed and stay at that pace unbothered for as long as you care to keep risking your permission to drive. The ride is comfortable but the car´s a bit noisier than I´d have expected. I wonder if Continue reading

Theme – Concepts : Lancia´s 2003 Granturismo Stilnovo

One of the last Lancias had a five year gestation from concept car to production. In this case there were two concepts, a real one and a pre-production model. One of them was not helpful.

2003 Lancia Granturismo Stilnovo

2003 Lancia Granturismo Stilnovo

Lancia showed  2003 Lancia Granturismo Stilnovo  Barcelona motor show as a genuine kite-flying concept car, one of quite a few they showed around this time. Three years later these ideas were translated into the production ready 2006 Lancia Delta HPE concept revealed at the Venice International Film Festival which then took a remarkable 2 years to get to an official launch by which time the styling had staled somewhat.  You have to look at the 2006 and 2008 cars side by side to notice any difference so we can conclude the 2006 car is Continue reading

Theme: Concepts – Obendorfer´s Retrofuturism

Not all concept cars are designed by design consultancies or manufacturer´s own studios.

2013 design for Fiat 127 by David Obendorfer

2013 design for Fiat 127 by David Obendorfer

I have covered the work of the Pforzheim Design School recently. Today, presented as freelance concept designs, rather than as student work, here is David Obendorfer´s work. He graduated from the MOME Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design of Budapest and has been working for the Officina Italiana Design of Mauro Micheli and Sergio Beretta for 5 years; they mainly deal with Riva boats and general ship design too. Obendorfer has taken some 70s themes and presented them in a modern idiom. We can take this to really mean Continue reading

Matching Designer Luggage – What would Bryan Ferry do?

When confronted by a question of taste, I always ask myself, what would Bryan Ferry do.? My extensive research has thrown up a nice example of a sub-set of a subset, designer accessories for designer editions of mass produced cars. It´s Gucci fitted luggage for the 1979 Cadillac Seville. Would Bryan Ferry go for this or not?

1979 Cadiilac Seville Gucci edition

1979 Cadiilac Seville Gucci edition

The Big Two and a Half in the US have been more prone to tie-ins and designer editions of their cars than we have here in the social-democratic paradise of Western Europe. Cartier have been associated with Lincoln; Bill Blass added his magical touch to the understated elegance of the 1979 Lincoln Continental  Mk V; there was the 1984 Fila-edition Ford Thunderbird; AMC asked Oleg Cassini – yes, that Oleg Cassini – to trim the 1974 Matador, for example. Just recently I have become aware of the Gucci fitted luggage that came with the Gucci-edition Cadillac Seville, truly a part of this very fine tradition. Continue reading

Theme: Concepts – Introduction

What is a concept car? What was its past like and how did its future evolve?  Why do we have concept cars at all?

1951 GM Le Sabre concept car

1951 GM Le Sabre concept car

We are late in the automobile era. It is ending as cars become banalities and as the illusion of mass personal transportation dissolves. Consequently, the car´s  future might even be over already. In 1971 the future was staggeringly unlike the present. In a properly realised future all signs of the present are gone. A 1971 concept car shared only wheels with the cars on sale at the time. To judge by the work of designers and students now tasked with imagining the future, the future looks a lot like now. In contrast, the further back we go, the more improbable concept cars seemed to be in comparison with the vehicles customers could buy. Compare the two Buicks (below) for example. If we go even longer into the past, before the year 1938, then it was only necessary for the car to be better than the fore-runner, the horse-and-carriage. There was no need of a future as the present was advanced enough.

Concept cars are designs that exist to be compared to something else. They are as much an element of marketing as expressions of intent about directions in which aesthetics and engineering can go. For this essay I shall consider Continue reading

Theme: Advertising – Conclusion

We started with the premise that advertising was a means to create dissatisfaction.

1978 Audi 100 2.2.

1978 Audi 100 2.2.

Car advertising, for the most part, has lived up entirely to this. The exceptions such as those described by Sam, Eoin and myself, have not created dissatisfaction but other negative feelings unsuited to selling cars. The French advertising for the R14 was actually very honourable in that it seemed only to want to tell customers that the car was Continue reading

Showtime Showdown – Olympia 1957

1959poster

Further to our editor, Simon A Kearne’s recent piece recounting the colourful life and times of Victory Motors’ Len Brik, it seems appropriate to append this extract from Simon’s excellent biography of rival and arch-nemesis Sir Basil Milford-Vestibule, detailing the only recorded meeting between the two bitter rivals which took place at the 1957 Olympia Motor Show.  Continue reading

What´s the difference between Kia and Hyundai?

I should really have resolved this pressing question a long time ago. I think I may have sorted it out so you don´t have to.

2014 Kia Optima

2014 Kia Optima

Introduction

Not unlike Thompson and Thomson: Hyundai and Kia. The same corporation owns them, in a situation reminiscent of PSA who look after Peugeot and Citroen.  Citroen had a long and interesting life up until Michelin sold the firm to Peugeot and in the intervening years it has been easy to tell one marque from the other despite common ownership (Saxo and 106 are exceptions). In the case of Hyundai and Kia, no obvious trait serves to hang brand differentiation on.  Having been offered the choice of a Kia Ceed or a Hyundai i30 at the rental company recently I was forced to Continue reading

Take two: 2014 Toyota Aygo road tested a bit more

How did a second chance to drive the 2014 Toyota Aygo alter my view?

2014 Toyota Aygo and a Seat Cordoba. Compare. Contrast.

2014 Toyota Aygo and a Seat Cordoba. Compare. Contrast.

A while back I tested the Toyota Aygo and reported here on my impressions. I have had another chance to sample the same car (Sept. 19-21). This time I did a bit of silly driving and paid attention to a strange characteristic of the gear shift recommendations.

The silly driving resulted in some sliding and understeer which I didn´t mind much at all. What I noticed though was the power band and gearing behaviour became a nuisance. The main feature involved a dead spot in third and fourth gear. Upshifts from first to second didn´t attract my attention. The first to second comes at about 30 kmph. Second to third produces a similar amount of acceleration up to 50 kmph. So far so fine. Then Continue reading

Cars I can´t write about – 2014 Volvo V40

In order to say why I can´t really write about this I had to do some research. It´s amazing what you don´t read in magazines. 

A hatchback

A hatchback

The V40 was introduced in 2012 for 2013 and all I noticed about it since then is the daft crease in the bodyside which is supposed to evoque the P1800. The V40 is a hatchback though Volvo describe it as an estate, I suppose. Whilst the designer of the 2004 S40 is probably only named in Auto&Design magazine, the V40 can claim Peter Horbury as its creator (cited at Wikipedia). Some would say the V40 is dynamic and expressive. I find it a design I can´t look at for long as there seems to be so little there, underneath all the details. The predecessor, the 2004 S40 saloon and V40 estate  manage to be Continue reading

How to shape the future

In late August the students of the renowned Pforzheim Automotive MA degree course held their summer show…

Concept design by Min Byungyoon

Concept design by Min Byungyoon: sculptural expression

…it all looked lovely. I meant to write about this a bit sooner but other subjects demanded my time. However, the main points I wanted to make are still valid. I could easily have selected another degree show but this one is the excuse to make them as they are general to all design courses, I feel.

The first thing to keep in mind with the Pforzheim MA course is that Continue reading

Theme: Advertising – Smitten by a Griffin

VauxhallLogoVauxhall’s use of the ‘Once Driven Forever Smitten’ adline throughout the latter 1980’s and 90’s never truly sounded right. It carried with it a sense of deadlines unmet and frantic solutions cobbled together. It also suggested not so much a creative team out of ideas, more a client without a clue.

Continue reading

Three years late to market

The new Ford Mondeo will finally be on sale in 2015, just three long, long years after the launch of the car it was based on. 

2000 Ford Mondeo rear comparison

Above we see the 2000 Ford Mondeo, styled under the reign of Claude Lobo and Chris Bird. Then we have the 2006 version credited to Martin Smith but which is probably mostly a Chris Bird car. And finally, we have the 2015 car which I gather was Continue reading

History Repeating: XJ40 Part 7

Phase Two – 1976-1980: Egan Takes Knight

SIII production

Throughout 1979, Sir Michael Edwardes began talking to the man he believed could pull Jaguar out of the abyss. John Egan had previously revived the ailing BL Unipart business before quitting in the post-Ryder schisms. Now at the helm of Massey Ferguson, Egan had all the right credentials. The only problem was convincing him to take the job. Continue reading

The Wraith Of Khan

This post actually involves neither Ricardo Montalbán nor Benedict Cumberbatch. Instead, this is about a video presenting one of the few genuinely decadent motor cars on sale today, the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Unlike certain motion picture formats concerning the automobile, this little film isn’t about a tarred-and-feathered Rolls-Royce that has to cross the Gobi desert before the egg on its motor block has been fried to a crisp. It simply tries to understand the appeal of the car in its most likely habitat. And appeal it does, in a sense I personally find somewhat perplexing in this day and age of oversaturation.

There is still a sense of luxury in existence that manages to astonish.

See for yourself whether you can find the point of something that one may consider tastefully excessive:

Theme: Advertising – Speak My Language

audi-logoamsmdb261408

Vorsprung durch… advertising.

When (Sir) John Hegarty; doyen of UK advertising (and co-founder of renowned ad-agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty) took on the Audi creative account back in 1982 the Ingolstadt marque’s image was somewhat woolly. Continue reading

Not-So-Guilty-Yearnings

FormbyThere’s that Dream Garage that most car people compile at least once in their lives, and some car people compile once a week – or three times a day. Generally these are straightforward cars, exotic maybe, but four wheels, internal combustion engine and at least two seats. Of course I have one of these which, with the exception of a couple of constants such as an R Type Bentley Continental, is usually in a state of flux. However, there’s also that other list of vehicles that are possibly even less practical than a Lamborghini Murceliago (a car I have so little interest in I can’t even be bothered to spell-check) but that exert a strange fascination. For me that list is less changeable.

Continue reading

Theme: Advertising – Ceci n’est pas une poire

In 1976, Renault launched a car which set the template for the midsized hatchback which became the default choice of households, if not the world over, at least in Europe…

This is not a pear.

The ill-advised press campaign that soon followed, however, made a fool of their customers – and of the rest of the motor industry. Building on the success of the R4 and R16, and just like the R5 a few years before it, the R14 offered maximum interior space for passengers and their luggage in a compact footprint, draped in a modern, unostentatious bodywork. Continue reading

Theme – Advertising: Ford´s typographical revolution

Ford´s influential adverts of the late 90s set a style still in use throughout Ford´s communications. We look at an early example here.

2000 Ford Fiesta Zetec S

2000 Ford Fiesta Zetec S

At the end of the 20th century, Ford introduced a distinctive new style for their print advertising. The sans serif typeface indicated straight-forward modernity. It looks like a variant of Helvetica but is actually a font called Antenna  The ads use both bold and non-bold type depending on the function. In the ad shown here it´s all big and bold and very clear. You can read more here. It was quite a striking use of this typography.  Some used it better than others as part of a Continue reading

Alfa´s latest offers: no deposit over five years, have another £750. And other sales news too.

Alfa are trying hard to fill the shop window. There are still three models on sale, if you are interested. Read on to see what they thought they´d be selling by now.

Alfa UK´s hard sell (that is, it is hard to sell Alfas).

Alfa UK´s hard sell (that is, it is hard to sell Alfas).

Not so many hours after I made up a slogan for Alfa ““We’re still in business! 25% off a 2014 Giulia for an unlimited period” it turns out this is not far from the truth.  This Alfa UK home page (above) is full of activity but not so full of cars, pretty much as it was when I posted this item

If we take a look at the diagram for Alfa´s plans we see that Continue reading

2014 Citroen C4 Cactus – Test Drive

I became the first person at the dealership near to where I work to test drive a Cactus, to the extent that the car itself was in a pre-pre-delivery state and had 1 mile on the clock when we set off in it. 

2014 Citroen Cactus

2014 Citroen Cactus

The salesman (like policemen, they all look young to me these days) seemed bemused that the owner of a C6 might be thinking about “downsizing” to a Cactus (which I suppose is understandable), but he humoured me, nevertheless.

Seeing the Cactus in the context of the showroom emphasised some things about its size and proportions. It’s not a tall car (the C3 and C4 alongside it were both taller), and yet it has raised ground clearance.  It’s a small car – much smaller than it looks on paper/ screen – and has a nice stance.  However, Continue reading