Our cars: fleet update

  • Whole fleet updates
  • From BMW to VW
  • A year of real-life motoring
All the latest from our fleet of long-term test cars.

Car tested: BMW 123d Coupe M Sport
Run by: Euan Doig, group production editor
Mileage: 18,900 miles
The BMW had its first jaunt into mainland Europe recently, when a friend and I took in a track day at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

We had an extremely pleasant ferry crossing from Dover to Calais, courtesy of P&O Ferries (www.poferries.com).

The club lounge was peaceful, the duty free plentiful, and the service impeccable.

The BMW was then quiet and comfortable on the motorway and a hoot on the twisty stuff, there and back — and I made it all the way to Belgium on a tank, and the same on the way home.



Car tested: Ford Mondeo 140 TDCI Titanium X
Run by: Roger Stansfield, associate editor
Mileage: 10,200 miles
Have you ever experienced that sickening feeling you get after leaving a perfectly healthy car in a supermarket bay and returning to find it's been dented?

It happened to me recently.

Dentman (07774 812512) came to our offices and took just 20 minutes to iron out the two dimples in the front nearside wheelarch — inflicted, I suspect, by a badly-piloted trolley. However, as the culprit didn't leave a calling card,

I'm stuck with the £100 bill. Just watch someone go and do it again now I've had the car fixed…


Car tested: Kia Cee'd SW 1.6 CRDi (89) GS
Run by: Alex Jenner-Fust, editor evecars.com
Mileage 3000 miles
When I'm in charge, all cars will have Bluetooth phone connectivity, and I won't need a teenager to help set it up.

It's not available in the Cee'd, so we've had a Parrot LS3200 system fitted by Paralight (www.paralight.co.uk), for £200. It's easy to use and will keep me legal. It can even be removed when the car is sold.


Car tested: Mercedes-Benz GL420 CDI
Run by: Steve Fowler, group editor
Mileage: 20,000 miles
The GL was transformed into the mother of all wedding cars, when road tester Ivan Aistrop played chauffeur and usher on his pal's big day.

The Merc was perfect – the huge, classy cabin meant seven groomsmen travelled in style and comfort, and the V8 diesel's power meant they got to the church on time.



Car tested: Mitsubishi Evolution X FQ-300 GSR SST
Run by: Barnaby Jones, deputy production editor
Mileage: 7600 miles
My Evo is growing on me. Now that the engine is nicely loosened up, it's feeling faster than ever before.

There's no longer the ‘will I, won't I?' moment when overtaking on country roads – not something you expect in a near-300bhp car.

I'm also learning to live with the semi-auto gearbox: the accelerator needs a big prod if you're to make a brisk entrance on to a main road or roundabout.

It's better to use the paddles or gearlever to change gear manually, rather than leave the 'box to its own devices, too.


Car tested: Toyota RAV4 T180
Run by: Matt Sanger, used car editor
Mileage: 12,500 miles
With the sharp rise in the cost of diesel, I was beginning to think that the Toyota's 2.2-litre, 175bhp engine may have been a poor choice, because recent trips to fill up have resulted in a £60 fuel bill.

However, after using some green-driving techniques, I've managed to eke out an average of 37mpg. Sticking to the speed limit, anticipating the road ahead, and smoother driving are all helping to reduce fuel consumption.

I'm still short of the RAV4's official average of 40mpg, but I'm sure I can improve over time and save more money.



Car tested: Toyota Auris 2.0 D-4D T3
Run by: Jim Holder, deputy editor, whatcar.com
Mileage: 10,900 miles
It's a space test with no scientific merit, but nappy changes on long trips mean my son, Jakob, is pretty familiar with car boots.

The Auris's meets with his approval — but only just, as it's shorter and narrower than in some small family car rivals he's encountered from the comfort of his change mat.


Car tested: Volkswagen Eos 2.0 T-FSI Sport
Run by: Alex Newby, deputy editor
Mileage: 10,620 miles
There's something irresistible about pressing the Eos's accelerator and feeling the car surge forward.

Yet such indulgence comes at a price: I rarely manage more than 28mpg, 6mpg under the official figure.

With fuel prices soaring, it's definitely time to put on my sensible hat.
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