Our cars: Fleet update

  • Whole fleet updates
  • From BMW to VW
  • A year of real-life motoring
Car tested Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCI Titanium X
Run by Iain Reid, Whatcar.com Web producer
Mileage 11,700 miles

I borrowed our Mondeo from my What Car? colleague Roger Stansfield for a trip I was making up the country to Scotland.

One thing that has to be said, is that it has an absolutely cavernous boot. The loadbay easily took a pram, cot and all the associated child-related paraphernalia with consummate ease.

Once on the road, the many miles of motorway were no bother at all, either.

One slight issue was the the narrow middle seat. This was the only downside for my teenage nephews, but the ‘well cool’ push-button engine starter was more than up to the challenge of making amends for the slightly cramped seating arrangements.

Car tested Honda Civic Type R 2.0 i-VTEC GT
Run by Nigel Swan, Video road test co-ordinator
Mileage 11,325 miles

It’s good practice to get your car checked over once you’ve taken it to a track day. So, I took our Type R to Johnsons Honda, Slough (01753 575566) for a bit of TLC. The front tyres were replaced at £151.19 each, as were the brake pads and discs at a cost of £154.99. I also decided to kill two birds with one stone by getting the first service done at the same time, which came to £165.38. In total, the bill came to £1156.13, including VAT and labour. Ouch!

Car tested Kia Cee’d SW 1.6 CRDi (89) GS
Run by Alex Jenner-Fust, Editor Evecars.com
Mileage 3800 miles

The Cee’d SW got a new fan when colleague Leo Wilkinson took it home to Devon: his mum. She’s on the lookout for a £15k estate, and the Kia’s huge boot was perfect for transporting her dogs.

The excellent fuel economy also won praise, but she’s not sure that the stiff ride is suited to bumpy country lanes.

Car tested Mazda 6 Estate 2.0D SL
Run by Peter Lawton, Group consumer editor
Mileage 4000 miles

I recently lent the Mazda 6 to our picture editor, Jo Richards, who is selling a lot of her possessions at car boot sales before she emigrates to Oz. The enormous boot, with its large opening, flat floor and rear seats that fold down with the pull of one lever, is perfect for this type of work.

It’s so good that Jo described it as ‘brilliant’. The excellent Bose stereo came in handy when the custom was slack, but Jo managed to raise a decent amount. Now all I need to do is work out my 15% car-lender’s fee…

Car tested Mercedes-Benz GL420 CDI
Run by Sreve Fowler, What Car? Group editor
Mileage 20,000 miles

What with weddings and holidays, the mileage on the GL is heading north at a rate of knots as colleagues take advantage of the car’s presence (it looks great with ribbons), and space and comfort (it’s the ideal car for continent-crossing families).

Two remarks from recent borrowers: the brakes are fantastic for such a large car, and the satellite-navigation is too fiddly and would be better if it was a touch-screen set-up. I agree with both, especially regarding the sat-nav, which drives me mad at times.

Car tested Toyota RAV4 2.2 D-4D T180
Run by Matt Sanger, Used car editor
Mileage 13,370 miles

One of the RAV4’s run-flat tyres has developed a curious fault. Every now and then the car’s dashboard display warns me that the tyre pressures need to be checked, but it’s always the rear offside tyre that is deflated. It might take two days or two weeks, but sooner or later the same tyre deflates again.

My local Toyota dealer has investigated it thoroughly, but can’t find anything wrong. If the problem persists, I’m faced with replacing the whole tyre when there’s nothing obviously wrong.

Car tested Volvo V70 D5 SE Lux
Run by John Bradshaw, Chief photographer
Mileage 22,100 miles

Believe it or not, I managed to squeeze a full-size chaise longue in my Volvo. Let me explain: we needed one as a prop for a photoshoot, so rather than fork out money to hire a van, I thought I’d see if my V70 was up to the job. It turned out to be a doddle, and didn’t take much setting up.

The rear seats fold flat at the flick of a lever, so there was no mucking about with pulling up the seat bases or removing the headrests. Better still, the plastic protection on the rear bumper stopped the feet scuffing the paintwork.


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