Our cars: updates January '09

  • Updates on our long-termers
  • From Audi to Suzuki
  • All the latest news here
Find out what's been happening this month in the world of our What Car? long-term test fleet.

Here are the latest updates from the real-life streets of every-day motoring…

Audi A4 1.8 TFSI S line
Report Feb ’09
Mileage 3200
I must confess that I feel like a bit of a dipstick this month... for looking for a dipstick.

After clocking up a couple of thousand miles, I thought I had better do the right thing and check the oil — but I couldn’t find the dipstick anywhere in the engine bay. The manual showed where it was supposed to be, but it simply wasn’t there.

The only way to check the oil - I eventually realised - is through the on-board computer.
Iain.Reid@whatcar.com

Citroën C5 Tourer 2.7 HDi Exclusive auto
Report Jan ’09
Mileage 6500
I thought one of the most useful electronic aids on the C5 Tourer would be the push-button system to open and close the powered tailgate. However, the electrical system doesn’t seem able to store enough power to make it work consistently — sometimes it goes up and down just fine; others, it doesn’t respond.
Mel.Nichols@haymarket.com



Honda Civic 2.0 i-VTEC Type R GT
Reports May, Aug, Oct ’08; Jan ’09
Mileage 14,200
Call me old-school, but one of the great things about driving is the act of changing gear. Get it wrong and you feel like a clumsy learner; get it right, you feel like a touring car star. That’s where the Civic’s slick gearshift comes in — it makes every cog-swap a joy, and makes me seem more talented than I probably am.
Steve.Fowler@whatcar.com



Kia Cee’d SW 1.6 CRDi 89 GS
Reports Sept, Dec ’08
Mileage 5400
Estate cars are popular with us: it’s one thing to look flash, but most of us are more likely to need to do some heavy load-lugging. Editor Steve Fowler took the family and luggage in the Kia to the airport, and felt that only a few rough edges — the ride comfort, trim quality, style — stopped it from being a great car.
Alex.JennerFust@whatcar.com




Mazda 6 Estate 2.0D Sports Luxury
Reports Oct ’08; Jan ’09
Mileage 8000
I lent the Mazda to a colleague recently, but it came back with a flat battery. This meant I had to re-programme the car’s settings, which made me realise how many preferences the 6 remembers, such as my seat position and that I’d stopped it from going ‘bing bong’ every time I turned the key in the ignition.
Peter.Lawton@whatcar.com



Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X FQ-300 GSR SST
Reports Sept, Nov ’08; Feb ’09
Mileage 12,500
The Evo’s tyres generate face-bending grip, but they also wear out quickly — especially when they’re usually digging into the Tarmac for all they’re worth. The 12,500 miles it’s done have taken their toll, with all four tyres down to 2.5mm of tread: time for a new set. Then the Evo will be back to its feature-distorting best.
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com



Renault Laguna Sp’ Tourer 2.0 dCi (180) GT
Report Feb ’09
Mileage 9500
Colleague Euan Doig and two friends used the Laguna for a camping jaunt to the Belgian Grand Prix: the car took all of their camping gear, and it proved a quick and refined motorway-muncher. It did struggle in the muddy campsite, and it got through fuel quicker than he’d have liked, but it was still great for the trip.
Neil.Williams@whatcar.com



Suzuki Splash 1.3 DDiS
Reports Nov ’08; Feb ’09
Mileage 7100
Fellow road tester Ivan Aistrop was worried about using our Splash for a fishing trip, because of its small boot. Yet dropping the rear seats means there’s
a surprisingly large load area, so the little Suzuki swallowed his gear easily. If only the fishing had been as successful — this little fella was the only thing he caught.
Steven.Huntingford@whatcar.com

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