Superb car. Strong engine, smooth driving, sporty feal, much equipment and nice looking
I'm afraid I have to disagree with some of the recent T Sport reviews. I owned a 2003 five-door T Sport for all of three weeks before having to get rid of it.
The "sporty note" is intrusive and harsh above 3,000 rpm. Given the high gearing and that 65mph on the motorway in 6th is over 3,000rpm and gets raucous, I'd say that it's unlivable, unless you're a very good boy/girl and observe the 70mph limit as an absolute limit. In which case, why buy this car? Surely the Corolla 1.4 would be a better bet.
The car is, of course, well put together. It handles well and does m-o-v-e when you prod that pedal on the right, but when you want a relaxing drive, it's just not possible. You have to be gunning all the time. Even around town, one is constantly changing gear. I found myself going 1 to 3 to 5 to 6.
Bottom line - the noise and strange gear ratios really spoil this car. 189bhp is impresseive, but the drive isn't.
The T Sport tends to get dismissed in comparative reviews with other hot hatches and I will admit that the Civic Type R is a better drive in sporting terms and I particularly like its gearbox and firmer suspension.
However I think that those reviews miss the point. The opportunities to push such cars to the limit are few and far between and the T Sport is very easy to live with day to day whereas I think that the novelty would wear off very quickly with the Type R.
The new Golf GTI is probably better than anything in its class but it's almost £5K dearer than the T Sport. The T Sport has good safety features a lot of kit as standard and a good sound system. It's very well behaved about town but you still get a buzz when the VVT kicks in at around 6,000 revs if the opportunity arises to put your foot down.
Unlike the Mini, it has bags of room and I can get my golf clubs and trolley in the boot without folding down the seats. Insurance is a couple of groups lower than the Type R with good residual value and of course Toyota's enviable reliability record.
I have only had to use the dealership for the annual services and I have found them to be very good. I also like the understated wolf in sheep's clothes styling. When it sits on my drive it does not scream out come and nick me!
The three-year lease on my car expires in July and at the monment my inclination is to lease another T Sport. I find the all round pakage hard to beat at the price.
Safety inc traction is good. It's noisy on motorways but has a great sporty noise. It needs to be pushed up to 6000rpm but then you see why it's 189bhp.
I would like the 0-60 time improved. I had a go against a friend's Ford 170 - he complimented me on my rear end.
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