Wednesday – Pulling It’s Weight

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Jeremy I’ve always towed boats but this is the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire and that means horseboxes. The ‘Glossy Possy’ who live here aren’t short of a bob or two and you are judged by the size of your horsebox – just like actors always want the biggest Winnebago mobile home on location.

There are no ponies grazing on our lawn but Jessica has owned a few in her time. Her grandfather, Jack, was the youngest member of the British equestrian team at the Berlin Olympics in 1936!

Mitsubishi UK are based just up the road in Cirencester, so hard-working Shoguns and L200’s are as common as muck with the equine set. But they shouldn’t rule out the Outlander, mainly because it has an impressive tow weight of two tons – more than many key rivals.

And with just the front two rows of seats in place, the boot space is massive. Plenty big enough for two or three large dogs, although if you pull out the two third row seats at the rear, luggage capacity is severely  limited.

 

 

Tuesday – Comfort Rather Than Speed

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Jeremy The first test car anybody tried to steal from outside my house in Bristol was a Mitsubishi Evo. It was the early 1990s and the Evo was the ultimate chav-mobile but it went rather fast.

Sadly, I don’t think Mitsubishi will be offering an engine quite as potent in the Outlander. The 2.2 diesel is perfectly adequate for the job and will shunt you and your family around in a respectable 0-60mph time of 11.2 seconds. We’re currently averaging 39.2mpg for everyday driving but the official mpg figure is more like 49mpg.

I can’t really say the Outlander will blow you away with its driving dynamics but you do get a comfortable seat and low noise levels in the cabin. The ride is softer than most other mid-size SUVs but you should expect some body roll going into a corner.

The six-speed automatic gearbox is smooth but still prefers high-speed work to stop-start city traffic, where it feels less refined. Our GX5 is also fitted with a sunroof which left open, is very noisy indeed above 40mph.

Oh and the only test car that was ever stolen from my driveway was a Ford Sierra Cosworth. The police knew where it was but simply couldn’t catch it…

Monday – Pretty On The Outside

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Jeremy If I had to choose a small SUV on style alone, then the Kia Sportage would be top choice. The Honda CR-V now has the blandest backside in motoring history and I wasn’t too sure about the Outlander when it arrived either.

Then something happened. I took ten paces backwards and suddenly the Mitsubishi became a vehicle transformed. It’s as dull as a block of butter close up but this is a vehicle that needs a little space to be appreciated.

The slippery shape isn’t that different to many an SUV on the market but the new Outlander nose gives it something extra. It looks especially good with privacy glass too.

So it’s a shame the interior is less impressive. The centre console housing the automatic gearstick looks like it could have come from a Mitsubishi utility vehicle and is totally out of place in a £34k family car.

Mitsubishi need to look at a Land Rover Freelander. Fixtures and fittings are important and the Outlander lacks the finish to put it in this price bracket.

 

 

Sunday – The Dearly Departed

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Jeremy I was taught that using the indicator was unnecessary unless another motorist was likely to benefit. Why distract yourself if no other vehicles is around? Our Outlander has a ‘lane departure warning systems‘ (or LDW in this case) which sounds an alert every time you cross or clip a white line.

It’s a safety device that has been around for years on some premium brand models. For example, my 2008 BMW 635d used an even more dramatic warning – it would make the steering wheel vibrate, which I found pretty unsettling at times!

Mitsubishi has fitted a bell chime and it’s infuriating, unless you know where to find the button to switch it off (it’s above your right knee). I’ll hold my hand up and admit that on duel carriageways and motorways, I don’t always indicate to change lanes because nobody is behind or in front of me. And yes, on some open corners I might even  clip the white line. That said, I am fully aware that I’m doing it and don’t need an alarm to put me back on the straight and narrow.

We took the Outlander to the hell that is Ikea yesterday. Now that is a place where LDW would come in very handy, especially if you are trying to walk back through the store to buy something you missed at the start.

Ikea use a system similar to kettling to funnel people through the aisles – once you are in the stream, it’s hard to get out again. Deviating off the path can cause all kinds of trouble, at the very least a shoulder barge from somebody coming the other way. If Ikea could fit customers with the Outlander’s LDW I’d definitely shop there more often…

Saturday – A Swiss Army Knife Of A Car

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Jeremy My biggest fear about having kids and growing up? Obviously, the thought of driving a people-carrier. Who wants to open the door in the morning and be confronted by a Ford Galaxy or something with seven seats, shaped like a wet sponge and built by Nissan? Me neither.

So the rise of the SUV has been a blessing for us forty somethings. Sorry, fifty somethings, I keep forgetting my recent significant birthday. And judging by the huge number of SUVs on driveways up and down the country, the rest of the car-buying British public feel the same too.

One of the more popular models around these parts is the Mitsubishi Outlander, probably because the company has its UK operations based in Cirencester. Quite frankly, there are loads of them. Waitrose is like a forecourt for the company, so expect a Waitrose special edition Outlander any day soon…

I’m just back from the shops and I can see why. Our GX5 test car is at the top of the range. It’s loaded with equipment, including sat nav, leather seats, adaptive cruise control and the rather neat ECO driving mode. Now I thought this was a bit of a gimmick but it actually works!

Today I have managed 46.1mpg in everyday driving. That’s in a four-wheel drive with the air conditioning on and three people on board. Considerably better than expected – and obviously rather more than the sadly departed Jaguar XKR-S. More tomorrow….

Friday – Masterclass

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Jessica  The XKR-S is a masterclass in driving experience, comfort, speed function and form.  I thoroughly enjoyed this car, why not you might say with a price tag like that.

I feel privileged to have had the chance to drive this car freely from the rough and tumble of London to the open roads of the Cotswolds, even a good old trip to the supermarket!  There are not many of us who will ever get the chance to experience the finesse of a car like this Jaguar.

I feel as if I have seen the realities of what technology and engineering can do, when driving at speed and you are abreast of a more everyday car it makes you wonder how safe they are.

The Jaguar has a braking system to match the awesome acceleration and is responsive to the slightest adjustment of foot or hand that leaves other cars I have driven far behind.  The paddle gears are simple, correctly placed so there is no accidental gear changes or confusion about which does what.

The car although large does not feel overwhelming to drive, so ladies, no worries about this being a purely male domain.  It suits my long legs, although getting into the back was a challenge, I would say its small dogs and babies only back there!

The front seats adjusts in so many ways that there is a perfect combination to find.  The vision all round is good and even in traffic it is such a joy to be driving that you never get tired or bored.

I would take the time to improve my driving skills and do track days if I owned this car so that I really could make use of it’s full potential. It does have a serious side and is far from being just for the ‘flashbling’ crew. It is a drivers car and for one who will value the the nature of couture.

Thursday – Happy Returns

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Jeremy I never thought hitting 50 could be so much fun. A day out in London, with visits to the V&A, Tate Modern and assorted restaurants inbetween was topped off with a drive back to Wiltshire in the sublime XKR-S.

The strange thing is the Jaguar doesn’t look at all out of place in London, where the streets are littered with exotica to rival the Big Cat. That said, I don’t think I heard anything from Porsche, Aston Martin or Mercedes to rival the scream from the XKR-S tailpipes.

For the last 30 miles home, I switched the car to dynamic mode, stiffening the suspension, then turned the gear select dial to ‘sport’. Suddenly the ‘sedate’ Jaguar takes on a whole new personae. The revs pick up, the exhausts cackle and it takes a lot of restraint to hang on to your licence.

What I like most about the XKR-S is that it is just that little bit different. I haven’t seen any on the road yet and, apart from the mad colour, it really does tick all the boxes.

What red-blooded petrolhead wouldn’t want one of these parked on the driveway. More subtle than a Ferrari, more refined than 911 and less corporate than a Mercedes, it’s definitely shot to the top of my most desirable lust of supercars.

 

Wednesday – Significantly Blue

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Jeremy Just off to London for significant birthday celebrations tomorrow. A few early cards have been dropping through the letterbox – one from a friend in Wales who I don’t see often enough.
I called for a chat and showed him the crazy blue R-S on the blog. His response? ‘I’m colourblind but even I can see that’s blue!’ Which sort of sums up the paint job!
Rain is falling in the west today and that has made the roads super slippy. I found this out on the Malmesbury bypass earlier when I gently tweaked the accelerator on the exit to a roundabout.
With 542bhp going through the back wheels, perhaps it wasn’t a surprise when the rear end suddenly took on a life of its own. It fell back into line just as fast but this sort of car demands you get some track experience before even attempting to use it to the full potential…

Tuesday – The Beating Heart

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Jeremy One of my favourite touches in the XKR-S is the ‘start’ button on the centre console. It’s surrounded by warm charcoal leather and dark aluminium veneer that rather steals the limelight.

But climb into the Jaguar at dusk and that start button glows in rhythm with a beating heart. It’s just there to tempt you to press the brake pedal, then gently caress the button and bring the Big Cat to life. Subtle or what?

There is actually the minimum of fuss about the main dashboard. Apart from the touchscreen sat nav and music display, there are just controls for ventilation and very little else. It’s a masterclass in unclutteredness, so pay attention Mercedes…

The door trim is more complicated, with no less than nine buttons for seat adjustment, all trimmed in chrome. It’s a little overwhelmed but you get used to it.

Issues? Well, the sat nav is a nightmare to understand, my backside gets sore sometimes because the seats are so firm and don’t close the tailgate without warning tall passengers! Mind you, they will be doing extremely well to squeeze in the rear anyway.

Monday – Fare Exchange

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Jeremy Taxi drivers don’t get excited about much in the car department – they’ve seen it all. So parking up at Westbury Railway Station this morning, I was surprised to be engulfed by a group of three cabbies who weren’t quite sure what the noisy blue monster was in their midst.

Not surprisingly, it was the rasp from the four exhaust pipes that caught their attention. The R-S sounds very different to the standard XKR, especially if you rev the engine about 3000rpm and feel the 5.0-litre rocking on its engine mounts. Now that has to be one of the joys of a grumbling V8…

It’s worth remembering that the standard XK pumps out a ‘modest’ 379bhp, while the R model a hefty 503bhp. The R-S is 542bhp and in full roar, you could probably hear it a mile away!

While the taxi guys weren’t that impressed with the in-yer-face blue paintjob, they thought the aerodynamic tweaks to the front and rear in black were what made the difference. Jaguar say it is these enhancements that help keep the R-S on the road at speeds approaching 186mph, which is limited by the way!

Frankly, while they were purring over the long bonnet, none of them fancied picking up a fare in the Jaguar. It’s not the tiny back seats or the lack of luggage space, just that the average of 18mpg would give their accountant a heart attack…