Thursday – Brand Power

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Jessica  The Mitsubishi GX5 is a curious car. On guessing the price I was wildly inaccurate as the drive quality and slightly bizarre choice of trimmings didn’t lead me to believe I was driving a car that sells in the £34,000 price bracket.

Talking about trimmings, there is retro and there is ‘why use old design…’ This car has an old style automatic gear stick which reminds me (vaguely) of the old red Jaguar my Father drove in the 1980s with it’s super 8 casettes. This, however, is a strangely cheap copy and looks out of place among the modern gadgetry.

Looking at cars and prices below is a random selection of seven-seaters which made me wonder where and how this Mitsubshi model competes…

Jeep Grand Cherokee £36,995.00

Volvo XC90 £36,865

Land Rover Discovery GS SDV6 3.0 AUTOMATIC £38,850

My biggest difficulty was the slow responds under acceleration and spongy steering. I would have happily swapped fewer gadgets and alarms for a better driving experience.

That said, the Outlander doesn’t look bad from the outside with its sleek lines. It’s also well considered from all angles.

I must say that after many years of visiting Badminton Horse Trials and seeing the sponsorship logos, I always imagined Mitsubishi was at the utilitarian end of the 4×4 market. It obviously has a healthy approach to country living and moving various types of livestock around the country. Such is the power of marketing!

Monday – Whippets on Board

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Jessica   This car is a winner, there are no frills and somehow it does not feel like a massive compromise and purely on aesthetic value this car stands up against the 4wD 7 seater competition. The comparison would be buying a coat in Primark which becomes a wardrobe staple and when you admit to admiring friends where you bought it they all express shock and stop to consider the vast amounts they have spent on lesser coats of their own. It does make you reflect on perceived  value and actual value.

That said the gear box is positively old school and there is some difficulty finding first gear at a junction.  The steering is a little loose and the dash board trim only just misses being tasteless with its wood look finish(although luckily in black).

The car was fully utilised this weekend with 6 people and a brace of whippets on a Bank Holiday outing to the nail biting last day of the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials where the passengers reported the back seats have good leg room but the centre seats are better suited to smaller occupants ( should have put the whippets there!).  The Kia looked the part alongside other county vehicles in the vast rows of the car park and did not make us feel we had to slink away from it in embarrassment.  Overall it is a solid car with an outstanding warranty which the Badminton testers agreed would make a suitable family (with pets) car without breaking the bank or screaming we have a cheap car because we have to!

Saturday – Badminton in the Wind

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Jeremy There’s a crazy wind blowing across the Cotswolds today. The Sorento is a seriously large vehicle but it has coped well at high speeds in a crosswind and there’s limited tyres noise in the cabin.

The roads around Tetbury are packed with 4x4s because of Badminton Horse Trials – if you wanted to go off-road vehicle spotting, today is the day! I’ve just seen a Fiat Panda Sisley, a special edition AWD Panda that dates back to the 1980s and was legendary for its off-road ability.

The Sorento will be joining the pack tomorrow, when 120,000 spectators are expected at the event for the cross country section of the three-day event.

And we have one accessory in the Kia that many other more expensive four-wheel drives don’t have – a car parking pass.

 

 

Thursday – It Really Does What It Says On The Tin…

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Jeremy I have a friend who lives in splendid isolation, near Cordes-sur-Ciel, in France. She is spending her retirement camped by the swimming pool but earned part of her estate from dreaming up the advertising slogan ‘it does what it says on the tin’.

If Maddy was road testing the Sorento, that would probably have been her headline. It’s not the most remarkable 4×4 SUV but if you want a no-nonsense seven-seater for a modest price, look no further.

With England bathed in sunshine today, it’s not been hard to find excuses to get out of the office. I’ve dropped the back five seats of the Kia and been to the dump, picked up a lawn mower from the service garage and swotted up on the form for Badminton Horse Trials this weekend. It’s bound to rain…

The Sorento is going to come in handy, no doubt battling for a space in a muddy press car park with assorted Land Rovers and Range Rovers. We will be six-up with three dogs, so it should be a true test of the Sorento’s resolve!

Today I’ve struggled a little finding a good driving position in the Kia. I either feel too close to the pedals, or too far back, which results in me constantly crashing the gearbox because I’m depressing the clutch far enough. It’s happening so much I’m wondering if it’s my bodily proportions.

Otherwise, the leather seats in the KX-2 model are big and comfortable, like your favourite armchair. There are three proper seats in the middle row while the rear, fold-up pair are for little people only.

This model also lacks a sat nav as standard but the radio console is touchscreen and setting up Bluetooth for a mobile phone is the easiest system I have used to date.

Fingers crossed for good weather this weekend…