Maybe we’re spoilt because the test cars that are delivered to Car Couture are generally top of the range, or well specified. Journalists are fickle creatures, after all, and easily persuaded by the allure of leather seats and bum warmers.
So driving the SE model of the IS300h has been slightly tainted by the lack of leather and, perhaps even more surprising, the heated seats that are conspicuous in their absence. We’ve just become so used to pressing a button and feeling the warmth filter up from our seats.
My grandfather was actually the man who invented heated seats – he used to park his backside on hot water bottle with the tiniest drop of hot water inside. He was brilliant my grandfather – we could have made a fortune if Ford had heard of it.
These days, cars like the Range Rover and expensive BMWs have a heated steering wheel as standard. My grandfather probably never thought about an invention for that one but it probably would have includes rags and Selotape.
The best two words to sum up the Forester? Rugged and reliable. Yes, if you want chrome tailpipes and fancy stuff, go buy a Ford Kuga. You’ll regret it in the long run if you hanker for an SUV that actually does what it is meant to do.
There are times when I wish the Forester had a bit more style but I’d really rather go for substance when buying a four-wheel drive – especially one that is obviously built to withstand whatever you can throw at it.
The 2013 version is a little noisy when pushed hard under acceleration but we’re still managing 42mpg in everyday use. This is helped by the six-speed gearbox, which is surprisingly slick for a chunky estate.
OK, so it doesn’t go around a corner with the poise of a Honda CR-V but the chances are you will be carrying a large dog, or a couple of sheep in the back anyway.
And it’s all backed up by a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty too. What more could you want?
Jeremy What is it about white cars that attracts flies? The front of our Swift Sport looks like it has driven through a plague of the little blighters – a photographer’s nightmare, if we had one.
This morning, the car was covered in more of them, basking in the sunshine. Not for long though. Fifty yards down the road and the Swift was buzzing along at high speed blowing the cobwebs off.
Remarkable how the front of the Swift looks like a Mini – except the Suzuki is considerably cheaper and goes around corners a lot better a standard Cooper.
It’s still putting a smile on my face – shame about the acres of plastic trim on the inside and the fact you can’t spec it up with sat nav and leather seats. Otherwise, I’ll take a grey one, please.
Jeremy Anybody who remembers the last generation Swift Sport might have feared the change to this current model a couple of years ago would water down the fun. Not a bit of it.
I’ve found it much more fun than the popular Ford Fiesta Zetec S – it also looks that little bit different to the ubiquitous Ford which I’ve seen several of already today.
The six-speed gearbox fitted in the latest version makes for a much more usable drive, quieter motorway speeds and improved performance. It also squeezes out a few more mpg, although you might struggle to achieve the 44mpg claimed because the Suzuki encourages drivers to push along.
On the down side, the boot is tiny! It looks slightly bigger than the Vauxhall Adam but not by much. You can fold down the back seats easily enough and increase the load area to 500 litres but four people and their luggage won’t fit!