Friday – Tough As Old Boots

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Jeremy  It’s Friday – surely we are due another Bank Holiday? No, well, I’ll have to make do with driving the toughened up, all-new Beetle to the coast instead.

On the way down to Poole I passed a gem of a ‘proper’ Beetle, which naturally gives us the opportunity to print the picture about. How did VW manage to design a car back then that really was so classless, iconic and timeless too?

They carried on making the classic-shaped Beetle in central America for years after it stopped in Germany  – in fact, they may well still make them in Mexico now. But the point is, VW could have just as easily stuck a new engine in the old car, beefed up the brakes and added some modern technology to the old car. It would have been a huge hit and outsold new Mini for sure!

That said, the low, squat shape of the newest Beetle model is brilliant. I love the styling from every angle, the little spoiler on the rear of our Sport model and the chrome trim along the bottom of the doors.

I’m not so excited about the 1.4 engine. The 2.0 petrol of the 2.0 TDI are definitely the way to go, even though that does drive the price up. Buy your new Beetle wisely…

Friday – Best of the Bunch

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Jeremy I’ll be trying to head off for the Cotswolds early today before the Bank Holiday rush. The Sorento is already fully loaded and by dropping the rear two rows of seats, there is a cavernous boot space.

That’s the good side of being a big car. The downside is that the Sorento isn’t that nimble on winding country backroads. It feels ponderous and fidgety. Stick it on a motorway, however, and it will shift you and your family comfortably.

The 194bhp engine has enough grunt to carry a full load, although I think I would have preferred my Sorento with the optional six-speed automatic gearbox because I’m still struggling for smooth gear changes with the manual. You have to work the engine hard to get any real performance, not helped by the clunky gearbox.

Still, for the price, the Sorento represents excellent value for money. The Kia is definitely the best of the bunch if you are after a budget SUV capable of seating seven. Only the Hyundai Santa Fe can offer serious rivalry.