Thursday – Teenage Tearaway?

590329_Peugeot 208 GTi_1208_08

The Peugeot 205 GTI was a car that always got me in to trouble. A speeding ticket and some rather scary sideway slides on the mud-splattered roads of Herefordshire were all part of my ‘growing up’ process.

They say this new 208 GTi has grown up too – that it’s not the teenager tearaway the 205 was. Well, you could have fooled me. If growing up means better brakes, lots of airbags and sports suspension then I’m an old so-and-so.

I think we’ve seen every possible tweaking of a conventional hatchback to turn it into a hot hatch but the 208 parked outside on my driveway looks full of genuine purpose.

It’s lower than the standard 208, the front grille has been revised and the side skirts and rear spoiler suggest true intent. It’s the same inside, the usual mix of harsh-edged sports seats and colour-coordinated door handles let you know this isn’t model you choose for gentle drives to the shopping centre.

I’m looking forward to the next seven days in the GTi – hopefully without the speeding ticket and slides I remember so well…

Sunday – More Smiles Per Mile


Jeremy  Just back from a perfect Sunday afternoon drive to Skenfrith on the Welsh border, en route to Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival.

The MX-5 is perfect for the sweeping bends of the Herefordshire countryside – beautifully balanced and so forgiving on the corners.

On the return trip, I decided to make a mental note of the all the features our Tech version doesn’t have – considering it’s the top of the range model. Here it is:

Daytime driving lights – Bluetooth – telescopic steering wheel adjustment – self-cancelling indicators – DAB radio – stop-start engine – keyless entry.

And here’s one feature it does have that no other convertible offers for £23k – Enjoyment. The MX-5 may be less powerful, less frugal and less butch than many others but I guarantee it will put a smile on your face.


Friday – Edging Towards 60


Jeremy The one and only time I ever got involved in a car economy drive was with a crazy driving instructor from Gloucester who took it far too seriously. It was 1992 and he insisted we use his new Nissan Micra for a 100-mile journey across Herefordshire.

To make the car lighter, he stripped out as much of the seating as possible, the rear parcel shelf and even the cigarette lighter went. Aerodynamics were a high on his agenda too – so off came a windscreen wiper, the aerial was pushed down and we drove at around 55mph in complete silence.

Last night I drove a winding route across the Cotswolds at around the same speed in our refined and beautifully built Golf TDI – not because I wanted to but because there was a rash of tractors on the road for some reason. VW say the 150bhp diesel can return 68.9mpg – I knew it would never achieve that in everyday driving conditions but I suddenly found myself back on an economy drive!

Calling petrolhead friends for advice and company along the way, I slipped the engine out of ‘sport’ and into ‘eco’ mode. The dashboard display on the TDI serves up economy driving tips – mostly saying change up a gear but the mpg read-out next to it was the real focus of my attention.

I was determined to hit 60mpg but only tickled 58.9 on one flat stretch. When I finally reached my destination, I was back down to 57.1. I don’t think I could have done much better on the roads I used but for a 150bhp engine, it’s still impressive.

I’m not going to bleat on about the consumption too much but this Sunday we are off to the launch of the new Kia Carens in Hampshire. If I don’t hit 60mpg on the way there on faster A-roads I’m going to remove a windscreen wiper and take out the back seat too…