Tuesday – No Charge

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It’s one thing knowing that your car doesn’t qualify for the London Congestion Charge but quite another to actually enjoy driving around the capital without paying a penny!

I’ve spent most of the day in the city and you can’t help but notice how many TwinAir 500s are on the street. At Fulham Broadway car park I counted 11, plus one high performance Abarth. There were more Fiat’s than Minis – what does that tell you?

I suppose it is just a result of the zero Congestion Charge but the TwinAir is also a great car for city driving. Official figures claim 60+mpg around town – expect a more realistic 47mpg in reality.

The 500 is brilliant for squeezing into small parking space and it skips through narrows gaps in traffic that other supermini drivers just envy. It’s less enjoyable at high speed on motorways, jittery and susceptible to cross winds. That said, it more than keeps up with the big boys.

Tuesday – Hands Free

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Jeremy It’s impossible scribbling about the V40 without coming back to safety features. So today I set out to test the Park Assist Pilot – the system that allows the car to steer itself into a parking space.

Now, I’ve been lucky enough to drive a Formula One car, scream around Le Mans in a race-winning Peugeot, and hitch a seater with mad motorcyclist Robbie Maddison but I think I was more nervous about letting a car park itself with me in the driver’s seat.

With Pilot switched on, I drove the V40 along a quiet road with parked cars either side. The system actually identifies a space that is big enough and once I had come to a stop, I took my hand off the wheel, engaged gear and gently accelerated.

I was parking between a 2011 Range Rover and a Fiat 500 – so I was quite anxious not to ding either. The steer wheel automatically starts to turn as the car goes backwards, slowly, slowly putting you perfectly into the space.

When the V40 comes to a stop, all I had to do was engage first gear and again, the steering was done for me. It took two reverse moves and two forward to complete the parking operation but it worked perfectly.

That said, I can park equally as well and much quicker! However, if you aren’t a great parker and like the reassurance of Pilot, it’s probably well worth the money.