Tuesday – Can You Park Without A Reverse Camera?

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You might buy a car for the way it looks but the equipment list is pretty important too. We wouldn’t entertain a vehicle that doesn’t have Bluetooth and a DAB radio – others want leather trim and sat nav.

So our mid-range KX-3 is something of a mixed bag and will appeal to some drivers and not others. For example, it does have heated leather seats as standard but there is no satellite navigation system.

You have to pay extra for a nav upgrade that includes a rear-view reversing camera. Personally, I think if you can’t reverse a car without a camera to help you, then you shouldn’t be driving a one ton missile in the first place.

And while standard kit includes Bluetooth, privacy glass, sunroof and reversing sensors (why can’t people park these days!) there is no DAB radio. That means no Radio 5, no Test Match Special and no Radio 6 Music either.

So, as Chris Evans seems to have lost the plot on Radio 2 these days, it’s the sound of silence for me…

 

Sunday – No DABbling?

cropped-774052_261113-a-maz.jpgThere’s something missing from my Mazda6. It’s taken me a while to realise but as sport plays a large part in my life, I was rather disappointed the saloon isn’t kitted out with a DAB radio. That means terrible reception for Radio 5 on AM and no Radio 5 Live Extra at all!

I mention this because let’s face it, the 6 is going to be a weapon of choice for many a company car driver. Surely a DAB radio would be a ‘must have’ for that type of buyer?

The entertainment screen in the Mazda isn’t big but it’s adequate. What is less impressive are the size of the buttons on the steering column to operate it by remote control. Even the touchscreen buttons require some dexterity.

At least the sound quality is good and you can wire up your phone or iPod via an AUX input or a USB cable. Scrolling through the screen options to change artists is a slow process and distracting for the driver. Could do better Mazda…

 

 

Saturday – DABbling With The Radio

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Jeremy A frustrating day aboard the RXH. Even with the air conditioning running, it wasn’t the best time to be sat in the driver’s seat for an hour trying to work out how to get the DAB radio working. I should have walked away after 30 minutes but it’s the only way I can hear England retained the Ashes on Radio Live Live Sport Extra!

Like other Peugeot‘s we have tested with a DAB radio, the 508 has a retro-fit key-fob thingy which operates the system. I guess it’s because the Pug is a French car where they don’t have digital broadcasting, so something had to be added for the British market. Despite an extra three pages of instructions on A4, I still only found the correct settings by accident.

On top of this, the sat nav had a meltdown in the heat. The map kept disappearing off the screen and I had to re-set the location several times. There’s also a constant squeak coming from somewhere near the back seats. It sounds like a pack of mice having a tea party.

On the plus side, I am still marvelling at the occasions when the electric motor kicks in to drive the car forward, making the diesel engine redundant. It’s usually only around town at low speed but it’s impossible not to feel slightly smug and virtuous. Shame the fuel consumption is nowhere like the 68mpg claimed. I’m getting 48mpg at best and that’s genuinely driving carefully….

 

 

 

Friday – Just Not Cricket

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Jeremy It’s not going to be easy picking holes in the Audi A3. This is probably the most competent car I’ve driven in ages – beautifully screwed together, classy and comfortable.

However, these days when I sit in a vehicle for the first time, I look for the features it doesn’t have. I thought with S Line spec and the £1,500 technology pack, all bases would be covered in terms of infotainment.

There’s a pop up, seven-inch screen on the dashboard for sat nav and you can operate the radio and music functions from a perfectly places, rotary dial on the centre console.

Surprisingly, however, the package does not include DAB radio! So, while I had been hoping to listen to the international cricket on Radio 5 Live Extra (only on DAB), I’ve had to settle for R4 instead.

This aside, the system is simple to operate, with a Bluetooth connection to my mobile phone that automatically downloads music tracks without a cable connection. The package also has a ‘Jukebox’ that allows you to download tracks onto the car’s hard drive, where they are saved for future use.

All very slick – but I’m going to miss the cricket…