Saturday – The BMW Factor

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The Saturday morning run along Wiltshire‘s Great Ridge almost came unstuck today. Not because of the large number of shooters out, or the horse that spooked my dog. No, I just completely forgot that this X1 isn’t four-wheel drive.

So when I parked on the slippery bank, about 100 yards down a farm track, I didn’t take into account the ‘BMW Factor’. As everyone knows, rear-wheel drive Beemers are just rubbish on anything other than tarmac. Really rubbish.

My 6 Series refused to budge on a virtually flat track in the Cotswolds last winter  – an older 3 Series Touring was even worse, unless you chucked a couple of bags of coal in the boot.

My problem with any car that looks like a four-wheel drive is that it SHOULD also behave like a 4×4. What’s the point of paying for all that extra ground clearance if you can’t even pull away smoothly from a grass bank?

So while our xLine X1 is loaded with £5,000 of extras, I’d ditch the lot and go for the four-wheel drive model. Then I could park on grassy banks without any worries.

Wednesday – A Pug That Bites

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Just occasionally a car comes along that truly surprises. The Peugeot 2008 is just that. Even though it can only pretend to be a 4×4 with raised ground clearance, scuff plates and beefy looks, it has turned out to be a capable machine.

Crossover vehicles try to be all things to all people – which is what makes them so popular with family buyers. However, sometimes the good things get diluted in an attempt to tick all the boxes.

The 2008 has some faults, like the pointless light display integrated into the roof lining, an annoying handbrake design and a rather lifeless drive but overall, the good points far outweigh the bad.

Here is a small family estate that will easily achieve 68mpg in everyday driving, is cheap to tax, can carry five adults AND their bags, and still manages to look pretty stylish on the outside. For £17,245, our 1.6 diesel looks like a great buy.