Thursday – One of the Pack


Crazy wind out there today but the Mazda sat perfectly on the motorway in a rather wicked cross wind. If you doubt the build quality of this car, that just reinforces how good it has been screwed together.

We also just about about managed to empty the tank, after 600 miles and some pretty harsh driving. The 6 is a big motor, so that represents impressive fuel consumption figures.

Will we miss the 6? Well, as already explained, it has done everything we have asked of it, minus a DAB radio. It looks every inch a slicker vehicle than the Ford Mondeo, Skoda Octavia and VW Passat, all backed up by the the reliability of a Mazda.

If you are content to drive a car that blends in with the pack and does nothing out of the ordinary, then it certainly offers an alternative to the rest of the big family saloons out there.

For us, we like something that makes a bit more of a statement and makes us smile when we see our car on the driveway in the morning…

Thursday – Platform For Success


Jeremy Let’s get one thing clear from the start – the latest Sportback looks pretty much the same as the last. I’ve just been wandering around the A3 on the driveway and it screams ‘Audi’ from every angle.

It also ticks all the boxes for space, safety and practicality – just what you would expect from the German design team in Ingolstaft. So what makes this car so damn good?

Well, to start with it is based on the VW Group MQB platform, which will be used across the brand’s entire manufacturing line up, from the SEAT Leon to the Skoda Octavia. Same platform, different car on top.

Which means this platform has to be good because it will be incorporated into so many different cars. The A3 is the pinnacle of this particular platform and after just a day behind the wheel, I can tell you that it drives exceptionally well, with high levels of comfort and handling.

The 2.0 TDI we have on test is remarkably quiet on the motorway too, which is probably where it will spend a lot of its life with many company buyers. I’ve driven about 50 miles and the fuel gauge hasn’t even flickered yet!

The styling leaves me cold but the Sportback may well deserve its many plaudits…

Wednesday – What Happened To Jackie Kenny?


Jeremy Nobody could claim the Golf is a pretty car. Even our gleaming new GT model has plain Jane styling, regular hatchback looks and a corporate VW nose. Despite all this, the Golf does come with some endearing qualities that make it hard to resist.

I can’t imagine falling for a Ford Focus, a Vauxhall Astra or a Skoda Octavia for example in the same way as I’ve already fallen for the Golf. And I certainly have fallen, judging by the number of times I have peeped out of the dining room window to check it is still on the driveway.

What is it about the Golf? Is it because it has been a constant in my life? When the Mk I was born in 1974, I was buying my first David Bowie record, chasing Jackie Kenny around the playground and cursing a device called a slide rule. My father was driving a Vauxhall Viva but I secretly longed for him to drop me off at school in a Golf.

I’ve never been one to give cars a name but the Volkswagen is already starting to feel like a friend. I know that it will be 100 per cent reliable, carry five adults and a decent amount of luggage in comfort, and it will hold its value better than the competition. My Golf won’t look out of fashion in five years time and the TDI engine will keep on performing until the bitter end, however hard I push it.

So, driving my first few miles in the Golf, I can tell you that under that refined, and more sculpted new bodyshell, it’s just like the old Golf. And there couldn’t be a better recommendation than that.