Tuesday – Can You Park Without A Reverse Camera?


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…


Monday – Small High Tech


Surprising at it might seem, £18,000 doesn’t buy you much new car these days. At first glance, the range-topping Trax LT might look expensive for a small SUV but there’s a lot more equipment than you would expect. It’s actually a fairly high-tech machine.

Top of the list is the MyLink screen, which connects to your smartphone and offers all kinds of possibilities apart from just music. For Trax buyers, the most practical is an app that you download onto your phone for about £50 which provides satellite navigation. That’s even cheaper than the most basic TomTom.

Connecting a phone via Bluetooth is super easy – and the screen also links up to a reversing camera. There’s a decent sound system and the seats are firm but comfortable.

I had a quick play around with the back seat today and it’s going to be tight squeezing three adults in the back. It’s fine for two grown ups with plenty of headroom too. The boots ok with the seats up – much better with the back seats down.

Oh, and the dashboard and controls maybe pure GM but in this case it looks good too.

Friday – Man vs Machine


Jeremy Regular readers will know that I have an issue with cars that overcomplicate functions on the dashboard. If I can sit in a Hyundai or Peugeot and operate the DAB radio and Bluetooth without opening a manual, then why can’t I do it in other vehicles?

Citroen have made a pre-emptive strike with the DS3 test car – they have added a comprehensive, three page A4 guide in the press pack that explains all. In a spirit of fair play to other the motors Car Couture has tested, I opted to ignore the sheets and try to work it out for myself.

Forty minutes later in Waitrose car park and I’m really struggling – not only with DAB but forcing the Bluetooth function to match up with my iPhone. Back home, I can see why. The DS3 comes with a seperate, remote control unit about the size of a keyfob that is the fast-track to everything DAB. Now I just have to work out the Bluetooth issue.

So, round one to the DS3. I admit defeat but I imagine a lot of other DS3 drivers might have similar frustrating issues. While the Citroen has a dashboard that looks dynamic and stylish, wonderful seats and ‘big car’ comforts, form over function rather blots the copybook in this instance.

Friday – Just Not Cricket


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…