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OUR CARS

BMW i8 MILEAGE 11,012

LAST SEEN 16.11.16

An immense day trip over half term from home to the summit of Snowdon and back. It took 12 hours, split precisely into thirds for each journey, with the climb in the middle. The i8 was fun to drive on the way there, a welcome sight for sore feet at the end of the climb and beautifully comfortable on the motorway home. In other words, everything I have come to expect it to be. AF

FIRST REPORT

FORD MUSTANG

We’re starting afresh after a problem with the original car few days after my first report on my Mustang 5.0 GT in August, Ford announced that the Mustang had topped the league for UK sales of performance cars packing more than 250bhp. This came as no surprise to me, because even the 5.0 GT is relatively cheap, and I reckon it’s also one of the most fun cars you can get for the money with power north of 410bhp. You may have noticed, however, that the car I am now driving is not the same car that I wrote the first report about, so let me explain. I got into the swing of Mustang ownership properly after a couple of faults were sorted on my sevenmonth-old car, bought from Lookers Ford Sunderland. However, the smiles evaporated fairly quickly the day after the first long-term report was published when it emerged that my car had sustained significant rear-end damage and been repaired.

A

Crosse will take it easy for 1000 miles

As I understood I was getting an unblemished car, the dealership agreed to a full refund or a replacement if one could be found. In the end, a new car was found in the network that had been earmarked as a demonstrator and it was exchanged for mine at no extra cost. All this means that my 900-mile Mustang morphed into a 30-mile Mustang but is otherwise identical in Race Red and with the £1795 Custom Pack as before. This includes the Lustre Nickel (rather than black) wheels, climate-controlled seats, reverse parking sensors and camera and the Shaker Pro Premium audio with navigation. You may be thinking these luxury options are counter-intuitive in a beast like the Mustang, but I reckon it’s one of the best GT cars (as in grand touring) I’ve driven. The seats are super-supportive and the interior is also supremely comfortable, making it ideal for long drives.

There’s a big, 408-litre boot, too, with fold-down seats for even more space, which is good because I definitely plan to do a road trip or two in the future. This is my first proper crack at the Ford Sync infotainment system and I like it a lot. I’ve given up on voice-activated systems in the past because they never seem to understand what I’m saying. Ford’s version does, though, and I use it exclusively for selecting individual tracks, artists, albums or playlists stored on an iPod Nano. I leave that permanently plugged in and out of sight beneath the centre console armrest. First job is to get some miles on the Mustang and get it loosened up so I can open it up. There’s not much to that: the owner’s manual suggests that I avoid heavy brake and clutch use for 100 miles and driving too fast, and that I scrub the tyres in for 300 miles. I’ll probably go old school, though, and take it easy for the first 1000 miles to get everything properly settled in. Needless to say, that’s not going to be a hardship. JESSE CROSSE

TEST DATA F O R D M U S TA N G 5 . 0 G T Price £36,790 Price as tested £36,035 Options Custom Pack £1795 Economy 22.0mpg Faults None Expenses None

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Honda Jazz MILEAGE 3375

LAST SEEN 26.10.16

As temperatures drop, my thoughts turn to friction. Not between tyres and road surface, but between hand and steering wheel. The Jazz’s plastic wheel can be difficult to grip when it’s cold, and even small movements require a firm grasp. A solution is to wear leather gloves, increasing the level of friction and reducing the need for any undue effort. MP

Ford Focus RS MILEAGE 13,429

LAST SEEN 9.11.16

Much as we’d love to spend the entire three months with the Focus RS in the Highlands, the fact is that a lot of its driving will be in town. It’s the same for many hot hatches, of course. And sadly the Focus doesn’t fare too well, with a tough low-speed ride, terrible turning circle and tricky visibility. Hopefully, more fun miles can redress the balance soon. MB

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