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com For pan flee y c ts a ar nd dri Issue 21 March 2014 ver s

Ignition Car views and news by FleetNews

F IR S T DRI V E: MER CEDE S -BENZ C- CL A S S

New C-Class: better than BMW 3 Series Upmarket saloon sets new standards in sector

First drive: Lexus CT 200h

First drive: Mini Cooper D

Bigger and more efficient model retains the fun factor

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F IR S T DRI V E MER CEDE S -BENZ C 2 2 0 SP OR T AU TO

C FOR CLASS-LEADING?

Upmarket new C-Class has all the qualities needed to become best in sector

C-Class is the most aerodynamic premium car By Stephen Briers he quality and performance jump from C-Class to E-Class always seemed to be much greater than rivals like BMW’s 3 Series/5 Series and Audi’s A4/A6. As a result, the C-Class always lagged behind its premium car competition. Mercedes-Benz has now closed that gap with the new C-Class, on sale in June. Packed with the latest technology and offering a responsive, yet efficient driving experience, the C-Class also closes the gap to the sector-leading 3 Series. The question is, does it overtake the BMW? A range of diesel and petrol models will be available, but of most interest to fleets will be the

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C220 Bluetec, a 2.1-litre 170hp diesel offering CO2 of 103g/km and economy of 70.6mpg, and the C250 Bluetec, which increases the C220’s power output to 204hp with 109g/km and 65.7mpg. P11D pricing is currently available only for the C220 (C250 details will be released in April). It starts at £29,310 for the six-speed manual SE, although the majority of orders will be for the smoother seven-speedautomatic(itaccounts for 83% of sales of the outgoing model), which starts at £30,810. Emissions for the auto gearbox rise to 109g/km, which moves it up a benefit-in-kind tax band. Mercedes-Benz is confident that the most popular model will be the range-topping AMG Line,

priced from £34,300 for the automatic. Emissions rise another band at 113g/km. Fleets are more likely to opt for the Sport trim (auto: £32,805), although its 110g/km emissions put it in the same tax bracket as the AMG. That’s the facts and figures; what about the car itself? Both the C220 and C250 have a refined engine offering plenty of power, rapid reaction and ample mid-range torque. They are effortless to drive and, while the C250 ultimately has the edge, the lower-powered version will be more than acceptable for the majority of drivers. Sitting on the standard steel suspension, the C-Class provides a controlled ride, occasionally


To see how much this car will cost to run CLICK HERE ��

COSTS P11D price BIK tax band Annual BIK tax (20%) Annual VED RV (4yr/80k) Fuel cost (ppm) AFR (ppm) Running cost (4yr/80k)

£32,805 17% £1,115 £0 then £30 £10,850/33% n/a 17 n/a

SPEC Power (hp)/ Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec)

170/295 110 64.2 145 7.4

RIVAL

"It’s the most upmarket car in the sector; equipment levels are exceptional harsh over severely-pitted roads but not uncomfortably so. Handling is excellent with wellweighted steering. Switch to the Airmatic air suspension, an £895 option on Sport and AMG Line, and the experience is elevated to a whole new level. Mercedes-Benz claims Airmatic could account for almost half of total sales; barring a residual value uplift, we expect fleets to opt for the steel suspension. Mercedes-Benz’s design team has created the most aerodynamic car in the sector. That’s important

because it not only helps to reduce fuel consumption (assisted by a 100kg reduction in weight thanks to a greater use of aluminium), it also reduces wind noise which means the car is exceptionally quiet at motorway speeds. The new C-Class is packed with the latest safety technology, much ofitstandard–includingareversing camera and Collision Prevention Assist Plus which applies the brakes to mitigate an accident at speeds of up to 125mph. Is the C-Class the new benchmark in the premium car sector?

BMW 320d Sport auto Business Model P11D price £32,260 BIK tax band 19% Annual BIK tax (20%) £1,226 RV (4yr/80k) £8,570/27% Fuel cost (ppm) 9.92 AFR (ppm) 14 Running cost (4yr/80k) 44.08ppm *Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

On the majority of the fleet matrix considerations, the answer is yes (albeit qualified subject to receiving the full running costs data). It is the most upmarket car in the sector; interior quality is superb, standard equipment levels are exceptional and, on a like-for-like basis, the P11D price is firmly in its favour. The 3 Series isn’t knocked from its perch as the ultimate driver’s car, but that is not fleets’ priority. When it comes to a solid, comfortable, safe and efficient drive, the C-Class wins.

fleetnews.co.uk March 2014 Ignition


F IR S T DRI V E MINI C OOP ER D H ATCHB ACK

MINI MAXIMISES APPEAL

All-new model is bigger and more efficient, but retains the fun factor

Emissions for the Mini range start from 89g/km By Simon Harris t took until the third incarnation of BMW’s Mini that the company felt confident enough to abandon the over-sized speedometer that had become a focal point of the dashboard. Now, perhaps convinced by the global success of the car, Mini has the freedom to make any changes it wants as long as the car retains the hyped ‘go-kart feel’ of the original car, as well as its premium car quality (endowed only in the BMW years). The new Mini is just that. Nothing has been retained from its predecessor and while petrol variants don’t quite duck under 100g/km, the diesel variants available certainly do.

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We drove the new 1.5-litre threecylinder diesel Cooper D with 116hp (4hp up on the previous 1.6-litre Cooper D) on the media launch. It has CO2 emissions of 92g/km (auto: 98g/km), putting it one benefit-in-kind tax band lower than its predecessor. However, the Mini One D, coming a little later and using a less powerful version of the same engine, has emissions of 89g/km, putting it among the best diesel cars on sale for CO2. It’s responsive and refined, particularly considering some three-cylinder engines can sound intrusive. The Mini has retained its point and go feel, while ride comfort is improved over previous generations. The Mini has often been criticised

for not being small. The compact dimensions of the original, a 10ft x 4ft x 4ft car capable of seating four adults – designed 55 years ago – were an ingenious exercise in packaging. Now regulations and expectations for safety would be unlikely to allow anything similar to exist at small car money. The third-generation Mini under BMW custodianship has grown, with an extra 28mm in the wheelbase and a wider track. At 3,821mm long (Cooper S: 3,850mm) it’s still shorter than a Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and the Audi A1. The longer wheelbase helps liberate some extra legroom in the rear, and while not the most accommodating of small cars,


To see how much this car will cost to run CLICK HERE ��

COSTS P11D price BIK tax band Annual BIK tax (20%) Annual VED RV (4yr/80k) Fuel cost (ppm) AFR (ppm) Running cost (4yr/80k)

£16,395 14% £459 £0 £6,032/37% 7.72 12 24.23ppm

SPEC Power (hp)/ Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec)

116/199 92 80.7 127 9.2

RIVAL

"The Mini has retained its point and go feel, while ride comfort is improved" travelling in the back no longer seems quite the hardship it was in its predecessors. The boot is also much larger than before. At 211 litres it’s still smaller than average for the sector (Fiesta is 276 litres and the Polo is 280 litres), but it no longer feels a compromise as an everyday car. Since the second incarnation of the BMW Mini in 2007, Audi has launched the A1 into the sector, setting new benchmarks for interior quality. Mini has responded and while still retaining much of the character of the previous

version, materials feel more upmarket and the there is an improved finish. Moving the speedometer to a pod mounted on the steering column means it’s closer to the driver’s eye-line. In the space taken by the speedometer in previous versions is a new multi-function display. MiniConnectedorMiniConnected XL is also available in conjunction with the Mini Visual Boost Radio and the MiniNavigation System. It offers integration of smartphones inside the car, enabling the use of internet-based services in

Audi A1 1.6 TDI Sport 3dr P11D price BIK tax band Annual BIK tax (20%) RV (4yr/80k) Fuel cost (ppm) AFR (ppm) Running cost (4yr/80k)

£16,960 15% £509 £5,561/33% 8.38 12 26.77ppm

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

the areas of infotainment, communication and driver experience. Mini Connected XL includes the Journey Mate function for networked navigation, with Real Time Traffic Information. Mini has yet to confirm the appearance of the first five-door version of the Mini hatchback, but spy photographs of development prototypes have circulated. The new Mini hatchback will have greater appeal for fleets and company car drivers, but many more will be awaiting the arrival of the five-door version with interest.

fleetnews.co.uk March 2014 Ignition


F IR S T DRI V E le x us ct 2 0 0 h SE Au to

CT 200h's charm offensive

Lexus hopes price cuts and increased specification will win converts to technology

Up to £1,500 has been cut from the CT 200h's price By Maurice Glover wingeing price reductions have been introduced to underpin a massive charm offensive aimed at persuading more business drivers to get behind the wheel of a hybrid car. Lexus has trimmed up to £1,500 off the on-road cost of its latest CT 200h in a bid to make upmarket compact motoring more accessible to fleet operators and user-choosers. The Japanese brand is also banking on a significant additional investment in demonstrator cars to help overcome lingering resistance to petrolelectric vehicles. “Our demo fleet is rising from 200 to 225 units as we try to

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get more leasing companies onside and this is being backed by extra vehicles provided by our 32 dealer-based business centres,” said Toyota and Lexus fleet services general manager Neil Broad. “As well as making hybrid power more accessible financially, we want people to spend longer periods trying it out before making up their minds about it. “After dealing with this technology for 16 years, we are convinced the level of refinement we’re now offering will break down any remaining barriers – we believe hybrid motoring is superior to diesel power.” Last year business registrations accounted for 75% of the

11,000 cars Lexus sold and 2,500 fleet customers opted for the CT 200h, the manufacturer's alternative to the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. Though Advance is the only trim level in the six-strong model range to retain its current pricing level, a package of options worth £1,000 gives the most popular version with fleets an upgrade in equipment, with satellite navigation, DAB radio, tyre pressure warning, hill assist, parking sensors and heated front seats all now included as standard. As a result, the car is claimed to have a £4,500 like-for-like equipment advantage over its German rivals. The manufacturer hopes that


To see how much this car will cost to run Click here ��

costs P11D price BIK tax band Annual BIK tax (20%) Annual VED RV (4yr/80k) Fuel Cost (ppm) AFR (ppm) Running cost (4yr/80k)

£20,940 10% £419 £0 £6,350/30% 7.5 16 28.8.8ppm

SPEC Power (hp)/ Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec)

136/153 88 78.5 112 10.3

RIVAL Audi A3 1.6 TDI SE S-Tronic P11D price BIK tax band Annual BIK tax (20%) RV (4yr/80k) Fuel cost (ppm) AFR (ppm) Running cost (4yr/80k)

£21,995 16% £704 £7,207/33% 8.6 12 31.11ppm

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

"We are convinced the level of refinement we're offering will break down any remaining barriers – we believe hybrid motoring is superior to diesel power" revised electronic mapping of the automatic transmission will prove to be an equally significant opinion changer. Compared with its predecessor, the new CVT model’s engine speed rises more in line with

vehicle speed for a power flow more akin to the acceleration curve provided by a traditional gearbox. Along with improved soundproofing, the change makes progress even quieter than in the

previous model and retuned suspension provides a smooth ride over mixed surfaces with good handling and roadholding. Subtle improvements in aerodynamics also help cut noise levels as well as contributing to the car’s 6g/km reduction in CO2 emissions to a new low of 88g/km – considerably less than the 102g/km performance of its most efficient 1.6-litre rival, the diesel auto A3. “With its considerable tax benefits and unrivalled equipment, this car is a winner,” said Broad.

fleetnews.co.uk March 2014 Ignition


C OMING S OON NE W L AUNCHE S

TOYOTA AYGO On sale: Summer Price: £9,000 (estimated) CO2: From 95g/km What’s new: The second-generation Aygo will offer improved efficiency over its predecessor, thanks to updates to its 1.0-litre engine and improved aerodynamics. The all-new model has a higher-quality feel inside, as well as slightly more cabin room. New Aygo will be available with Toyota’s new X-touch multimedia system, operated using a fullyintegrated seven-inch touchscreen. It’s the first car in its segment to come with a rear-view camera as standard. The Aygo will come with a single 68hp Toyotasourced engine.

PEUGEOT 108 On sale: Summer Price: From £8,500 (est) CO2: From 88g/km What’s new: The 108 is part of the same project as the Citroën C1 and Toyota Aygo, with all three cars built at Toyota’s plant in the Czech Republic. The 108 will come with a choice of two three-cylinder engines: a 68hp 1.0-litre and an 82hp 1.2. There will be a low-CO2 version of the 1.0-litre with emissions from 88g/km which equates to around 74mpg on the combined cycle.
 The car remains compact at 3.47m long and 1.62m wide and each manufacturer involved in the project will seek to create a bigger styling distinction with the others than their predecessors.


CITROËN C1

On sale: July Price: from £8,500 (est) CO2: from 88g/km What’s new: The new Citroën C1 promises greater efficiency and more technology than its Ignition March 2014 fleetnews.co.uk

predecessor – packaged in a slightly roomier interior. Available in three- and five-door versions, as well as a new open-top bodystyle called Airscape, it has a functional 196-litre boot capacity which increases to 780 litres with the rear seats folded. Technology plays a major role in the new car. A seven-inch Touch Drive Interface groups together all media functions (radio, telephone, video player, on-board computer), while driver aids include a reversing camera, hands-free entry and drive. Hill-start assist is also standard. This feature holds the car steady for two seconds for an easy re-start on slopes with a gradient above 3%. Two engines are available: a 1.0-litre 68hp petrol – choice of manual or clutchless ETG (Efficient Tronic Gearbox) – and a new 1.2-litre threecylinder 82hp petrol engine which offers 65mpg.


For a full new car launch calendar CLICK HERE ��

AUDI TT On sale: September Price: from £30,000 (est) CO2: 110g/km (diesel) What’s new: Viewed by many as a retail car, the two-door Audi TT is popular among userchoosers who account for the majority of diesel registrations. The latest model, based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, features a longer wheelbase to offer a little more room in the rear seats while all exterior panels are aluminium which cuts the weight by 50kg. This has resulted in CO2 emissions of 110g/km for the 2.0-litre TDI. A four-cylinder 2.0-litre 211hp petrol engine is also available and Audi does not rule out putting in more drivetrains in the future.

BMW 2 SERIES ACTIVE TOURER On sale: September Price: £23,000 CO2: From 109g/km What’s new: Available from late September, the first versions of BMW’s first people carrier will be the 218i and 218d. The former is a 136hp turbo-charged threecylinder petrol engine with a preliminary fuel economy figure of 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 115g/km, while the latter produces 150hp and achieves 68.9mpg and 109g/km. The standard transmission is a new six-speed manual unit. Optionally, in conjunction with the three-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission can be specified. All transmissions feature start-stop, while the automatic versions feature a coasting function.

Sales will be evenly split between petrol and diesel cars. Pricing will be “not a million miles away from the current model”, according to a spokesman, who indicated one or two percentage point rises across the range.

RENAULT TWINGO On sale: Late 2014 Price: From £10,000 (estimated) CO2: 95g/km (estimated) What’s new: The next Renault Twingo will have five doors and a rear engine. A shared project with the next-generation Smart Forfour, the Twingo's bonnet houses fluids that might need topping up, while the engine compartment is under the rear luggage area. It will be the most fuel efficient Twingo as well as the most practical.

fleetnews.co.uk March 2014 Ignition


W in t er dri v ing s ur v e y

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For safe driving advice Click here ��


Our Fleet HONDA CR-V

Tested by: Gareth Roberts "It's performed well in all situations"

VOLVO V60

Tested by: Simon Harris "A perfect car for a very small niche"

SUZUKI SX4

Tested by: Maurice Glover "It has an impressive on-road personality"

VAUXHALL MOKKA

Tested by: Andrew Ryan "Happiest being driven in a relaxing manner"

FORD KUGA

Tested by: Luke Neal "The current car is relatively nondescript"

PEUGEOT 308

Tested by: John Maslen "The interior has a real quality feel to it"

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

Tested by: Stephen Briers "Golf is an outstanding driver's car"

LEXUS IS

Tested by: Sarah Tooze "I feel its fuel economy is disappointing"

MAZDA 3

Tested by: Simon Harris "Mazda is undergoing a transformation"

The latest reviews of the team's long-term test cars...


OUR F L EE T

LONG -T ERM T E S T S

COSTS

D 6 H Y BRID SE E LU X N AV

P11D price £49,220 BIK tax band 5% Annual BIK tax (20%) £984 Class 1A NIC £340 Annual VED £0 RV (4yr/80k) £9,000/18% Fuel cost (ppm) 4.11 AFR (ppm) 18 Running cost (4yr/80k) 61.67ppm

SPEC V60 plug-in hybrid has a 30-mile electriconly range

Engine (cc) 2,400 Power (hp) 285 (engine/electric) Torque (lb-ft) 472 (engine/electric) CO2 (g/km) 48 Fuel efficiency (mpg) 148.7 Max speed (mph) 143 0-62mph (sec) 6.9 Test mpg 69.7 Current mileage 6,826

VOLVO V60 Hybrid is more suited to short journeys than motorway miles By Simon Harris think it’s fair to say the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is a perfect car for a very small niche within the market. High-mileage drivers would be better served looking elsewhere, as the substantial purchase price of the V60, even including the £5,000 plug-in car grant, would make the running costs prohibitive. The official combined cycle fuel economy of a V60 D5 Geartronic – effectively our car without the hybrid components – is 45.6mpg. And on those occasions where we’ve had to run our test car on diesel during a longer journey, this seems a typical achievement for the hybrid. On the motorway after the

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plug-in charge is depleted, there isn’t much of a chance for the electric motor to take over from the engine and save fuel. Although the network of public charging points along the major road network in the UK is improving, the 30-mile range limit of the V60 would make frequent recharging on a long journey tedious and the temptation to rely on diesel would be strong. And it’s an expensive car just to use for commuting. In purchase price terms, it’s more than a Mercedes-Benz E-Class hybrid, which is available as either a saloon or estate and the smaller battery and hybrid components don’t compromise luggage capacity.

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

Recently we had a low coolant level warning. The V60’s information display is excellent because it shows a diagram of the car and highlights the area under the bonnet that needs attention. It also does this for low screen wash and other alerts. It makes sure a driver unfamiliar with the location of items under the bonnet doesn’t waste time trying to find them and encourages regular checks. We took the car to our local Volvo dealer. No coolant leak was found, but the reservoir was topped up as it had fallen below the minimum level.

For more V60 road tests CLICK HERE �� fleetnews.co.uk March 2014 Ignition


OUR F L EE T

LONG -T ERM T E S T S

COSTS

P E UGEOT 3 0 8 1.6 E-HDI F EL INE

P11D price £21,690 BIK tax band 15% Annual BIK tax (20%) £651 Class 1A NIC £449 Annual VED £0 then £30 RV (4yr/80k) £5,654/26% Fuel cost (ppm) 8.38 AFR (ppm) 12 Running cost (4yr/80k) 32.77ppm

SPEC Engine (cc) Power (hp) Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec) Test mpg Current mileage

The exterior design of the 308 hints at the Audi A3

PEUGEOT 308 European Car of the Year makes positive first impression By John Maslen hen your new longterm test car has just been named European Car of the Year, it gives you a sense of confidence that the next few months will be a pleasure rather than a pain. Our new Peugeot 308 was chosen as a winner by a jury of 58 journalists from 22 European countries and its win was all the more impressive considering the line-up of shortlisted rivals, which were the BMW i3, Citroën C4 Picasso, Mazda 3, MercedesBenz S-Class, Skoda Octavia and Tesla Model S.

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For more 308 road tests CLICK HERE �� Ignition March 2014 fleetnews.co.uk

This will be music to the ears of Peugeot executives, who have been working for years to transform the product line-up and move it more upmarket. There is a general hint of Audi A3 about the exterior, particularly at the rear flanks, and the interior has a real quality feel to it, especially with the addition of the optional £1,500 black nappa leather seats. Our model is the top-of-therange Feline e-HDi, costing £21,745, with a 1.6-litre diesel engine that offers 115hp at 3,600rpm. Peak torque of 199lb-ft comes in at a rather high 1,750rpm, which can require a bit of stick shifting on the solid six-speed manual gearbox to avoid the

1,580 115 203 100 74.3 118 11.9 54 3,900

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

engine bedding down for the night, but generally it offers a solid band of power to easily keep up with traffic, while cruising is effortless and efficient. The next few thousand miles should be a very pleasant experience, as the Peugeot design team has introduced some really nice touches. For example, you look over the steering wheel at the instruments, rather than through it. At first it sounds strange, but once you have tried it, it makes complete sense, although I have heard from other testers that it’s not ideal for every driver. Another innovation is the i-Cockpit, a 9.7-inch touchscreen that replaces nearly all the buttons on the central console.


COSTS

S - CR O S S S Z-T 1.6DDI A L LGRIP

P11D price £21,494 BIK tax band 17% Annual BIK tax (20%) £731 Class 1A NIC £504 Annual VED £0 then £30 RV (4yr/80k) £6,125/28% Fuel cost (ppm) 9.7 AFR (ppm) 12 Running cost (4yr/80k) 33.39ppm

SPEC Engine (cc) Power (hp) Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec) Test mpg Current mileage

S-Cross offers ride quality comparable to a well-sorted saloon

SUZUKI SX4 Rugged 4x4 provides an impressive on-road personality By Maurice Glover t’s been developed to take some of the toughest off-road conditions in its stride, so common sense dictates that the latest go-anywhere Suzuki model might feel a little rough around the edges in the comfort stakes. But that’s not the case with the SX4 S-Cross. For a vehicle designed to make the most of bodywork with raised ground clearance and the tenacity of fourwheel drive, our SZ-T has an impressive on-road personality. Long-travel strut coils at the front and a torsion beam system with coil springs and independent dampers at the rear combine well to soak up the worst of poor surfaces. The system also keeps the car on

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an even keel with minimum body roll in press-on driving conditions. Thanks to its excellent underpinnings, the S-Cross treats its occupants to a quality of ride that’s not far short of the smooth travel demeanour of a well-sorted saloon and provides progress as comfortable on byways as it is on the smooth tarmac of major routes. Based on a chassis that is longer than its predecessor's, the new car gets the extra poise it needs to take on major rivals and this fleetspecific version is set for an important role in plans to achieve the expansion Suzuki is seeking in the UK. Relatively neat handling and tidy behaviour through corners make it relaxed transport for long distance work and this has already

1,598 120 236 114 64.2 105 13 55.45 2,500

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

been ably demonstrated in a couple of 500-mile days that have highlighted a relaxed cruising gait along with mid-50s fuel economy. Another aspect of the car’s character that’s already evident is a power output that feels greater than is suggested by the official figures. Slightly raucous on startup but generally subdued, the Suzuki’s Fiat-derived motor has a lusty output that feels more akin to that of a 2.0-litre unit than a 1.6-litre engine.

'Relaxed transport for long distances' For more Suzuki road tests CLICK HERE �� fleetnews.co.uk March 2014 Ignition


OUR F L EE T

LONG -T ERM T E S T s

costs

1. 4 T SI GT 14 0 D S G

P11D price £24,810 BIK tax band 14% Annual BIK tax (20%) £695 Class 1A NIC £479 Annual VED £0 then £20 RV (4yr/80k) £7,219/29% Fuel cost (ppm) 9.8 AFR (ppm) 14 Running cost (4yr/80k) 35.42ppm

SPEC Engine (cc) Power (hp) Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec) Test mpg Current mileage

Golf is often described as the archetypal company car

Volkswagen Golf Award-winning petrol hatchback joins the Fleet News fleet By Stephen Briers e often describe the Volkswagen Golf in Fleet News as the archetypal company car. Popular among fleets for its competitive running costs and possessing a badge that appeals to employees, it often finds itself positioned as the bridge between traditional volume makes and the premium brands, keeping everyone happy – a perfect compromise for restricted choice lists. This seventh-generation model was launched just over a year ago, instantly finding favour as Fleet News’s lower-medium car

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For more Golf road tests Click here �� Ignition March 2014 fleetnews.co.uk

of the year. At the time we said “in an intensely competitive sector, the Golf offers the best all-round package with the broadest appeal”. Now we have a chance to put those opinions further to the test by running the car for six months. We’ve opted for the 1.4-litre petrol model, recognising that, for many fleets and drivers, petrol is a more efficient option than diesel – even if they don’t yet recognise it. And the Golf’s 140hp unit is a beauty, combining power with economy in near-equal measure. Mated to the seven-speed DSG unit, drivers can choose to potter about conserving fuel or take a more urgent approach. Fuel economy is obliterated, but every once in a while it’s

1,395 140 184 110 60.1 131 8.4 44.2 10,857

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

worth reminding yourself that the Golf is an outstanding driver’s car with precise steering and good body control. It remains composed even when cuffing unexpected potholes. So what about when you take things a little steadier? Official figures claim 60mpg combined; we’ve achieved mid-40s on our 12-mile commute, and a little less on longer journeys. Since taking delivery of the Golf we’ve discover one incongruous quirk: the car has a tendency to switch its on-board computer data readout from English to German. It happens more frequently on morning runs, returning to English for the evening drive home. Bizarre or, perhaps, wunderlich.


costs

1.7 CDT I tech line

P11D price £17,694 BIK tax band 19% Annual BIK tax (20%) £672 Class 1A NIC £464 Annual VED £0 then £30 RV (4yr/80k) £4,973/28% Fuel cost (ppm) 9.92 AFR (ppm) 14 Running cost (4yr/80k) 30ppm

SPEC High seating position gives excellent visibility

VAUXHALL MOKKA Compact SUV is at its best when being driving gently By Andrew Ryan y first full month with the Vauxhall Mokka has now passed and so far I'm enjoying the SUV experience. The high seating position gives excellent visibility from the cabin – something both my passengers and I have appreciated – and the taller bodystyle also means the Mokka is relatively easy to find in a car park, as the roofline sits higher than standard saloons and hatchbacks. There's no mistaking it's an SUV when driving it either, as its centre of gravity feels noticeably higher than that in the hatchback I was running before, meaning it prefers to be driven gently around corners rather than briskly. The 1.7-litre CDTi engine is also

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happiest being driven in a relaxed manner. It produces 130hp and 221lb-ft of torque, but tall gearing gives the impression that less power is available, while diesel clatter becomes quite intrusive in the cabin if the engine is pushed. The Mokka's engine is Vauxhall's long-serving Isuzu-derived unit, which was first used in the Mk3 Astra (on sale 1991-1998), so, despite a long history of improvement though evolution, its lack of refinement is perhaps not surprising. This engine is being phased out in other Vauxhall model ranges and being replaced with a much quieter 1.6 CDTi unit, but there's no word yet if it's coming to the Mokka. The engine is helping our SUV to an average test fuel economy

Engine (cc) Power (hp) Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec) Test mpg Current mileage

1,686 130 221 120 62.8 116 10 53.4 3,488

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

of 53.4mpg, compared to the official combined figure of 62.8mpg. The real-world figure is also significantly lower than the 59-60mpg reported by the onboard trip computer. The trip computer can also tell you the effect on fuel consumption operating equipment such as air conditioning has. For example, it let's you know that the air conditioning system uses 0.02-0.1 gallons an hour, and the heated rear windscreen consumes 0.05 gallons an hour. These aren't huge amounts, but it's information the frugallyminded may find interesting.

For more Mokka road tests Click here �� fleetnews.co.uk March 2014 Ignition


OUR F L EE T

LONG -T ERM T E S T S

COSTS

2 .5 SE

P11D price BIK tax band Annual BIK tax (20%) Class 1A NIC Annual VED RV (4yr/80k) Fuel cost (ppm) AFR (ppm) Running cost (4yr/80k)

£32,035 11% £705 £486 £0 £8,050 9.04 24 42.98ppm

SPEC Engine (cc) 2,495 Power (hp) 141/178 (electric/engine) Torque (lb-ft) 300/221(electric/engine) CO2 (g/km) 99 Fuel efficiency (mpg) 65.7 Max speed (mph) 125 0-62mph (sec) 8.3 Test mpg 46.2 Current mileage 6,766

IS 300h is achieving 20mpg below official fuel economy figure

LEXUS IS 300H Is disappointment over hybrid's fuel economy misplaced? By Sarah Tooze hat real-world fuel economy should you expect from a petrol hybrid like the Lexus IS 300h? I feel that 20mpg below the official figure is disappointing. But reader Rob Chisholm, from Applewood Vehicle Finance, has given me food for thought. He suggests that 45.3mpg (the fuel economy I was achieving at the time of my last report in February) isn’t a poor return, considering that the IS 300h runs cheaper fuel than its rivals (petrol is currently around seven pence a litre less than diesel).

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For more IS 300h road tests CLICK HERE ��

Ignition March 2014 fleetnews.co.uk

He has a point, particularly as the price of petrol has just fallen to a three-year low. His comment prompted me to look at the official figures of the IS 300h’s key diesel rivals. The Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI AMG Sport auto, for example, quotes 56.5mpg. That’s nearly 10mpg below the IS 300h’s 65.7mpg and the C-Class’s power output of 204bhp isn’t far off the Lexus’ combined output. The BMW 3 Series also doesn’t match the IS 300h. The 325d SE auto has a combined figure of 61.4mpg, although it is more powerful than the IS 300h and the C250 with 215hp. Bear in mind that both the C-Class and the 3 Series will

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

attract a 3% benefit-in-kind diesel supplement. Their higher CO2 emissions will have an impact on personal taxation and the employers’ National Insurance Contribution too. So perhaps I am being too harsh on the Lexus. It’s also worth pointing out that my daily commute is mostly on the A1 – not the ideal type of road for a hybrid, which are better suited to urban environments. Magazine What Car? drove more than 160 new cars in 2013 to capture true fuel economy data and they achieved 59.6mpg in the Lexus IS 300h. That’s 13mpg more than I’m achieving and shows that I should expect better.


COSTS

1.61 I-DT EC SE-T

P11D price £25,770 BIK tax band 18% Annual BIK tax (20%) £928 Class 1A NIC £640 Annual VED £30 RV (4yr/80k) £7,353/28% Fuel cost (ppm) 9.92 AFR (ppm) 14 Running cost (4yr/80k) 36.56ppm

SPEC Our test CR-V has CO2 emissions of 119g/km

HONDA CR-V Downsized engine doesn’t compromise performance By Gareth Roberts t’s easy to assume that matching a 1.6-litre diesel engine with an SUV results in sluggish performance, but don’t make that mistake with the CR-V. It may be a tad slower getting from 0-62mph than some of its rivals, but not to the extent that I want to cut a hole in the floor to give it a Flintstone-style performance boost. The CR-V features the same lightweight 1.6-litre engine found in the Civic. It comprises an aluminium cylinder head joined to an open deck aluminium block, which means it weighs 47kg less than the 2.2-litre engine it replaced in the Civic. Of course, the CR-V retains the 2.2 i-DTEC option.

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All the individual components have been redesigned to minimise their weight and size and advanced production techniques have helped reduce weight even further. It all adds up to CO2 emissions of 119g/km, equating to an 18% benefit-in-kind rate for a 20% taxpayer, while achieving 0-62mph in 11.2 seconds. Mazda, which has embraced the weight-saving ethos through its Skyactiv technology, unsurprisingly trumps the CR-V with the 2.2-litre diesel CX-5. CO2 emissions are the same at 119g/km, but the Mazda takes 9.2 seconds to get from 0-62mph – two seconds less than the CR-V. Both the CR-V and CX-5 compare well to the 2.0-litre diesel BMW

Engine (cc) Power (hp) Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec) Test mpg Current mileage

1,597 120 221 119 62.8 113 11.2 51.3 6,226

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

X3, which has emissions of 135g/km and accelerates from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds. Again, the X3 is slightly quicker from a standing start than the Honda, but that’s not to say that driving the CR-V leaves you somehow short-changed. It has performed well both on the motorway and in town, but perhaps there is one downside to the 1.6-litre variant and that’s fuel economy. The temptation is to try and claw back performance by working the engine harder. That has the potential to detract from the official combined 62.8mpg.

For more CR-V road tests CLICK HERE �� fleetnews.co.uk March 2014 Ignition


OUR F L EE T

LONG -T ERM T E S T S

COSTS

2 .0 T D CI ZE T EC AW D

P11D price £23,665 BIK tax band 25% Annual BIK tax (20%) £1,183 Class 1A NIC £816 Annual VED £175 RV (4yr/80k) £8,831/37% Fuel cost (ppm) 13 AFR (ppm) 14 Running cost (4yr/80k) 36.42ppm

SPEC The Kuga is a comfortable car to ride in

FORD KUGA Otherwise impressive SUV lacks the wow factor By Luke Neal leet News's sister publication AM recently quoted Ford of Britain marketing director Anthony Ireson as saying: "There is a growing market for people who don’t value style so much, but what they do want is space and durability at a good price. A vehicle that fits a reality rather than a dream.” In this instance, he was referring to the Ford Tourneo Connect, but perhaps the same could be said for the Kuga. It is certainly well-built, with far superior quality than its predecessor which, in parts, felt somewhat cheaply built.

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For more Kuga road tests CLICK HERE �� Ignition March 2014 fleetnews.co.uk

However, the beefed-up 'Ford Focus on steroids' look of the earlier model has been lost in translation with the current design. Instead, the current car is relatively nondescript and often doesn’t get a second look from passers-by. That’s not to say it isn’t a good car, because it definitely is. Its handling is precise, comfort levels are high, equipment levels are good and the average 42mpg fuel economy I’m achieving is acceptable (just). It does everything I want it to, except leave any lasting memory. One thing I have found frustrating on our Zetec model is the lack of automatic headlights – they are available as part of the optional £1,000 Driver Assistance

Engine (cc) Power (hp) Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec) Test mpg Current mileage

1,997 140 251 139 53.3 118 10.6 42 8,893

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

Pack, which also includes Active City Stop, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Keeping Aid and automatic windscreen wipers. Maybe it’s just what I have become used to and it's simply a re-adjustment needed on my part, but there have been a couple of occasions when I've driven at night in street-lit areas for up to three or four minutes before I've realised the headlights aren't on. The confusion has come as when you start the car all the dashboard lights come on, along with the daytime running lights, which can give the impression that the dipped beams are on too. Automatic headlights are standard on the Titanium and higher trim levels.


COSTS

2 . 2D SP OR T N AV

P11D price £22,090 BIK tax band 16% Annual BIK tax (20%) £707 Class 1A NIC £488 Annual VED £0 then £20 RV (4yr/80k) £6,310/29% Fuel cost (ppm) 9 AFR (ppm) 17 Running cost (4yr/80k) 34.13ppm

SPEC Engine (cc) Power (hp) Torque (lb-ft) CO2 (g/km) Fuel efficiency (mpg) Max speed (mph) 0-62mph (sec) Test mpg Current mileage

Our Mazda3 has CO2 emissions of 107g/km

MAZDA 3 Skyactiv technology makes hatchback tempting proposition By Simon Harris he Mazda range, in case you hadn’t noticed, is undergoing a transformation thanks to advanced lightweight technology. The new CX-5 was introduced in 2012, with the latest Mazda6 arriving on our shores in January 2013. The Mazda3 was next in line and the car arrived at the start of the year. Mazda’s Skyactiv technology meant a clean sheet of paper, with a new lightweight construction for the body, engine and gearbox. Our 2.2D Sport Nav variant has a 150hp version of the Skyactiv diesel engine, which perhaps is a little over-endowed for most fleets seeking a lower-medium

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car, but Mazda announced this month that a smaller 1.5-litre diesel engine is on the way. Even with the 2.2-litre, CO2 emissions of 107g/km are among the best in the sector. A 150hp Volkswagen Golf GT TDI has CO2 emissions of 106g/km. But it also shows that in the two years that Mazda has pinned its colours to the Skyactiv mast, developing unique technology, other manufacturers have caught up quickly. Our Mazda3 has the optional safety pack fitted (£700), as well as metallic paint (£530) and black leather interior (£1,000), bringing the P11D value of the car as tested to £24,200. Perhaps a little steep for a lower-medium hatchback.

2,184 150 280 107 58.9 125 9.7 51 3,265

*Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)

However, if you take a Golf GT TDI 150 five-door and add equipment to take it to the level of the Mazda as tested you wouldn’t get much change from £30,000. What’s more, the safety pack has some pretty useful features for £700, including lane departure warning, automatic highbeam assistance and rearvehicle monitoring which warns of cars approaching when the driver wants to change lanes. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, Bose audio upgrade and head-up display. Serious omissions? No DAB, not even as an option.

For more Mazda3 road tests CLICK HERE �� fleetnews.co.uk March 2014 Ignition


A D V ICE

F UEL P RICE S

For full UK fuel price figures CLICK HERE ��

6

8

13

1 BIRMINGHAM Diesel 135.57 Unleaded 129.08 LPG 64*

6 EDINBURGH Diesel 134.43 Unleaded 127.9 LPG 71.9

2 BRIGHTON Diesel 134.33* Unleaded 128.49 LPG N/A

7 EXETER Diesel 136.7 Unleaded 129.3 LPG N/A

3 CAMBRIDGE Diesel 137.88** Unleaded 130.03** LPG 72.9**

8 GLASGOW Diesel 134.5 Unleaded 127.68 LPG N/A

4 CARDIFF Diesel 134.72 Unleaded 127.17 LPG N/A

9 LEEDS Diesel 136.63 Unleaded 129.88 LPG 71.9

5 DERBY Diesel 136.9 Unleaded 129.9 LPG 69.8

10 LIVERPOOL Diesel 135.5 Unleaded 128.19 LPG N/A 11 LONDON Diesel 134.93 Unleaded 127.82 LPG N/A

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10 12

5 1 4 7

14 3 11 2

12 MANCHESTER Diesel 136.23 Unleaded 128.79 LPG 70.9 13 NEWCASTLE Diesel 135.48 Unleaded 128.87 LPG N/A 14 NORWICH Diesel 134.35 Unleaded 126.98* LPG N/A * Cheapest ** Most expensive

Ignition March 2014 fleetnews.co.uk


Ignition March 2014