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L L O R A N O star to t se on ag w ts or sp ew n ’s ia K

Edited by Mike Torpey

BEST OF BRITISH

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It’s a fabulous grand tourer – 150 grand, to be exact

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DACIA ON WAY TO UK

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pages of new & used motors

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REMARKABLE blend of power and economy is about to put the latest offering from Kia at the front of the compact estate market with a car in which we have just managed to average an

astonishing 85 miles per gallon. Undercutting diesel estates from Ford and Vauxhall the Kia cee’d Sportswagon is good enough to become a benchmark for company car drivers and families

seeking a practical all-rounder. It’s priced from £16,895 for a 1.4-litre model which has competitively low emissions and is protected by Kia’s seven-year 100,000

● Turn to Page 8

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2 MOTORS

Friday, September 21, 2012

★★★★

MERSEYSIDE LIKES

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MOTORS 3

Friday, September 21, 2012

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4 MOTORS

Friday, September 21, 2012

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Bargain Dacia arrives in UK B

UDGET brand Dacia has pulled the wraps from its new Sandero supermini ahead of a debut at next week’s Paris Motor Show. The Sandero, seen as a rival to the Ford Fiesta and likely to have a sub-£7,000 price tag, will join the much awaited Duster SUV in a bid to woo cash-strapped buyers. Dacia, owned by Renault and Europe’s fastest-growing automotive brand since 2004, has sold a Sandero for the past four years, though it has not been available in the UK. But with right-hand drive models about to roll off the Romanian production line, the car is set to make its mark in Britain from January next year. Dacia says the second-generation Sandero will showcase a more modern, upmarket look with wide headlights, prominent wheel arches and sculpted waistline, and extensive chrome in the cabin. Prices and spec will be announced in Paris. Meanwhile the Duster is being billed as the SUV for supermini money and £8,995 will secure buyers a two-wheel drive version, while the all-wheel drive model becomes the UK’s most affordable new 4x4 at £10,995. Also on sale in

by MIKE TORPEY January, the plan is to offer a simple three trim level Duster line-up of Access, Ambiance and Laureate, in both 4x2 and 4x4 guises, though Dacia expects most to be flagship grade. And that means the likes of alloy wheels, air-con, electric windows and mirrors, leather steering wheel and trip computer. A choice of two Renault engines – a 1.6-litre 105bhp petrol for entry level Dusters and a 1.5-litre 110bhp diesel for the upper two trim levels – is available and 4x4 versions can be specified with either unit. The former gives fuel economy of 39.8 mpg (35.5 in 4x4) and CO2 emissions of 165g/km (185g/km 4x4), while the diesel offers 130g/km in 4x2 models and 137 in 4x4 along with a 56.5mpg fuel figure (53.3 in 4x4). In addition to space for five, the car’s boot gives a 475-litre space – 408 litres in 4x4 with spare wheel – while optimum load capacity once the rear seats are dropped climbs to a useful 1,636 litres. Options are limited to just ASR traction control and ESC on diesel-engined versions for £350, and metallic paint.

ECONOMY: The new Dacia Senderos is likely to be one of the cheapest new cars available when prices are announced at the Paris Motor Show


★★★★

Friday, September 21, 2012

roadtest

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G

LIDE effortlessly off the slip road in a Bentley Continental GTC and the last car you might expect to see first on a near deserted motorway is another Bentley convertible. Talk about rubbing your eyes for a double take, this one wasn’t just the same model – it even had the same gun-metal grey paint job. Weird coincidences apart, this new Conti convertible is an attention-grabber supreme and represents British grand touring at its sumptuous best. The first question asked by most folk is ‘what does it cost?’ followed by ‘can you justify spending almost £150,000 on a car?’ Well not to put too fine a point on it, I stepped straight from the Bentley into a Range Rover and the GTC overshadowed one of the finest cars around. That’s how good the Bentley is, it’s a masterpiece of engineering and hand-crafted luxury. Taking its design cues from its GT coupe stablemate, the soft-top looks both sporty, with 20-inch wheels as standard, and distinguished. And as if it wasn’t already supremely refined, Bentley has raised the stakes by improving almost every aspect of the car. Soft leather hides, in this case featuring cobra-style seats, wood veneers, cool-touch metals and deep-pile carpets are all there beneath a fabric roof that creates poetry in motion as it raises or lowers in 20 seconds. With acoustic glass and

by MIKE TORPEY under-body panels in place, exterior noise is completely isolated and if the hood is down, how about a Bentley-designed neck warmer with three power settings for when there’s a chill in the air? Bentley says that interior space is better than before and while driver and front seat passenger have all the room they could wish for, things aren’t quite so ideal in rear where the two individual seats are only suitable for children due to the insufficient legroom. Out on the road, a wider track, sharper steering and retuned suspension ensure a magnificent driving experience and the car’s all-wheel drive now has a 40:60 rear torque bias – compared to 50:50 on the original GTC – to minimise understeer and let you manage the Bentley’s line and balance through throttle control. Power is via a 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder petrol engine producing 567bhp through a new six-speed QuickShift transmission from the Continental Supersports and halving shift times to 200 milliseconds, so performance is thunderous. While it’s empowering to know this volcanic capability is beneath the bonnet, the beauty of the GTC is to cruise gracefully and luxuriously, preferably with the top down, happy in the knowledge that you’re in the car everyone is looking at. Then all you need is for someone to make those all-too-regular trips to the filling station for you.

MOTORS 5

Continental cracker

ATTENTION-GRABBER: The new Bentley Continetal GTC W12 represents British grand touring at its sumptuous best

SpecCheck MAKE: Bentley MODEL Continental GTC W12 ENGINE: 6.0-litre, 48-valve petrol POWER: 567bhp at 6,000rpm PERFORMANCE: 0-60 in 4.5 secs, top speed 195mph ECONOMY: 11.1mpg Urban, 24.9 Extra Urban, 17.1

Combined CO2 EMISSIONS: 384g/km BiK RATING: 35% INSURANCE: Group 50 PRICE: £149,350 on the road WHAT’S HOT: Performance,

precision, comfort, status WHAT’S NOT: Tight space in rear RATINGS (out of five):

LOOKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RIDE AND HANDLING . . . . PERFORMANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . VALUE FOR MONEY . . . . . . .

5 5 5 5 5


6 MOTORS

Friday, September 21, 2012

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★★★★

Friday, September 21, 2012

MOTORS 7


8 MOTORS

Friday, September 21, 2012

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THE first example of Mercedes’ new E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid model to arrive in the UK set out on an economy run with a twist – to prove that driving fun and efficiency can be combined. The drive started on the main runway at Newquay Cornwall Airport – the most southern active airport in mainland Britain - where the car accelerated from 0-62 mph in 7.5 seconds before achieving a top speed of 136 mph. It was then driven normally the 830-miles north to Scotland’s Wick Airport where the E 300 hit 120mph down the runway, which was 911 metres shorter than at Newquay. Over a distance of 830 miles and two days the car returned economy of 67.3mpg and still had a quarter of a tank of fuel left, giving it a theoretical range in excess of 1,100 miles.

THE seventh ● different model to emerge

from the expanding MINI stable will hit the streets next March in the shape of the new Paceman model. Styled as a coupe version of the Countryman it will come in four variants including as a MINI Cooper S Paceman with 0-62mph acceleration of 7.5 seconds, and cost from £18,970. It will sell alongside the Hatch, Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Coupe and Roadster, and comes with a choice of two 1.6-litre petrol and a pair of 1.6-litre diesel engines, all with a six-speed manual gearbox, or the optional six-speed automatic.

POWER AND ECONOMY: The new Kia cee’d Sportswagon is good enough to become a benchmark for company car drivers and families

Wagon on a roll as Kia scales new heights ● From Page 1 mile warranty. With such credentials it is little surprise that Kia is confident its new estate will be a hit with business users who are expected to snap up 70 per cent of production. Only diesels are available and of the seven Sportswagon models in the line-up it’s the 1.4 base version which is most impressive. On a 100-mile run through the mountains of Slovakia to Kia’s European factory in Zilina we managed to clock up an average of 85.5mpg according to the car’s onboard computer. That was with careful driving to get the best from the 89bhp engine and it exceeded the official 67.7mpg economy figure by more than 20 per cent extending the theoretical range to more than 1,000 miles on a single tank. Even other cars driven more briskly to the factory where the Sportswagon is built alongside Kia’s cee’d hatch and Sportage SUV

by CHRIS RUSSON managed to return fuel figures in the 60s – and these were brand new vehicles with tight engines having covered only a few hundred miles. Such economy gives the cee’d Sportswagon terrific potential and there is an impressive amount of pulling power in any of the six gears. It may be only a 1.4-litre engine but it delivers almost as much clout as the 1.6-litre diesel used in all other versions of the Sportswagon. Top speed is a claimed 106mph and 0-60 takes around 13.4 seconds and with a stop/start system as standard it copes with traffic as economically as it cruises on motorways. Emissions are rated at 109g/km which for the private buyer means an annual road tax charge of just £20 after the first 12 months. The estate has kept plenty of the good looks from the second generation cee’d hatch and it’s a car which looks

sleek and low slung, living up to its Sportswagon name. As medium sized estates go it is nicely practical and has a wide load floor delivering 528 litres of space – bigger than its key competitors in the shape of the Focus and Astra estates. The Sportswagon has additional storage under the boot floor and a cargo organiser is available to secure items on the move. Fold down the rear seats and capacity increases to 1,642 litres which is more than you get in Volvo’s king-sized V70. Although it is the base

model the 1.4 CRDi Sportswagon comes with a surprising amount of kit including air-con and Bluetooth while the interior has a smart dashboard. It is also well thought out and user friendly with a deep centre console, cup holders and a cooled glovebox. Roof rails and hill start are also standard. There are four trim levels in the Sportswagon range and on all but the entry level versions the power steering has variable settings which gives the car a little more feel.

LOOKING GOOD: Rear view of the Kia cee’d Sportswagon

An automatic is available in trim level 2 priced from £20,395 while sat-nav is standard on the next grade up at £21,095. The top range 4 Tech has leather upholstery, panoramic glass roof, an auto parking system and lane departure alerts and costs £24,795. The 1.6-litre diesel with 126bhp on tap is slightly livelier but a touch less economical averaging a claimed 64.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 116g/km. The auto box increases fuel consumption to 50.4 and pushes emissions to 149g/km. Realistically the 1.4-litre Sportswagon 1 does all that is needed and while it may not have some of the level of equipment of some of the higher grade versions it is the cheapest of the bunch by some margin – and in this day and age that’s what matters. Kia is a brand going places with sales this year of more than 40,000 vehicles – and with models like the Sportswagon setting new standards it’s easy to see why.


Liverpool Echo Motors - 21st September 2012