Low spec, day in day out – real life in other words
In theory this is a mid-sized saloon. In reality it’s like a superior take on the MPV, the multi-purpose vehicle. That makes it sound practical and worthy and perhaps a bit dull. Which is what you might think when you look the car over.
The cabin is verging on the bland in shades of grey. The wheels look small and uninteresting and the whole package seems to have designed as a stake-out car that nobody would notice. Even the cheery Corrida Red paint doesn’t make much of a difference apart from lightening your wallet by £195.
But if you get beyond the looks there are treasures to behold. Let’s start in the front, it’s a very good place to start. It’s so comfy. The seats are big and welcoming and there’s loads of adjustment for seats and steering wheel so you’re bound to find the position for you.
Sit in the rear and you’ll want to stay there as there’s even more room than in the front. Sumptuous is the word. Then you open the boot. The boot floor is low so you can stack stuff deep and high without even troubling the parcel shelf. It’s actually got more practical space than an MPV like a Renault Scenic. It’s easy to access through that wide-opening rear door too.
So those MPV claims stack up. But in some ways this isn’t one. For a start it’s actually quite enjoyable to drive. The move away from diesel is made all the easier by using this 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It’s smooth, sweet, torquey and quite powerful enough.
The 148bhp it makes means a rush to 62mph in a very respectable 8.6 seconds and you could go on to 140mph should circumstances allow. While performance is good, and delivery impressively smooth, what we really like is the frugality of the whole thing. With a lot of driving being around the suburbs and city, often with a load of gear on board, you wouldn’t expect good consumption.
But overall, with some decent long-distance work to add to the mix, we’ve managed an average of 47mpg over the last month. Granted the official figure is 54.3mpg but for one thing we know those figures are not realistic and for another we reckon we could get the average up if we spent more time out of built-up areas. As it is, that’s a damn fine figure, and one that, just coincidentally, almost exactly matches that of the Renault Scenic with a diesel engine we had.
For a saloon car, this makes a mighty fine multi-purpose vehicle.
Price £19,530; Price as tested £20,700; Miles covered 6300; Official Economy 54.3mp;g Test economy47.0mpg; Options fitted Amundsen touchscreen satellite navigation system with WiFi (£800), Special paint (£195), Temporary steel spare wheel (£100), Textile floor mats (£75)