Jaguar kindly sent me one of their E-Pace SUVs to try out for a week so I could report back to you guys and give you some honest thoughts.Read More
I recently received an email from the folks over at Hyundai asking if they could send me a car to test out for a week. My week with the IONIQ has just come to an end so I thought I’d get a post together letting you know the good and bad of Hyundai’s new hybrid model.Read More
So much more than ‘one for the girls’
This right here is the 2016 New Fiat 500. Recently the folks from Fiat got in touch and asked if they could send me a car to drive around for a week. On the proviso that there wasn't a pastel colour in sight, I agreed! Now, don't get me wrong, I was super dubious that the Fiat 500 might be deemed as slightly feminine but comfortable with my masculinity, I put it to the test over a week long period.
For 2016 the Fiat 500 has made like Jeremy Clarkson and got punchy. We’re talking redesigned headlights and brake lights, new colour and sticker options, and a naughty little turbo engine…you’re going to be seriously impressed. The model I was sent is the range-topping Fiat 500 Lounge - this came with their clever little twin cylinder engine, the TwinAir is a 900cc roughty petrol engine that has more bang for its buck than you'd imagine. I was sceptical about the power the car would have, especially when you look under the bonnet and see just how dinky that little TwinAir engine is…however thanks to a whole lotta turbo, the 500 has bags of power.
The car is extremely responsive to drive, when your right foot hits the floor it really does rocket…whilst this is a huge selling point, for me it also comes with a huge negative. Whilst the speed is great, the engine is extremely loud, initially you would just see it as part of the vintage charm…but seriously, it’s annoying. Even the loudest radio setting would struggle to cover the noise and your conversation turns into a shouting match over the loud grumbling engine.
Anyway, let’s head inside the car. I’m really impressed by the overall size and feel of the car interior, I am around 6 foot 2 in height and pretty broad across the shoulders, even though I'm tall, it doesn't feel cramped at all, plus thanks to the clever placing of the gearstick, you wont be accidentally changing great with your passengers knee…that’s a whole other car share!
There’s a simple to navigate 5” touchscreen infotainment system with full bluetooth and aux-in meaning this truly is a stylishly connected car and you can have the latest music on the go. Surprisingly there’s rear parking sensors which for such a diddy car, you wouldn't imagine would be a standard feature on the model…I guess they come in handy, buy being a dab hand at parking, I saw them as a somewhat non-necessity. Inside there’s also height-adjustable seats which help to get a nice and comfortable ride, I would say that the height adjusting lever and handbrake are not only the same shape…but also are dangerously close and numerous times instead of stopping, I ended up 2 inches closer to the roof - perhaps a slight design flaw.
Fiat are treating the 500 like a fashion collection, which is actually a pretty cool way to look at a car in my eyes. The ‘second skin’ is a vinyl sticker, this season they have 6 different options, the car that I was sent has the camouflage second skin…this in my eyes is surprisingly the biggest thing wrong with the car.
So, they look relatively cool these second skins, however a thought came into my mind one day…how long do they last? They’re a vinyl sticker so surely they will degrade and peel at some point? I noticed on the car I was sent which I would guess is maximum 6 months old, that many of the individual camo stickers starting to peel, personally if I was spending an additional £460 for the second skin, I’d want it to be sticking around for a pretty long time. Also, after these have peeled off, what is the next step? I’m not personally too sure, but if I bought a Fiat 500, I’d just go for a standard paint colour and avoid the stickers.
So, you’re probably thinking that this is all well and good, but let’s talk cash. For this model you’re looking at just over £13,800 basic retail, on top of that you’ve then got the stickers and any additional extras you might want to add. It’s not a cheap car, so is it worth it?
In my opinion it’s a great little car, it’s nippy and perfect for a small family, I’d even quite happily do a longer journey in it. The quality inside the car seems really good, the finishes are nice and whilst they’re plastic, the gloss is nice to the touch and really easily cleaned, again, perfect for having kids in the car! Outside it looks great, especially in black it gives it a really sporty, beefed up look…on the flip side if you’re looking for something cute and colourful, this is also the car for you with a huge house of colours, it’s really quite impressive!
If you had to choose between the Fiat 500 and its rival, the Mini I’d outright say the winner is the 500, the Mini looks tired and dated with complete lack of thought, especially next to the fun, vibrant little 500 - there’s been some thought behind it, it’s an icon that’s easily adapted to suit modern times…and you’ve really got to give kudos to Fiat for that. Overall it was actually a really fun week driving around in the 500, not only is it economical and really nippy…it’s pretty comfortable and stylish, too!
You can find out more and configure your New Fiat 500 by clicking here!
Overview of The Car: A stylish and comfortable car available with a wide variety of engines and 2 or 4 wheel drive options. Great for long journeys, chocked full of gadgets and tech that help to make it a good contender in the ever-growing SUV market.
The folks over at Hyundai UK got in touch recently and asked if I wanted to zoom around in one of their motors…naturally that got a big old yes and they sent me their super sexy SUV, the Hyundai Tucson Premium SE 2.0 CRDi 185PS.
The Tucson has made a bold return to the UK, with the model name last gracing an SUV in 2009 - which was then replaced by the ix35. After a few years of rest, Hyundai have brought back the Tucson better than ever to sit just below its sibling, the larger Santa Fe…it’s even pinched some of the Santa Fe’s sleek and imposing styling features.
The Tucson Premium SE model I have been driving is pretty much everything you could need in a luxury SUV right now and it certainly throws down the gauntlet when it comes to features. It boasts a huge panoramic sunroof, a simple to navigate 8” entertainment and nav system and it can even parallel park for you. It’s basically got everything you could want to use, plus just a little bit more. There’re so many cars in the Tucson's category that it needs to compete with such as the Honda CR-V and the Ford Kuga but I really think it holds its own - it’s big, it’s comfortable and the choice of manual or auto, 2 or 4 wheel drive plus 10 different paint options makes sure it’ll suit a wide variety of people…plus it’s got a really great look, the big headlights and bold lines are sure to get you noticed.
The convenience additions to this model come as standard, the reversing camera and front and rear sensors help you slot this beast into the tightest of spaces without scratching it, it’s got a fantastically spacious power-assisted boot which is perfect for when your hands are full, plus the lack of any lip makes it easy to slide larger items in and out! In the cabin, there’s plenty of headroom and leg room, even if you’re gangly and tall like myself, the back of the car also has plenty of room which is more than spacious enough for three additional adults, the Premium SE has heated seats throughout, even in the back which means no more moans of being cold again.
Okay, so that’s all well and good but what’s going on under the bonnet? The model I was given has a high-powered 2.0 litre engine with an auto transmission - it’s great for long journeys and pulls the car pretty well, I was, however getting infuriated with the auto’s kick down feature which proved on many occasions to be laggy enough to deter you from overtaking, because you just don't feel confident that you’re going to get that boost of acceleration that you need. Whilst on the negatives, the dash finish should be much smoother, it feels and sounds like a cheap moulded plastic, from a car of this quality you’d expect something with a better finish. If you’re going to be having kids in the back then power sockets are a must…unfortunately whilst the Tucson is equipped with two in the front, there’s lack of any sockets in the back which to me seems like a huge oversight for a car of this calibre.
In general, it’s a nice car - it’s got a nice steady suspension so you don't feel like you’re bouncing your way down the road. The drive is relatively smooth and comfortable and you’ve got a host of great features and additions that are sure to impress. It’s a bit laggy when you go to pull away and that can be seriously annoying. The overall quality inside the cabin is good, whilst the dash could be better, the feel of the seats, the buttons and the touch screen display are all actually pretty good premium quality.
Would I buy it?
I definitely think I would buy the Tucson myself - overall it’s an impressive car. Prices start from £18,995 for the very base model…I would likely go for one of the higher spec models to get some of the extra gadgetry. The Premium SE model that I was given is priced at a pretty whopping £32,695 OTR and depending on the amount of cash I have, I might even opt for the slightly cheaper top of the range, fully loaded Ford Kuga Titanium X Sport.