Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Club 3 Door Hatchback
Before I write this review I feel I should warn you that I am not a petrol-head. If you ask me what car I have my normal response is it is blue! I am a busy mummy so my opinions are based upon this. This corsa is a 1.2 engine which really didn't mean anything to me when I bought the car. Now I know that it means that it is a ... car that likes to plod and is hopeless to pull out on the motorway. Oh how I wish for a nippier car! At the moment the car costs about £42 to fill up this is just before the dial is in the red. I feel that it is quite good for petrol usage but then most my journeys are in the local area being a mummy taxi service!
There is plenty of space in on the back seat for three passengers. I often have two car seats in the back and can easily fit an adult in the middle. In each corner of the back seat there is a cup-holder which has come in handy for holding my son's water bottle. The front seats slide forward easily via a handle under the front seats and the back of the chair slopes forward via the handle on the side of the chair making it easy for passengers to get in.
The front seats are comfy although I do find it awkward to adjust. In the door there are great sized pockets which I use for all my maps. The drivers door also has buttons to open/close both front windows. I love this as I hate having the wind blowing in on me when I drive so if I have no passenger I can open the opposite window. You can also adjust the side mirrors from a button which is helpful.
The steering wheel and the dials are as you would expect in any car. There is a very useful alarm that warns you if a door is open. The alarm also sounds if the drivers seat belt is not done up which I do find irritating as when I am parking in a difficult space I sometimes find it easier without a belt on. On the steering wheel there are easy controls for the music system so you do not need to fiddle.
The central control section is where you will find the cd player, radio and sockets for plugging in your iPod. This is also where the controls for the fan can be found. One annoyance with this car is that we are on our third heating/ fan system. It is lovely to have air-conditioning as our last car did not have this luxury.
There is a large glove compartment but sadly ours broke.
The boot easily opens and is split into two sections via a removable shelf. This is great if you always carry around bits and bobs that you want hidden away. In the end we had to remove the shelf as our pram did not fit in it with the shelf still in. The back seats can be pushed flat if you need to collect or carry large objects.
I paid £5600 for our car when it was three years old with a two year warranty. I bought this from a Vauxhall garage and regret buying the car from there but it has taught me a lot about what I want from my next car. . . . .a pink fast one!
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I absolutely adore cars and since having two children, I've struggled to find a car that I love to drive. Over the last few years we seem to have gone through more cars than hot dinners, there was the Golf, the Megane, then the C4, then the C5 and all in the space of a few short years. When my husband got a promotion around November time ... last year we decided that we were going to buy a car that we wanted rather than one we had chosen because it seemed a good deal. We had skirted around the idea of a 4x4 however going from a C5 (a saloon) we didn't want one that was overly large, so we began looking at Qashqai's. I like my cars to look beefy (hope you know what I mean!), and so we decided that the Qashqai DCI N-tec was the best option. With its rear tinted windows, its huge 19 " alloys and its overall sporty look it looks the part without costing the earth.
The manual six speed car is smooth and comfortable to drive, with a top speed of 118mph it's not the fastest car on the road, or the fastest car I've driven but it's surprisingly quick given its size. As opposed to buying a 2.0 engine, the salesman actually recommended buying the 1.6 with 130 bhp, it is actually comparable to the 2.0 but offering better economy (31%) and 23% lower emissions, which makes the road tax the relatively cheap price of £170 for the year.
Aside from adoring everything about this car, my favourite thing is the panoramic glass roof which mechanically slides back effortlessly and with complete grace at the touch of a button. I did rather stupidly ask the salesman if it opened too, to which he replied that if it did the glass roof would be dangling somewhere near the exhaust pipe, oh yeah! To get the best out of this nifty little extra, you really need to be sat in the back of the car as you don't get the full panoramic view in the front. Just last weekend we happened to drive passed Leeds Bradford Airport as a plane was landing and it was just about to touch down when it flew right over the car, luckily the glass roof was open and it was amazing to look up and see the plane literally right over our heads! We find this a godsend too when we are on long journeys as in an evening we can get the girls to look for shooting stars, and during the day they can look at the patterns in the clouds. It often makes them fall asleep which is quite cute! They glass is tinted so no worries about the glare from the sun. It does however, heat the car quickly in hot weather so surprisingly you may find yourself closing it on really hot days. We are having a problem with our air conditioning at the moment, and at a service this week the technician said that there was nothing wrong with it and that Qashqai's only cool to 6 degrees. I don't know what the average is, but I'm suspecting that from the way he said it, other cars reach cooler temperatures.
Other features that just add to the car are several cup holders (in our last car, Citroen C5, we did not have 1, not 1, cup holder!) including two in the centre, one in each of the 4 doors and two in the fold down arm rest in the rear seats.
My next favourite feature includes the 5 inch screen in the centre console above the radio. This turns into a touch screen sat nav and doubles up as a rear parking system with the camera hidden just above the number plate. When the sat nav isn't being used, it displays the song you are playing either through the radio or MP3. The USB connecter in the centre console is handy for when your phone is running low, it will actually charge it but play your songs at the same time, but the Bluetooth connecter kicks in automatically (after you've initially linked your phone when you first get the car) each time you get in the car and will instantly play your music. The handsfree phone kit has been a godsend and I often through my bag in the boot with my phone, will forget its there until my car starts singing a nokia style ring tone to me alerting me that someone is calling. A simple touch of an accept call button and you are talking handsfree. I wasn't certain as to how clear it would be for people to hear me, however when I have the girls in the back of the car with me, they regularly ask to ring Grandma and she can easily hear what they are saying despite them being in the back.
The electronic folding door mirrors give it that extra touch of simplistic luxury, and the alert system quickly alerts you to doors not shut properly and / or passengers not wearing seatbelts. My one and only niggle I have with this car is the alert system is almost too sensitive. I regularly throw my handbag on the passenger seat as it's a light colour and I don't want it on the floor, but the alert system often thinks someone is sat on the seat without wearing a belt. I only have a small handbag and literally carry my purse and a hairbrush in it so it can't weigh very much at all! This forces me to put my bag in the boot but this has been annoying when I've needed my purse at the car wash or recently when I drove through the Starbucks / Krispy Kreme drive through and had to get out to get my bag : /
Safety features to expect include anti-lock brakes and electronic stability, and rear door child locks.
I said I only had one niggle about this car but I've just realised one tiny other one... The key for the car does not retract in or out (something which our last one did), so the serrated metal part of the key sticks out. Watch the lining of your bag ladies, and your pockets men!
Our first (but the cars second) service was only this week and was the eye watering £310. The service was carried out a Nissan dealership and they suggested I take out a service plan to avoid having to fork out the even more expensive 3rd service next year. For £27 a month our next two services and its first MOT due next year will be covered. We should have considered this option when we first bought the car. The service didn't pick up any faults with the car and all I noticed was that the handbrake was much much tighter (almost too tight for my skinny little arms!).
We purchased our car in November last year. An '11 plate with 7,000 miles on the clock set us back £14,500, with the new list price being a fairly big jump up to £23,000. We went to the Nissan garage with the intention of buying new, but surprisingly it was the salesman who talked us out of it, saying we would be mad to spend £8.5k more for the sake of 18 months and 7,000 miles. I'm so glad we listened to him now, although it would have been interesting to see what deals they could have done for us on PPI. For larger families, the Qashqai +2 (a 7 seater), isn't drastically much more.
For the purpose of this review (I'm so good to you!), I let the tank run to fumes so I could find out how much it costs to fill the Diesel engine. It cost me £78 yesterday and as I mentioned this was practically running on fumes. I think yesterdays fuel price was around £1.35. Around time I get around 38-41 mpg and on long distance motorway journeys this can jump to between 40-46. Nissan claims average fuel efficiency of 57.6 mpg -- 68.9 mpg when cruising and 44.8 mpg around town, but I haven't ever had fuel efficiency readings like this (perhaps this may have something to do with my lead foot?!).
Voted the ninth best-selling car in the UK in 2010, there have been over a million sales since it went on sale in 2007.
Road tax: £170 for the year.
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Ford Galaxy 2012 TDCi Zetec
In the 2 months, I've had the pleasure, no wait, the honour of driving the most magnificent car I have ever had the chance to get my greasy hands on! Due to work commitments and the company being the fantastic guys they are, myself and a few co-workers have had the opportunity to drive the new Ford Galaxy Zetec Diesel up and down the ... country and basically use it at our own disposal (for company related reasons I mean). Now I get to drive a lot of new cars around the place and nothing really makes much of an impression as much as this new Galaxy has on me, so I thought it was due a review.
I've previously reviewed my own bought Ford Focus 2003 Zetec Diesel which I thought was an outstanding car and Ford really hit the nail on the head with those generation of cars. However having done my research after driving the Galaxy, I've noticed that I've failed to realise the obvious fact that Ford have not only hit the nail, but put up a whole shelf in the last 10 years since my Focus was developed! The Galaxy I'd say is a fantastic representation of their efforts!
---History of the Galaxy---
Now if you're stuck in the past like myself, you'd be thinking of the old Mk1 Galaxy made between '95 and 2000 as well as the slight facelift added to the 2000 - 2006 Galaxy, nothing to eye catching and basically looks like an outstretched Focus, ugly. In fact the Mk1 was voted by Top Gear as the least satisfying car in the UK and Coronation Street used it as a murder accessory and drove it into a canal! The 2000 onwards model seemed to redeem itself with better engines and overall the interior was far more "classy" with all 3 variants (LX, Zetec and Ghia) being able to tickle the pickle.
The Mk3 which I am reviewing really seemed in a new league, creating a car previously seen as something my mum would struggle with due to having made some terrible life decisions with my dad to something myself as a young hip cool adult will consider purchasing as a run around!
As I keep mentioning for some odd reason I am seriously attracted to this car, it seems to me like someone got a bulldog and gave it a makeover producing a Katy Perry/Rihanna/Tyler Swift love child! It's stunning. Ford has really done something special with the 'Ford Kinetic Design' features they include in all their post 2008 cars. The cars look slick, fast and stylish; the headlights look like a teenage girl has gone nuts with a mascara brush and created a new grace! This is ever so vibrant on the Galaxy MPV as it's naturally a large vehicle; all the features are exaggerated and look fantastic! This is only talking about the Zetec, also known as the bog standard, as far as I can gather Ford now do Zetec and Titanium with Titanium X being the most spec'ed out as standard (not including additional extras).
The Titanium models are around £4,000 more expensive with standard features. However the exterior styling is minor and yet vivid enough to tell any passer-by that you're driving something slightly more special than the chump in the Galaxy Zetec. If you're after smashing out £25,000 for a new Galaxy, I'd get the penny jar out and upgrade to the Titanium simply for the "street cred" when you pull up to pick up your kid from school or stop outside the company headquarters.
Only ever seeing the interior of a Zetec Galaxy I can safely assume that anything costing more will be better. The MPV I drove was simply standard and contained no additional purchase extras, and yet I was still impressed by, well, how much it impressed me. As you get into the car you feel instantly comfortable with the soft fabric seats designed from some space age technology to put any worries you have in the world at ease, and with the numerous seat adjustments you can do, you can get into the perfect position, and you don't have to worry about crushing the rear passenger, they've got miles of leg room!
The most eye catching feature of the interior from the drivers view is by the obscure looking handbrake. First seeing it, I thought it was some space age leaver, and took me a few seconds to work out that it descended into the "floor" to release the brakes. It seems with this and a few other features it's trying to fool you into becoming a pilot.
The steering wheel itself is made of a soft leather style material and is quite small with the Ford logo in the centre with the horn as standard, and numerous controls on the sides for stereo controls and controls for the dashboard computer (I'll go through later). The stem controls are as usual for the indicators, window wiper/washer and Hands Free Controls for your compatible mobile. The lights are Ford typical on the right side via a dial.
The heaters are something special, this being quite a cold few months for us in the UK, a good car air conditioning system is something to praise! The Galaxy one allows you to quickly demist your Windows by setting it to crazy heat and adjust it by temperature so you will be at a constant temperature and it feels great knowing you're all sung in your Galaxy and the guy next to you is probably fighting with his too hot/cold settings.
The Stereo (6000 Stereo CD/radio) is just an updated standard Ford, it looks all complicated until you realise it's just buttons for radio presents, either way it works well with the speakers providing a good output and the radio is able to get signal in about 80% of where I went (where my car struggled). You are able to upgrade to a Sony DAB audio system which has USB compatibility for £350 at the dealership though when ordering your Galaxy.
Overall the Drivers interior is quite lush, as you get into it you can't help but notice the many things which are missing from the car which you could have had if your wallet was deeper. I suggest if you can dig deep the few little extras might be worth it, such as the Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Window Wipers and Headlights, Panoramic Roof, Blind Spot Assist, Touch Screen Sat Nav, Rear Passenger LCD TVs, and these are to mention a few extras you get include.
---On Board Computer---
I briefly mentioned the on board computer which falls into the many automatic features included in the Zetec. The little screen between the Rev Counter and the Speedo allows you to browse through some maintenance of the car, as well as switch on Eco Driving, basically it allows you switch of the engine when the car is at a standstill and the clutch is released (in neutral gear), supposable saving a fair bit of fuel during traffic jams, its included in like 90% of all new cars since about 2010 but still quite amazing.
Parking Sensors, detect if you're getting to close to a solid object via beeping. With such a large vehicle, it could be very helpful for parking and tight manoeuvring. It sure was for me getting used to such large vehicle after driving a car.
The Bluetooth Hand Free is also a nice feature allowing you to use your phone and drive. Upon entering the car you can connect to your car through your phone as you would with to a headset and when it rings the car will let you know. If your phone allows it, you can connect automatically each time you enter.
The computer as accessible via the controls on the steering allows you to browse information about the vehicle like fluid levels and how its performing and its fuel and how many miles you've got left.
Now this has to be my favourite part of the car. Being the passenger in the Galaxy is luxury, you feel like you're in First Class. The Galaxy has the capacity to seat up to 7 people with 5 people in the car it can be very luxurious for everyone around (not too much for the driver). The middle seats (next to the rear doors) can seat 3 people, the seats all move back and forth and adjust the back allowing you to get into a perfect sleeping position.
For dining options, there are airplane style fold down tables with cup holders allowing your kids to enjoy the McDonalds in comfort.
There is a fantastic amount of leg room for the middle passengers, allowing you to stretch out and relax; even the tallest person can sit in comfort.
I can't really say the same for the back most passengers in the rear, having fixed seats which are still comfortable, lack the luxuries of the middle, but still gives you a reasonable amount of leg room, although the seats where designed to be folded away with as much ease as possible.
This is a massive vehicle when it's not loaded up with 7 people the rear seats can be folded down revealing a massive storage area in the rear for shopping and animals if necessary, I would imagine a small bike will get in easy. If further space is required the middle seats fold down.
There are also cool little bits and bobs around the cabin which allow you to store items with a massive compartment to the left of the driver and door compartments as well as a nifty little sunglasses holder on the roof.
The MPV comes in both petrol and diesel. The petrol has can be bought with a 1.6 litre EcoBoost and the 2.0 Litre EcoBoost both with Stop/Start technology. Although the 1.6 Litre has been criticised for being slighting to slow for such as large vehicle.
The majority of the engines within the Galaxy range from 1.8 litres up to 2.3 litre Duratorq TDCi Engines with a 2.0 litre Flex-Fuel Duratorq available, allowing you to run on alternative fuels.
With the many engines available, I was stuck with the 1.8 Litre Duratorq, with this said, I was surprised how much power could be produced with the vehicle able to do a wheel spin from start and pull away at rapid rates, with seconds between gear changes on the motorway. This was fully laden with 5 passengers and bags in the rear.
We did a lot of motorway driving and the 1.8 Litre Duratorq was quiet and responsive allowing me to speed up and slow down with little effort and cruising with the additional economy gear (6th), it consumed very little diesel on our journeys requiring few fill ups. It's advertised at: 49.5 mph (combined) and average CO2 emissions of 152 g/km, seems quite good for such a large vehicle!
Under the bonnet was quite simple and nothing looked confusing and was all clearly labelled allowing you to undertake basic maintenance if required in the future, as with a brand new vehicle anything goes wrong, take it back to them and cry!
As mentioned above, for a large MPV the Galaxy outputs and outstanding 49.5 mpg (combined), probably smashing out over 60 mpg on Motorways if not more if driven slowly and carefully.
The vehicle is outputs 152 g/km of CO2, this means the tax will be at £170.00 per year. For a large vehicle like this, it seems reasonable considering past Galaxy MPVs will be paying in excess of £215.00 with today's rates.
This being a brand new vehicle, if purchased from a decent Ford Dealer, will come with a good bit of warranty and maintenance plan which is worth investing in if you plan to keep your warranty. I'm sure upon purchasing a £25,000 vehicle; they will cut you a deal for a Servicing/Maintenance plan.
The Duratorq engines are known to be very reliable and easy to repair with quick access to major components within the engine. I know this due to having an old Duratorq within my Focus and my local garage is always happy to take mine in for repairs due to Ford strategically locating their components.
Although I have had the honour of driving the Ford Galaxy Zetec for a few weeks, driving it on a regular basis and messing with every single gadget in the arsenal really allows you to figure the vehicle for what it's worth and the Galaxy 2012 is really something special as a vehicle. Having been somewhat absent minded in the last few years about Ford, I've realised I've seriously underestimated this manufacturer and they're in forms of technology development are keeping up with Japanese manufacturers like Honda who are famous for innovation.
Although I've praised the simple version of the MPV, I'd strongly recommend that if you're got extra money in the pocket to spend, I wouldn't cheap out on the extras within the vehicle because unlike those you see in the "high end" market with BMWs and Porsche, the additional extras offered are either useful or a significant feature in the vehicle (e.g. Panoramic roof)
However having praised the Galaxy all review, I must not forget to mention there is tons of competition out in the market with many MPVs being much cheaper and offering more. But then again, would the Galaxy be voted Best MPV of 2012 if there wasn't something simply special about the vehicle?
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Car / Launched at the motorshow 17th October 2000
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