Over the week's break we covered more than 2,000 miles, including long stretches of motorway, barely negotiable dirt tracks and the odd 1 in 4 incline; while the weather ranged from baking hot sunshine and clear blue skies to torrential rain and heavy mist.
Tempers remained reasonably calm throughout the week - a testament to the Carisma's overall comfort levels - even though appeals of 'mind that poor little sheep', on level ground turned to hysterical shrieks of 'kill the bloody thing', as the roads became higher, narrower and ever more precarious.
Air-conditioning (standard on the GLS) was a real bonus and, I believe, an ever more essential ingredient of modern day motoring. On the few occasions I have to endure travelling in a car without air con it reminds me of just how important it is. In fact I would go as far as to say that ABS (a ú720 optional extra) and air conditioning are equals, both contributing to the safety, comfort and general wellbeing of the occupants.
In the driving seat and as a passenger I found legroom reasonably adequate and even though the odd kick in the back from the children might suggest they had less space than necessary I heard no complaints from them either. The other real test for the GDI was that of fuel economy. On such a long journey on various road types I expected the GDI to perform well, and it did.
Average consumption for the entire journey hovered around 46.5mpg which, although falling considerably short of the kind of figures recorded by some GDI drivers, is a slight improvement on the official 'combined euro fuel consumption figure' of 45.6mpg. And at no time during the trip was I conscious of being over careful with my right foot, either in terms of acceleration or cruising speed.
My long term test period with the GDI has given me plenty of opportunity to asses it from every perspective. Its faults are few and it benefits are many. What a shame that it's time to return they keys.