Fleet News

Volkswagen Bora 1.9 TDI PD 100 SE – 6,337 miles



REGULAR readers will no doubt have noticed that the columns of our long term road test page have taken on a distinctly 'dadsy' feel of late.

The reason is simple - both editor Jonathan Manning and managing editor John Maslen have in the past few months both become proud fathers for the first time.

So road test talk now seems to centre around whether or not there is room in the back of a car for cots and other kiddy paraphernalia and whether safety measures are sufficient to offer protection to their valuable offspring.

Being the 'proud' owner of two wayward teenagers, my criteria are slightly different. Is there room enough for them and their drunken friends when they phone me at midnight from the Knacker's Arms, having spent their taxi money on drink? Does the car have sufficient acceleration to get them all home before they start throwing up?

I've tried warning my two young colleagues what delights they have ahead of them but they just don't believe me.

Little Angus Manning and young Harry Maslen will never end up like that, they assure me!

Volkswagen will be pleased to learn that the Bora, the subject of this road test, acquits itself admirably on both space and acceleration fronts.

Despite the fact that this car is only the size of a Ford Focus, it has carried four inebriated louts and my sober self to their various destinations without a murmur of complaint and the car has now been returned to base after a three-month stay at Fleet News without a stain on its seats or its character - what more can you ask for?

On a more serious note, this car has been a rock solid performer throughout its time with us and has never been short of volunteers willing to get behind its wheel. For if there is one manufacturer which has risen through the quality ranks in the past 10 years, it must be Volkswagen.

While the Bora's unloved predecessor, the Jetta, was just a Golf with a boot, the Bora looks far more natural as a saloon and will delight any discerning driver.

The car's interior is quiet, opulent and understated in beige upholstery and despite being a diesel, it will not cause the slightest offence to either occupants or nearby neighbours at start-up time in the morning. In fact, I had a job persuading my partner that there was a heavy oil engine lurking under the bonnet.

The secret here is Volkswagen's admirable pumpe duse powerplant which knocks out 100bhp and will take the car up to a maximum speed of 112mph in a most undiesel like way.

Official 0-60mph time is 12.9 seconds, but it feels a lot quicker, thanks to the 155lb/ft of torque on offer.

But in pumpe duse terms, this is the baby of the bunch. Those more keen on speed can opt for the 130bhp version which offers a 0-60mph time of 10.1 seconds and a top speed of 127mph.

Above that comes the 150bhp model with 0-60mph in nine seconds and a top speed of 134mph. It hardly seems possible that we are talking about diesels here. Even in 100bhp guise, this car isn't cheap - as tested here with a load of extras, it weighs in at £17,950.

But thanks to Volkswagen's reputation for quality and reliability, it proves a star in the residual value stakes.

According to CAP Monitor, this car will retain 36% of its original value after three-years/ 60,000-miles as opposed to 31% for the Ford Focus 1.8 TDCi Ghia.

Fleet managers who decided in their wisdom to opt for the Fiat Marea JTD will have a shock in store when they find this particular contender retains just 21% – ouch!

There is, of course, another reason for choosing a diesel car if you are a fleet driver. The new benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax system which came into effect in April is based on how much carbon dioxide your chosen car pumps out into the atmosphere.

This Bora manages just 143 grams per kilometre, which puts it in the lowest tax band of 18% (15% of list price, plus the three percentage point penalty the Government has decided to lump on to diesel cars).

Even with this added supplement, a 22% taxpayer in this car will pay just £59.23 a month.

With figures like this, I wonder if any business users will choose petrol any more.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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