HAD a visit from Vauxhall fleet men Robert O’Connell and Andy Savage, who brought a left-hand drive Vauxhall-badged Antara up to Leeds for us to look at and drive.
This all-new 4x4 from GM shares many parts with the Chevrolet Captiva, which it is built alongside in Korea. It looks good, drives well and should be strong competition for Toyota’s RAV4, Honda CR-V, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, all of which are competent and good value.
There will be no options on the Antara, just metallic paint, making it easy for ordering.
The Captiva will have either five or seven seats, but the Antara will be strictly five seats only. Robert emphasised there will be no short-term business for Antara, and the large proportion will go to retail customers.
The Antara goes on sale on July 28. It’s only one of the many – too many – new SUVs to hit the UK market this year. Anybody fancy predicting which will fail and which will succeed?
LOOKING at the new Mondeo prices, they seem realistic and it is priced to sell.
This is part of Ford’s new strategy to actually put the figure on its cars it wants to achieve rather than a higher price which allows for a discount. Starting from £14,995 OTR, the entry-level specification is now called Edge. No doubt it will be known as the ‘Lead-in-Edge’. Ho ho.
LAND Rover’s CO2 Offset Programme: is it just a sop for the consciences of rich people buying high-emission cars or does it actually work?
After much investigation this week, I’ve managed to get to the bottom of it. Land Rover collects a mandatory amount of money from every customer who buys a new Land Rover – ranging from £84 to £165 plus VAT, depending on the vehicle’s emissions. This money is included in the cost of the new vehicle, so is subject to BIK if it is being used as a company car. The money collected by Land Rover dealers is passed on to independent CO2 offset provider Climate Care, which manages the scheme.
I spoke to Climate Care director David Wellington, who told me they do not plant trees but instead have been responsible for distributing efficient cooking stoves in Honduras and energy-efficient lighting in Kazakhstan. The only project that has so far been approved in the Land Rover scheme is a new wind turbine farm in China, but others will be announced soon.
A board of governance has been created by Land Rover to ensure the scheme is accountable, efficient and transparent. I don’t know about you, but I remain to be convinced by carbon offsetting.
STILL on Land Rover, I spoke to John Watts, our commercial vehicle RV manager, who went down to Land Rover’s testing ground at Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire, to drive the new Defender both on-road and, more importantly for many customers, off-road.
He tells me that on-road it has greatly improved driveability and flexibility, due in the main to a new Ford-derived diesel engine, coupled to a six-speed gearbox. It’s also much quieter, making it possible to have a conversation while travelling for the first time in its history.
But despite the current Defender’s noise problems, it’s still a remarkable used performer: a 10-year-old 110 hard top that has done 100,000 miles is still worth £3,500, according to CAP Red Book.