Fleet News

Thinking CAP

Martin Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationships manager scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence


    Down to the Peak District, a lovely part of the world, to drive the new Peugeot 207 GTi which Julian Kirk has told you all about in our Roadtest section.

    The original 205 GTi was launched 23 years ago and sold a total of 61,226 in nine years until it ceased production in 1993. We had to wait six years for the introduction of the 206 GTi, which only sold around 18,000. Sales of the 207 GTi will be around 1,000 per year, a tiny number in comparison, which should help residuals.

    It’s up against some stiff competition in the shape of the MINI Cooper S, Ford Fiesta ST, Clio Renaultsport 197 and Vauxhall Corsa VXR – all of which are sensational. The 207 GTi handles well, is comfortable, but more importantly it looks great. White seems to be the colour to have which, for those that can remember, was the most popular colour for the 205 GTi.


    I was supposed to go to Greece to drive the new Nissan X-trail, but I was grounded by a man flu bug – any ladies reading just won’t appreciate how debilitating man flu is.

    However, I did manage to drive a heavily-camouflaged pre-production model a few weeks ago near Frankfurt, which did give a flavour of the all-new model.

    It is 17cm longer than the current version, with most of the space going into luggage area – a criticism on the current model. On a very muddy hillside the X-trail coped very well – it’s not as good as a Defender off-road but was more than adequate. It is completely new, but the design is more evolutionary than revolutionary – in fact it looks very similar to the model it replaces. The front end is too similar to the old one and Nissan maybe should have been a bit bolder. Another week and another 4x4, and still plenty more to come this year.


    I’ve been driving a BMW 120d with the EfficientDynamics energy-saving technology. This includes Stop-Start which automatically switches the engine off when it is out of gear, such as when waiting at traffic lights.

    As soon as the clutch is engaged the engine fires up in a split-second and off you go. You have to worry about the extra number of times the starter motor is used, but BMW assures me it will stand the test of time. This system saves fuel, money, and the amount of CO2 going out the rear, but the best thing about it is how peaceful it is when you’re stopped at traffic lights.


    John Watts, our light and heavy commercial vehicle monitor editor, warned me that if I thought traffic was slow at the moment, things are going to get a lot worse now that there is new legislation to restrict commercial vehicles over 3,500kg to a maximum speed of 56mph.

    As time goes on, more and more will have their speed restricted, causing yet more slow-moving vehicles on the roads. Gone will be the days of that four-tonne Sprinter screaming past you doing well over 70mph in the outside lane of the motorway – it will now be doing a leisurely 56mph in the middle lane. And if these slow trucks are a problem, wait for all the caravans to take to our highways for the summer holidays.

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