CAP's manufacturer relationships manager Martin Ward scours the globe for the week's insider fleet intelligence
Went down a very busy M1, as always, to the Midlands to have a look at some forthcoming models from Hyundai. Unfortunately, they were very early pre-production vehicles so I wasn’t allowed to drive them.
The first was the eight-seat i50M, a van with windows and seats, which is similar in size to a Volkswagen Transporter or Toyota Hi-Ace.
To call it a van with windows is probably a bit unkind, but it is based on the H-1 van which is due early next year.
The i50M, which goes on sale in June, is following the ‘i’ badging that Hyundai has chosen to use for all its models – with the M standing for MPV.
The second ‘i’ we saw was the i10, which is the Amica replacement and due on sale in early April.
The styling of this small car is a huge improvement on the Amica and should appeal to a wider age group.
Only one engine will be available at launch – a 1.1-litre 66hp petrol, but a 1.2-litre 75bhp version may become available later.
There will be three models at launch: Classic, priced at £6,495, Comfort at £7,095 and Style at £7,595.
Hyundai no longer badges its cars externally, but now puts a small sticker on the A-pillar stating exactly what the car is, its engine size and power output.
The third car we looked at was the i30 estate which goes on sale in April and will be priced at £700 more than the hatchback.
Set off from Yorkshire to Luton airport to fly down to Nice for the revised Mercedes-Benz SLK launch, but due to an accident on the M1 I missed the flight.
After many hours sitting in the car, I finally made it to the incident. The road was down to the hard-shoulder, with all three lanes covered in sand, presumably to soak up a fuel spillage.
The sand was being brushed into the central reservation by one bloke and his brush, watched by six of those Highways Agency traffic officers – how annoying is that?
I’ve been using a Fiat 500 over the past week, and I think Fiat has done a fantastic job on this Polish-built small car.
The quality is good and the styling both inside and out is a masterpiece. It is also priced realistically.
But does it attract the attention the Italians told us it would at the Turin launch? In a word – no.
In Italy and across Europe everyone has grown up with the old 500, which has not only been the family run-about but also an icon.
Here in the UK, it would appear that very few people know about the 500 and its history. If it had been used in The Italian Job instead of the Mini, then it might have been more easily recognised.
This little car is great in most departments, but Fiat is going to have to create demand for it and not depend on nostalgia.
My daughter, and most of her friends, have never heard of the Fiat 500. One saw it and thought it was a Ford Ka!