Fleet News

Thinking CAP

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

SUNDAY

Flew down to Le Castellet in the south of France to drive two new Audis – the 580bhp twin-turbo V10-engined RS6 Avant and the A3 Cabriolet.

The RS6 is the most powerful production car Audi has ever built.

We took it around the Paul Ricard test track, and no matter what speed you were doing into the corners the on-board systems ensured you kept the front end pointing forwards.

Impressively, on the roads it was so docile and easy to drive.

Audi expects to sell around 600 units a year in the UK.

The downside is its £77,625 price tag, but you do get a supercar, with luxury car quality, room for the kids and the dog.

The all-new A3 Cabriolet is a real pleasure to drive – it looks great, handles well, has a good choice of engines and is sensibly priced.

There will be two models: base and Sport, with the entry-level car having a semi-automatic roof and the Sport having a fully automatic acoustic folding roof.

Audi has chosen to use fabric to save weight and give much more luggage space when the roof is down.

The length of the Cabriolet is halfway between the A3 and Sportback, meaning it can carry four adults in relative comfort, and has a boot large enough for a couple of suitcases.

TUESDAY

Down to a very sunny Seville with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to the launch of the Caddy Maxi.

This new model is 47cm longer than a standard Caddy and sits in the range of light commercials between Caddy and Transporter.

It is available as a van, Kombi and a seven-seater.

We drove this version – called the Caddy Maxi Life – extensively in Spain and found it to be really refined, quiet and with high build quality for what is essentially a van with windows.

Volkswagen prefers it to be compared to the Vauxhall Zafira, Renault Grand Scenic and Ford S-MAX, but in reality its biggest competitor will be the Ford Tourneo Connect.

It has three rows of seats which comfortably accommodates seven adults and all their luggage so would make an ideal airport taxi.

There will be a choice of two engines – 1.9-litre and 2.0-litre TDI – both of which we tried and found to be more than adequate.

Volkswagen expects to sell around 1,900 vans and 500 seven-seaters in 2008.

Prices will be announced on February 14, with the vehicle going on sale four days later.

FRIDAY

Down to Luton to see the Volkswagen Tiguan.

The more I see of this 4x4, the more I think Volkswagen has got it right in terms of styling, specification and price.

Volkswagen expects to sell around 10,000 Tiguans this year in the UK.

It has so far taken 3,200 orders, so it should be relatively easy to sell the other few thousand.

The problem for all manufacturers lies in the future when all these shiny new 4x4s hit the used market – will the used car buyer be as enthusiastic and confident in investing their money in this type of vehicle?

And will there will be enough buyers to absorb them all?
 

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