Martin Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationships manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence.
Down to Lisbon to drive the Volkswagen Scirocco for the first time, 16 years after production of the last model finished.
The first Scirocco was launched very successfully in 1974.
Volkswagen says the new Scirocco is an everyday sports coupé, not a car to sit in the garage waiting for sunny Sundays.
It’s right – we took it on a variety of roads in Portugal, found it a dream to drive and attracted plenty of interested onlookers.
It is a strict four-seater, with a couple of contoured individual rear seats which were a bit tight to get in and out of.
The rear side windows are tiny and anyone a bit claustrophobic may not feel comfortable.
The Scirocco is basically a Golf GTi and the two share many parts, including engines.
But the interior is all new and a vast improvement on the current Golf.
A Volkswagen spokesman said the new front end of the Scirocco will be characteristic of future new models, which are likely to include the Golf and the Polo.
There is not much choice in this sector, but competitors must include BMW 1 Series Coupe, Alfa Romeo GT and Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch.
In Europe this sector has seen sales fall from 138,000 in 2000 to 20,000 last year, mainly due to the lack of vehicles available. Volkswagen expects to sell around 9,000 units in its first full year next year.
The Scirocco goes on sale in the UK in September. It looks great and is priced right at £20,940.
From warm, sunny Lisbon to cold, wet Manchester to drive the first right-hand drive Mercedes-Benz CLC.
This new car is the direct replacement for the C-Class Coupe and has received a number of significant improvements.
The looks have been changed so that the front end looks like the new C-Class, but it’s the things you can’t see that make it a much nicer car to drive.
Mercedes has now placed this car in the Coupe family, to join CLK, CLS and CL, and moved it away from the C-Class model line-up.
I drove a couple of cars – the 180K is still good value, and has more than enough power, but the one to have is the 220CDI.
People have been asking me if LPG is about to make a comeback, so I’ve been asking around.
It seems it really has never gone away, although fewer conversions have been done than predicted when it was in its heyday.
But the converters are still busy, with some quoting weeks before they can do the work. LPG cars have been making on average 7.4% more in the used market than petrol models and the fuel can currently be bought for around 55p per litre, but beware – the ‘P’ stands for petroleum, and is an oil-based product.
LPG prices will never be as high as petrol or diesel, but will increase relative to oil prices.
With conversions costing around £1,800, get out the calculator to see if money can be saved.
Given the saving on a litre, and higher RVs, it might make sense despite lower mpg and additional costs.