Fleet News

Thinking CAP - February 18: Audi A8, Vauxhall Meriva, tyre pressure sensors

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

Tuesday/Wednesday

Down to a rather wet Malaga to drive the all-new Audi A8, which goes on sale in spring.

The exterior is typically Audi, looking exactly as you’d expect, although it does have some bold side swathe lines.

It also drives the same as you would expect – very well, so no surprises with its design or mechanics.

What is surprising is that the interior is just exquisite, with fit and finish the best in class.

It feels very special and every bit a luxurious, prestige, quality saloon.

The multi-media interface that operates the sat-nav, radio etc has had a major revamp and is now very intuitive.

It has a pad that you can write with your finger instructions for the system, instead of twiddling the rotary knob. Very clever and easy to use.

Chairman Rupert Stadtler told us that money has been put aside for new clean technology and focus on all-electric and diesel hybrid vehicles and they are constantly looking for better solutions.

Thursday

Over to GM HQ in Frankfurt, although I really mean Opel/Vauxhall as they no longer sell Saab or Chevrolet.

We went to drive the all-new Meriva, which goes on sale in June and is a big improvement on the current car in terms of style, space and quality.

The car has the same door system as the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost, and London taxis as the rear doors open rearwards, locking automatically at speeds above 2mph. It has grown by 23cm so is now a C-sector car in terms of size, but if it is priced similarly to the current Meriva, then why buy an Astra?

Priced sensibly, it will be the bargain of the decade, with success guaranteed.

GM thought about changing its name and I think this would have been sensible, as it is no longer a Meriva as we know it.

It drove extremely well, is practical and flexible, with loads of room, sliding rear seats and a large boot – I liked it!

Friday

Found out that all new cars will have tyre pressure monitor systems fitted as standard from the middle of next year.

These, I presume, will either be the basic version where a light comes on if there is low pressure, or the more sophisticated system where each tyre is shown individually.

Whichever is used, it will add cost to the car.

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