Fleet News

Thinking CAP: August 5 - Volkswagen Sharan, Infiniti FX, Hyundai i45, Mercedes-Benz

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

Sunday/Monday

Flew into Munich, picked up a new Volkswagen Sharan and drove south.

This all-new seven-seater has grown by 22cm with most of the space going into the luggage area, which is much needed.

Quality is improved and handling and performance are good.

The rear sliding doors are a nice touch, but the optional cost of electric is not worth it as they open and close effortlessly.

The second row of seats slide back and forth and the third row easily accommodates two adults.

The current Sharan was launched 15 years ago and sold well.

The new, improved MPV is bound to do as well, if not better.

Tuesday/Wednesday

When we first heard Infiniti was coming to the UK, and only available with large thirsty petrol engines, most of us thought it a waste of time.

But today I drove the large FX 3.0d 4x4 in and around Barcelona.

The quality of the car is exceptional.

The 3.0-litre diesel engine produces 238hp and has more than enough power, the handling is excellent for a large four-wheel drive and it is quiet and refined.

Prices start from £43,430 for a GT up to £50,010 for the S Premium.

Thursday

Pictures of the new Hyundai i45 that is likely to come to the UK next year have been published.

This good-looking upper-medium saloon and estate will have a difficult time, with strong competitors available and the sector shrinking as people choose more versatile, practical vehicles (people carriers and crossovers).

The Hyundai ix35 is the perfect example of the new breed of desirable alternative vehicles to the upper-medium sector – so why bother with the i40/i45 or whatever it will be called in Europe?

Just make more ix35s.

Friday

Over to Stuttgart to see some new Mercedes-Benz models that are due in the next couple of years.

I can’t say what they are, but Merc has a few different and niche vehicles to come.

Christian Engelhardt, head of RV management, told us that stable residuals are now one of the main targets of product strategy.

It was a real change to see MB AG taking residuals seriously.


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