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DK Car Reviews
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dodgyken
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honda Civic Type R

Confession time - I've never owned a hot match. If fact, I've never even owned a warm hatch. At the point where I could afford one and was young enough to get away with driving one I was looking at cars with more substance - and less roof. So it was with childish glee that on seeing the Type-R at the Zurich Motor Show - and seeing the official fuel economy figures I forced my wife to sit in one. It kind of went wrong from there, firstly she said the seats were very comfortable - and so I tried, and indeed they were. This lead to a couple of emails and a test drive being booked.

The weeks past, the weather turned and thought of a 310ps fwd test drive on damp roads became less and less appealing until Saturday morning arrived and I felt that tingling of anticipation. I'd read the Evo review, I thought I knew what to expect.

Apparently I didn't, well, not all of it. You jump in and you expect the R to feel uncompromised, focused, and all a bit too racy. In fact the first thing you notice is that pootling around urban roads is just home composed it is. The rubber banded wheels will transmit every bit bump into the cabin but the small stuff is nicely dealt with and from the front at least, in those superb seats, everything feels quite grown up.

Hills cloaked in the fog aren't going to be the best playground for a test drive but that meant speeds would be kept sane and late spotted traffic would give the brakes a good work out. The first thing to do was to press the R button - tightening everything up and sharpening the throttle. The second thing to do is to press the R button and return everything to a more sane setting. R- Fine for the track not for the road.

There are a number of things that make up a great cross country car - throttle feel, handling feel and steering feel. No element should dominate and no element should feel incongruous. In the R they all come together quite well - the steering and brakes are sharp - the steering in particular and the handling is flat with a front end which just grips and grips. Then there is the gearbox - a little noisy in the 1st/2nd gate but flicking up from 2nd/3rd/4th it was positively encouragable, an absolute delight. Traction can be broken if you so which, very easily, but such antics are for oafs with no foot feel (and without 3 passengers). There is however a slight "but", and it is in the "quite well" statement, and the missing "throttle" part. The thing is the Civic has decent shove from 2000rpm which means you don't have to have it bouncing around the top end to get the most from it, the trade off is that the throttle feels dull. Performance is there, of that there is little doubt, it just feel reluctant to dish it out for the first second of throttle application. It doesn't ruin the experience but it does take the polish off.

After 15mins I began to feeling like I was in an old school Subaru - the 4-pot was nice and vocal and there were plenty of whooshs and whistles from the turbo as we made relatively rapid progress around my random test route (much of which I have only ever run).

Handing the keys back to the garage I really liked the R - it had personality, a lot of it. It was rapid, it was fun and for the money it is an absolute bargain considering the equipment in GT form - 40,000chf (25,000gbp) but I was left feeling that after a few months I'd be bored of it all.

Prologue
Part of the reason to test the R was that my wife could drive it as the daily car - part-exchanging the Alpina - and her car could make way for a petrol Estate car - V70R to Alpina B3X 3.3. Anyway, to get home I opted to head back over the hills rather than the circular motorway route - in the Alpina. The weather and road conditions were the same - and the Alpina was considerably quicker. There was no fuss, it simply accrued speed, cornered more quickly (and with more balance) and was equally capable at shackling itself loose from DSC chains. If I was unsure after the test drive my mind was made up after the journey home. Superchargers worries or not - the B5s will hang around for another 6 months at least!
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2010 Aero 8 Supersport | 2008 Alpina B5s | 2004 BMW X3 3.0D | 1996 BMW M3 Evo (non road-legal)
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B10BRW
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dodgyken wrote:



the B5s will hang around for another 6 months at least!


You change your cars more often than I do Very Happy
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dodgyken
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B10BRW wrote:
You change your cars more often than I do Very Happy


Laughing Laughing
Saab 9-3 lasted 18mths
Disco lasted 18mths
BMW 328 lasted 18mths
Alpina B3x lasted 28mths

The Morgan is now at 20mths
The Alpina is now at 6mths
The Passat is now at 10mths
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2010 Aero 8 Supersport | 2008 Alpina B5s | 2004 BMW X3 3.0D | 1996 BMW M3 Evo (non road-legal)
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dodgyken
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Passat TDI Estate

Prologue

10,000km have slipped under the Passat's wheels since it rolled onto our driveway, and the odometer is now reading north of 203,000km. It was touch and go whether it would stay in the fleet as its annual service approached and potential for expensive maintenance loomed.

I hunted high and low for various replacements - making a case for each with a dose of man-maths - and as much as I liked the idea of swapping cars even I was struggling to make a fleet work where the "practical/workhorse" car was a 4 year old 230ps Volvo diesel Very Happy

Prior to the service I checked the front pads and discs to make sure they'd last a year (they will) and last Friday the wife dropped the car in for a service. Turns out the mechanic's view echoed mine when I bought it, with him saying "it is probably the best condition 200k Passat I've seen."

To be honest it has proved cheap to run - a new set of rear pads and cleaning of the MAF the only minor maintenance issues - the latter hopefully improving the economy a little. It has hauled a huge amount of stuff over the year - although I suspect trebling the roof weight was taking the piss!!!

It may not be the sexiest car out there - but for the money, a well maintained 15 year old Passat is a going to a good, strong, honest buy.
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