Friday 2 September 2011

Road - A Day in Wetherby

Spent the day in Wetherby, that's in Englandshire by the way, driving cars. For the third year running, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders hosted a test day for northern motoring writers and journalists. 

There were 23 manufacturers in attendance and each had brought 2 cars, from Kia with the new Rio to Porsche with its Panamera, from the Citroen DS3 Racing to the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, it was a quite an eclectic and varied mix.

The Scottish journalists were there in force because the annual 'Scottish Car of the Year Awards' will be held next month. This event therefore gives us a chance to catch up on any new models we may have missed during the past year. The manufacturers also like these awards because if they win something, it is a 'national' award as opposed to a regional award. 

Apparently, the world thinks of Scots as frugal and careful (despite Gordon Brown's attempts to dissuade the world otherwise), so if we vote for a car, then the general thinking is it must be good. It may also have something to do with a reputation for toughness as there are still people out there who think we all drive around on drove roads avoiding long haired, shaggy coos!

Anyway, the weather was good (this being quite far south and close to the Mediteranean) and the driving better. Most impressive? The new Kia Picanto Equinox is a surprising little machine and much more fun than it's modest performance would suggest. The prize for most improved car? That'll be the Jeep Cherokee. Honestly, this is the best one yet. 

I also liked the new Peugeot 508SW, it's much better looking than the saloon as well, while the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo provides more fun than anyone should expect from a 105 bhp diesel.

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