Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D GX4, 7 seats. But most of all I like the price. It’s ?16,265 and, although Skoda doesn’t provide figures to show this, it is way cheaper than every one of its rivals. Even if you fit the useless satnav and blue teeth and climate control, it’s still ?1,000 less than the Volkswagen Polo GTI. And that’s especially odd, because underneath it’s exactly the same car. Same engine. Same everything.. Besides, pedestrians and drivers coming the other way would see the green light and think, Uh oh, this bloke’s had a few. I’d better give him a wide berth.. The BMW is soft. Squidgy. Comfy. The steering wheel is connected to the front wheels with a big soft bag full of melted chocolate, and the noise it makes at speed is the hum of a gardener who’s happy in his work.. It’s an idea that was first tried by Ferrari in the Eighties, but back then the electronics necessary simply weren’t available. I’m surprised they’re available now. It sounds an almost fantastically complicated solution, and I wonder if it really will work.. Overall, I liked this car. It was exciting when I was in the mood, but strangely docile and comfortable when I wasn’t. I like the way it feels different from everything else on the road, and I’m not bothered about the four-wheel-drive system either way. But that rear end? They really should have had a look at Pippa Middleton before they made merry with the ballpoints.10 July 2011. With a deserved reputation for being a bit hopeless with my hands, I approached the job of building a dam very seriously. So I climbed onto my new six-wheel-drive ex-army Alvis Supacat and spent the morning driving around the farm looking for suitable stones.. But it’s not all about straight-line speed. By mounting the gearbox at the back, and using a carbon-fibre prop shaft that weighs about the same as a mouse, the engineers have made sure the weight is distributed perfectly. You feel that when you hustle it and it surprises you: because you can’t reallyunderstand how something with a bonnet that vast can feel so small and agile. And you especially can’t understand when your ears are bleeding and your hair is in the slipstream three counties back.. Until I stepped into the Rolls, whereupon I suddenly became an onanist again. So there I was, feeling like a skin bag full of sick, in the back of a Phantom that was going nowhere because of a vast horde of Islingtonites who were making hand gestures and chanting. Oh, and one thing you
might like to know: if you push the button that draws a curtain over the back window, you make everything ten times worse.. So every year governments imposed tougher and tougher legislation that forced car makers to wake up. They were being forced by law to make their products chew less fuel. This meant they had to get inventive. And while I don’t like the reasoning behind that, I do like the results. Mainstream cars are getting interesting again.. There are more good things, chief among which is the comfort. This particular model may be called Sport but it’s no such thing. It’s a cruiser, a big, soft old Hector that irons speed bumps into oblivion and soothes its occupants to the point where they need to be reminded with a bit of wheel judder if they nod off and stray out of lane. In this regard it out-Range-Rovers a Range Rover.. I shall oblige. The VXR is very, very good. It goes like a scalded cock, stops with an almost cartoonish suddenness and corners with absolutely no drama at all. It isn’t quite as thrilling as a hot M?gane – it’s much heavier – but what you lose in Stowe Corner, you gain on all the other days of the year because the ride comfort is exceptional. Even though the tyres have the profile of paint, this is a car that just glides over bumps.. It’s because, deep down, we are all penises and teeth. It’s fight, flight, eat and shag. And we know that given the choice of an unarmed George Clooney or Nicholas Witchell with an Uzi, every woman in the world is going to ignore the Hollywood superstar and tear off the royal correspondent’s trousers.. But if it doesn’t, it’s surprisingly good. First of all, the suspension is so delightfully soft you don’t feel potholes at all, or speed humps, or your neighbour’s bicycle, or any of the other things that Peugeot drivers are prone to running over. It glides around like a hovercraft.. Maybe that’s why it feels a bit detached. A bit uninvolving. Because, unlike the Jag, it wasn’t built with passion; it was built with maths. And maths, as we know from the Stalinist cameras on the M1, doesn’t always work.22 September 2013.