Great design, charming, characterful and fun to drive
One rattle noted on test drive, fixed on delivery.
Design: The exterior is nicely balanced and full of clever detail, it looks thoroughly modern yet pretty. The interior is delightfully innovative and loaded with truly practical features. It's a fresh and pleasant environment in which to travel.
Drivetrain: The 1.6 petrol has plenty of torque from 2000rpm. Although not that fast, its smooth, responsive power delivery makes it an easy drive. The engine note is pleasant as its extended, only getting a little harsh above 5500rpm. The clutch is light, smooth and the take-up point ideal. The gearbox is positive and slick, and the gearing well matched to the engine.
Comfort: Along with decent engine refinement, wind and road noise are mostly well suppressed - coarse surfaces do cause some rumble, but in its class only the Golf seemed quieter. Seat comfort and ergonomics are very good and the driving position is widely adjustable for all shapes and sizes.
Driving: The steering is sharp, full of feel and accurate. Handling is excellent - eager turn in, neutral balance and only very mild understeer near the limit. Dips and lumps mid-corner are dispensed with comfortably and with no excess body movement. Only badly broken surfaces and sharp ridges cause some bump harshness and suspension noise. The brakes are superb. Its taughter than French cars of old, but still absorbent.
Best features: Interior design, equipment, handling, brakes and safety.
Not so sure: Seat fabric, small bump absorption.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st December, 2005