Dull, but worthy
Small rattle from the driver seatbelt holder.
Car's design (both inside & out) is very bland. The recent 2005 face lift looks a lot better and the interiors in sporty versions can be quite OK, but unfortunately this is just a run-of-the-mill 2003 Trend.
More on the interior:
- Seats are good if not the best (try a Volvo sometime) and driving position is well adjustable
- Plastics are actually not *that* hard, but just look very cheap
- Fit and finish is beyond reproach, very solidly built
- Came with a pack with auto wipers, auto lights and dimming rear view mirror - all are perfect except the lights which sometimes take too long to switch on (already dark)
- Obviously the car is very roomy (not to say huge), with good seating space for 4 adults and a generous boot
- Radio quality is OK, but the possibility to plug an MP3 player into the glove compartment and play it on AUX is fantastic
Road handling is good - excellent steering feel (many 'premium' car manufacturers, Audi most notably, could learn from this), very safe behaviour on the limit (really no need for ESP) and strong brakes. Mine lacks a bit of incisiveness at times, but that is probably due to 16" steel wheels.
Comfort is another strong point, somehow the card manages to combine good road holding manners with good filtering and firm, but comfortable suspension.
Engine is OK in 115 BHP TDCI version, with the 5-speed manual fun to use (plus as engine noise is OK and there is enough torque a 6th is not really required). Biggest complaint would be that they did not fit a variable turbo to this version of engine, which results in a very predictable turbo 'spike' somewhere over 2000 RMP, with very little on offer below. Not a storming engine, but perfectly reasonable for everyday (highway) use.
Summary: A car that doesn't appeal to your (or at least my) emotions in any way, but can't be faulted objectively. For the money, it would be hard to find a better transport. Note that I say transport, because as a car enthusiast this is definitely not a car I would get if it were my money (but (un) fortunately it is not). Still, the basics are so good that I would not be entirely unconvinced by a smart-looking, facelift 2005 2.2 TDCI (155 BHP) in Titanium trim (but then again, probably not).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 31st October, 2005