With all that's wrong with it you'd think I hated the car right?
Well yeah there's a few problems such as the Glove box being just small enough so it's completely useless (Maybe this is a feature only on my model because a mate's N-Reg XND has a spacious one)... and the car has THE worst turning circle I have ever seen, and I've driven MPVs. As I regularly have to reverse into my drive off a busy road it can get a bit hectic.
Having said that I love this car. The styling is glorious. Mine comes with a rear spoiler, 15 inch alloys in Metallic China Blue. It's a 3 door and it's looks, in my opinion, could match any coupe that would rush past.
The boot is spacious compared to the size of the car itself, though rear legroom is a bit limited... especially when you try and get 3 teenagers in there. The interior isn't to everyone's taste admittedly, and the word "dated" is passed around a lot. But as with the later Meridian HDIs the central console has been given a coat of Silver paint which livens it up significantly.
The half leather seats unique to the D-Turbo S are very comfy, though my particular model's leather has begun to crack due to undermaintenance. The stereo is great, a fact often overlooked. The cassette fascia hides a 5 Disc Multi-changer in the boot... which means you can listen to your CDs without having to fiddle about and makes theives think you've got a worthless cassette radio.
I love this car's economy. My last car was a 1600 Escort and it drank like the irish do on st. patrick's day, so it was quite refreshing to have a car that even when driven "properly" managed to average at over 40 mpg. I've ever managed 50+ on motorway hauls... returning easily 250 miles to the £20, mine for some reason seems to prefer Shell's Diesel to anywhere else.
Insurance is next to nothing and is only in band 5. And it's officially the fastest car available in that band. Hence the fleet of max powered versions floating about.
Now... the car's performance. One word, brilliant! Compared to other road cars the handling is tremendous. I've many-a-time watch other cars breaking heavily behind me 2 get road a corner where my low centre of gravity and sharp suspension allow me to just throw the car into pretty much anything. The brakes are good too, but the ABS is weak compared to the ABS on my father's new Focus.
The engine doesn't like starting sometimes on cold mornings. It always will start, but puts up a fuss.
It sounds like a diesel from the off, and the noise is ever present until you get going... and you hit the magical 1800 rev mark... which is when the car comes alive! The turbo kicks in. THat horrible diesel rumble is replaced by a whoosh usually associated with the high power petrols you dream about. The car shoots off to a 0-60 time officially 10.9 seconds, but I've managed it in under 10... and a top speed of officially 109, but I've managed an incredible 117.
It's fast enough to pretty much own the road until you run into someone with a Scooby.
It still stands today as one of the world's fastest commercial diesels. Only recently being outdone by the TDi-S Leon and the Diesel VX220 and the upcoming Astra XVR-D. But can you pick one of those up for under £4000? DOn't think so...