Steering Column 07.11.08

Greener BlueMotion

VOLKSWAGEN has extended its range of ultra-economical cars up into the large family sector.

The BlueMotion 2 version of the Passat is being described by the company as the most economical, efficient and environmentally friendly version yet to hit the road.

BlueMotion is the company’s own way of badging its cleanest and greenest models and there is already a BlueMotion Passat on the road. What makes the 2 an even more wonderful car is that it has an automatic stop/start feature that turns off the two-litre diesel engine when the car is stationary.

The system works through the clutch so, for example, when the car stops at traffic lights and the driver presses the clutch and selects neutral, the engine shuts down when the clutch is released. When the driver then presses the clutch and once again selects first, the engine will automatically restart.

It’s something that gets some getting used to, and if you’re in a stop-start traffic queue that makes it all rather annoying, you can de-activate it through a switch on the centre console.

The official average fuel consumption for this 108bhp family car is now 57.6mpg and the carbon dioxide emissions are now below 130g/km.

Prices start from £17,700 for the saloon and from £18,853 for the estate – that’s about £475 more than the standard model.

Ka cost

Ford has announced the prices of the second generation super-mini, the Ka, which goes on sale in January.

Not as individualistic as the outgoing model, it is nevertheless still a good looking little beast, and for the first time ever it will be available with a diesel engine option.

Prices will begin at £7,995 for the base model “Studio” version with a 68bhp, 1.2-litre petrol engine that’ll run for over 55 miles on a gallon of petrol.

Next up the tree comes the “Style” version with the same engine but the addition of electric front windows, remote central locking and body-coloured bits. It adds £500 to the price.

“Style+” adds air conditioning and a heated front windscreen for a further £500 premium.

The top of the range petrol Zetec is priced at £9,495 and adds front fog lamps, extra instruments and controls and bigger alloy wheels. Ford reckons this will be the big seller, accounting for over 40 per cent of sales.

If you want the 1.3-litre diesel engine, it will only be available in Zetec trim and will be the most expensive in the range at £10,195, but the cheapest to run with an impressive average fuel consumption of just over 67mpg.

Keeping costs down for all versions will be good too – they are all rated at tax band B which means you pay just £35 to keep it on the road for a year. I think that’s cheaper than my motorbike.

Baby sun worshipper

I know winter is upon us, but you can still enjoy an open-topped car on a frosty day under a big blue sky if you turn the heating up high enough.

Volkswagen is now making it easier for you to do just that by bringing in a new, cheaper-than-ever version of its Eos – its folding hard-top coupe/cabriolet.

The new version is the first to come in under £20,000 … even if only just. At £19,440 the new version of the S has a 1.4-litre, 120bhp petrol engine, a six-speed manual gearbox, limited control, 16-inch alloy wheels, clever brakes and remote central locking.

Mike Grundon


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