Steering Column 20.03.09

Altogether greener

Suzuki has put on sale its new Alto city car, a vehicle the company describes as the lowest emitting five-door petrol family car on the market.

The car was launched at the start of the month with just one engine option, the numbers for which read like a primary school text book. It has one-litre capacity, two wheel drive, a three-cylinder engine, a four-speed automatic gearbox and a five speed manual transmission.

The engine turns out 67bhp and pumps out just 103g/km of carbon dioxide as it hauls the 885kg car up to 62mph in 13.5 seconds. Its average fuel consumption comes in at a healthy 64.2mpg.

As you can see, it might help you do your bit to save the world from global warming, but it’s not going to set your emotions alight with its performance. But those figures refer to the manual gearbox version and they can sound almost sporting in comparison to the automatic.

Why anyone would want the auto box I can’t imagine. It pushes the carbon dioxide emissions up to 122g/km, pushes down the fuel consumption by 10mpg to 54.3mpg, slows the top speed from 96 back to 93mph and stretches the 0-62mph sprint time to a whopping 17 seconds.

Happily it’s a chirpy looking little car and the price range starts at just £6,795 despite the fact it comes with electric windows, front and side airbags, remote central locking and clever anti-lock brakes.

Suzuki says it has come at the perfect time when many people are downsizing to more economical vehicles and the director of sales and marketing for the company in the UK, David Seward, says it has already generated lots of interest and promises to give an “encouraging start in what are set to be challenging market con­ditions”.

Fresher Polo

Volkswagen has unveiled the fifth generation of its supermini, the Polo. It is an amazing 34 years since the first version went on sale in the UK and the makers say it has come a long way.

The company says it weighs 7.5 per cent less than the outgoing Polo despite being a bit wider and longer, and yet it’s also stronger, more refined, more efficient and more versatile.

It is easily the best looking Polo yet, taking style themes from the new Scirocco coupe. What this means is that despite it being a VW baby, it is by no means a bland looking little thing. It’s got character and purpose in its eye now.

The engine choice covers two 1.2-litre and one 1.4-litre petrol engines and an all-new 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel engine.

A BlueMotion version with a hugely efficient 1.6-litre, 89bhp diesel engine is already waiting in the wings. This ultra-efficient car is capable of an average fuel consumption of 74mpg and its carbon dioxide output is a cleaner-than-thou 96g/km. Watch out for the Bluemotion II in 2011 which will bring an almost unbelievably frugal 85mpg fuel consumption and put just 87g/km of nasties into the air.

Mike Grundon


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