Steering Column

Green grow the engines-o

Citroën is ploughing ahead with its programme of greener car production with the introduction of two new clean engines to its C5 range of family-sized cars.

The 1.6-litre petrol engine was developed with BMW and replaces the two-litre engine currently available in the range. Although it has a smaller capacity, it is significantly more powerful, turning out 155bhp as opposed to 143bhp.

Tied into a six-speed manual gearbox, it will take the saloon up to 62mph in a respectable 8.6 seconds and give you an official average of just under 40 miles of motoring from a gallon of unleaded – an 18 per cent improvement on the old engine. The exhaust is much cleaner too so road tax falls from £215 a year to £175.

The other new engine is a two-litre HDi turbo diesel unit turning out 160bhp. It replaces the old two-litre, 140bhp engine and the 2.2-litre, 173bhp unit.

This new diesel engine is available in the saloon and the estate models. It is also twinned with a manual and an automatic gearbox, so your performance and fuel economy figures aren’t quite as straight forward. However, for straight comparison, the saloon with a manual box will reach 62mph in 9.1 seconds and it will give you just over 50mpg fuel economy.

Car tax for all models with the diesel engine and manual gearbox drops from £150 a year to £125. Automatics see a fall from £215 to £175 a year.

The price for the petrol saloon is just under £19,800, the diesel engine will cost an extra £1,400 and the automatic gearbox adds £1,500. There are higher equipment packs that will add more goodies at more cost as well.

Prospero’s soul

When Kia launched its fabulously boxy hatchback, known as the Soul, earlier this year, it said it would be periodically bringing out special editions on a rolling cycle.

Well that’s just what it has done this month. It has axed the sexy black and red “Samba” version and replaced it with a silver and black model known as the “Tempest”.

Metallic “Titanium Silver” paint with high-gloss piano black bumper inserts and door mirrors are complemented by black and silver 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside there’s a metallic central console, black seats and bits of chrome splashed about here and there.

Technically it is pretty well specified with a reversing camera to help with parking, an auto-dipping rear view mirror and the smart sound system with the big front central speaker and boot-mounted sub-woofer that we first saw on the “Shaker”.

You can have it with a 1.6-litre petrol or diesel engine and you can now get an automatic gearbox on the diesel model. The Tempest will set you back £12,845.

The golden wheel

Vauxhall’s new family hatchback, the Astra, has been awarded the Golden Steering Wheel by readers of, and experts on, motoring magazines circulated by the German publishing group Auto Bild.

Over 40 million readers in 26 countries were invited to vote up a shortlist of 46 cars across six categories. Next, a panel of professional experts including race drivers, technicians, VIPs and journalists whittled the shortlist down. The Astra, we are told, won comfortably for the quality of its engines, fuel consumption, safety and handling.

It is probably the first in a series of awards coming Vauxhall’s way this year. The Astra is shortlisted for the European Car of the Year, an accolade the company won with its Insignia last year.

Mike Grundon


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