Steering Column

Nifty and nice

Can it really be 20 years? Mazda is celebrating the 20th birthday of its little MX-5 sports car with a special anniversary edition it’s launching at the Geneva Motor Show.

I can’t believe it. I must be getting old. Two decades of the MX-5. Incredible!

Anyway, what of this special model? Well Mazda tells us it’s based on the current 1.8-litre SE model of the soft-topped roadster, but it features a rake of styling features to make it stand out from the herd.

There’s a chrome grille and door handles, there’s a silver surround to the fog lamps, there are some nice 10-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels and a few special logos celebrating the momentous milestone.

Truth is I’m not sure it warrants being called a special edition. Okay it has a few extra tassles here and there, but it’s not exactly a limited edition car. Each car will be issued with a unique serial number, but there will be 2000 of the rascals out there on the roads. Exclusive? I don’t think so.

Happy Honda

There will be big smiles all round at Honda’s UK headquarters as its motorcycles appear to domin­ate the top places in a customer satisfaction survey by the industry-leading weekly Motor Cycle News.

The publication has just brought out its list of “100 best bikes” based on a reader survey carried out in Britain. We’re told 12,000 readers took part and of the hundred bikes voted most popular, Honda bikes took a quarter of them.

Sadly for a writer of a general interest column in a local newspaper, spouting the list of letters and numbers that Honda keeps for its product nomenclature would make very boring reading. However, for those who follow the brand, you’ll be interested to know the VFR400R was the top-placed Honda, closely followed by the CBF900F Hornet and the CBR600RR Fireblade… and that’s a rare sentence that includes the phrase “followed by” and the word “Fireblade”.

Bikes were judged for their reliability, build-quality, comfort and their engine and braking performance. In a statement of monumental modesty, the general manager of Honda UK Motorcycles, Steve Martindale this week described the achievement as “encouraging”.

All shook up

Vauxhall says the introduction of its new-look Movano panel van is going to “shake up the heavy van segment”.

It won’t of course, but there’s little doubt this second-generation of the beast be in important player in the world of load lugging in years to come. After all, the old Movano was in years gone by.

The company’s alternative to the Ford Transit now comes with a choice of no fewer than 29 body types and alternatives for front or rear wheel drive and a series of new power trains.

The new model will be launched later this year with prices beginning at £21,660 for the . . . wait for it . . . L2H2 3300 FWD 100PS model. If you want to know the rest of the prices, you’ll have to hunt them up for yourself. There are just too many of them to list here.

Mike Grundon


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