Our cars: the best long-term reviews 2021 - page 2
The Auto Express team has lived with a huge variety of cars, and these are their favourite memories
Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
Steve Sutcliffe, special contributor
- Mileage: 13,718
- MPG: 27.1
A bit weird, but special contributor Steve Sutcliffe’s highlight came this year when the man from Porsche came to take “his” Cayman GTS away. Steve had spent the last three months really getting to know this car, liking almost everything about it save, perhaps, for its Python Green paint job. So you’d think collection day would have been A Very Bad Day.
A week later, after lots of miles in it, Steve gave the GT4 back, having enjoyed every minute of it. But by then he was convinced of his verdict on the two cars. For a special occasion the GT4 is the one you’d have, he reckons, but having spent a good amount of time in them both, he’s certain the GTS is the better car to drive every day. Which is why Steve’s head is now constantly buried in the classifieds, trying to find the perfect example to buy and cherish and, maybe, to keep forever and a day.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Steve Walker, group web editor
- Mileage: 1,857
- MPG: 28.5
We gave our Discovery Sport a fitting send off with a trip back to its spiritual home, Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire. Here, web editor Steve Walker tested the baby Land Rover at the Land Rover Experience Centre.
The company’s dedication to instilling its products with genuine off-road ability is rare in today’s market. Even the Discovery Sport, a mild-mannered SUV, will cross terrain that would have rivals floundering. It might not be relevant to many UK buyers, but it’s a crucial USP for Land Rover.
We also tried the brand’s new Defender on Eastnor’s more challenging routes, and the biggest compliment you can pay to the car is that it made the whole drive seem fairly dull and routine. It underlined the kind of ability that can come as standard with the Land Rover badge.
John McIlroy, deputy editor
- Mileage: 1,800
- Efficiency: 3.1mi/kWh
Our deputy editor John McIlroy had two daily drivers outside his house for most of 2021. The first was his Skoda Octavia, our 2020 New Car Awards winner and a model that John liked so much that he leased almost the same spec as his next family car.
His own Octavia arrived in the spring – but about the same time, a red Citroen e-C4 also appeared on his drive. John’s wife Karolina was very taken with its blend of ICE-like acceleration and a suspension set-up focused on low-speed comfort. It’s a car designed to be driven in town, where most of the McIlroys’ mileage has been racked up in the past 18 months. It’s also hard to argue against zero-emissions school runs that cost pennies on John’s electricity tariff.
Ford Transit Custom PHEV
Dean Gibson, senior test editor
- Mileage: 5,198
- MPG: 37.3
Everything started swimmingly for the Transit Custom PHEV. Its delivery coincided with lockdown at the end of 2020, and the short trips senior test editor Dean Gibson was making meant that the trip computer stuck at 99.9mpg as he wafted around on electric power.
He did more motorway miles in February and March, and with only around 15 miles of electric range in cold weather, the petrol engine had to work hard and economy fell to the mid-30s. But by summer, with the EV range at 30 miles and more local trips, economy was into the 40s.
The joy of a van is the ability to load up without worrying about damaging interior trim, while space was never an issue in the Ford. And impressively, the Transit Custom PHEV was even surprisingly fun to drive.
Richard Ingram, DrivingElectric editor
- Mileage: 6,824
- Efficiency: 3.5mi/kWh
As editor of sister title DrivingElectric, Richard Ingram is used to running electric cars. But while he’s an EV convert, he likes to dabble in petrol cars, too, so when dreaming up a report for his ID.3 Pro S Tour, he looked to VW UK’s heritage fleet – and its 1977 Beetle 1200L.
The Beetle was the original ‘People’s Car’, selling more than 21 million units. But as EVs become the default choice for new-car buyers, VW is trying to recreate that success with its ID. sub-brand, and Rich wanted to see if the ID.3 could be today’s People’s Car.
And after a day in the Beetle, there were plenty of parallels to be drawn. The ID.3’s rear-motor, rear-wheel-drive layout is identical to that of the classic and, albeit for different reasons, both have spacious cabins capable of carrying four adults with ease.
But that’s where the similarities end. Rich was pleased to get back in the ID.3 for his journey home; the EV’s responsive motor and strong brakes make it much more suitable for everyday use.
Pete Baiden, web producer
- Mileage: 3,113
- MPG: 34.0mpg
Often the models you see in Our Cars have plenty of kit, but the Audi Q2 that we ran this year took the term “optional extra” to a new level. With almost £10,000 worth of options, our test car came in at over £40,000.
Not that web producer Pete Baiden was complaining, because it meant that he had plenty to enjoy and write about. He was most pleased to see the Q2 arrive with a panoramic sunroof. It was a hit with his family, who loved how much light it let in, making the Q2 feel bigger than it was, while the night sky fascinated Pete’s young son.
It wasn’t just the extras that impressed, though; the Baidens were surprised by the room on offer. The rear could easily accommodate two car seats, while the boot took a buggy and a few bags without too much trouble.
Darren Wilson, creative editor
- Model: Sync EV 7kWh
- Cost: £957 inc fitting
Creative Director Darren found his inability to charge the excellent SEAT Leon PHEV, which he ran in the first half of 2021, very frustrating. So when he took delivery of a new Toyota RAV4 PHEV in September, he bit the bullet and invested in a 7.5kWh chargepoint for his London home.
With no driveway, Darren wasn’t eligible for the £350 EV wallbox grant, so with the help of an electrician friend he bought the tiny Sync EV charge box (£499) and electrical parts independently, which were fitted at cost (£250). Parking rules on Darren’s road mean he is expected to park partly on the pavement, so running a cable to the car is practical. The £25 EV wire cover keeps his neighbours safe, and now Darren can look forward to making the most of electric test vehicles.
Check out the rest of our 2021 round-up below...
- 1Our cars: the best long-term reviews 2021The Auto Express team has lived with a huge variety of cars, and these are their favourite memories
- 2Our cars: the best long-term reviews 2021 - page 2 - currently readingThe Auto Express team has lived with a huge variety of cars, and these are their favourite memories