Ray Massey: Peugeot gears up for launch of its new 2008 urban crossover
Peugeot is gearing up for the June launch of its new 2008 urban crossover.
Prices from less than £13,000 to around £17,000 are expected for this compact people carrier ‘big brother’ of the hot hatch 208.
The French maker promises up to 61.8 mpg from the car, which was unveiled at the recent Geneva Motor Show. Its 1.2 litre e-VTi engine with stop-start technology will keep the 2008’s CO2 emissions ddown to 159 g/mile.
Peugeot is gearing up for the June launch of its new 2008 urban crossover
The car went down well in a ‘blind’ test in Birmingham’s Bullring centre with a group of Auto Express readers who were shown it with its badges covered up. Jonty Smithy from Solihull, who drives a BMW X5, said: ‘It’s an attractive car. The chrome finish is a nice touch.
Overall, it’s impressive with lots of cabin space.’ Rhonda Gold, from T amworth, Staffs, who drives a Toyota Hilux, thought the new Peugeot would cost at least £8,000 more than the predicted top price.
She said: ‘It’s stunning. I like the interior, particularly the leather trim. It’s a decent size and has the 4×4 feel. It reminds me of an Audi Q5.’
But Phil Seward, from Bristol, who drives a BMW 1 Series Coupe, was less impressed: ‘The design isn’t very coherent. It’s trying to be an SUV (sports utility vehicle). – something it’s not.’
Up to a million motorists could have their motorway speeding convictions challenged and overturned because the font used on motorway variable speed-limit signs still fails to comply with traffic regulations, say legal experts.
Solicitors are queuing up to challenge speeding convictions going back seven years on nine motorways with the ‘illegal’ signs: the M1, M4, M5, M6, M20, M25, M40, M42 and M62.
They argue that even though the Transport Secretary has himself belatedly approved a controversial variable speed-limit sign – which until the New Year had been considered inadequate – this just isn’t enough.
For the signs still do not comply with the official regulations, called Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD ). Lawyers add that the cost to government in legal fees and refunds will run into millions of pounds and be borne ultimately by the taxpayer.
Until now the focus has been on variable speed signs on two sections of the M42 that the Crown Prosecution Service and police admitted were taller and narrower than the regulations allow.
But leading traffic management and road sign expert Richard Bentley said the full scale of challenges goes far wider.
He says: ‘The number of potential challenges will certainly run into hundreds of thousands and could top a million, as illegal signs have been deployed for more than a decade.
‘The Transport Secretary and Department for Transport all agreed that the signs were “nonprescribed”, which in law means their use, by the Government’s own definition, is and was illegal.’ Motoring lawyer Philip Somarakis, at Mayfair-based legal firm Davenport Lyons, said the Transport Secretary’s attempt to authorise the signs ‘after the event’ is also legally dubious. He also argues that signs approved by ministers cannot be used in conjunction with the cameras: ‘Not any old sign will do.’
Car makers on both sides of the Atlantic are deeply worried about the young falling out of love with four wheels.
They lack the interest in – bordering on obsession about – cars that their parents and gransparents, preferring their computer screens and social networks. Professor Juliet Schor, of Boston College in Newton, Massachusetts, said: ‘Fewer than one third of 16 to 19-year-olds are applying for their driving licences in the U.S. now, compared with almost 100 per cent in 1978.’
She added that younger people are leaving it longer before buying cars and will increasingly take up alternatives such as carsharing schemes in cities.
Car makers on both sides of the Atlantic are deeply worried about the young falling out of love with four wheels
Schemes such as the Smart Car2Go and BMWs My City Way, are already being established in several cities worldwide, including London.
BMW said: ‘MyCityWay is a free smartphone app that gives the user a personally tailored package which identifies their location and uses live traffic feeds to help them find the best places to get whatever it is they want or need – from a 24-hour pharmacy or the closest cash-point machine.’
Nearly a quarter of a century ago I was in the then divided Berlin watching with excitement the historic fall of the Berlin Wall that marked the end of the Cold War.
One of the many enduring sights of November 1989, pictured left, was the trail of puffing, wheezing Trabants – or ‘Trabis’ – pouring out of the workers’ paradise, through holes in the Wall into the decadent West. The Trabant, with bodywork made from recycled cotton waste and other materials, was powered by a tiny two-stroke two-cylinder engine that propelled it from 0 to 62 mph in a leisurely 21 seconds and had a top speed of 70 mph.
More than three million were built in the 30 years prior to the fall of the Wall and waiting lists were so long it’s a good thing the car’s average lifespan was 28 years. I happened to be in Berlin again this week when news of Lady Thatcher’s death broke.
Die Eisene Lady as the ‘Iron Lady’ was and is still known in Germany, thanks to a backhanded compliment given to her by the Kremlin, did her bit to end the Cold War. And I think she’d have been pleased that the trusty Trabis have survived.
Today you can even tour the city on a Trabi-Safari!