With a broad bonnet and dominant grille, it is undeniably chic, not overly muscular or aggressive. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, it is available in a range of colours including 'Reef Blue', 'Makena Turquoise' and 'Energetic Orange', but even on a dull day in Mallorca our grey T-Cross managed to draw a covetous glance or two. Once tempted inside, the T-Cross is surprisingly roomy and feels substantially bigger than the Polo I had parked at the airport in Dublin. It's hard not to be impressed with the head and leg room or the pleasure of that lofty driving position in such a small car. The layout is simple and uncluttered with durable materials, while the brightly coloured panels are intended to appeal to the twentysomething motorist. It is roomy enough for a family of four and the sliding rear-seat bench means you can create up to 1,281 litres of storage space. Enough to accommodate wakeboards or ski bags as Volkswagen suggests. In terms of size, it is 4.11m long and … [Read more...] about Small car, but big on attitude
Small car big city
I have a 08 BMW 318i with low mileage. We do around 12,000km a year. Two small children later and we need more room. I have a €20k budget plus trade in. I'm looking for a good all rounder (both city and motorway driving) with a petrol engine and large boot. Would appreciate your views and advice. Gillian: The first one popping into my head is the Nissan Qashqai, mainly because it is popular as a petrol so you will find one. A 1.2 one-year-old might just about squeeze into budget for the nice spec SV but for a few extra goodies, you might be better off going for a 171/172 SVE or SV Premium model. I am conscious you are coming out of a BMW 3-series and I have been there. Actually it was when I was expecting my first child and I wanted something with a bigger boot also. I did eventually get into a Nissan but it wasn't my first choice after owning a Beemer. The issue is finding a petrol model to suit. The likes of Audi, BMW, Mercedes and other German brands are still predominantly … [Read more...] about All-rounder; buying used; petrol only; €8,000 for small car; is PCP worth it?
Middlesbrough could be set for its biggest transformation in a generation as council bosses look to turn its town centre into a 'city centre'. As big name shops continue to struggle in a cut-throat high street environment, Middlesbrough Council wants to shift focus from retail. Launching its 'city centre strategy' for the next four years, council top brass aim to reduce the number of shops - and get more people living, working and playing in the centre. And there's a host of potential changes in store - some small, some big - which will attempt to turn Middlesbrough into a 'destination'. Broadly, the council's leadership wants its centre to look and act as a city centre - attracting people from outside the area to spend their time and money as a "destination". It says its own analysis - as well as independent advice - shows the town needs more people living in the centre, and more workers too, which is why the authority is supporting a Grade A office development at Centre Square. … [Read more...] about All the ways Middlesbrough could change to become a ‘city centre’
A persistent question shadowed all of the shiny new vehicles and highly-produced, glitzy debuts at the Detroit auto show this week: Where are the sedans? Volkswagen was among the few to trumpet a new sedan -- those compact and mid-sized cars that shuttled generations of American children to school in the morning and soccer practice in the afternoon. But despite its ubiquity in the suburban driveways and garages of the past, the vehicle segment's future is anything but certain. The middle-class sedan -- as opposed to luxury brands and high-performance sports cars -- is hard to find this week on the Detroit auto show's floor, eclipsed by row upon row of giant trucks and SUVs. "Car companies are acknowledging that the crossover, sport utility vehicle boom is continuing," said analyst Michelle Krebs of AutoTrader. Detroit's Big Three automakers -- Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler -- have gradually abandoned production of sedans for lack of profitability and lack of interest from … [Read more...] about US car buyers swerve away from compact cars, sedans
Bumblebee4 stars 12A, 114 mins Sometimes, in nightmares, I imagine that I am stuck in a never-ending screening of a Transformers film. Of all the summer blockbusters that afflicted us over the last decade or so, these were the most tiresome: loud, bombastic, pointless Cgi festivals witlessly presided over by that master of cinematic finesse, Michael Bay. There were five of them, they all ran for over two and a half hours, they made lots of money, and none were any good. But, apparently, it needn't have been that way because this perky prequel is one of the best family films I've seen all year. As the planet Cybertron is being overrun by Decepticons (bad robots!), Optimus Prime, barrel-voiced leader of the Autobots (the good ones), orders his most trusted lieutenant, B-127, to travel to Earth to scout the place out: in time, his comrades will follow. But when the machine arrives on our planet he's treated to the usual friendly human welcome, is shot and half destroyed and retreats into … [Read more...] about Heading to the cinema? All the big movie releases screening this week reviewed