MONDAY - Wonderful week for new cars. Started with a day trip to Paris to watch Renault chief Carlos Ghosn unveil the new Kadjar crossover, which follows the familiar modern pattern of being an appealing model with a funny name, because all decent ‘handles’ have been taken.
In a quick one-to-one, I found Ghosn surprisingly cagey about the car’s sales potential – more cagey than I would be on his behalf, because the model looks great and its underbits are not only well proven, but proven desirable by record-breaking sales of the Qashqai, the Kadjar’s Nissan twin.
Interviewing someone like Ghosn is nerve-wracking, because his answers are so fact-packed and precisely edited that you need all your concentration either to pick up on what he’s just said or to move to a new subject and make best use of your time available.
Up close, Ghosn seems so focused that he makes a magnifying glass look like the bottom of a Coke bottle. But I can’t help wondering how this extraordinary bloke, around whom an industry revolves, will cope with retirement, only a handful of years away.
TUESDAY AM - Quick sojourn on favourite roads in a 3.6-metre surprise package called the Hyundai i10, my favourite of the current tinies.
One minute it feels big (cruising motorways), the next it feels small (when you’re sticking it down country lanes at speeds that would daunt anything bigger and wider). Fully loaded, an i10 costs a paltry £10,800, yet you could drive it around the world in ease and comfort, enjoying every mile.
TUESDAY PM - Uplifting hacks’ dinner with Honda UK boss Philip Crossman and his management team, who laid out an impressive UK recovery strategy that involves launching six new cars in the next six months: CR-V, Civic, Civic Type R, HR-V, Jazz and NSX. That’s quite a line-up.