Current moves include sensible rationalisation of a straggling range, a strong but realistic sales expansion plan, a determination to establish ‘daring’ and ‘comfort’ as standout values for the future and a unique-to-Citroën replacement for the much-loved gas-over-oil hydropneumatic suspension that has become – whisper this – too complicated and expensive for this day and age. Result? At least one Citroën owner (me) is feeling confident about the future.
WEDNESDAY - Interesting how much fuss surrounds the new Fiat 124 Spider, given that it’s so closely related to the Mazda MX-5 that the proportions can’t disguise it. Mind you, cheap Fiat roadsters have always had convenient relationships with bigger-selling cars, so we shouldn’t be too surprised. I still find myself fondly eyeing the mid-1990s Barchetta, based on the crude, first-series Punto saloon. Its front-wheel drive layout made it pretty ordinary to drive, yet it’s an enduring standout.
THURSDAY - Christmas motoring matters to me. On one particular Silly Season day, there’s always a need to tote self and Steering Committee, two adult sons and at least one girlfriend, plus Granny, halfway across England. And we prefer to do it in comfort. That takes a reasonably spacious seven-seater – and for me the default choice is the Land Rover Discovery. I’ve already made the request to the generous and discerning people who run the LR fleet (approaching them on my knees) and have just received the nod. A proper Xmas pressie if ever there was one.
It’s important to spend time in this machine, because it’ll be leaving the new car lists next year. One of my fetishes is ultra-low road noise, which was never better delivered than by the current Disco’s meaty but quiet twin-rail T5 chassis, complemented by all-independent air suspension. The replacement will be a rationalised, modernised and beautiful all-aluminium model. I’d bet my mortgage on liking it. But I’ll be sorry, too.
FRIDAY - People get furious with you for anticipating Christmas, but I like to plan mine from a driving point of view. Long experience tells me there are times (Boxing Day) when the roads are clogged, and others (the day after) when they’re usually deserted. So it’s fun if you have a journey to do on 27 December, especially if you start early. This year’s car choice will be between the Disco and our new long-term Bentley Continental GT, so the driving will be fantastic whatever the weather.