Share this page on

green Status green (Level 2/10)



No member profile available. The person you are looking for is no longer a Ciao member.

Reviews written

since 03/08/2005


Volkswagen Golf IV 1.8 T GTI 19/02/2010

Reasonably quick, very likeable, but not a GTI

Volkswagen Golf IV 1.8 T GTI I bought this as a cheap commuter-cum-weekend project (not to mod, but to get back up to scratch). A one owner, straight, but slightly fleabitten ten year old 1.8T GTI 5dr, with 133,000 miles, and a comprehensive service history for £1800. I've only had it a couple of weeks, but it's been enough to form some first impressions. First of all, this isn't really a hot hatch. I believe this model is known as the "Highline" in other markets, and was simply badged "GTI" for the UK, in order to cash in on the British love affair with the hot hatch. When you drive the car, this makes a lot of sense. It's lively, smooth, refined, comfortable, well specced and well built, but sporty it most certainly is not. Sure, you have a lovely set of Recaros, attractive 16" alloys, unique-to-this-model dark "wood" trim, and a fairly small hand stitched leather three spoke wheel, but these are bolt on bits you could fit to a base model 1.4, and really do not change the soft, refined, "grown up" feel of the underlying car. Despite slightly stiffer suspension, and the aforementioned extras, it's still a cruiser at heart. The engine sounds very exotic on paper. An 1800cc inline four with twin overhead camshafts, five valves per cylinder, a turbocharger and sequential multipoint fuel injection. With this in mind, one can't help but be a little disappointed with the 150 bhp headline output. Ford were getting 133 from a primitive 1.6 litre two valve turbo a decade earlier, Vauxhall were exceeding ...

Philips RQ 1061 Arcitec 05/01/2009

Very disappointing

Philips RQ 1061 Arcitec I bought this on a special deal in Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam a year or so ago, and it cost me about £80, a good deal compared to the UK "street price" of about £130-£140 at the time Aesthetically, it's a great looking product with its futuristic design, and typically solid Philishave build. The charge level and clean indicator display is also very smart, its glowing blue segments appearing from behind a mirrored panel when lit, but being completely invisible when not. It's a sleek design without a shadow of a doubt. Unfortunately, all of that pales into insignificance because its shaving performance is very poor indeed. I have had to resort to wet shaving because I simply can't get a close enough shave with this unit. Even spending 10-15 minutes with this leaves stubble which my wife notices and complains about. It requires so much overlapping of skin to get an even remotely acceptable shave that it can also cause irritation. This unit replaced my three year old Philishave which cost me about £40, and was the cheapest model that could be powered by mains or battery. I thought this was a superb bit of kit which really did give near wet-shave closeness, never irritated and was well put together. When the heads finally wore out, it didn't even occur to me to try anything other than a new Philishave. Sadly, this one just doesn't live up to the price, design, or the historic performance of the brand. It's also poor that a shaver at this price and market position ...

Volvo S60 2.0T 28/03/2008

Fabulous all round car

Volvo S60 2.0T The S60 wasn't on the radar as a replacement car, until my old Mondeo (reviewed elsewhere on this site) began to run into age/reliability related problems, and this came up for sale from a good friend. I knew the history and the condition, so I bought it. Normally I wouldn't be too keen to buy a 120,000 mile car, especially as I do quite high mileage myself, but this is a Volvo, and Volvo build quality is legendary with tales of 350,000 mile cars still running fine, and the Volvo owners club having several 500,000 milers still registered as running. Whilst I can't vouch for that, I can say that the S60 shrugs off 120,000 miles like most cars shrug off half that. I have never driven a car with mileage like this that feels so new. The doors still close with a well damped clunk, absolutely everything works, there are no interior rattles, no suspension clonks, and the engine sounds, pulls and feels like it's just run in. The absolute best part of the S60 is Volvo's warbling, characterful 20 valve five cylinder turbocharged engine range. Even this entry 2.0 version with its light light pressure turbo hammers out a genuine 180 bhp, and has a flat torque curve from 2000-5500 RPM. With an Autocar tested 0-60 time of 8.2 seconds, the car is no slug, but neither is it a sports car. What it is though is completely effortless, with the engine delivering muscular, relentless pull regardless of gear, and a reported top speed of 140 mph. Sounds fabulous too with a lovely offbeat ...

Renault Grand Scenic 1.9 dCi 07/09/2007

Brilliant family car!

Renault Grand Scenic 1.9 dCi We've had "The Spaceship" as it has been affectionately christened, for 5 months now, and have covered 6,500 miles in it. Overall, we are very happy with it. We looked at many midi-MPVs such as the C-MAX and Touran, and what disappointed us most was the boot space on offer. The Grand Scenic seemed to be one of the few which offers decent load carrying capabilty and plenty of cabin space, without having to migrate to a full blown MPV such as an Espace or Galaxy. The pop up "third row" seats are strictly for kids only, but have been called upon on more than one occasion, and do at least have proper 3-point belts. They also pop up and fold individually for maximum versatility. Oh, and it's a personal thing, but I really like the "big ass" styling. Yes it's an MPV, but at least they've made an effort. In practicality terms, the Grand Scenic is beyond reasonable criticism. As well as the aforementioned pop up third seat row, the "standard" rear seats can individually slide fore and aft to vary the leg room to boot space ratio, as well as tumble forward or pop out completely. With all rear seats removed or folded as applicable, this creates an almost van-like load capacity which is ideal for trips to the dump, or for collecting bulky items such as fridges or washing machines. A minute or two refitting the seats, and it becomes a spacious and well appointed family car again. This "dual role" ability is one of the most appealing things about the car. We drove 1.6 and 2.0 ...

Ford Focus 1.8 Duratorq TDdi 30/11/2005

Good in parts, awful in others.

Ford Focus 1.8 Duratorq TDdi This review relates to a company car which has just been returned to the lease company. I got the car with 8 miles on the clock in November 2002, and it has just gone back in November 2005 with 112,000 miles on the clock. In that time it has had 8 services (the 9th was due), several sets of tyres and a couple of bulbs. Nothing broke, nothing failed, nothing fell off and nothing went wrong. The most dependable and reliable car I've ever had the pleasure to use. Unfortunately, the old Duratorq DI engine does the Focus no favours. Although faultlessly reliable, and reasonably lively, it's unbelievably noisy, and vibrates like an old twin tub washing machine at idle. Once on the move, its relentless rumbling and rattling constantly intrudes into the cabin and irritates quickly. I have no problem with a loud engine if it sounds appealing, but this engine has all the aural appeal of a 20 year old diesel Transit with no oil in it. It's also thirsty if you drive it hard - 35 mpg is petrol-like, and I could never get more than 44 out of it driving like a granfaf. This can all be avoided by going for the far more refined, more powerful, and more economical TDCi engines, which actually are mechanically similar, but with common rail injection. The difference it makes is astonishing. Combine this engine noise with the din from the tyres (which got louder as the car went past 70,000 miles), and the Focus is actually quite hard work on a long motorway run. Although it will ... 04/08/2005

Excellent product and free to boot! I had a bundled version of Norton Internet Security 2005 with a PC motherboard that I bought, so when my new PC was up and running, I installed it. A day later, I uninstalled it again, sick and tired, not to mention suspicious of the repeated requests to allow parts of the program server rights via my firewall (ZoneAlarm), and the ongoing pop up boxes which kept asking me to configure this or change that. Antivirus software to my mind should be painless and invisible unless needed. So, onto the Grisoft site I went, and downloaded AVG. I haven't looked back since. The software installs easily, and largely configures itself. All I needed to do was set my update and scan frequencies, tell ZoneAlarm to permit AVG's update module to access the internet, and tell the software I was using Outlook as a mail client, whereby it went off and plugged itself into Outlook automatically. It has created a folder in Outlook called "AVG Virus Vault" into which all infected e-mails are dumped after their malicious attachments have been removed and put safely into quarantine. This has never failed to date. At the end of the day, the software does what it says on the tin. It provides simple, effective protection against viruses, and is very easy to configure and use. The "Control Center" contains all definition dates, scanning and protection options in one screen, and scans or updates can be forced manually from here. As with most packages, scanning and updating can be scheduled ...

Graco Children's Products Tour Deluxe 04/08/2005

A good system let down badly by the car seat.

Graco Children's Products Tour Deluxe Our first baby was born in May and we found this attractive looking Graco travel system in our local Babies R' Us for an irresistable price in the sale. The system is great value, consisting of a buggy, carrier, and permanent car base, which is a great deal at the £150 sale price we paid. For newborns, the whole carrier simply clicks between buggy and car seat base, meaning that transferring baby from buggy to car and back again takes a matter of seconds. When baby is older, the buggy is simply used on its own. I can't comment on this yet, as our daughter is still not old enough to use it. In many ways, the system is superb. Despite some flimsy plastic on the cosmetic parts, it generally feels very nicely made, and the fabrics are attractive and durable looking. The buggy folds up easily and neatly using a clever double "twist grip" catch in the middle of the handle. Press a button, twist the grip and lift the handle, and the whole thing folds up in one smooth movement. A simple plastic locking tab engages between the two "halves" to keep it folded tightly when loading it into the car boot or manoevring onto a bus or train. Another nice touch is the way the folding action automatically engages the buggy's brakes, which means that when you unfold it again, the brakes are always on. This is very useful if you're unloading on a hill. There's also a simple plastic lever on each front wheel which locks the steering out, for when you want to rock baby to sleep. The carrier ...

Ford Mondeo 1.8 TD 03/08/2005

Very capable and great to drive.

Ford Mondeo 1.8 TD Now over 100,000 miles and still as reliable as clockwork and good to drive as ever. The most impressive aspect of the Mondeo is still its chassis. The ride is as supple and well damped as on many premium sector cars, but the handling is crisp and sharp with good steering feel and superb brakes. Suspension works quietly too. The overall impression from the way it glides along the road is a car that has been well engineered, and very well set up. Having driven many newer cars including the VW Passat, Audi A4 and the Vauxhall Vectra, I don't think any of them get close to the Mondeo's fabulous ride and handling compromise. The car has lots of space front and rear and a cavernous boot. Split fold rear seats work well, although some blatant penny pinching by Ford means the fuel gauge sender wires are exposed when you fold the rear seats down, meaning loads can snag on them and disturb them. This is a poor oversight when a 20p piece of conduit or rerouting of the wiring would have solved the problem. This design fault however is about the only one I can find. The dash ergonomics are faultless, the driving position adjustment range is huge, the seats are comfy, and even in LX spec, it's got everything you need. Air con, ABS, heated screen, electric drivers seat adjuster, electric mirrors and a decent CD player. It's done 100,000 miles and everything still works. No squeaks or rattles either. My biggest gripe is the engine. In its defence, the 1.8TD was never sold as a ...
Back to top