Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Charade's a Real Eye-Opener

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Charade's a Real Eye-Opener

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stewart Smith

VOLKSWAGEN has very modest sales plans for its new executive saloon, the Phaeton, and it is just as well. Diving headlong into the upper echelons of the luxury limousine market is no easy task, especially when your reputation is primarily as a provider of motor vehicles for the masses.

IT used to be the case that if you wanted to get maximum miles per gallon from a motor the only answer was to settle for an oil-burner.

But advances in technology have come on leaps and bounds and some petrol power packs now offer mpg figures close to diesels.

For example the new Daihatsu Charade, which went on sale a couple of weeks ago, has a one-litre, three-cylinder engine which is claimed as the world's most efficient for its size.

Its makers claim the Charade can return almost 60mpg on a combined run and even around town you should get 47mpg.

Now, I'm not a great fan of motors with such tiny engines, but the Charade was an eye-opener when I tested it. It's a little beauty!

Not only will it keep you away from the pumps for a long time, it packs a punch which many bigger cars would be proud off.

Its top speed is claimed at 100mph and from a standing start Daihatsu says the three or five-door city car will take just over 12 seconds to hit 62 mph.

Around town and on quieter stretches of road it offers a very relaxed ride with good driving position and easily reached knobs and buttons.

On dual-carriageways and motorways the Charade will keep up with the flow in the outside lane without you thinking the engine is about to melt.

Sound insulation, which in some small cars appears to be minimal, is excellent with very little engine or wind noise spoiling the fun.

The engine can be a bit raucous when pushed to the rev limit as you change up, but then I doubt whether Charade buyers will be pushing it. …

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