My Test Car Not in Top Gear

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), July 9, 2004 | Go to article overview

My Test Car Not in Top Gear


Byline: By Paul Malley

Nowhere is the power of the Press more apparent than in motoring. Car firms, eager for positive write-ups, spend millions on vehicle launches for journalists.

Of course, no matter how glamorous the event, if what we are being asked to drive is a pile of poop we'll say it.

But from the builders' point of view, it is worth doing everything possible to ensure the launch goes smoothly for fear of incurring the wrath of a journalist's pen. Just as importantly, makers take time and effort to ensure road-test vehicles are delivered in tip-top condition. Well, most do anyway. I was stunned to be handed a vehicle from Mazda that appeared to have been assembled by a cowboy builder.

The source of my astonishment was that the gearbox was completely exposed, revealing bare cables and all. It may well be simple to repair the problem by tucking the gear stick cover back into its base.

But the impression it left was that Mazda just don't give a stuff about build quality, so why even bother to test one let alone buy it?

Which is a shame, because the Mazda 2 isn't a bad little city runabout. Exterior looks are so-so and the interior is clean, simple and comfortable.

Materials are far from luxurious, but at least the cabin doesn't feel as if it's going to fall apart ( gearstick error aside.

It's a practical car in that it can be used as a solo runabout, or carry four adults in comfort. …

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