Tag Archives: Anglesey

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4: Magic Hour

Mitsubishi have a clear history when it comes to the design and building of compact SUVs of which the Eclipse Cross is another to be added to it’s illustrious predecessors. Like the short wheelbase Shogun or 2005s original SUV, the Outlander. And of course it was the Outlander, Mitsubishi tell us, that was the world’s first compact SUV to offer an environmentally friendly PZEV V6 engine, a quality also pioneered by today’s Eclipse Cross with it’s in-line 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC MIVEC direct-injection petrol engine with turbocharger, intercooler and Auto Stop & Go technology.

What everyone wants with their new purchase is a vehicle that stands out from the crowd, a SUV that displays something a little different from everyone else and with the Mitsubishi you’ve certainly got that. Mitsubishi themselves nail it when they describe their Eclipse Cross: Robust below the waistline reflecting its 4×4 heritage, it is fierce from the front, flowing from the side with heavily flared front and rear arches and coupe-style roof line, and features a truly distinctive rear. This is the brand new face of Mitsubishi and it’s all good. The rear of the vehicle is distinctive without being over the top and combines beautifully with that refreshingly modern rear strip flowing between the lights with the accentuated wheel arches offering a sporting profile that compliments the high waistline. Indeed, the Eclipse Cross offers a rather more bespoke feel than could be reasonably expected.

Under the skin you’ve got thoroughly modern 4×4 architecture, which should come as no surprise, this is a Mitsubishi after all and moves the Eclipse Cross away from the more regular two wheel drive opposition. After all, if you’re going to have a SUV, it really should offer the driving experience that the looks promise.

With Mitsubishi having achieved five World Rally Championship titles and more Dakar Rally wins than anyone else, I think it’s clear that they know what they’re doing when it comes to offering all-wheel-drive in a vehicle. When underway, the S-AWC, Mitsubishi say, gathers information on steering, brakes, driveline and yaw, and then controls the 4×4 system and the brakes across the axles to direct torque to the wheel with most grip. What this means for the driver is that on the Eclipse Cross standard mode (Auto on the dial) torque is split 80:20 with more sent backwards when it’s needed, whilst Snow receives a greater rear-wheel-bias and it culminates in a 40:60 front:rear split for Gravel.

The result of all this clever technology is an SUV that really does offer increased straight line stability, enhanced cornering and increased traction and control, even when the weather and conditions conspire against you. The thing is, when (MotorMartin is based in Yorkshire after all) you need extra traction and the confidence that that gives you, the system in the Eclipse Cross allows you to concentrate fully on keeping smooth and the road ahead rather than worrying about what the car itself is going to be doing. Excellent.

For those of you used to the more utilitarian interiors of older 4x4s, sitting in the Mitsubishi is going to come as quite a shock. If the exterior of the Eclipse Cross impresses then the interior raises your expectations even more so with technology and style aplenty. Dominating the centre console and usually the preserve of something a little more Germanic, you have the touch pad controller, a simple to use feature that allows you to control the Smartphone Link Display Audio housed in a neat screen on top of the dash. And it’s the rather clever Link Display that allows you to maximise the features of your Smartphone, meaning that mapping is current and traffic updates live. You can even talk to your car using your phone’s voice control system which is extremely handing when needing to change the Sat Nav destination on the move or access your own music rather than the banal offerings on DAB and beyond.

Of course there’s leather heated seats, a Rockford Fosgate premium 9-speaker system and an impressive power panoramic glass roof helping to create a bright and airy cabin. What you probably won’t realise though is that the Eclipse Cross also offers the discerning driver LED headlamps with washers, a 360-degree camera, Blind Spot Warning & Rear Cross Traffic Alert Lane Change Assist and my own personal favourite the Adaptive Cruise Control (CVT 4WD model). And have I mentioned the superb colour Head-up display?

Once you’re out on the road, you can really start to feel what Mitsubishi were hoping to achieve with their Eclipse Cross as the stylish exterior perfectly complements the composed nature of the drive ahead. From the high up driving position typical of the Mitsubishi’s SUV architecture the Eclipse Cross does an excellent job of isolating you and your passengers from the imperfections ever present on the roads of this green and pleasant land of ours.

Heading off along the M62, on the first leg of a journey destined to finish on the beautiful Island of Anglesey and the first thing that strikes you is what a comfortable cruiser the Mitsubishi really is. With the Adaptive cruise control set to 70mph you really can begin to relax as the car removes the obvious stress that the average motorway brings about. Automatically speeding up and slowing down depending on the traffic around you plus the added security of a Forward Collision Mitigation system which provides an audible warning and braking assistance at speeds of up to 50mph, means that motorway miles fly-by giving you a chance to focus on the ride comfort and willingness of the power plant under the bonnet for a change.

Driven by Mitsubishi’s brand new 1.5 turbo direct injection petrol engine with Auto Stop & Go, this is power plant that provides excellent ‘real life’ power and performance that suits the Eclipse Cross perfectly. An SUV that delivers 118 bhp at 5500 rpm whilst offering 184 lb/ft torque between 1800-4500 rpm doesn’t tell the whole story especially if you’re looking purely at the figures and yet a 0-62 mph time of 9.8s suggests that this isn’t a car that is slow off the mark. As ever though, it’s the performance out on the road rather than on the track where the Eclipse Cross really makes itself known. Off the motorway and out onto the A and B roads of North Wales is where this SUV really starts to earn it’s money as it seamlessly transforms from a high mileage cruiser into a sporty upstart intent on releasing your inner youth. What this means in practice is that you can start to have serious amounts of fun whilst still transporting yourself and associated paraphernalia (family etc.) up hill and down dale. Suspension, so cosseting when travelling to your destination, allows for perfect control through the bends and road imperfections to be soaked up once arrived.

Mated to this engine is a CVT auto with 8-speed sport mode and manual override, a new generation Continuously Variable automatic Transmission which provides power seamlessly for a smoother ride and reduced power loss matches the engine perfectly allowing you to use the available power whenever necessary. There’s also the small matter of a combined mpg of 40.4, a more than reasonable figure for a car of this sort.

And it’s this ‘real life’ ability of the drivetrain that so impresses when using the Eclipse Cross everyday. Supermarkets, the school run and journeys further afield offer a variety of situations that fail to dent the abilities of this impressive SUV, an SUV which manages to combine comfort, technology and style in such a way as to create a quite unique combination, plus there’s the small matter of a superb and intuitive all-wheel drive system ready for when the need arises.

With a starting price of £21,915 you are getting an awful lot of car for the money.

Where will you go?

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News: LIFE’S A BEACH WITH THE MG GS

With many of us here at MotorMartin Towers getting ready for the summer, sorting raincoats, woolly hats, wellies etc. It seemed almost prophetic that MG Motor UK chose today to forward the following information regarding the many stunning places here in the U.K. that you really should take the time to visit.

MG have shared with MotorMartin their view that with the UK economy facing uncertain times, the number of UK families planning on a staycation this summer has increased by almost a quarter since 2016. Faced with this popularity, holidaymakers are seeking increasingly remote destinations to escape the hustle and bustle of popular hot spots.

Responding to this desire for secluded getaways, MG Motor UK has compiled a list of five stunning remote beach locations that are the perfect destination for a family road trip. With most school holidays kicking-off today, the 483 litres of boot space in the MG GS could make transporting the bucket, spade, sun lounger and cricket set a breeze.

Worbarrow Bay, Tyneham, Dorset

Limited access has provided a haven for wildlife, making this beach a fascinating one to explore. Complete with ruins, the half-moon bay forms a perfect semi-circle and sea caves in the cove provide some added excitement. 

A short walk from Tyneham Village, parking is available but a charge applies

Traeth Llyfn, Abereiddi, Pembrokeshire

Part of the Pembrokeshire National Park, this sandy and rocky beach is suitably remote and private. The beach is around a 15-minute walk from a turquoise flooded quarry, the Blue Lagoon. The ideal venue for diving and swimming, this impressive venue will help your troubles float away. 

Nearest parking is Abereiddi and Porthgain, six miles from St Davids

Porth Wen, Bull Bay, Anglesey

A little further along than the popular Bull Bay, this intriguing cove has a beach made of perfect quartz white shingle and is complete with a rock arch that you can swim through. The old brickworks buildings remain. Off the beaten track, the bay is perfect for fishing and rock pooling. 

For the car park, turn right two miles north of Bull Bay on A5025 (LL67 0NA). Find two footpath signs on right and take the second one, 10 minutes’ walk

Drigg, Lake District

The Lake District has a spectacular coastline. Drigg is 1,000 acres of empty dunes, a brilliant nature reserve that stretches for miles along the Irish Sea. There is also a little railway that you can catch up into the town of Eskdale. 

From the B5344 turn off, signed “Station and Shore”, CA19 1XR

Nanjizal, Land’s End, West Cornwall

Sandstone caves lead onto a white sandy beach, featuring a rock arch with an emerald plunge pool. Walk south to find further coves at St Levan, Pedn Vounder and Porthgwarra. 

Two miles between Land’s End and Porthgwarra on the SW Coast Path

And if you decide to visit one of these destinations, MG Motor UK have asked you to share your experience on social media with the hashtag #MGMoments.

For more information about the MG GS, MotorMartin can certainly recommend that you visit: www.mg.co.uk/gs/

Where will you go?

Volkswagen Scirocco R-Line Black Edition 2.0 litre TDI 150 PS BlueMotion Technology: Glory Days

In part 1 of Volkswagen Scirocco R-Line Black Edition 2.0 litre TDI 150 PS BlueMotion Technology: Love Is Easy, MotorMartin looked at the quite stunning styling that Volkswagen saw fit to adorn their latest Scirocco with and how, in MotorMartin’s opinion, the end result was a particular triumph for both old and new fans of that iconic Scirocco name, a fact highlighted in the short film below, kindly provided to MotorMartin by Volkswagen from their excellent YouTube channel, which shows the original holder of that iconic Scirocco name. 

As previously discussed, MotorMartin was fortunate to chat with the ever lovely Karen from the Swansway Group, a large multi franchise operation based in Crewe (01270 419061,) when they rung with the offer of the Scirocco R-Line Black Edition and it would have been extremely rude and remiss to say no, wouldn’t it? 

Stepping into the Scirocco the first thing you notice is how far you have to lower yourself down into the sporty leather driver seat, it feels like your sitting on the floor of the Volkswagen and reminded MotorMartin very much of getting into a late MK3 Ford Capri from back in the day. This is by no means a criticism, merely an example of the sporting driving position that the Scirocco places you into. It’s a seating position unlike other hot hatches, which can’t always disguise their more humdrum origins, and gives you a real sense of purpose from the moment you relax into the sporty heated leather seat and begin to make yourself comfortable.

Dominating your eyeline is the positioning of the three dials above the centre console angled towards the driver, the most important of which is the turbo boost. That’s right, turbo boost. Now I don’t know if it’s MotorMartin’s 1980s Essex upbringing, but placing a turbo boost dial in a car instantly and without any argument, makes the car much, much better, faster and, of course, sexier. And make no mistake, as previously discussed in part 1, this is a gorgeous, standout sportscar with styling to match.

With the Scirocco representing the best that Volkswagen have to offer, the feel and quality of the interior is beyond reproach. The steering and seats are infinitely adjustable whilst everything that you touch or press has a reassuring solidity with carefully chosen materials and lighting that creates a quite superior ambience. The result of this careful attention to the details make this a very comfortable and special place to spend time in. In MotorMartin’s opinion, this really does set the benchmark for car interiors that is very hard to beat. Superb indeed.

The technology that Volkswagen have designed into the Scirocco is equally impressive, including, as it does, duel zone climate control, heated leather seats, parking sensors, front and rear, ultrasonic audible with audio volume reduction when activated and an optical parking display via vehicle’s audio system, coasting function in Eco mode (all DSG engines), dusk sensor, automatic driving lights, hill hold function, speed sensitive power-assisted steering, multifunction computer, includes visual gear change recommendation for improved fuel consumption (manual gearbox only), electronic odometer, trip, service interval display and fuel gauge, sports instrument dials, warning ‘lights on’ buzzer, composition media system, 6.5″ colour touch-screen, Bluetooth telephone and audio connection for compatible devices, DAB digital radio receiver, MDI (MultiDeviceInterface) via USB connection – compatible products only, music playback from MP3, WMA and AAC files – SD card reader, simultaneous pairing of 2 compatible mobile devices, single CD player, SMS functionality – read, compose and send SMS messages using touch-screen display (when stationary, compatible Android smartphones only), Title and cover art display. And I could go on, suffice to say that the higher the specification model you find yourself in, the more features you get. 

But it’s the driving experience, over everything else, that defines this most sporting of Volkswagen. After all, there are already enough cars out there on the forecourts of this green and pleasant land of ours, whose looks promise so much but ultimately fail to deliver, something that the Scirocco certainly has no reason to worry about.

Rather than spend the weekend pottering between everyday family jobs, the supermarket, swimming lessons and such like, tasks that the Scirocco is supremely capable of undertaking with complete comfort and efficiency but that’s not what you want to hear about. I think that it’s safe to say that this is a car that offers something more, a sense of purpose that envelops you the moment you close the drivers door and switch on the engine. With that in mind, a drive to the superb driving roads and scenery of Anglesey, North Wales seemed like a true test of the VW’s abilities and, let’s be honest, a fantastic day out for MotorMartin.

Heading out from Bradford, West Yorkshire and onto the extended tedium of the M62, showed the composure offered by the Scirocco at motorway speeds, cruising at 70mph (for the few occasions where the Highways Agency have forgotten to set the limit to 50mph for the incredible amount of non existent roadworks that appear to permanently feature across this motorway, the M60, M6 and others.) and the Volkswagen proves itself to be an extremely comfortable and efficient motorway cruiser. In fact, MotorMartin would question why you would need to look anywhere else if you regularly travel further afield and wish to do so in a sporting, yet practical fashion. 

Suspension that delivers a superb ride means that the miles pass easily by allowing you the time to appreciate the power delivery from the 2.0 litre TDI 150 PS engine with it’s DSG gearbox. As with most diesel powerplants, the torque available, 251 lbs/ft at 1750, provides a distinctive shove in the back when you put your foot down as the Scirocco delivers so low down in the rev range. And it’s this performance that becomes so addictive once the incredible driving roads of North Wales and Anglesey come in to view. 

The six speed automatic DSG gearbox allows for the Volkswagen to decide upon the optimum gear selection for any given situation, a job that the electronic brain does really rather well and yet, for those wanting to be more in control when the tarmac stretches out into the distance, the flappy paddles behind the steering wheel allow for manual selection and a deeper and perhaps more involved connection with the driving experience. The technology works brilliantly, allowing the driver to exploit that torque and get the drive necessary to connect the bends into one, seamless and flowing blend of straights and corners. 

Volkswagen’s design department clearly have strong links with their all conquering motorsports programme as, directly or indirectly, the Volkswagen commitment to winning is clearly threaded throughout the research and development that took place bringing all of their ideas to fruition. The way that you can place the car exactly where you want it to be on the road is almost subliminal. Think of the action and before you know it the Volkswagen is ready for more, it’s as if it is working on a whole new level, a tier above its direct competition. It really is that impressive. 

And upon Anglesey’s deserted, twisting roads?

The Scirocco was fantastic, not only had it transported MotorMartin, family and picnic in comfort over a three hundred and fifty ‘ish mile day but it had also been the perfect GT car on the motorway and A roads and then, by placing the gearbox into sport, the Scirocco was transformed, just as the roads were upon arrival on Anglesey. As a sports car, the Volkswagen R-Line Black Edition 2.0 litre TDI 150 PS is a genuinely great piece of engineering and excellence, it feels great from the moment that you lower yourself down into those beautiful leather seats and point the front wheels towards the twists and turns ahead. The fact that it does so whilst looking so great is more than just a happy coincidence. Volkswagen have refined and improved their Scirocco since its launch way back in the summer of 2008 and, in MotorMartin’s opinion, they have a stunning, modern sports car on their books.

MotorMartin is about ‘real life’ motoring, that ability of a car, no matter the type or style, to put a smile on the face of the driver. To offer that difficult to achieve combination of fun and practicality that MotorMartin looks for is surely the holy grail of the mainstream manufacturer, after all, that is surely what we all want, other than the aspirational cars that we can only dream about. 

The Scirocco, particularly in R-Line Black specification, is a car that does everything that you could possibly want or need. A starting price, according to the wonderful Swansway Volkswagen, of £21,040 must surely go down as a bargain, whilst a call to Crewe Volkswagen on 01270 449164 or Wrexham Volkswagen on 01978 800554, both members of the Swansway Group, will show the wide range of finance packages and offers available and are well worth a call.

What a day, what wonderful roads, what a car.

Where will you go?

Peugeot 308 SW GT Line BlueHDi 120: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

The Peugeot 308 SW GT Line BlueHDi 120 has certainly created a big impression over here in MotorMartin Towers as it blends style, form and function in an almost perfect package. In part 1 published last week, MotorMartin discussed the gorgeous styling of the Peugeot whilst digging a little deeper into the highlights of the GT Line package for the lucky buyer.

And yet, MotorMartin’s philosophy is for ‘real life’ motoring, not just to admire cars that look good, even if they look as good as this. And so a thorough test is called for, not for the Peugeot a week of travelling across town interspersed with the odd trip further afield as it may have expected to be subjected to. This particular 308 SW GT Line is to cover approximately 1,300 miles taking MotorMartin and company from Bradford, West Yorkshire To the beautiful North Wales island of Anglesey before returning to Bradford the following week. Not only does the Peugeot need to prove itself to be a comfortable, capable cruiser over distance but it needs to swallow luggage for four whilst remaining fun for the driver and deliver impressive power, economy and efficiency. Not too much to ask for then.

Just because your circumstances change as you get older and the life choices that you make dictate that you need to become (slightly) more responsible, no longer means that you can’t still have fun in your daily driver. Just that some features become more important than others as time goes by, MotorMartin’s personal favourite being cruise control, so relaxing. Those with a family need space, it really is that simple. Children and partners demand storage, legroom, comfortable ride quality and, at a push, cup holders. If you can get those elements correct, your passengers will be quieter and there will be far less distractions as you pile on the miles.

Peugeot are rightly proud of the fact that their 308 SW GT Line already features the largest load space in it’s class as the boot area, level with the retractable parcel shelf, boasts up to 660 litres which can be extended to an impressive 1775 litres with the rear seats folded flat and fully loaded up to the roof. It’s also well worth noting that decisions made during the initial design process means that the Peugeot also includes one of the lowest boot sills in the class with an unladen height of 61cm. Bearing these facts in mind and in the world of ‘real life’ motoring, what does all this equate to in practical terms? With MotorMartin packing enough luggage for four, for a week way on Anglesey, packing that included clothing, shoes and coats to cover all potential weather situations, I’m impressed that the 308 SW swallowed it all with room to spare. With two body boards added the retractable parcel shelf still closed easily, concealing the treasures within, whilst the boot didn’t even need any ‘persuasion’ to fully close. Top marks then to Peugeot I think.

The cabin of the 308 SW GT Line is a fantastic place to be, with the MotorMartin Clan safely ensconced within the Peugeot, it’s time to enjoy the ambience of the interior. The front seats are sporty, yet very supportive and it’s quick and easy to find a comfortable driving position. One of the unique features that you notice straight away is the position of the dials and driver information panel. Usually you’d find yourself looking through the steering wheel to glean the relevant information needed as you drive but in the 308, the dials are positioned higher than normal and directly in your eyeline. This becomes very natural to use, very quickly and after a while, makes you wonder why this isn’t the norm as it really makes a difference, allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road far more.

With the GT Line arriving at MotorMartin Towers, sporting Peugeot’s excellent 6-speed Efficient Automatic Transmission gearbox married to their sporty BlueHDi 120 Diesel engine you just know that this is going to offer a superb mix of comfortable cruising combined with that historic sporting character that Peugeot’s historic GTi models had in abundance. And you know what? It doesn’t disappoint. On the drive from Bradford to North Wales the Peugeot is remarkably quiet, relaxed and composed whilst offering a comfortable ride quality that means both driver and passengers are well catered for. 

After 4 hours and approximately 150 miles, the incredible Menai bridge comes into view, signalling that Anglesey’s quiet, yet twisting roads are nearby. If you’ve never been to North Wales before and driven on the Roads of Snowdonia and Anglesey then you are missing out on one of modern motorings few remaining visceral experiences and the Peugeot 308 SW GT Line is, perhaps, the perfect companion. 

What this car gives you, in MotorMartin’s opinion, is the unlikely ability to be two cars in one. On the one hand, the Peugeot is capable of being the mature, practical family car that you know will be the sensible choice but, at the press of the Sport button, the 308 becomes a bit of a beast. It’s like having your head on one side and your heart on another. The head admires the mile and luggage eating abilities whilst the heart is indulged with pin sharp steering, handling and growling nature. That Sport button really makes a difference. On Anglesey’s twisting roads, it’s entirely possible to travel for ten or twelve miles without coming across another vehicle and whilst keeping to the speed limit, it’s still entirely possible to push the GT Line and exploit that sporting lineage that harks right back to Peugeots of old.

And yet this is a car that offers the incredible City Park function that allows the car to, once told, sense a large enough space to park in and then parallel or reverse park itself! Yes, you do need to put the car into reverse or drive as told to do so on the excellent 9.7″ colour  touch screen and gently press the throttle, and the car then steers itself into the required parking space. MotorMartin was initially sceptical of the Peugeot’s ability to park itself but it works. It might be totally alien to watch the steering wheel turning on its own but goodness me, you soon find yourself searching out parking opportunities above and beyond the norm so you can demonstrate to your passengers this modern day witchcraft. Amazing.

To sum up the Peugeot 308 SW GT Line BlueHDi 120 in a few words is nigh on impossible. After all, this is a car that allows the driver to do everything that the modern family needs and do it well whilst still allowing, with the touch of a button, to indulge and engage with the GT Line’s sporting side. To do all of this whilst still being able to offer superior load space, technology, specifications, power and feel is really impressive and is to be applauded.


MotorMartin is deeply impressed with the 308 SW GT Line. I want one. £24,000 ish as tested, a claimed combined mpg of 72.4 with CO2 emissions of 102 g/km make for a practical ‘real life’ motoring experience that also offers excellent value for money. What more do you need? 

Where will you go?