Clas­sic race cars go up for sale

IT MIGHT NOT LOOK LIKE MUCH, BUT JUSTIN CON­NOLLY FOUND MUCH TO LIKE IN THIS HATCH­BACK

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS -

NOW, I’m not say­ing I don’t en­joy the rush of the push of the pedal to the floor as much as the next per­son, but I have to ad­mit: I’m a bit of a lazy driver.

I can’t wait for the days of true au­to­ma­tion (as long as you can turn it off on the week­ends, of course).

Imag­ine it - an ex­tra half-hour of nod as your au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle trans­ports you quickly and safely to work. Bring it on.

Which brings me to this week’s test ve­hi­cle, and the point I’m slowly get­ting to. Hon­est.

I give you the Suzuki Baleno 1.0 SZ5 Boost­er­jet. It might not look like much, and at £16,484 (and that in­cludes £400 for fancy paint as well) on the road, your ex­pec­ta­tions might be set ac­cord­ingly.

But you, would, I sus­pect, be as sur­prised as I was to find this car fit­ted with one of the great­est in­ven­tions mankind has ever come up with (bested only by the Space Shut­tle in my book) - of course, I’m talk­ing about adap­tive cruise con­trol.

Sadly, it was not teamed with an au­to­matic gear box, but at that price you have to make choices. And if you do a de­cent amount of mo­tor­way driv­ing (es­pe­cially if that mo­tor­way is the M60), you should un­der­stand just how valu­able adap­tive cruise con­trol is. It makes every­thing eas­ier.

So far, so good, then. But what about the rest of it?

Well, it has one other big thing go­ing for it - it’s an ex­cel­lent drive.

Al­though we’re look­ing at only 1ltr power units (which re­turn around 60mpg com­bined), the fact that the car is so nicely set up, and is so very light, it’s a lot more fun be­hind the wheel than it looks (even when you’re us­ing the cruise con­trol...).

Its looks are per­haps the only down­side given the price - I can;’t see any­one pre­fer­ring the lines here to those you might find on many of its ri­vals. It’s just a bit or­di­nary-look­ing. If that is some­thing that doesn’t con­cern you (and there’s no rea­son why it should), you’re get­ting a lot for your money. That’s es­pe­cially tru when you con­sider the bot­tom end of the range comes in at around £13k.

An­other draw­back is (per­haps a con­se­quence of its light­weight body), it can feel a lit­tle bit flimsy - cu­ri­ously the rear doors feel dif­fer­ent to the front doors: there’s a lot less heft to them and they sur­prise when you open them.

The light body also al­lows a good deal more noise into the cabin, es­pe­cially on the mo­tor­way.

Still, some­thing has to be com­pro­mised when the price is as low as this.

I think they’ve made the right choices on that front, and whether you feel the same or not, there’s no deny­ing you’re look­ing at good value for money.

Suzuki Baleno 1.0 SZ5 Boost­er­jet

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