Secret mission in a Jaguar I-pace
It’s Christmas! At least, it is at our place. You probably know the Autocar tradition of producing a bumper issue for the festive season, our biggest seller of the year. Well, having scored a king-hit last year, Mr Editor Tisshaw is desperate to do it better for 2018. All of which, in a roundabout way we’ll explain soon, is why I found myself in a Jaguar I-pace at 5am this morning, driving to meet Prior, Saunders, Prosser and Frankel at a secret Exmoor photographic location.
Naturally, charging issues occurred on my 450-mile round trip. At present, you don’t go anywhere in an electric car without learning new stuff. This time, I learned that the exclusive deal Ecotricity appears to have to equip motorway service areas with chargers badly needs opening up to others, that the I-pace’s real range is 220 miles and that the town authorities in Tiverton, Devon, deserve much praise for equipping their conveniently located sports centre with lifesaving fast chargers. One constant: the I-pace is lovely. Could I live with one? Certainly.
Sneaked into our road test car park to swipe the car that has become everyone’s darling, the new Suzuki Jimny. Took it for an hour’s fun drive, first on the M3, then onto some rutted slopes and rough roads. It was okay on the motorway, with a decent 70mph cruise, no noise issues, a crisp gearbox and roomy driving position. But in steep, tight, rough going, it was much more seriously capable, doing everything with ease and a smile on its face. Every manoeuvre was enhanced by its small size, zero overhangs, low weight, huge strength and builtin stability. Gave it back with reluctance, wishing my lifestyle contained a job one of these could do.
What’s the future car I’m most looking forward to? Has to be the new mid-2020s Morgan supercar, previewed in these pages last week. What both excites and reassures me is the way traditionalist Morgan is adapting itself to make such a serious car while preserving old values like woodworking, hand manufacture and treating its owners as individuals. On my visit, I glimpsed a little more of the new car than we were able to show – enough to know that this is going to be very different from others in the price class, but entirely in character. In the meantime, Morgan is going to treat us to a run of models underpinned by an all-new aluminium chassis and suspension. Hoping we’ll see more in Geneva next March.
Were you watching the ‘team bosses’ forum’ that preceded Channel 4’s coverage of the United States Grand Prix? Three deeply unwilling team bosses – Red Bull’s Christian Horner, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and the new bloke from Force India – were required to slump in weirdly inappropriate white armchairs to discuss Formula 1’s allegedly burning issues with reporters David Coulthard and Mark Webber.
It was excruciating. Horner set the tone by stating that he “never talked about anything with these guys”. Toto looked so bored that I was convinced he was about to get his phone out. The Force India bloke did his uncontroversial best, which meant no one cared about his answers. Webber, whose problem is deciding whether he wants to be an interviewer or an expert commentator, asked long-winded questions rewarded with curt, unhelpful answers. Coulthard’s more sensible approach did little better. Only when we got into the blizzard of advertising that surrounded this travesty was it clear what was going on. TV needs ‘content’ around which to wrap its cruise and carpet ads. The idea and execution of this were both risible and made me fear for F1’s audience on TV.
Did you see the ‘team bosses forum’? It was excruciating
All-new Suzuki Jimny is a star performer in rough, tight terrain
Tiverton sports centre: fast chargers