Bristol Motor Show – May 2013

There is no national UK Motor Show, and has not been for some time, so for those unable to travel overseas to enjoy one of the events held in other countries, the next best option is one of the regional shows which take place up and down the land. With the exception of the Moving Motor Show event at Goodwood, these are dealer supported shows, which means that you are not going to get much in the way of concept cars, or even new product launches unless the timing is particularly fortuitous, but such events do give a chance to inspect a range of models close up. There has been a show in Bristol for a long time now, and a couple of years ago it relocated back to The Mall at Cribbs Causeway after being held in the city’s shopping centre. In the last couple of years there has been so little of it that it barely warranted a visit, let a lone a report, but encouraged by a glorious sunny day and a text message advising that there was a certain car present which I rather like, I headed over on the May Day Holiday to find surprisingly few people and quite a few cars. Here is what I saw:


Both end of the range were on show, with the Lancia-based Ypsilon and the all-American 300 and Caravan.

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Although I am no fan of the latest generation Focus, which has messy styling outside and an overly fussy interior, a sit inside the ST made me revise my opinions a little, as the seats fitted me perfectly, and I thought that the red trim inserts were quite tastefully done. I even liked the bright red paintwork. Now to get behind the wheel with keys and an open road available……..

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Also available for inspection were a B-Max and the latest Fiesta

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The highlight for me, and indeed for most people, I would guess, was the F Type, and the chance to sit in a right hand drive production car. I can confirm that if fits me perfectly. The sales staff would periodically fire up the engine, and it makes as good a noise as you would expect. Only demerit I could spot from my static inspection is that the boot really is tiny, and there is no space behind the front seats to help out.

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There were also XF, XJ and XK models on show.

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The latest Grand Cherokee was the sole Jeep in the display.

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The new 6 was the highlight here for me, as I think the styling makes it the best looker in the class and the interior is noticeably better than on previous Mazda. I did hear several people say that they should have made a hatchback version, so whether that will hold back sales remains to be seen.

Other Mazda included the CX5, MX5 and the 2

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A line-up of 4 MINI included the new Paceman, as well as Countryman, Roadster and the familiar Hatch. If you like MINIs, you may well like the Paceman, and if you don’t, well this latest variant is unlikely to win you over.

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A mix of old and new here, with the latest Mirage and Outlander joining the familiar Colt, Lancer and Shogun

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Highlight here was the 208 GTi. Except when I got in and adjusted the wheel and seat, I realised that no matter how good the rest of the car might be, the dinner plate sized wheel that would go no higher than my lap, and obscured instruments would mean that this could not be the car for me. Deeply disappointing.

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Other models included the facelifted RCZ, the 107 and 5008

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First chance to sit in a right hand drive new Leon, and I have to say that this feels very impressive indeed. The cabin is nicely finished and the outside looks neat without succummbing to the current fad for fussy overstylised features. Definitely worth considering as an alternative to a Golf.

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There was also a Mii and an Ibiza on display.

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New Octavia was here, and again this was the first right hand drive model in which I have say. In fact, the first that I have seen. Like the Seat, this is well finished, and it is incredibly spacious inside. A car that deserves to do well, even at is higher price point than the old model.

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Also on show were a Citigo and a Fabia vRS.

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No sign of the new Golf GTi, but there was a regular Mark VII model, which feels very, well, Golf-like. Ford should study the interior of this closely, as this was classy and up market looks like as opposed to their interpretation of the idea!

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Tiguan and Up! also featured.

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A line of four cars ranged from one of countless Herbie recreations, a Starsky & Hutch Torino, Noddy’s car and a Checker Taxi.

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This Citroen H Van was serving coffee and there was also an undepicted Type 2 VW Bus selling ice-creams. The latter was doing far more business, which is not surprising given the sunshine.

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So, an interesting diversion for an hour, and helped by the fact that the area was not at all busy. Apparently it had been the day before, but for some reason the crowds were elsewhere. No substitute for a proper Motor Show, of course, but still nice to get to sit in a few new cars and see what I thought in advance, I would hope, of getting some of them out on the road.

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