As soon as the covers were pulled off the Arona, we swooped in to get the inside line from our readers – and potential SEAT customers.
Hop in and first impressions are favourable – there’s certainly no sign of any wear. In fact, it really does look as good as new, and there’s loads of room, too. Unfortunately, hybrid Outlanders are five-seat only (the diesel versions have seven seats), but at least all five have plenty of space to lounge around in. The driving position is tall, upright – commanding even – and although the placing of some of the switchgear seems a little haphazard, and the infotainment system is a little clunky to use, the instruments are clear and easily readable.
Drivers will be able to tell when the ABS system on their car is activated because when they apply the brakes, brake pedal will pulse rapidly under their foot. Many modern cars have integrated safety systems that will also see the seatbelts tension and even the hazard warning lights activate when under extreme braking.
The XJ's interior is looking a bit dated these days next to newer rivals, but it still has a wonderful ambience. Up front, the diamond-quilted seats (embossed with some questionable '575' branding) come with a wide range of adjustment, and those in the rear are treated to plenty of leg room; there’s little reason to opt for the long-wheelbase variant.
When he visited the company's finance department, he was shocked to discover old-school bookkeepers tracking piles and piles of bills divided into categories: A, B, C and D. The mostly older men couldn't keep up with the bills and were simply estimating how many millions of dollars were represented per foot of paper.
However, ABS isn't an impenetrable safety net. It's not an excuse to drive into hazards more quickly, and doesn't mean you can drive closer to the vehicle in front - yes it does help to reduce braking distances, but you should maintain distance so you don't need to put the ABS to use. Plus, on slippery surfaces, bear in mind that ABS doesn’t work as well – and on sheet ice, nothing will stop you except crashing into the kerbside or another object. Safe speed is the key for winter driving.
Indeed, he was right: it is a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV) – bang on-trend for our changing times, despite actually having been on sale in the UK since 2014. Underneath our Mitsubishi’s long bonnet is a conventional 2.0-litre petrol engine mated to two battery-driven electric motors, one at the front and one at the rear, enabling the Outlander PHEV to be driven by engine power alone, by the batteries or by a combination of the two. These batteries can be charged a little while the car’s on the move or plugged into the mains for a much more sizeable dosage. Fully charged, our PHEV should then have an electric-only range of around 30 miles. Perhaps more impressively, its official fuel consumption is listed at 166.1mpg and its CO2 figure as 41g/km, which is extraordinarily good for such a large and practical five-seat SUV.
The team -- initially dubbed the “quiz kids” because they cajoled Ford colleagues with so many questions early on -- included Robert McNamara, who also became Ford president before serving as secretary of defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
• Recaro front sport seats