Monday 18 December 2017

Scraping surface of parking

With modern cars outgrowing car park space sizes, Peugeot's new model has a few helpful gadgets, says Campbell Spray

Between a few scrapes and spokes we will have a motoring article. Cars have increased in size by 16 per cent in the last 20 years, but on the whole parking spaces have remained the same, according to a study by Halfords. In Britain this problem, which leaves the average family car two inches wider than the minimum car space, costs more than £500m (€592m) in repair bills for damaged paintwork.

Car doors are the most likely area to suffer scrapes as a result, accounting for 50 per cent of reported damage, followed by bumpers (14 per cent) and wings (13 per cent).

Halfords paint protection expert David Howells said: "There is a squeeze on the nation's car parks and the consequences are hitting frustrated motorists in the wallet.

"The majority of drivers we questioned blamed their scratches and repair costs on inconsiderate drivers parking too close to them, but our research shows that the size of parking spaces is leaving them little choice."

The research found that supermarkets were reported as the worst offenders by 38 per cent of drivers, followed by shopping centres (29 per cent) and railway stations (18 per cent).

The growth of SUVs and the more recent push by nearly all manufacturers to have crossovers on their fleet has only fuelled this bulking up of cars.

No wonder we like the vast array of parking aids, from rear-view cameras and sensor systems to full parking assist abilities.

I was thinking about all this when considering the new Peugeot 2008, an extraordinary well-equipped rather pumped up version of the 208. It is slightly more than a small estate and slightly less than a mini-SUV despite limited off-road capacity.

However, as I kept saying to my partner it is just the sort of car we should be considering if we wanted just one car in the household and needed travelling and load-carrying abilities better than her Hyundai i10. The low flat-loading area at the back, slightly raised rear seating which folds flat in an instant and panoramic roof were all very appealing.

There are bits of design oddities such as an aircraft-like hand-brake that just jars and the small steering wheel that isn't to everybody's taste. Yet it is a car that drives well, although fully loaded you would prefer to have the 1.6HDi engine with 115bhp on board for decent journeys rather than the 1.2 petrol version, which is ample around town.

There is a lot of competition in this sector with the Nissan Juke leading a very varied field in its charge for our wallet and purses. The Renault Captur is seen as a particular rival to the 2008. However, the Peugeot is an energetic, appealing car that even at €25,750 plus p&p for the top-of-the-range 115bhp Allure model is excellent value for the stuff on board, which you can add to with full parking assist and keep those scrapes to a minimum. It will also be a fuel miser like all of Peugeot engines.

Meanwhile, a very important talk took place in Dublin on Thursday as part of European Mobility week about cycling promotion in Frankfurt. The talk hosted by Cyclist.ie was called 'Frankfurt's Way: What Irish towns & cities can learn from the German experience in cycle advocacy' and given by Joachim Hochstein, who is cycling officer with the city of Frankfurt

Joachim has been involved since 1994 in the German ADFC (equivalent to Cyclist.ie). Despite it being a financial powerhouse, Frankfurt is on the track to be a bicycle-friendly city with 18 per cent of trips being taken by bike compared with 5.6 per cent in Dublin city.

See a PDF of the talk on http://www.dublincycling.ie/next-meeting and click on the talk title.

Sunday Independent

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