Car reviews: What a load of tosh

Yes, perhaps a controversial point for a motoring writer to make, but the more ‘expert’ reviews I read about the Daihatsu Sirion, the more I wonder whether they actually drove the car at all.

It isn’t a car that found favour when reviewed as a new car. Some faults are rightly pointed out. It’s not very spacious in the back, the low speed ride is pretty poor and some interior appointments are not of the sort of quality people expect of a Japanese car. The window switches are particularly nasty. But what I find truly extraordinary is how many reviewers complain that the 1.0 is unexciting, noisy at speed and ill-suited to motorways.

This is why I was so surprised when I first took the Sirion on a dual carriageway and found myself racing along at a supremely quiet 80mph. Sure, the little three-cylinder engine IS quite noisy when accelerating, but once up to speed, it’s astonishingly easy on the ear. Wind and road noise are very much acceptable and far better than the Mk2 Golf I had previously. The three-cylinder engine sound superb too. It’s a bit harsh perhaps, but it barks like the half-a-V6 it truly is and sounds much faster than it in fact is.

Quite why you’d go for the larger four-cylinder option I’m really not sure. I imagine you get a bit more low down grunt, but I doubt it’s any quieter on a motorway, and I imagine it’s thirstier too and it would sound as exciting as Eeyore reading the instructions on a washing machine.

Sirion

Better than the reviews would have you believe

In fact, I was exceedingly happy to discover that the Sirion has returned an impressive 49mpg on its first tank of fuel in my ownership. Over 315 miles on just shy of 30 litres of fuel. In fact, it may have done better than that – I refused to believe the fuel pump when it cut off, so probably squeezed a bit more fuel in than I did when I first filled up on the day of purchase. Now, those who know me will know I don’t exactly hang about, so 49mpg is all the more impressive for such a hard-worked engine. The 2CV can’t get near it.

Wowzers MPG!

Wowzers MPG!

So pleased was I that I ‘fixed’ the rattling exhaust by battering the silencer with a hammer until the baffles stopped rattling. Nothing is quite as satisfying as repair work that involves a hammer.

Anyway. My point is, the reviews that litter the internet do not always make for good reading material. I know I’m quite odd in thinking the Sirion is my idea of a really good car – the fact that Neil Campbell of Practical Classics agrees doesn’t make me feel any less odd. Sorry Neil. Reviewers have a nasty habit of all wanting the same thing. More power than is really needed, more refinement than is really needed and handling that could shame a sports car. None of these things are that important to me, which is why my Daihatsu Sirion review is so glowing. I’m not alone either. Read actual OWNER reviews, and the Sirion sounds like an entirely different car.

2 thoughts on “Car reviews: What a load of tosh

  1. I never believe the reviews of others and prefer to try it before making an opinion. Who knows the reviewer at the time might have had a bad day, or piles meaning that anything short of Citroen CX ride comfort was derided outright. If I’d listened to the reviews we’d never have experienced the joy of a 2 stroke triple in the Wartburg or a fun of finding an extra 3 litres of fuel when you remember to manually turn the Trabant fuel tap to reserve position. 😀

  2. did 172 miles on 14 litres in the civic on sunday including thru leeds to miss the a1/m62 thing – 50 mpg and its a 1.6 – did you have your siri in 2nd all the way :oD

    knobbly ride must be a small japanese car thing ours does it too

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