FOR those of you considering taking advantage of the summer weather by indulging in the luxury pastime of motoring may I caution upon one of the drawbacks of the satellite map. Specifically, getting lost.
Google, having spent no small amount of time and money photographing the length and breadth of Britain’s washing lines from space, is fiercely protective of its copyright. So it has thrown in some spoilers. We’ll call them Googlies.
In my own area, for instance, an imaginary village has been added, the settlement of Mawdesky. On the face of it not a problem, after all we don’t get many Russian sightseers in Lancashire, but it will be if nice Mr Putin decides he wants it back and nobody really wants Abramovich and his damned Chelsea turning up to play a friendly against the saloon bar of the Broken Arms.
And on the satellite map of north Liverpool you will find Her Majesty’s Coastguard station has moved a good half mile to become a domestic dwelling.
You’re not really bothered? Well you would be if your Saturday night pizza was being interrupted by half-drowned Irish fishermen banging on the front door.
Our own problem was in finding a forest. Not a small forest but a very, very big one, in Cheshire a county renowned for it’s orange coloured tanaholics not the indigenous Amazonian Indian tribesmen I swear I saw hunting a wild cheese.
After an hour of futile searching we crossed a river. The Orinoco.
I was only saved from frothing insanity on Google’s magical mystery tour thanks to the SEAT Exeo ST. The six-speed 170PS TDi Sport version with a bit more grunt and better interior.
You may well think you fancy a shiny new Audi A4 but, believe me, with the UK economy firmly in the cancer ward of the European super state you need the slightly older spec Exeo.
It is a car for our times. Quick and cheap to develop, being based on the outgoing A4, and costing less than most of its rivals.
This is SEAT’s best looking car reinforcing the badge image of socially mobile, vibrant, youth with the attendant hint you may get regular invitations to naked fondue parties.
Let’s get something sorted up front. The ST is a capable sports estate but less of a load lugger than the Citroen C5 or Mondeo equivalent, welcomely compact while still doing the job, reminding us of just how bloated modern family estates have grown.
Staying indoors for a minute, the interior is derived from the A4 Cabriolet which makes for a classy feel and there is a welcome equipment package for a car costing £23,000, which includes the usual electricals along with up market details like see you home lights, parking sensors, adding sports seats and 18 inch alloys over the SE version.
And on the road? All is common rail peace and quiet. The diesel turbo is flexible and refined. Well, it is an Audi. What most certainly is not is a suspension setting that shrugs away the lumps and bumps of post-Brown roads.
The ST handles tidily and there is no reason to bemoan a sprint to 62mph of 8.4 seconds or the 142mph maximum speed. Better still you can hope for around 50mpg and associated carbons of 153 g/km.
Drawbacks? Well just the obvious one. No standard satellite navigator, but then neither has the Audi.