Monday, 4 June 2012

SMMT Test Day 24th May 2012

Thursday 24th May 2012 was an exciting day if you are an established or up-and-coming car journalist. Annually the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) hold a driving day giving over 300 motoring gurus the chance to get behind the wheel of an array of cars from over 30 different UK manufacturers. This years manufacturers included Porsche, Bentley, Ford, Renault, MINI and Land Rover to name a few. The best way to describe the day is car speed-dating, drivers choose what they would like to drive, age restrictions apply, grab the keys from the press team and away you go.

Held at Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire there were a good selection of driving environments to put each car through its paces including the high speed bowl, hill route, city circuit and the gruelling off-road course. Each car had clear labels as to which routes could be accessed, there was also the option of exiting the site and taking the cars out on the open road but this was never going to be a popular option with so much on offer within Milbrook.

Not only is the SMMT test day a great opportunity to drive some of the most exciting cars but its also a really useful platform to meet the PR people behind each of the brands and to put names to faces. Rob McSorley on CARS already has good contacts with a series of press offices but it was nice to meet in person and also have a chat with unfamiliar contacts to discuss future plans.

If that wasn't enough the scorching day was perfect for meeting up with fellow writers face-to-face instead of behind computers and share thoughts on the cars on offer.

Over the coming weeks we will be uploading mini reviews of each of the cars we got a change to sample, sadly there wasn't enough time to drive them all but still a good selection made it onto our short lists. The following reviews will be on-line shortly;

Alfa Romeo Giulietta (LK)
Alfa Romeo Mito (LK)
Bentley Continental GT (RMc)
BMW 320d ED (LK)
Chevrolet Volt (RMc)
Fiat Panda (LK)
Fiat Punto Evo Abarth (LK)
Ford Focus EcoBoost (JR)
Hyundai Veloster (LK)
Lexus IS-F (RMc)
Skoda Citigo (RMc)
Range Rover Evoque (JR)
Renaultsport Megane (RMc)
Renault Twizy (RMc)
Seat Leon Cupra R (RMc)
Suzuki Swift Sport (LK)
Toyota Yaris (JR)
Mini Cooper (LK)
Mini Coupe John Cooper Works (LK)
Vauxhall Astra GTC (LK)
Volvo S60 (LK)

Helping bring you up-to-speed on what us lucky chaps got to drive are fellow colleagues Leo Kimitri (@LeoKimitri) and Joshua Ross (@JoshSRoss). 


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