Tag Archives: car reviews

Exploring FOXY Lady Blog

FOXY Lady blog is all about motoring and (by and large) written by and for women. Our new blog has moved to the FOXYLadyDrivers.com domain but you can still search our blog archive (2006-2017) via the lefthand search bar here.

Here’s how to find your way about our new FOXY Lady Blog which is filed into the following sections.

FOXY Car Reviews

This is a popular section comprising car reviews written by and for women.

If you’d like to write a review for us, we’ll thank you with a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club. Just email steph@FOXYLadyDrivers.com to request headings.

FOXY Information

These blogs have been written or edited by women for women. Some readers might find them a bit light on jargon? That’s because few females are petrol heads or mechanically-minded, although we welcome information from those who are.

FOXY Lady Opinion

Steph testing new runflat tyres

This is where FOXY Steph Savill adds her thoughts about the motor industry and women drivers in general.

If the motor industry spent more time regulating minimum quality standards it wouldn’t need so many complaints handling solutions. That sort of thing.


This is where you’ll find the latest FOXY blog posts, across all sections.

Women in the Motor Industry

ack: The Society of the Irish Motor Industry’s conference for women (June 2017).
Whilst the industry remains male heavy at the top of most automotive businesses we’re encouraged by the wealth of female talent in the wings and en route to boardrooms everywhere. So we work hard to promote as many careers to women as we can.

To appear in this section, email steph@FOXYLadyDrivers.com to request interview headings.

Women in Motor Sports

Why should the majority of the motor racing sponsorship money still go to male racers? Here we put the spotlight on the many fast women racers out there.

If you’d like to appear in this section email steph@FOXYLadyDrivers.com to request interview headings.

FOXY Top Tips

In a busy world where none of us seem to have any spare time for our cars, easy to read and clearly bulleted tips come into their own when we don’t know what we don’t know…

Again we try to make these tips as female friendly as possible without patronising our own.

Women Talking About Cars

screenshot-14At last. A programme where women talk about their cars putting people and lifestyle first for a change.

If you haven’t caught this yet, please do. I’m talking about Victoria Coren Mitchell’s new Radio 4 series, Women Talking About Cars, where she chats to women with attitude about the cars they’ve owned, how they affected their lives and what they thought of them.

Deliciously un-PC about things like accidents, driving too fast, competitive male jibes and embarrassing moments this illustrates major gender differences when it comes to motoring. Women are simply more honest about our motoring failings. And this approach makes us laugh because we’ve all made mistakes too.

Anyone who thinks men and women are the same when it comes to cars needs to stop, listen and learn about a completely different motoring mindset.

Victoria’s first interview was with Dawn French who modestly claims to be ‘the most excellent driver you’ll ever meet’ – despite failing her first driving test through nerves or (much more likely) inappropriate humour.

Whereas Victoria’s driving test was the more memorable occasion when she crashed her car into roadworks…

The Women Talking About Cars Formula

Cleverly thought out, the Women Talking About Cars programme includes a live audience with females adding their car stories (mostly lifestyle driven or self critical) plus hilarious blokey-written new car sales blurb ie tech commentaries about cherished cars of yonder years,read by a female for a change. The show ends with the interviewee’s choice of music to drive by.

This formula is eminently capable of transferring to TV and Victoria Coren Mitchell is the no nonsense high brow female to do this, challenging all petrol heads who imagine we should be like them (but can’t explain why…).

Between Victoria and Dawn they unpeeled the motoring formula and why so many women love and rely on our cars. Cars for women are all about being safe, feeling independent, having adventures and having a virtual home on wheels (with blankets, sweets, drinks and a shovel, just in case).

And let’s be quite honest, we’re great drivers and better navigators apparently. For example, Dawn is a better driver than Lenny Henry (she then tries to soften this statement due to his lesser experience), Victoria’s husband David doesn’t drive at all (why would he with a chauffeur) and Dawn’s second husband gets them lost because he can’t find destinations on paper maps.

Totally credible observations I’d say.

Dawn French’s Motoring Career

Told in chronological car order these are the cars Dawn has owned.

A black Morris Minor – practicality over performance – top speed 74mph
Now new at the time, this was Dawn’s first car when she was 17 and at a posh boarding school. She painted The Bomb on its back to give it character compared to other pupils’ brand new cars.

A Rover 2000 (1963) – an ‘iconic sports saloon’… plus self cancelling indicators.
Her parents were allergic to fresh air and fogged up the inside of the car as chain smokers. Whilst she and her brother fought on the back seat.

A Ford Cortina – called after an Italian ski resort to give it an ‘air of European glamour’… plus cigarette lighter

A TVR Cerbera – a big league V8 performance car that’s dominant and curvacious with ‘hellish technical faults.’
Recommended to Dawn by Jeremy Clarkson when she wanted something ‘irresponsibly fast’ who’d have guessed that TVR stood for Trevor? Dawn had to have her bum measured for tailor-made driving seats at Trevor’s factory in Blackpool.

And we all sighed nostalgically at the vroom vroom sound the engine made…

A Jaguar XK8 – a sports car that’s ‘tight and taught’ – called The Cat.
Coincidentally her Comic Strip co-star Jennifer Saunders bought the same car/model over the same weekend.

A Range Rover Sport – a SUV with a swagger.

Best feature? A fridge full of Revells.

Best roads? The M4 and M5 until Dawn got fined by both Somerset AND Devon separately for the same incidence of exceeding the average speed in a 50mph limit by doing an average 55mph. Is this fair she asked?

And I felt the audience agreed with her.

But it was Polly in the audience that made us laugh in a shocked way – when she drive her Range Rover through a 5 bar gate, without opening it first.

How many men would own up to such driving ditz I wonder?

The programme ended with a rousing rendition of ‘I’m Outta Love’ by Anastasia – that’s the sort of music that encourages us to floor the accelerator pedal even though we know we shouldn’t. What fun.

That’s what I loved about Victoria’s new Radio programme. It reminded us that motoring can still be fun.

Yes, it was gloriously irreverent and fun in what felt like an all female room.

A case of Vive La Difference in an environment where there was absolutely no need to mention or think about equality.

Because we who know about these things know that men and women are very different when it comes to cars.

So let’s get over this, stop moaning Erin, move on and get back to enjoying motoring and being ourselves.

I look forward to further Episodes on Wednesdays at Radio 4 at 6.30pm. Before it transfers to TV. I hope.


Dacia for frugal, functional and foxy cars

IMG_0005-1To convert a savvy FOXY Lady Driver into a customer, a new car must either be better than the rest in her mind, come highly recommended by her friends or represent a really good deal. The Dacia Sandero scores particularly well on the last count as there isn’t another new supermini out there for as little as £5999 on the road.

I first saw a Dacia at Goodwood’s Moving Motors Exhibition last summer. It was a 5 seater SUV, called the oddly named Duster, for just £8995. It was going down a storm.

For those who don’t know this already, Dacia (said to rhyme with Thatcher I’m told) builds the cars in Romania, is owned by Renault and comes with the latest skills, technology and market insight you’d expect as a result of this parentage.

The car I drove was supplied by award-winning dealership Lifestyle Europe with Dacia dealerships in Brighton, Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells. As you can see from the photograph the car already has a 2013 Best Car Award from What Car! That’s an excellent start…

And with such low prices the Dacia philosophy is clearly ‘functionality over frivolity’ with the invitation ‘You Do The Maths.’ The point they are making is that you get a lot of car for your money for starters but if you’d like to pay more for further options and accessories, you still can.

Good looks and model choices

IMG_0004-1The entry level £5995 Sandero version is called the Access and it comes in Glacier White with 15 inch steel wheels and a 1.2 16v 75 engine.

The Laureate is Dacia’s top of the range (prices from £7995 to £9795) and the Ambiance is the in-betweener (prices from £6595 to £8395) each with their own trim levels, a choice of petrol and diesel engines and accessory options.

The Sandero competes with supermini big sellers the Ford Fiesta and the VW Polo when you’d be paying nearer to £10,000.

That’s a big difference to any motoring budget even after you compare like for like in terms of options.

When it comes to looks, it’s probably fair to say that the Sandero wouldn’t stand out in a crowded car park but it’s still a perfectly good looking car as you can see.

The Laureate model I drove had the frugal TCe 90 petrol engine and came with front and rear electric windows, electric mirrors, cruise control, satellite navigation and air conditioning.

Value for money

This is where the Sandero performs best. It’s such good value. I suggest you drive the basic model for starters and see what you get… then decide what you REALLY need in terms of extras. The basic comes in a fashionable white, you get a comprehensive package of safety features and, if you like, you can save money by fitting your own car radio and audio system instead of buying more expensive branded options.

Both diesel engines are VED/tax exempt, you’ll enjoy combined fuel consumption of 74.3mpg and business drivers are taxed at 13% for Benefit In Kind (BIK).

All Dacias come with a 3 year or 60,000 mile warranty and you can pay to extend this to 7 years/100k mileage for £850. Clearly terms apply but they wouldn’t offer this unless they knew the car to be reliable (see FOXY Facts below for more detail).

Driving performance

IMG_0008I test drove the Sandero on a combination of city, rural and motorway roads in Sussex.

Yes the gear change was a tad sluggish I thought but it coped well in Brighton’s stop start city traffic and flew on the motorway when given its chance.

For the size of the car and engine, the 0-62mph time of 11 seconds is quite quick and at lower speeds, it feels even quicker.

It’s a quiet engine, the steering is light and the suspension made this a more comfortable ride than my everyday car in what I call ‘Pothole Country’ ie where I live in West Sussex.


Once you’re in it, the car seems bigger than it looks. The dashboard is smart (it had the MediaNav fitted) and there were two cupholders and handy storage trays. Ideal for five adults, it’d be a great family car with two ISOFIX child seat fittings in the back. The rear seat splits so you have even more storage space than just the ‘best in class’ 320 litre boot. Good for visits to IKEA, it’ll easily cope with the typical family supermarket shopping run and all the gear you’d need for a camping holiday. The Media Nav was easy for me to use (this is an option costing £225) including Bluetooth connectivity and having got used to parking sensors, I’d probably want these as part of the Protection Pack option adding £225 here.

Sadly, another car with poor handbag space in our quest for safe and accessible storage here. Under the seat again after I’ve dug out the money I need for the Dartford Tunnel…


When it came to test driving this car I had expected to ‘feel’ its cheapness. I quickly realised I couldn’t and neither will anyone else. I enjoyed the drive, appreciated the frugal and functional role that Dacia is filling in these tough economic times and I thoroughly recommend the Sandero as fabulous value for money for a family car.

Providing you do the maths first, pick only essential options and do without ‘nice to have’ bells and whistles, you’ll be buying a reliable new car with a Renault pedigree at a bargain price.

Steph Savill


IMG_0012Model tested: Dacia Sandero Laureate TCe 90

RRP: The entry model, the Dacia Sandero Access 1.2 16v 75 costs from £5995. The Laureate range starts from £7995 and the car I drove included a range of options including metallic paint (£495), 15 inch alloys (£425), a Protection Pack with parking sensors, carpet mats and a boot liner (£225) plus the 7 inch Media Nav touchscreen multimedia system with Bluetooth, USB and AUX connections (£250).

Buying discounts: You don’t get discounts when a car is as cheap as this one but you should expect a good trade-in if you have a low mileage car in good condition to deal over…

Fuel economy: The TCe 90 engine does 44.1mpg (Urban cycle), 65.7mpg (Extra urban cycle) and 56.5mpg (Combined cycle). The Laureate’s diesel dCi90 engine manages a combined cycle of 74.3mpg which is even more impressive.

Insurance group: The cars range from a very low insurance group 2E to a not much higher group 10E depending on the engine and spec.

Road tax/VED: The standard tax rate for the TCe 90 is £30 after a free first 12 months. The two diesel engines are both tax exempt.

Safety: Euro NCAP always tests the basic model and rates the Sandero as 3 stars overall. This overlooks the fact that this car gets 5 stars in the child protection and 4 stars for adult protection categories. Nor does it say that all models in the Sandero range come with ESC stability control, anti-lock brakes and four front airbags as standard.

Reliability: All Dacia models are thoroughly tested so they can cope in different environments and weather extremes. Not just that but Dacia has access to skills and technology from within the Renault-Nissan Alliance. So perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised to see that Dacia came in second in Germany’s 2010 JD Power Customer Satisfaction survey – behind Audi and ahead of BMW my goodness.

Environmental C02 rating: 116gsm.

Mumsnet Cars share female feedback

Mumsnet and What Car? have joined forces to launch Mumsnet Cars, a car review section of the popular Mumsnet website.

The section includes typical reviews and questions like: “Will it fit three child car seats?” “Is it easy to maintain?” “How much should I be paying for this?” and “Can I fit in my entire family and still have legroom?” along with insight from What Car?.

In a survey of car owners, Mumsnet users were presented with a list of celebrities whose influence might persuade them to buy a car. Despite the list ranging from Kylie to Clarkson to Cameron, nearly half of respondents (48%) said that they would not trust any celebrity recommendation.

In contrast, over three quarters (77%) say that a recommendation from a friend or a relation would be influential.

The Mumsnet survey confirms that car dealerships could be more ethical, that car advertising doesn’t always hit the spot for motoring Mums and that recommendations from friends are more reliable than those of celebrities.

* Nearly half (46%) felt that car dealership sales people aren’t honest
* Only 25% felt they could trust the advice given at car dealerships
* Just over three quarters (77%) find car ads unmemorable, complaining that they all seem the same
* Two out of three (67%) would be influenced by reading a recommendation or a positive review in a car magazine or online from other users
* Half (53%) say that both they and their partner are equally responsible for the researching, planning and the car buying decision for the family car (FOXY note: US research suggests that women influence c90% of car sales)
* 89% of parents responding to the survey agreed that their choice of car has changed as their family needs and lifestyle has changed

Justine Roberts, CEO and Co-Founder of Mumsnet, said:

“When it comes to buying cars, we know that priorities change once people start a family and that parents are looking for safe, economical and practical cars without the hard sell. 80% of our users seek advice or read reviews on Mumsnet when they are planning to buy a child-related product, and judging from the number of car discussions on the site there’s a clear need for similar advice when it comes to cars.”

Hear, hear says FOXY.