Test drive in the snow

Posted on January 24th, 2013 by James Luckhurst

Mazda snowHERE AT THE Good Motoring office, we are fortunate to receive regular invitations to test drive new cars. Sometimes these are on an individual basis for a few days at a time, sometimes the invitations are to ‘launches’, where we join other reporters on a day or overnight event. These have traditionally been on the lavish side, prompting one motoring journalist a few years ago to work out that around £500 of the price of a particular new model was needed to pay for the press launch. As they were only expecting to sell 2100 cars, and the launch was on the west coast of America, then perhaps that was a somewhat extreme example, but you get my point.

Heathrow Airport on a snowy Monday was where my adventure began. I had been invited to the launch of the Mazda 6, which required a flight to Edinburgh, a chance to drive various models and an overnight stay at the beautiful, baronial Archerfield House, near North Berwick. There was even a presentation of the new car delivered inside a retired Concorde, at Scotland’s Museum of Aviation. My flight delay meant I was the very last person to arrive for this, and upwards of 15 other writers were grumpily waiting on my embarkation to get the whole thing moving.

I’m sure the Mazda executives and the event planners were cursing the weather. Hundreds of miles of pre-planned test routes all had to be abandoned because of snowy conditions across the eastern side of Edinburgh, leaving us the only safe option of staying on the main routes and motorways.

I have just returned from the last of my three test drives, pleased to note that the roads have improved and the snow has stopped. You’ll have the chance to read our review in the summer edition of Good Motoring.