I didn’t mind taking ownership of the C20R when it joined our fleet in October last year. We had just tested the car so, I knew what I was getting myself into. Also, I’m a single 20-something with a relatively active social life so, this car would be suited to someone like me for these reasons:
It looks good. I’ve mentioned my reasons for liking its styling in a previous update, but over the festive season I noticed that people actually pay attention to the car. Some even told me “nice car” and asked more about it.
There’s a decent audio system. With an auxiliary jack, USB compatibility and a power socket, I can charge my phone, listen to music off my iPod and plug in a USB all at the same time. And while it’s not exactly a Bose or Rockford sound system, the speakers are ok and I can have my music loud with a decent amount of bass (I’m a 20-something from Cape Town, ok) and the sound doesn’t distort.
I don’t mind the small boot. I know that a small boot may be a negative aspect in many cases, but I am yet to find myself wanting or needing more space. Everything that I’ve packed into my car over the past festive season has fit. From picnic baskets to beach wear to shopping bags, it all found a home in the snug luggage space. Having only ever really had three people in the car most of the time, there was ample space at the back for any overflow.
The build quality and drive train are fine. I know that “fine” is a vague term and that it doesn’t necessarily bring up positive connotations in some cases. But think about it, when people talk about Chinese car ownership, everyone immediately assumes that all things fall apart. I am happy to report that nothing has fallen off, the steering wheel is still in the place that it’s supposed to be in and I haven’t picked up on any rattles due to loose parts or questionable quality. As previously reported, the only noises are from the air-con, wipers and wind noise. The engine does struggle on inclines, but a bit of cog swapping can go a long way in aiding this (it does, however, result in high revs and lots of engine noise).
It’s easy to park. Having made good use of the summer sunshine in Cape Town, I’ve had to parallel park this car a few times. The small dimensions and power steering have made this a very easy task.
It hasn’t been issue free though. I have small gripes and one big one when it comes to this car. Let’s start with the small ones.
The Cape Town summer has been extremely hot so far and I’ve found that it takes long for the cabin to cool down and that the air-con feels as though it doesn’t get quite cold enough. Also, when parked in the sun, the artificial leather-wrapped seats heat up so much that I can’t even sit down properly without getting what feels like a third-degree burn. It also feels slightly skittish over uneven surfaces. I’ve also had my nephew in his car seat on the back seat and the small cabin means that his feet touch the back of the front seat. One more small(ish) issue. Averaging little over 9 litres/100 km, the C20R is rather thirsty. However, I have a bigger one to worry about right now.
I’ve had starting issues with the vehicle. On a number of occasions, the C20R has not been able to start. The engine swings and, judging by the smell, it’s fuelling, but there’s no spark. This issue started late last year and I took it in to a service centre to see if it could get fixed. They did their checks, hooked it up to their diagnostic equipment, had three people drive it and reported that they can’t find anything wrong with it. They then asked me if I knew that I had to have the clutch depressed in order to start it. I knew that. There was nothing that they could do about it.
I understand that if they don’t know what the problem is that they can’t fix it. But I was worried that the C20R would leave me stranded along the road somewhere. Thankfully, it hasn’t. I will admit that after this visit to the service centre I started to wonder if maybe it was in fact me that was doing something wrong. But it’s happened a few times since then and not only to me. So at least now I know that there is in fact something wrong with the car and that it’s not all in my head. I’ll be taking it to a service centre soon again to ask them to take another look at it. Hopefully the next visit will result with a diagnosis and a solution to the problem.
Mileage on arrival (km): 2 239
Mileage now (km): 4 868
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 9,06
We like: Looks, audio system, compact size
We don’t like: Start-up issues