Blog: Dave Leggett24 hrs in Catalunya

Dave Leggett | 17 January 2007

I'm back from Barcelona (Auris launch) now. Weather there was pretty much the same as here - grey and dismal (is 'grismal' a word?). At least I didn't get lost this time (sat-nav worked well), though I did overide the sat-nav lady to send us - I was driving with Tony Lewis - on the wrong road once. Quiet roads can at least be forgiving when you need to make a sharp U-turn. 

Car was pretty good I thought, in terms of what a Toyota mass-market product should be. The styling is not as radical in the flesh as the pics suggested. Diesels seemed very competent to me (I tried the 2 litre and the 2.2 - 2 was slightly noisier, to begin with anyway, but not a big deal). It is - to go for a snooker analogy this time - a fairly easy pot. Cue ker-ching sound at the Toyota till.

Hotel was a funny one. A trendy place on the outskirts of the town where major highways converge - Hesperia Tower it was called. Distinguished architect Richard Rogers designed it, so - like Pompidou and Lloyd's building - some building services, like stairwells, were outside and exposed to the elements. Reflective surfaces, glass and mirrors everywhere you went (I felt for the maids). Reception area gents' toilet was like a mirror maze and I nearly walked into a wall. Seating areas were triumphs of style over substance (where's me lumbar support missus?) Okay, let me rein myself in - it was very comfortable and five-star and I wasn't paying so I should stop the carping. But at 260 euros a night, I'd recommend that you stay in town if you are ever there for recreational reasons.

On a professional level, it was time well spent - no shortage of sensible people to talk to.

Pic below is the Hesperia (you can't really miss it and there's a spaceship parked on the roof). Below that is a rear shot of Tony Lewis (sorry Tony) and you can see what some of the local landscape inland was like on the test route. On the coach to the airport yesterday we caught a glimpse of what must be the longest taxi queue in the world (bottom).

 

SPAIN: Toyota aims to broaden appeal with Auris


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