The Verdict: Qpod

The QPod offering from Noel Edmonds' Unique Motor Company, will certainly get you noticed, but can you live it down, asks Sean O'Grady

Price: £4,195 + VAT
Engine: 4-stroke single cylinder air cooled; 340cc
Performance: Top speed of about 40mph
CO2: low
Worth considering: Quad bike; used Smart; Mr Blobby outfit and a pogo stick

Thomas Jewitt, our 11-year-old co-tester whose contribution you'll find next to this column, has never heard of Noel Edmonds. Not just " I-sort-of-might-have-heard-of-someone-whose-name-sounds-like-Noel-Edmonds. Not "maybe". Not "of course" just to satisfy an adult. No; he had no more idea of who Noel Edmonds was than I have of 50 Cent (which is none, to remove any vestigial doubt in your mind on that). Thus can Britain now be divided, between the coming generation, who know nothing of Noel, and the rest of us, who know Mr Tidy Beard's CV inside out: Radio 1 Breakfast Show; Multicoloured Swapshop; The Late, Late Breakfast Show; Mr Blobby and Wrinkly Arse (OK, Crinkly Bottom then); the end of his time at the BBC; marital breakdown. He even did Top Gear, you know. Some of us grew up with Noel.

So what's he up to now? QPod. This is the tiny car he imports from a French manufacturer named Secma and is marketed over here by Edmonds' Unique Motor Company. Unique has signed up some dealers and are still looking for recruits. Would you want a franchise? Would you want a QPod?

I wouldn't. I did, because I had to, drive it from just about the furthest point east in London to the most westerly suburbs and found myself being terrified of two things: The rain (my QPod lacked the optional weather gear), and crowded bus stops. Unfortunately a congested Friday night in central London has rather a lot of those, and I was pointed to and laughed at at each and every one of them from Canary Wharf to Ealing.

I pulled a face back, a sort of speechless Gromit expression that said " look, I don't want to be seen in this either. It's hard work in here". And it was. I found the steering heavy at parking speeds, it was tricky to start and get into gear, and it smelt of petrol.

The one good thing about such a long journey was that I got more used to the contraption, and more aware of its virtues. It was great to be able to squeeze past traffic jams, and the fact that nothing moves above 30mph in London anyway left the QPod in a perfectly competitive position. I even started to enjoy myself (a bit), but it was always spoiled by a slightly unstable, vulnerable feeling. I imagine it is in its element off road. I just thank my stars that I wasn't driving around in the even more absurd three wheeler (check it out on www.qpod.co.uk).

If you run a publicity-hungry business or you're an exhibitionist, please buy a QPod now. Forget a liveried Smart/Mini/Ferrari: you'll never get more stares than in a QPod. Otherwise you'd have more fun in Noel's old gunge tank.

Adrian Jewitt 50, Marketing consultant from Ealing, London and his son Thomas, 11
USUAL TRANSPORT: VOLVO V70, FORD FOCUS AND YAMAHA FAZER

Adrian: On every level it failed as a car. It is boneshakingly uncomfortable, too small, very heavy to steer, it has no luggage space, and it's underpowered. The bike is much more practical. But everyone we passed smiled and waved at us, and all the kids on the street wanted to have a go in it. No one smiles at me when I'm driving the Volvo. It made me smile, but I still can't imagine why anyone would buy one. My daughter Laura gave it 10 out of 10.

Thomas: I thought it was great fun, even though it was a bit uncomfortable. One of the best things was being able to squeeze through gaps that cars can't. It rocks.

John Calutas, 36, Broadcasting technician from Perivale, west London
USUAL TRANSPORT: RENAULT ESPACE, PEUGEOT SCOOTER

Start the QPod up and it sounds like a souped-up lawn mower, the steering is surprisingly heavy and even though you have four massive Quad-type tyres, the handling of the QPod didn't inspire me with confidence. Corners should be approached with care. I thought I'd give the QPod some welly on a long stretch of road, but there was so much vibration from the engine and nobbly off-road tyres that it actually distorted my vision! I've been trying to think who would buy one, and I can't think of any advantages compared to a scooter, for instance. Scooters are cheaper, more fun to ride and have a lot more street cred.

CiCi Tremain, 45, Mental health practioner from Hanwell, west London
USUAL CAR: VAUXHALL ASTRA CONVERTIBLE

It's a funky design, like a Quad bike converted to a two-seater convertible - but with nowhere to store the roof, so check the weather. The top speed of 40mph is OK for urban use. I found it cramped - I'm 6ft tall and there was little room my frame. I'd like to see Mr Blobby try to get in it. My partner, at 5ft, found it ideal, however. The suspension is rather hard, you need a cushion. As for the controls they are part car, part Quad bike, but you get the hang of them quickly, althought the automatic gears are fiddly to engage. It sounds like a loud scooter - the neighbours know you're coming. It's a Smart car with considerably less frills.

THE VERDICT: If you would like to take part, e-mail motoring@indepen dent.co.uk or write to: The Verdict, Features Department, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, giving your address, phone number and details of the car, if any, you drive. For most cars, participants must be over 26 and have a clean licence.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Associate Recrutiment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

    Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

    £120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

    PMLD Teacher

    Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence