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.

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
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

    Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

    £65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

    Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

    £20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

    £8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

    £14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable