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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Too cool for driving school?

2010-10-12 10:35

CALL ME 'SQUEEZE': The Fiat 500's rear seat was deemed too snug for British driving school officials.

Britain’s biggest driving school is being forced to replace its entire Fiat 500 fleet because examiners complained the car’s seats were a little too snug.

The British School of Motoring (BSM) on Monday announced it would replace the 3250 Fiats, which have been in service for just 18 months, with Vauxhall (Opel) Corsas from March 2011.

The cute little Fiat may make the ideal driving tool for a nervous novice driver but Britain’s Driving Standards Agency (DSA) officials who monitor driving instructors and their cars struggled to squeeze into the back of the car for mandatory check tests.

All driving instructors in Britain have to complete a check test every two to four years to prove they can still teach. A DSA official will sit in the back of the car and observe instructors delivering their lessons.

'Physical stature'

However, when the DSA in February issued guidelines for the use of compact or city cars, the Fiat 500 was identified as problematic.
Charles Morton, registrar of Approved Driving Instructors, said: “When presented for a check test, compact cars can occasionally pose difficulties for some of our examiners.

“In these cases their physical stature may prevent them from sitting safely and securely in the rear seat of the car, facing fully forward, with full use of a seat belt.

“Some of our people did complain about leg room and that they had to sit sideways to get their legs in. It's OK at the front but tight in the back.”

The new Corsas, along with larger rear seats, also have a range of modifications including larger dials for better visibility, rear head restraints and lighter power steering.

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