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End-of-an-era TT retains its age-old brilliance
SOMETHING really annoys me about convertible owners and it’s the fact that so many opt to keep their car’s roof up for months on end. Seemingly - and I speak from experience as my mother owns one - they’re only de-roofed when the temperature is at a steady 20C and the sun’s shining. However, we live in England, so the chances are very much at a premium and I’m a firm believer that...
Stylish Taigo is the go-to family choice Image
Stylish Taigo is the go-to family choice
IT’S a funny one, the Volkswagen Taigo, because on the face of it it’s a similar size to stablemates such as the T-Cross and T-Roc, so whereabouts does it fit in? Is it a pointless model? Is it going to be overlooked as families head to either of the latter pair? On the face of it, the Taigo’s extremely similar size-wise, but it completely trounces its siblings on the looks front purely because...
Anniversary model is best Golf R yet Image
Anniversary model is best Golf R yet
BACK in 2002, as a 12-year-old, a pumped-up hot hatchback was released by Volkswagen and it left quite the impression on my future taste in cars. Given I went on to buy multiple hot hatches as soon as I could, when I think about the early to mid-noughties, it is a period which spawned my absolute adoration for normal, daily cars which are plucked from mundane obscurity and transformed into B-road leviathans by clever engineers....
LC500's V8 is an all-time great
ATMOSPHERIC engines - once a prerequisite of any sports car worth its salt - are sadly a dying breed and their days are well and truly numbered. Whether we like it or not, government-led schemes to reduce emissions are high on the tree-hugging agenda, and that means high-revving powerplants have been constantly targeted because they’re not very good for the environment. Naturally aspirated screamers are few and far between; unless you’ve a six-figure sum spare...
Nissan's new EV is a sure-fire winner Image
Nissan's new EV is a sure-fire winner
MANUFACTURERS - in their quest to appease the world’s governments’ unquenchable thirst for lower emissions - tend to take an existing, traditionally-powered model and turn it into an EV. Just about everyone’s done it and to be fair to them, they’re pretty decent cracks, too: all-electric Golfs, Minis and so on and so forth have all become some of the most popular EVs on the market. However, there hasn’t been many ground-up EVs,...
V8 Lexus is a modern-day throwback Image
V8 Lexus is a modern-day throwback
CAST your mind back to the V8 power battle of the mid-noughties and you’ll conjure up images of naturally aspirated M3s, RS4s and C63s - but today’s motoring world is a far-removed place from those halcyon, care-free years. As time’s gone on BMW, Audi and Mercedes have ditched their wonderful, high-revving masterpieces and gone down the turbocharged route, but luckily for those who adore howling V8s there’s still a solitary car to plump for....
Dazzling MX-5 is a simple masterpiece
THROWBACKS to the motoring world of yesteryear are few and far between in strait-laced 2023 - with ever-tighter rules and restrictions, manufacturers are seemingly on a hiding to nothing when it comes to making simple cars like they used to. That’s why Ferrari ditched its manual gearboxes and naturally aspirated engines - unthinkable a decade ago - and Lamborghini V10s and V12s will surely be a thing of the past in the coming years as...
New Type R is Honda's best yet
SEVERAL years ago, Honda released the latest in a long line of brilliant Civic Type Rs and it was - by far - the stand-out star amongst its rivals for the entirety of its lifespan. Although turbocharged - an unthinkable thought for Type R purists a decade or so ago, especially those who adored EK9 and EP3 varieties - Honda managed to retain some of its high-revving magnificence and stayed true to its manual, front-drive...
Sold-out GR86 is a performance car throwback
ASK a keen driver to tell you their ideal on-paper spec for a performance car and you can all but guarantee three things will appear before anything else: a naturally aspirated engine, a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. It’s a tried-and-tested formula, one which has appeared on countless greats throughout the years, but unfortunately it’s something that’s all but extinct in today’s market. Manufacturers’ hands are effectively tied and so they’re ditchi
Lexus saloon takes it to the Germans Image
Lexus saloon takes it to the Germans
THINK of the highly competitive saloon sector and your mind automatically conjures up images of a BMW 5 Series, probably dawdling along, infuriatingly hogging a motorway’s middle lane. The Germans have the market pretty much cornered in truth - Merc’s handsome new E-Class and Audi’s A6 are both worthy contenders to the BMW and, if anything, even eclipse that car. However, Lexus isn’t a manufacturer known for treading the same path as its rivals and...
Warm GR Sport Corolla hatch bridges the gap Image
Warm GR Sport Corolla hatch bridges the gap
A FEW months ago, I remember lapping up every detail about the wonderful Gazoo Racing-fettled Toyota Corolla. Its headlines were as follows: 300bhp, four-wheel-drive… a sure-fire alternative to Honda’s dominant Civic Type R. But hold it there, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because it isn’t actually coming to the UK as Toyota believe its GR86, GR Yaris and gorgeous Supra are enough for those on these shores. All’s not lost, though: while the full-fat...
ID4 is a top-notch family EV
VOLKSWAGEN’S ID range - the marque’s brilliant line-up of all-electric vehicles - is being touted as a key driver of its future sales. So, in short, they simply have to be good and a worthy alternative in order for its loyal army of buyers to move away from their beloved Golfs and Tiguans - which in current guises are largely flawless - into the electric sector. Quality, as ever with VW, is high...
Manual gearbox transforms the Supra
ON first glance, the ‘new’ Toyota Supra is a much-changed proposition from what it was when I was a youngster in the mid-1990s. Back then it was all about twice-or-thrice-the-original-power modifications, quarter-mile drag times and beating Nissan Skylines. Again, on first glance, it appears much more mild: it shares its platform with the underwhelming BMW Z4, has an eight-speed automatic gearbox and while it’s undeniably low slung and rear-wheel drive, its exotic looks coul
Cool Cupra Born is the EV to have
I have a bit of a reputation - perhaps fairly so - in the office for being a bit of a moaner. I do it about most things: workload, noise, my love-hate relationship with Leeds United, misplaced apostrophes… the list is extensive, but there’s one thing I always - without fail - whine about and that’s electric cars. I’ve adored cars since I was a young lad, but EVs are something I’ve never...
All-electric UX takes on Tesla’s dominance Image
All-electric UX takes on Tesla’s dominance
OUR government’s unquenchable thirst to reduce emissions is happening at an alarming pace and manufacturers are doing all they can to meet that requirement. While bans on internal combustion engines are on the horizon, if you can’t be bothered with plug-ins and want an economical, kind-to-the-environment car in the meantime, Lexus has the market pretty much covered with its hybrid line-up. However the marque - synonymous with technology and a real front-runner in producing...
Do-all Hilux feels indestructible Image
Do-all Hilux feels indestructible
IF you’re in the market for a pick-up truck there are plenty to choose from - but there’s one that’s head and shoulders above the rest. Toyota’s Hilux has become an immoveable icon, the go-to choice for anyone who needs a rock-solid, rugged vehicle that’s happy on every surface. Yes, they’ve always been a tad utilitarian inside and hardly brimming with quality, but the Hilux is what it is: a tough, no-nonsense machine that’s been...
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New Golf better than ever
VOLKWAGEN’S Golf - thanks to its eight generations over almost 50 years - has always been the go-to choice for families from all backgrounds. Its can-do-all ethos, no matter what setting, has yielded a legion of fans who expect the best from VW’s most famous creation - space, comfort, a good drive and an everything-to-everyone character. It’s an amazing feat when you think about its breadth of ability - the Golf is a car anyone...
New Cupra is one of the best
THERE’S something about hot hatches and how they fit the UK’s roads like a glove - nothing attacks a snaking, challenging piece of countryside asphalt like a pumped-up version of a hatchback. In truth there are many options if you’ve £30,000 or so to spend on one: Civic Type-Rs, Focus STs and i30Ns immediately spring to mind, but the Cupra Leon in its 300bhp spec perhaps intrigues even more as it’s still a rare sight....
Fifth-generation Discovery is the perfect family car
AT long last, I have found the dream family car. It costs a fair chunk, but if you can, you absolutely should because it has no drawbacks whatsoever. A rare beast indeed but it’s one that combines decent pace, good fuel economy, space, looks and luxury - it’s the brilliant Land Rover Discovery in D300 guise. That name’s been an ever-present fixture in the line-up since 1989 - that’s a year before I...
Jimny LCV is an instant icon Image
Jimny LCV is an instant icon
I’VE been excited about quite a few cars arriving for me to test - Porsches, RS-badged Audis, six-figure SUVs, you name it - but I don’t mind admitting Suzuki’s Jimny was arguably the one I was most looking forward to driving. Stop laughing over there - it’s true. I’m absolutely not joking and if I tell you that there’s been long waiting lists in the UK for a new one, that should tell you...
Revised NX350h continues Lexus' form Image
Revised NX350h continues Lexus' form
SEVERAL years ago, I often struggled to get my head around people who opted for SUVs instead of a better-driving estate but as my age advances, it isn’t hard to see why they do. There are two causal factors for that admittedly almighty U-turn: four-year-old Arthur and little Mia, whose first birthday is fast approaching. Parents simply want their kids wrapped up in the tough, protective metal cocoon SUVs enable like nothing else this...
Kia top the EV tree
ELECTRIC cars - love them or loathe them - are becoming a much more familiar sight on the road and while it’s fair to say the UK’s charging infrastructure is perhaps letting the side down, manufacturers deserve no end of praise for their EV creations. While electric versions of regular cars are ten a penny now, there aren’t many which have been designed and built up from the ground as a sole EV. ...
Limited-run Type R is an all-time great
IF I picked the perfect ingredients for a countryside drive the car would - 100 times out of 100 - be a hot hatch. Their uncanny knack of fitting tight, twisty roads like a glove mean you’re not worrying about grazing an eye-wateringly expensive, low-slung carbon splitter and you can instead concentrate on why the car of choice was created: the thrill of driving something built purely for enthusiasts. There’s been many stand-out, pumped-up...
All-new Defender is a worthy successor
I’LL be honest - I never really ‘got’ the obsession with Land Rover Defenders until a few years ago. Sure, I appreciated their coolness - chiefly because they’ve effectively stayed the same for decades - but to drive they were woeful so I wasn’t really a fan. As time’s gone on, I’ve come around massively, mainly due to the simply gorgeous, last-of-the-line Heritage Edition which signalled the end of its frankly incredible 67-year...
New Supra worthy of its name Image
New Supra worthy of its name
WHEN I was a youngster - no older than 12 - my mate’s dad had a highly-modified Toyota Supra. It was absolutely the car’s fault for starting my obsession with Japanese cars. Having been a twin-turbo A80 version - arguably the most famous Supra of all from the mid-90s - it was converted, like many, to a single-turbo unit and, if memory serves right, was running a north of 600bhp. I remember the...
Q5 is the perfect family car Image
Q5 is the perfect family car
IT isn’t difficult to see why Audi’s become quite possibly the most accomplished, all-round manufacturer in recent years - each model they’ve revealed has been an absolute peach. In that time its familiar-but-popular A-badged cars, from the dinky A1 to the limo-like A8, have been joined by Q-badged variants which offer everything you’d expect of the marque, albeit in a loftier package. The Q7 was the first to take the fight to cars like...
Handsome CX-5 has style and substance
IT can’t just be me who’s often looking in my rear-view mirror, being followed by a gaping-grilled, handsome Mazda with sharp, sleek headlights… It’s happened a few times on the motorway recently; I often associate the marque with the indomitable MX-5 and the family-favourite 3, but this car - the CX-5 - is possibly its best-looking model. It has to stand out, too, for it’s in battle with some big names in the larger SUV...
All-electric XC40 is best yet
VOLVO’S made an extremely reputable name for itself in the engine stakes in recent years thanks to its frugal diesels and impressive hybrids. The Swedish firm’s something-for-everyone approach rightly won sales, but having dipped its toe in the water with the clever, forward-thinking Polestar arm, it was only a matter of time before all-electric models trickled down to its most popular vehicles. Volvo - to me at least - has been transformed into...
GV80 takes on Europe's best
“Excuse me, is that a Bentley?” It’s a question Genesis GV80 owners will become accustomed to hearing and while it’s high praise indeed being compared to a Bentayga that costs four times as much, the unfamiliar brand’ deserves no end of praise as they’ve absolutely hit it out of the park. Genesis is to the Hyundai Motor Group what Lexus is to Toyota - a more premium, luxurious arm that’s going into battle...
XC60 is one of the best family SUVs on sale Image
XC60 is one of the best family SUVs on sale
AS far as model line-ups go, Volvo’s takes some beating. XC40, XC60, XC90, V60, V90, S60, S90… all utterly brilliant, all intrinsically linked thanks to their handsome looks, supreme interiors and interesting engines. The way to decipher them is rather simple: S-badged cars are saloons, Vs are estates and XCs are SUVs. In truth it doesn’t really matter which you pick; all are at the top of their game in 2021. However, some...
TT RS takes fight to Porsche’s finest Image
TT RS takes fight to Porsche’s finest
ONE of my earliest motoring memories is of a then-new Ferrari 360 Spider tearing along a dual carriageway. More than 20 years later I can still recall it with crystal-clear clarity: black paint, black cloth roof, V8 shrieking and leaving its indelible mark on an impressionable, car-obsessed youth. It wasn’t so much the speed because, to my recollection at least, its driver can’t have been doing much more than 50mph on that particular stretch of...
EV6 is Kia's best-ever car
Kias are rapidly becoming one of the brightest, forward-thinking manufacturers in the market - but cast your mind back ten years ago and they were a very different proposition. Remember hateful Sedonas? Truly awful Rios? Those cars - built on a shoestring budget, crammed with scratchy plastics and arguably two of the worst-looking vehicles ever made, had absolutely no redeeming qualities. Their stark - and extremely quick - rise to the top of...
New Juke's set for sales success
REMEMBER a time when families only had the option of choosing between humble hatchbacks, a saloon or its estate version? The motoring world’s a very different place in 2022 and just about every manufacturer has branched out into the complex world of MPVs and SUVs. You’ve got large ones, middling ones and smaller ones - no matter what your budget is, there’s something for everyone. Take Nissan, for example, a marque that’s...
Qashqai's family-favourite title remains
LIKE the Juke, the Qashqai’s become a huge hit for Nissan. It’s not hard to see why, either: cast your mind back to the mid-noughties and there wasn’t much to choose from in the now-congested family SUV sector. The Qashqai, back then, was arguably the very first to kick-off the trend and more than five million have been sold across the globe. As far as sales hits go, the family-favourite hit gold thanks...
Rally-ready GR Yaris is an all-time great... Image
Rally-ready GR Yaris is an all-time great...
EXCITEMENT levels always ramp up when eagerly anticipated cars are released after months of spy shots and the subsequent glossy magazine splashes. Usually the furore - heightened by cars wearing camouflage taken on the Nurburgring, then the following media coverage - is reserved for exotic manufacturers: new Ferraris, GT-badged Porsches and road-going Lamborghini racers dripping with carbon fibre always register column inches. But hot hatches - special ones in particular - never fail to strike
UX continues Lexus' purple patch Image
UX continues Lexus' purple patch
LOVE it or loathe it, the government’s unquenchable thirst to reduce emissions is happening at a rapid pace and manufacturers are doing all they can to adhere to ever more stringent rules. While bans on internal combustion engines are on the horizon, if you can’t be bothered with tedious plug-ins and want an economical, kind-to-the-environment car in the meantime, Lexus and its Toyota sister brand have the market pretty much covered. Let’s start...
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Jag takes fight to German rivals
THE executive estate market shows no sign of slowing down - having been dominated by German marques for years - so manufacturers simply must be on the top of their game if they dare go toe-to-toe with Audi, BMW and Mercedes. So it’s a relief that Jaguar’s XF Sportbrake, which has been around for more than a decade now, is better than ever in 2021 guise and has become a genuine alternative to the...
All-electric XC40 is an immediate class leader
VOLVO’S fast become one of my favourite manufacturers thanks to their cars’ unrivalled quality, safety and ultra-modern design. With a sea change in the air - which will see all new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles banned in just nine years’ time - Volvo’s first all-electric attempt away from its Polestar spin-off is absolutely brilliant. It’s called the XC40 Recharge P8, which is based on the wonderful family-friendly SUV, and manages to retain ev
Fourth-generation Sorento the best yet
OVER the last few years I've driven pretty much everything in Kia’s range and I've been impressed by them all in their own way, but the Sorento four-by-four raises the bar to a whole new level. Launched back in 2002 as the South Korean company's first SUV, the fourth-generation model is a marked move on design-wise from the pretty simply-styled third version. Whereas the previous car would appear a little archaic - in...
All-electric Kia is a welcome surprise Image
All-electric Kia is a welcome surprise
YOU usually know what you’re going to get in the motoring world - surprises just don’t come along too often. Volvos are supremely comfortable if a little beige-trousered, Audis have second-to-none interiors, Peugeots still have that irritating view ahead which blocks the speedo and Land Rovers will end up going wrong at some point. However, on the rare occasion something does surprise, they instantly become memorable as they shatter any pre-conceived opinions which...
RS4 ticks every box Image
RS4 ticks every box
EVER find yourself prowling AutoTrader on the hunt for random cars? A strange thing to non-car-loving people but absolutely normal to us lot and an enjoyable way to pass time when your mind wanders from hot hatches to supercars, taking in everything else between as you piece together your dream multi-car garage. I’ll go from searching for former cars - the much-missed 106 Rallye and 182 Trophy mainly - and rue the days I...
Hybrid V60 offers economy and performance
BABY number two arrived in my life earlier this summer. Joining three-year-old Arthur, little Mia - a precious, tiny little thing - came early and reminded me just how important safety is in a choice of car. Fatherhood changes everything as your number one priority immediately turns into keeping them away from danger. Like it or not, the roads are indeed very dangerous places, with dawdling lane hoggers and idiotic...
Eighth-generation GTI is the perfect daily driver
There’s always a tiny bit of trepidation when an all-new version of a motoring icon is released. Volkswagen’s indomitable Golf GTI is unquestionably royalty, formed over more than 40 years of providing pace, practicality and supreme quality. Although there's been some low points during previous decades, the eighth-generation GTI looks, on paper at least, set to re-write past cars' wrongs. To be fair, VW’s been on a role since the woeful mark...
Pair top of their hybrid game...
LOVE it or loathe it, the government’s unquenchable thirst to reduce emissions is happening at a rapid pace and manufacturers are doing all they can to adhere to ever more stringent rules. While bans on internal combustion engines are on the horizon, if you can’t be bothered with tedious plug-ins and want an economical, kind-to-the-environment car in the meantime, Lexus and its Toyota sister brand have the market pretty much covered. Let’s start...
Saloon-shaped A3 is top notch Image
Saloon-shaped A3 is top notch
WHILE fast Audis have always divided opinion in recent years - chiefly because of their clinical Quattro four-wheel-drive systems - their ‘normal’ models have excelled in all departments. That’s because the recipe for creating a good day-to-day vehicle is very different from doing one for a select group of enthusiasts. An emphasis on comfort appears, replacing hard-riding suspension set-ups, while outright performance is dismissed for fuel economy and government-friendl
C-HR steals Qashqai's class-leading crown Image
C-HR steals Qashqai's class-leading crown
IF you’re not into cars, I can all but guarantee you’ll have seen a handsome-looking thing gliding around. Angled lines, extremely futuristic, albeit with a familiar Toyota badge on its front and rear. It’s called the C-HR and it’s their crack at the competitive family SUV sector, which in recent years has been dominated by the good-but-dull Nissan Qashqai. Based on the Prius platform and sharing its 1.8-litre hybrid engine in this test...