Kia Soul aims for wider appeal

Kia was a very different company when the first Kia Soul was launched in 2008. Then it was a budget brand that appealed mainly to the type of people who would also buy “sensible shoes”. Utterly practical transport, Kia cars appealed to those who used their head, not their heart, when choosing their next car.

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Mazda 3 strengthens its appeal

First impressions count and, when I first saw the new Mazda 3 at the celebrity race for the Australian Grand Prix this year, it struck me as one of the most cohesive family car designs currently on offer from any Japanese manufacturer.

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Vauxhall sharpens up appeal of Meriva

Vauxhall claim to have invented the small MPV sector of the market when they launched the original Meriva in 2003. Eleven years later, it is one sector of the market that remains relatively strong.

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Subtle updates for Kia Sportage

I drove the Kia Sportage for this blog in 2011 and, at first glance, not much seems to have changed. That is quite deliberate. Ian Mathews, Head of Product Planning at Kia in the UK, explains it was a case of “if it aint broke…”. What a statement for Kia to be able to make!

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Fiat 500L aims to extend 500 appeal

Such has been the success of the Fiat 500, that the Italian manufacturer has turned its attention to extending the brand. The aim is to extend the 500’s popularity into a new sector by offering more accommodation and more doors to make the car a more versatile option for the growing family.

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Mitsubishi covers both ends of 4x4 market

For a car company with only six models (if you exclude the commercially-orientated L200 pick-up) on the UK market, Mitsubishi certainly has a strong commitment to the 4x4 sector. Three of the six are either four-wheel-drive, or available in four-wheel-drive.

Mitsubishi Shogun
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Pencils sharpened for Peugeot's new 308

For me, the first sign of the renaissance of Peugeot was probably the Peugeot RCZ which marked the return of design flair and rewarding driving to the French marque. Then came the Peugeot 3008, the 508 and more recently the 208.

Peugeot 308 Read More...
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Range Rover Sport: keeping ahead of the game

One of the most notable features of any Range Rover is that commanding driving position and fans of this will not disappointed. You definitely step up into the new Range Rover Sport.

Range Rover Sport Read More...
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Audi RS7: Five-door supercar challenger

If you want it to perform, the a hefty 560PS twin turbocharged four-litre V8 will propel the RS7 from 0-62 mph in just 3.9 seconds. What is perhaps more impressive is the way this car will keep going right through all eight gears. This is supercar performance.

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Will new Renault Captur the market?

It’s in the nature of the motor industry these days that the Renault Captur is a close relative of alliance partner, Nissan’s Juke. Like the Juke is aimed at carving a slice of the vibrant market sector for what the industry calls “crossovers” – cars that project something of a lifestyle image for their owners.

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BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo offers more space

Not so many years ago, when you went into a BMW showroom you would be offered the choice of saloon, with the option, maybe of a Touring, coupé or cabriolet. That was it.

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Pro_cee'd GT Kia's hot hatch

The design of the new Pro_cee’d GT presents a polished European style. It is an attractive, well proportioned design, with confident styling. The now-distinctive Kia corporate grille thrusts forward from the sweeping light units.

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Peugeot 208GTI re-establishes sporty heritage

In my road test of the Peugeot 208 earlier this year you may have detected a certain anticipation of the day when I would get my hands on the Peugeot 208GTI. Now that wait is over.

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Jaguar F-Type - demands a longer road

Few car launches have created as much stir as the Jaguar F-Type. Perhaps it’s not so surprising, given the iconic status of its predecessor the famous E-type and the fact that we have had to wait 39 years for the follow-up!

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Seat Leon SC - second of the new family

It’s now 15 years since the original Seat Leon went into production as the first family hatchback since the Spanish company was taken over by the Volkswagen Group.

Seat Leon SC Read More...
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Vauxhall Adam lives up to its quirky name

Vauxhall, and its European counterpart Opel, have clearly been watching the sales success of superminis like the Mini and the Fiat 500 and thinking long and hard about how they could grab a slice of the action.

Vauxhall Adam Read More...
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Toyota's RAV4 enters its fourth generation

The Toyota RAV4 was one of the cars that pioneered a new class of vehicle – the small SUV that combined some of the go-anywhere ability of a full 4x4 with the more car-like driving style of a less-focussed mud-plugger.

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DS3 goes topless, almost

As you will see if you look back at my road test of the Citroen DS3, I was quite taken with the French manufacturers attempt to imbue their small hatchback with some of the style and individuality that marked out the avant garde Citroen DS.

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Mazda's MX-5 + good weather = fun

I recently had the chance to drive the Mazda MX-5 for the first time in almost six years. For once its arrival proved very timely as it coincided with a summer heatwave, meaning the roof was hardly ever up. Even at midnight we were driving happily home with the roof down.

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The new Audi A3 has a sharper edge

At first glance you might not spot the difference between the old Audi A3 and this one. But, look more closely and you will probably notice that it wears a sharper suit of clothes.

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Dacia Sandero - remarkable value

This could be the shortest road test we’ve ever published. The Dacia Sandero is the cheapest car you can buy in the UK. But, it’s actually pretty good. Full stop.

628675_031212dacia_D_158 Read More...
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Ford B-Max a convincing small MPV challenger

Ford has lacked a strong player in the small MPV market, until now. Yes, there was the Ford Fusion, but it lived somewhat in the shadow of mainstream models like the Fiesta and the Focus. But, now we have the B-Max.

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Suzuki Grand Vitara for when the going gets tough

The Grand Vitara sticks with that tradition. In this most recent update, the off-road credentials stay much as before, which means good ground clearance for off-road conditions, four-wheel-drive tuned for off-road use with low ratio gears and differential locks. The steel ladder-frame chassis underline the Grand Vitara’s off-road credentials

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Mitsubishi takes on the mainstream superminis

Mitsubishi has clearly read the mood-of-the-moment, pitching itself back in the mainstream with the launch of the Mirage, a hatchback for cost-conscious buyers in the supermini class.

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Passat Alltrack – a country estate

One sector of the car market that has remained relatively buoyant during the recession, is the SUV, or 4x4, market. In an era of lifestyle vehicles, many of them never tackle any obstacles more daunting than speed bumps, but the tough, outdoor image SUVs project is clearly popular.

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Volkswagen Beetle increases its appeal

When you think of the current fashion for ‘retro’ design in cars, it is all too easy to think that it all started with Mini in 2001. But, it was really Volkswagen that triggered the retro design vogue in 1998 with the launch of the new Beetle.

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BMW320 xDrive gets a grip

Conventional wisdom would have it that a driver who smiles, as he is handed the keys of a BMW 3 Series in a snowstorm, must be mad.

BMW 3 Series
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More attraction: Peugeot 208

The launch of the new Peugeot 208 has been accompanied by some carefully orchestrated reminders of that iconic 205GTI, although we shall have to wait a while for it’s true successor to appear – the forthcoming 208GTI.

Peugeot 208 Read More...
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Toyota GT86 – a real driver's car

I lined the Toyota GT86 up at the start of hil. I was a little concerned, but I gently squeezed the throttle. The road was quite narrow and I knew there was a danger of slithering off. I felt elated as crested the first rise and entered the tricky, rising left hander that so often brings such efforts to a halt.

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Mercedes goes conventional with new A-class

The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, to be launched on the UK market next month, is quite a departure from the model it replaces. We have all become quite accustomed to the tall A-class, which has proven so popular over the years.

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Isuzu D-Max Utah

When other manufacturers are chasing their share of mainstream markets, Isuzu just seems to keep happily producing models for their own niche – vehicles like the Isuzu Trooper and the D-Max pick-up.

Isuzu D-Max Utah Read More...
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BMW's four-door coupé

Now we have the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé which I had the chance to drive recently. Some might argue that Mercedes-Benz filled this niche first with the Mercedes-Benz CLS. I don’t see it that way. I think BMW’s eye has been more firmly on the Porsche Panamera.

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Volkswagen up! hits the city car mark

The up! can actually trace its history back to the concept of the same name that was launched at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Although the looks have been retained the mechanicals have changed considerably.

Volkswagen up! Read More...
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Kia Optima a saloon for hatch prices

I almost missed it in the car park. Holding onto Kia keys I have to admit I was scanning the rows for a rather ordinary looking saloon.

Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi 2 Luxe Read More...
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Alfa Romeo Guilietta - now that's better!

Anyone who read my road test of the Alfa Romeo Guilietta JTD would probably have come away with the impression that I really wanted to like the car, but was struggling with four aspects that dulled the appeal.

Alfa Romeo Guilietta 1.4 Multiair TCT Read More...
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Mercedes CLS becomes more assertive

In 2004, Mercedes-Benz CLS arguably started the trend for swoopy-roofed, coupé-style rooflines on four-door saloons. Now they have launched a new CLS, which continues the theme of luxurious transport for four, but with a slightly different style.

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Range Rover Evoque appeals

The significance of the Range Rover Evoque is greater than just the launch of a new model. In effect it marks the launch of a new sub brand.

Range Rover Evoque Read More...
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V10 propels Audi's R8 into supercar territory

Occasionally a car appears on my forward car test list that has me reaching for the highlighter pen to mark off the weekend. This indicates that no other commitments will be allowed so that I can spend maximum time behind the wheel. One such weekend was reserved for the Audi R8 V10 Spyder.

\Audi R8 Spyder Read More...
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Citroen DS4 raises the game

Go back a few decades and Citroen had something of a split personality. At one end of the scale they produced the Citroen 2CV, one of the most basic cars you could imagine. At the other end of the range was the Citroen DS, a forward-thinking, luxuriously-appointed technological masterpiece.

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Peugeot's diesel electric hybrid

When it comes to hybrids, until now it has been the products of either Toyota (and its upmarket Lexus sibling) or Honda that I have driven. So, it was with more that a little interest that I seized the opportunity to sample a European hybrid in the shape of the new Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4.

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Chrysler opens new market with Delta

The Chrysler name may be American, but you won't see many of these Chryslers plying the freeways of America. Not yet, at least. The Chrysler Delta, you see, is sold here under a badge of convenience.

Chrysler Delta Read More...
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Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet widens fresh air options

If you are in the market for a compact convertible Volkswagen have got your options pretty well covered. If you like the idea of a folding metal roof convertible, you can go for the Volkswagen Eos. If, however, you prefer the idea of a conventional cloth-roof convertible, you can now choose the latest Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet.

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Jaguar's 550bhp grand tourer

It is fascinating to watch a new, more youthful, more confident Jaguar emerging from the various trials and turmoils of recent decades. It was a transformation that was needed. The age profile of Jaguar owners was greying and getting greyer.

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Kia Rio practical and fun to drive

I have to admit that picking up a set of keys with the name "Kia" inscribed on them has tended not to produce any emotional response in the past. No excitement. Equally, no disappointment.

Kia Rio Read More...
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Honda's revitalised Accord

It may not look new, but this Honda Accord is the revised model introduced into the UK last summer. The aesthetic changes are minimal, both inside and out, most of the effort having been focussed on updating the engines to make them over efficient and to lower emissions.

Honda Accord Read More...
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Mitsubishi ASX takes on the crossover market

In some ways it is surprising that it has taken Mitsubishi until so recently to launch their ASX range. With their expertise in 4x4 vehicles, a crossover of this type seems such an obvious direction to take.

399885_ASX_URBAN_ACTION_(35) Read More...
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Vauxhall sharpens up the Zafira

The Vauxhall Zafira was one of the pioneers of a new smaller breed of MPVs (or minivans as our Transatlantic cousins would call them). Not much bigger than a car, the 1999 Vauxhall Zafira had room for up to seven passengers, with a particularly neat pair of rear seats that fold down to leave a completely flat load floor.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Read More...
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Volkswagen Jetta comes out of the shadow

In Europe, at least, the Volkswagen Jetta has never really enjoyed the success it deserves. It started off its life as very obviously a booted version of the ever-popular Volkswagen Golf and has subsequently lived in the shadow of its hatchback sibling.

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Lexus hybrid hatchback aims for green halo

The Lexus CT 200h doesn’t have anything like that presence. Its appearance is of a neat, but not particularly distinctive hatchback. Unless you are bent on making an impression wherever you go, then the more low key looks are unlikely to be a problem.

Lexus CT 200h Read More...
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Chevrolet Orlando: a lot of car for the money

You certainly get quite a lot of car for your money with the Chevrolet Orlando. For a price starting at £16,410 you get a sizeable MPV with three rows of seats taking a maximum of seven people.

Chevrolet Orland Read More...
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New Ford Focus looks sure to maintain popularity

So just how do you replace a car that is as perennially popular as the Ford Focus? That must have been the dilemma facing the blue Oval when they embarked on the design for the third version of the Focus.

Ford Focus Read More...
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Does Honda Jazz hit the right note?

Honda has given its Jazz hatchback a little bit more eco-warrior appeal by launching the Honda Jazz Hybrid. Sporting a green (of course) “Hybrid” badge on the tailgate, it announces to the world that you care about the environment. Or, at least, that is the intention.

Honda Jazz HX Read More...
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Subaru Outback missing snowy Alps

Some years ago Subaru handed myself and a colleague the keys for a Subaru Forester at Heathrow Airport and told us to drive to Geneva. It was a trip that earned a new respect for the Forester which, even in those days, looked a tad dated and in need of an interior makeover.

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Volkswagen Eos still impresses five years on

When the Volkswagen Eos was launched in the UK in July 2006, it was one of the early mainstream adopters of the folding metal roof. Since then, the coupé cabriolet has become a stylish option for many manufacturers.

Volkswagen Eos Read More...
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Kia Picanto asserts itself in supermini class

Yes, the Kia Picanto may not have the chic appeal of the Fiat 500, or a Mini, but it does have a crisply-designed fashionable suit of clothes that stands comparison with the likes of the Ford Fiesta.

Kia Picanto Read More...
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Jaguar XF refreshed

Jaguar has given its XF a mid-term refresh to help it stay competitive against German and Japanese offerings in the executive saloon market.

Jaguar XF Read More...
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Fiat shrinks 500 engine for economy

The Fiat 500 TwinAir is powered by a two-cylinder in-line transverse engine of 875cc. But it is still fun to drive and remarkably lively too.

Fiat 500 TwinAir Read More...
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Peugeot 508: Nice car, shame about the gearbox

There we were, four motoring enthusiasts, talking in quite animated terms about the Peugeot 508 SW that was parked in front of us. I simply could not imagine the same having happened with the car’s predecessors.

Peugeot 508 SW

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Kia Sportage strengthens its appeal

Compared with the rather nondescript design of previous Sportages, the new Kia Sportage has quite a sharp set of new clothes. It looks pretty good, although there are perhaps just a few angles that look not quite so cohesive. With those minor caveats, It got the thumbs up from my assembled jury of car enthusiasts.

Kia Sportage Read More...
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Mazda's diesel sport impresses

Mazda has decided to do something about this, by giving their cars a stronger brand image and greater appeal. It was with that in mind that I accepted the keys to the Mazda 6.

Mazda 6 Read More...
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Buying a car? Choose wisely.

With fuel prices having risen 70% since 2000 and nothing but further increases in prospect, the chances are your choice of used car will have fuel economy pretty near the top of the list.

Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion Read More...
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Golf downsizes engine for greater economy

The 1.2-litre Golf is part of Volkswagen’s strategy of downsizing to smaller engines in the continuing search for more better economy and lower emissions. I’ve driven Volkswagen’s 1.4 TSI engines before, but can a 1.2 TSI possibly work in this size of car?

Volkswagen Golf Read More...
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Gearchange takes edge of Citroen C5

It’s a mark of Citroen’s success in revitalising their image that I didn’t have the usual wave of apathy when I saw a Citroen C5 on my road test list. The new Citroen C5 is quite a stylish offering and the road test car looked quite the executive saloon sat outside our door.

Citroen C5 Read More...
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Volvo tests new technology to cut fuel consumption 20%

Volvo says it is testing new flywheel technology that it says will not only make a four-cylinder engine feel like a six-cylinder, but will also reduce fuel consumption by 20%. Read More...
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Suzuki's small family "crossover"

A year ago I brought you my first impressions of the Suzuki SX4, which is probably best described as small hatchback/SUV/MPV crossover. The model I tested then was the front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre. This time I had a chance to try the four-wheel-drive version with the new two-litre DDiS engine.

SU_654 Read More...
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Audi A1 downsizes the prestige car

Audi hasn’t had a competitor in the small hatchback class since the avant garde Audi A2, with its aluminium body. But, it must have been impossible for the product planners at Audi to ignore the gap it left in their range, especially seeing the success that BMW was having with its Mini brand.

Audi A1 Read More...
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Hyundai turns up the appeal with small MPV

Hyundai say their aim with the ix20 was to produce a car “with the style of a supermini, the space of an estate car and the economy of a city car”. A bold aim, indeed.

Hyundai ix20 Read More...
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Eyebrow-raising performance on Skoda Fabia VRS

Surely everyone has now revised their view of Skoda as the producers of reliable, well-built and worthy motor cars? But, possibly there are a few of you out there who still think that the Czech manufacturer’s products are a bit staid and therefore appeal to, what shall we say, an older clientele?

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Honda's hybrid coupe

The Honda CR-Z is a sporty 2+2 Coupe, but, under the skin, it shares much of the technology from the Insight. For the CR-Z the engine is bigger at 1.5-litre, rather than the 1.3-litre version in the Insight.

Honda CR-Z Read More...
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Alfa Romeo Guilietta – putting on the style

Alfa Romeo had lost its way somewhat. But now it is back, producing cars that look like an Alfa Romeo should. One glance and you get the impression that every road behind this car’s wheel will as exciting as driving the famous Amalfi Coast!

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Read More...
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Jaguar's XJ purrs into the 21st century

Have our roads got much worse very quickly? I mean really quickly. Like the last 24 hours? These were the thoughts running through my mind as I crashed and thumped over surface imperfections and potholes. I think that was the point when I realised just how impressive the new Jaguar XJ actually is.

Jaguar XJ Read More...
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Scirocco R adds sporting appeal

I was very smitten with the new Volkswagen Scirocco when I tested it in October 2008. So, when the performance Scirocco R appeared on my list of cars to road test, I was, needless to say, enthusiastic to try the higher performance version.

Volkswagen Scirocco R Read More...
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Nissan 370Z roadster even more a sports car

I could have guessed it would snow. I mean, having a Nissan 370Z Roadster in January is just asking for it and sure enough the weatherman gleefully obliged.

Nissan 370Z Roadster Read More...
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Toyota's other hybrid model, the Auris

The benefit of being first to market is that you establish a name for yourself. So it was with the Toyota Prius – the first mainstream hybrid car – which was launched onto the Japanese market in 1997. But it has taken until recently for Toyota to widen the range of hybrids under the Toyota brand. The first non-Prius Toyota hybrid to come my way is the Toyota Auris Hybrid.

Toyota Auris Hybrid
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Ford C-Max

With its latest C-Max, Ford has recognised there is a demand for different sizes of small MPV. Some people only need five seats. Others want the ability to pack extra members of the extended family and are looking for a family MPV that can accommodate seven.

Ford C-Max Read More...
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New Touareg impresses at a price

Ever since Volkswagen came, a little late, to the SUV market with the Touareg, I have had a soft spot for their big off-roader. Designed in parallel with the Porsche Cayenne, it is big, comfortable and very capable.

Volkswagen Touareg
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Vauxhall downsizes engine in hunt for economy

As Vauxhall and Opel ride the turbulence following the US bankruptcy of parent company General Motors, the latest Vauxhall Astra will be crucial to how the company fares in coming years. This is the car that will have to face up to the big competitors like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

Vauxhall Astra Read More...
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Suzuki Swift surprises

If you are in the market for a vehicle in the supermini class, Suzuki has made a strong bid for your custom. Whereas most manufacturers will have, at most, two vehicles to offer the compact hatchback market, Suzuki has four.

Suzuki Swift

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BMW 5 Series Touring test trunkated by snow

For four years I drove a BMW 5 Series Touring. So when a BMW 530d SE Touring turned up on the list of cars heading for my appraisal, i was more than a little enthused about finding how one of my favourite cars had matured over recent years. I reckoned without the weather.

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Honda CRV diesel - a pair of sensible shoes

Like most Japanese marques, Honda are relative newcomers to diesel engines. The domestic market wasn’t big on diesel, their most important export market – the USA – definitely wasn’t keen on diesel except for commercials. Only Europe really demanded it.

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Saab 9-5 pitches for executive market

This is the new model that seemed doomed to be stillborn only a few months ago. But, against all the odds, here it is. The new Saab 9-5. And judging by the response to Saab’s potential demise, there are a whole lot of Saab enthusiasts out there ready to reach for their chequebooks.

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Baby Chevrolet lacks spark

Think of Chevrolet and do you think of a big American car? If you do, you are behind the times and this particular Chevrolet is one of the smallest – it’s the Chevrolet Spark and it is powered by a tiny one-litre engine! So no big “coobic inches” V8 here!

Chevrolet Spark Woody Read More...
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Functional Shogun falls short

A few years ago I was invited to the launch of the then new Mitsubishi Shogun in Yorkshire. The proud company executives introduced the latest model with a flourish, stating that this was the first time we would have seen it.

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Good looks focus attention on Peugeot RCZ

I have a soft spot for small sporting Peugeots. It could be something to do with the two Peugeot 205GTIs that I owned in the 1980s. So, when the new Peugeot RCZ coupé turned up in my driveway, I was more than a little interested.

Peugeot RCZ Read More...
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Testing times in America

Over the years I have been to Death Valley nine or ten times. Yes, I love the place – it’s amazing other worldliness, eye-popping scenery and unbelievable summer heat. But, there is another motoring-related reason. I cannot resist seeing who is out testing what in the super heat of the national park.

Fiat 500 Read More...
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Mito performance boosted by Cloverleaf

The Alfa Romeo Mito joins the growing ranks of chic small hatchbacks with cute looks. I mean, just look at those “puppy dog”eyes and the traditional Alfa front grille. Now the Mito has a new performance addition to the range with the Mito Cloverleaf.

Alfa Romeo Mito Cloverleaf Read More...
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If this is the future of green motoring count me in

While I was expecting economy, I certainly wasn’t expecting high levels of refinement or agile performance from the Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion. I’ve previously driven the Polo Bluemotion and, while impressed by its economy, low emissions and driveabllity, it would be a stretch to suggest it was a real driver’s car.

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Volvo S60 - more rewarding by degree

With the launch of the new Volvo S60, the Swedish manufacturer clearly has two messages it wants to get across to potential buyers. Well known for safety, they want to tell the world that they now produce stylish cars. They also want to persuade us that the S60 is a real driver’s car.

Volvo S60 Read More...
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Citroen rediscovers style and class

The success of the Mini and the Fiat 500 has led car manufacturers to examine how they could grab a slice of the growing market for ultra-chic superminis. One of the latest to aim for a slice of the action is Citroen with the launch of the DS3.

Citroen DS3 Read More...
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Land Rover Discovery 4: Big isn't it, impressive too.

As I thought about turning into the multi-storey car park, my eye caught the sign: “Maximum Height 6ft 3in”. Fortunately I had checked before and the Land Rover Discovery was 6 foot 4 inches.... clearly this signified a change of plan!

Land Rover Discovery 4 Read More...
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Peugeot 3008 is quite appealing

I find Peugeot’s numbering system a little bit confusing when it comes to the double zero cars. I can handle 107, 207, 308, 407. But, the 1007 and now the 3008 don’t fit in immediately. That’s probably why the great-looking new Peugeot coupe will use letters RCZ instead of numbers.

Peugeot 3008 Read More...
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Ford Galaxy: civilised transport for six, or seven

I seem to be guilty of having preconceptions of road test cars lately. The prospect of driving a Ford Galaxy for some days left me wondering whether I really wanted to drive a small bus, usually with just myself on board.

Ford Galaxy Read More...
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Skoda's executive load carrier

So, you want an estate car with more than a touch of luxury and plenty of space to stretch out? If that is your dream, you may have concluded that you need a mortgage, not a loan, to buy the car to match your needs. Read More...
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Clio Renaultsport targets young enthusiasts

I felt a few decades too old. Ideally I can imagine I should have been in my late teens, or early twenties. Even though it was warm week in summer, I would probably still have my white woolly “skully” crammed onto my head and pulled down over my ears to protect them from the non-existent biting wind.

Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup Read More...
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Saab 9-3X driven by all fours

Just six months ago it looked like Saab was doomed, as reported in my rather blunt, but sad, post ’Saab: The end’.

But, despite everything, here they are and I was handed the keys of the Saab 9-3X Estate. Although the 9-3 has been around for some time, the 9-3X is the four wheel drive version that was just launched at last year’s Geneva Motor Show.

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Nissan 370Z a true hairy sports car

There’s no doubting the aspirations of the Nissan 370Z. It is clearly aimed at the style conscious sports car market. But, if that makes you think that it is all style and no performance, think again.

Nissan 370Z Read More...
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Citroen C3 endears itself

Oh, dear! I really shouldn’t have preconceptions when I hear what car is coming up next for test. But, being only human, I do. I was prepared for a rather dull and uninspiring time with the Citroen C3 1.6 HDi. But, in actual fact, I found the little car rather endearing.
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Insight fails to impress

I Was really looking forward to driving the Honda Insight. I had never driven one before – indeed I have never driven a hybrid from anyone other than Toyota (including Lexus). So, when I saw it on the road test list, I was eager to see how it compared.

Honda Insight Read More...
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Prius revisited. The first hybrid matures well.

It is quite a number of years since I last drove the Toyota Prius – the world’s first mass-produced hybrid.

Toyota Prius Read More...
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Suzuki's chunky hatchback

Suzuki is known in the UK for three things – motorcycles, small cars and small off-roaders.

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Kia joins the clean elite

Kia has recognised the growing customer demand and marketing potential for high economy, low emission ‘eco’-tagged versions of its mainstream models.

Kian Cee'd Read More...
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Seat Ibiza Cupra tiptoes through snow

Our Arctic winter has led to many things being curtailed. Events have been cancelled. Both these, trains and even our own cards have stopped unexpectedly. In my case several times.

Seat Ibiza Cupra Read More...
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Chevrolet Cruze not one for the enthusiast

The first impressions in the car park were actually quite good. The Chevrolet Cruze looked sharp. It looks distinctive and, in a land of hatchbacks, it stands out by being a saloon.

Chevrolet Cruze Read More...
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Jaguar XF just gets better

When I had my first real drive of the Jaguar XF I was just about as impressed as I hoped to be, given all the compliments that were flying around from those who had driven the new generation Jaguar before me.

Jaguar XF Read More...
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BMW Z4 is a true sports car

It was this time last year that BMW first took the wraps off the new BMW Z4. The most notable change was the switch from a soft top convertible roof to a folding steel roof.

BMW Z4 Read More...
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Ford Kuga goes 4x2

I have to admit that I did not approach my road test of this Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi in a particularly positive frame of mind. After all here was Ford’s 4x4, basically stripped of its most important element – four wheel drive!

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Focus RS delivers performance

It looks the part. It may be based on the ubiquitous Focus, but there is no mistaking the sporting aspirations of the RS.

Ford Focus RS Read More...
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Volvo takes on the small SUV market

Motor manufacturers constantly have to scan the far horizon looking for signs as to what type of car the buyers of the future will want. It takes time to develop a new model, so you have to have a pretty good idea of what will be the expanding markets in the future.

Volvo XC60 Read More...
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A fun roadster for small hatchback price

If British Leyland executives in the 1970s hadn't forgotten the importance of playing to our strengths, then something like the Daihatsu Copen might have wearing an Austin Healey Sprite badge today.

Daihatsu Copen Read More...
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Toyota IQ "a door on wheels"

“It’s a door on wheels!” That was the first reaction from interested onlookers when the Toyota IQ first rolled up into the office car park. Sure enough in profile it looks as though the side of the car is almost entirely composed of door.

Toyota IQ Read More...
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Jazzing up the small Honda

The previous Honda Jazz built up a loyal following among those who wanted a practical small family hatchback which came with the promise of reliability that is expected with the Honda badge. The new car builds on that and adds greater levels of refinement.

Honda Jazz Read More...
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Alfa's new junior hatch

When I was in the thick of my hot hatch era, one of my friends had an Alfasud. They were great cars to drive, with more than a touch of Italian style and flair, but they were a little lacking in the durability department. The new Alfa Romeo Mito is Alfa’s first real foray back into the small hatchback class since the late lamented Alfasud.

Alfa Romeo Mito Read More...
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Latest Golf GTI is a real driver's car

It doesn’t seem that long ago since I was raving about the new Volkswagen Golf GTI, but now there’s an even newer one and I’ve just been driving for the past week.

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Toyota Avensis Tourer with big car comforts

You could almost swear that the Toyota Avensis Tourer came off the same production line as the Honda Accord Tourer, so similar is their appearance. Both have a classic estate car profile with a rising window line that gives a tapering glasshouse towards the rear.

Toyota Avensis Tourer Read More...
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Vitara loses individuality

When the Suzuki Vitara first hit the UK market it quickly gathered an almost a cult following. Here was a small affordable off-roader with style and presence.

Suzuki Grand Vitara Read More...
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Citroen's little Tardis

If the people at the BBC are looking for something funky to replace the police box in future episodes of Dr Who, then perhaps they should consider equipping the new doctor with a Citroen C3 Picasso.

Citroen C3 Picasso Read More...
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Suzuki Alto returns

I've always had a soft spot for small engined cars. Ever since my student days when I tried to extract maximum performance from my 875cc Hillman Imp with just the merest whiff of petrol.

Suzuki Alto Read More...
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Audi A3 – the pocket executive

Last year Audi gave the Audi A3 range a subtle refresh. Knowing the Audi A3 very well, I could spot a few of the updates – the lights, the move of the indicator repeaters to the door mirrors, for example.

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Renault small sporting estate

So well known is the Renault Clio that its estate car sibling, the Clio Sport Tourer, is a little in shadows. I coaxed it out to give it the chance to prove itself on a five-day test as my everyday transport.

Renault Clio Sport Tourer Read More...
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Qashquai grows up

In my first road test of the Nissan Qashqai I pointed out that – despite its off-roader-meets-MPV looks, it really was just a normal four or five-door hatchback with interesting packaging. Well, now the Qashqai has grown up. Meet the Qashqai +2.

Nissan Qashqai +2 Read More...
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Kia's little sticker with the big message

When I tested the new Kia Cee’d, I commented that Kia had gone mainstream with a quality product that stood comparison with products of our established favourites. The Kia Pro_cee’d builds on that bridgehead with a car that is even more in tune with European tastes.

Kia Pro_cee'd Read More...
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Honda's executive estate

The Honda Accord Tourer is probably not the first car that comes to mind when you are looking for an executive estate car. But maybe it should be.

Honda Accord Tourer Read More...
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Kia plays it straight

If the Kia Soul surprised with its rather funky style and individuality the Magentis is much more what we have come to expect from Kia. Practical, conservative and maybe even a tad dull.

Kia Magentis Read More...
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Fiesta joins the tax-beaters

OK, I’ve brought you my report of the new Ford Fiesta, so what’s different with the Econetic? Well let’s start with the fact that this car is so low on CO2 emissions that you get handed your tax disk totally free-of-charge.

Ford Fiesta Econetic Read More...
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Kia goes soulful

Kia make cars you buy with your head, not your heart. They’re a bit like sensible shoes. Reasonable price, practical and they make sound sense. But they are not going to get the pulse racing.

Kia Soul Read More...
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Insignia makes a stronger case

If you simply count the number of vehicles sold, the Vauxhall Vectra has to go down as a successful model. But as Ford found with the Mondeo, being the darling of the fleet buyers can be a double-edged sword.

Vauxhall Insignia Read More...
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Seat Ibiza offers budget price motoring

The new Seat Ibiza offers budget price motoring with a keen purchase price and great fuel economy. Just don’t expect it to feel too sophisticated.

Seat Ibiza Read More...
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Volkswagen cautious with new Golf

It would be hard to overestimate the importance of the Volkswagen Golf to the Volkswagen Group. Ever since the European demise of the original Volkswagen Beetle, the Golf has been the mainstay of the range.

Volkswagen Golf Read More...
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A limo for the price of a hatch

The Skoda Superb offers limousine accommodation, lots of practicality and more than a little luxury. Pity about the rather naff name.

Skoda Superb Read More...
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Jaguar enters the new world

The Jaguar XF still causes a stir everywhere it goes, with people queuing up to sit inside and see the surprise-and-delight features of pulsing start buttons, rising gearchanges and swivelling vents.

Jaguar XF Read More...
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Practical, refined and economical BMW

After a bad start due to the snow, I grew to like the BMW 318d. Just keep off the white stuff!

BMW 318d Read More...
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Audi's Q5 widens its off-road appeal

Anyone familiar with the Audi Q7 will be in no doubt about the manufacturer of the new Audi Q5. It looks pretty much like a more compact, more manageable version of the Q7. And it is.

Audi Q5 Read More...
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Renault finally joins 4x4 brigade

It has taken the French motor giants some time to take the plunge into the 4x4 market. Peugeot Citroen made the move with the help of Mitsubishi, using the Outlander as the basis for the Citroen C-Crosser and the Peugeot 4007. Now, finally Renault has taken the plunge.

Renault Koleos Read More...
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Mercedes A-Class restores faith

After a disappointing time with the last Mercedes-Benz, the A-Class has restored my faith in the products of Stuttgart.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Read More...
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Suzuki makes a splash in small hatch market

The Suzuki Splash offers offers four-door convenience for supermini buyers.

Suzuki Splash Read More...
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New Fiesta has all-round ability

Ford’s Verve concept, unveiled last summer, hinted at a radical new look for the Ford Fiesta. It wasn’t all show either, the new Fiesta is remarkably faithful to the look of the concept car and, as a result, it is quite a looker. The even better news is that it matches good looks with all round ability.

Ford Fiesta Read More...
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Mazda 2 impresses

The new Mazda 2 proves an appealing, nimble and willing small hatchback.

Mazda 2 Read More...
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Effortless off-roader

Nissan’s Murano is an effortless, comfortable and practical off-roader.

Nissan Murano Read More...
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Swoopy, sleek Passat

The Volkswagen Passat CC. The first question is trying to work out what it is and why they have produced it.

Volkswagen Passat CC Read More...
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Frugal Fiat

I remember a few years ago driving a Volkswagen Polo which refused to do anything less than 48 mpg on a regular commute. I remember how remarkable that seemed. Now, however, more and more cars are producing surprising results.

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Fuel-sipping Mercedes-Benz

For just £20,850 this Mercedes-Benz brings you the image of driving a car with the three-pointed star. But, while that might suggest a degree of opulence, on this particular Mercedes-Benz that image is combined with remarkably parsimonious drinking habits and low emissions. My daily commute was despatched with a shrug and an average of over 40 mpg.

Mercedes-Benz B180 CDI SE Read More...
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Toyota Auris practical, but not exciting

The Toyota Auris was designed in France for the European market and it is built here, at plants in the UK and Turkey.

Toyota Auris Read More...
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Mercedes delights and frustrates

My first drive of the new Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI Estate Sport was a mixed experience. Out on open country roads it was a delight to drive, providing greater driver involvement and feedback than any Mercedes saloon or estate car I can remember. But in stop-start motoring conditions it was another matter.

Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI Estate Read More...
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The Scirocco is back

Judging by the first drive, the new Volkswagen Scirocco looks set to be as successful as its 1970s and 80s predecessor. It is an affordable and hugely enjoyable sports coupe at a reasonable price.

Volkswagen Scirocco Read More...
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More impressive luxury and performance than economy

It is possible to get off on the wrong footing with the Lexus LS600h L.

Lexus LS600h L Read More...
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Volkswagen Eos the all-weather convertible

Coupé cabriolets are the current hot ticket on the motoring scene. With their folding metal roofs, these cars aim to offer the best of both worlds – the full open air motoring experience, plus the comfort and security of a metal roof. Read More...
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Mercedes CLC targets a younger, sportier market

Mercedes-Benz has clearly tried hard to appeal to a younger, sportier with the launch of the new CLC. I say new, because the CLC only arrived in UK showrooms on June 12. It bears sharp new looks to align with the new C Series, although the underpinnings are substantially those of the previous SC. Read More...
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Honda's low profile executive saloon

From a UK perspective, it is easy to forget that Honda produces a sports executive saloon. It may be quite high-profile in markets like the United States, but there it bears the Acura badge of Honda's US prestige brand. In this country it is badged as a Honda and is somewhat eclipsed by the more high-profile small and medium sized hatchbacks and SUVs. Read More...
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Report admits obstructing traffic was policy, says ABD

The latest report from Transport for London states that despite 70,000 fewer cars a day entering the central zone and 30,000 fewer in the Western Extension, congestion in both of these areas is every bit as bad as it was before the charge was introduced, according to the Association of British Drivers. Read More...
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Ford finally launches into small SUV market

Imagine a Ford Focus on stilts and you get the basic idea of the Ford Kuga, the blue oval's belated entry in to the small sports utility vehicle (SUV) market. Ford say it combines element os an estate car, an SUV (so far so good) and a coupé (umm, let me think about that last one. Read More...
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Cuteness is more than skin deep

Back in my college days, I remember how one of my fellow students fell for the charms of a second hand Fiat 500 which, even in those days was well past its prime. Knowing my interest in cars she would always come to me to ask for advice about its latest ailments. On this particular occasion, the little Fiat displayed no intentions of starting. Frustrated by lack of success with my pokings and proddings, I asked her why, precisely, she had chosen to buy this particular car.

"It looked like it needed a mummy," came the disarming reply. Well the cuteness that worked on my fellow student all these years ago is now back with the new Fiat 500. Read More...
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Have an Agila

Whereas the previous Vauxhall Agila was instantly forgettable, the new one at least has some presence. It has a cheeky style and, inside, some fairly loud seat graphics. Read More...
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Citroen – France v Germany

We have been here before. From time to time manufacturers cast an envious eye at the reputation of Germany's finest prestige car manufacturers – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – and think to themselves 'we would like a slice of that'.
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Audi's A5 delights

I remember the launch of the Audi A5 last summer. Bravely, Audi unveiled it alongside the stunning Audi R8 sports car - a move that could have eclipsed the new four-seat coupe, but it did not. The A5 held its own with its classic Audi look, given the slightly more edgy style that we have since seen on the new A4. Read More...
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Skoda's compact load carrier

You can see how Skoda is thriving as part of the Volkswagen Group by the way it range of models keeps growing. If you count the Skoda Roomster as a Skoda Fabia (which effectively it is) there are now three distinct model choices at the start of the Czech manufacturer's range. Read More...
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Sporting style with economy

It's amazing how the BMW 1 Series hatchback with its slightly gawky styling has been transformed into an attractive coupé. But it is such a logical car for BMW. It is very much in tune with the ethos of the German marque. This is, after all, a vehicle with a sporting flavour using the latest engine technology to achieve its expected performance with outstanding economy. Read More...
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Seat heads off road

When Seat launched its Altea Freetrack 4 it was the Spanish marque's first foray into the off-road market. Based on the long-wheelbase Altea it aims to combine the practicality of an MPV with the ability to take to the the rough(er) stuff. Read More...
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Adding style to practicality

The first time I saw the new Mini Clubman in the my local Mini showroom as I headed across to the car, one of the staff made me an offer. "Free dog with every Clubman," he quipped with a grin. Read More...
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Living in a Materia world

I can see where Daihatsu was coming from when they designed the Materia. Nissan and Honda have tried to woo young trendy buyers with cuboid cars. Nissan even call theirs the Cube in the Japanese Market. Daihatsu, too, wants to appeal to younger customers and that is where the Materia comes in. Read More...
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Average speed cameras could be a threat to safety

News of a potential increase in the use of average speed cameras, sends shudder down my spine. It's not that I have any desire to flout the speed limits. I just think that the best place for our eyes to focus, as drivers, is on the road.... not on our speedometers! Read More...
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New Tiguan is a great all-rounder

When Volkswagen set out to build their new off-roader, the Tiguan, their stated intention was to produce a smaller version of the Touareg. The newcomer certainly looks the part. Like its bigger sibling the lines are classy, perhaps even understated. Indeed, despite its newness, the Tiguan caused little stir. Read More...
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Freelander grows up

The Land Rover Freelander, Britain's favourite small 4x4, has grown up. Not that it has grown much bigger, but Freelander 2 is a more sophisticated, more refined and more up-market vehicle to keep the Freelander at the forefront of this market. Read More...
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Volkswagen Touareg - the discrete off-roader

Drive a big off-roader these days and you may invite some questioning about your need for such a large vehicle. That's a more likely line of questioning if your choice of off-roader carries a badge that presents an image of luxury.
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Renault Laguna Sport Tourer

Renault chose to play it fairly safe, in styling terms, when it launched the new Laguna in October. So, when I picked up the new Laguna Sports Tourer - which won't go on sale until January 2008 - it didn't really attract much attention for a model that no-one had seen on the roads yet. Read More...
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Sell the Prius, it's not green enough

I remember a year or so ago I was amazed at a Volkswagen Polo diesel that - try as I did - I could not get to do less than 48 mpg. That memorable performance has now been upstaged... by a Volkswagen Polo. But this one is the Polo BlueMotion, which, in its basic form, has such low emissions that it costs nothing to tax in the UK. Read More...
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C-Crosser comes late to the party

Considering that Citroen has had a long involvement in events like the Dakar Rally, in the tough off-road conditions of the Sahara, it's perhaps surprising that it has taken until now for the famous chevrons to appear on the nose of an off-road vehicle. The new Citroen C-Crosser is the product of international collaboration between Citroen, its sister company Peugeot and Mitsubishi. Read More...
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Audi TT, now it is a driver's car

Such has been the pace of Audi’s new model programme in recent months that the German manufacturer has seen its UK sales continue to grow. A series of strong new models have undoubtedly helped them to achieve this remarkable growth – Q7, TT, the R8 and the A5.. This time it is the turn of the new Audi TT for the road test spotlight. Read More...
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Mazda MX-5 goes trendy

When the Mazda MX-5 was launched it neatly stole a sector of the market that was, until the 1970s, as British as the Union Jack. Britain was the past-master at producing open sports cars and selling them around the world - Austin Healey, MG, Triumph and arguably the car that the MX-5 most wanted to be, the Lotus Elan. Read More...
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Nissan cash cow?

"I have a Nissan Cash Cow to deliver to you." At least that's what I thought the guy on the phone said. The thought of a car that I could milk for money, sounded pretty attractive, but, unfortunately I think he had just fallen foul of the recent Oriental liking for strange names. Read More...
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Mercedes' people-carrying semi SUV

The Mercedes-Benz R Class is what could probably be described as a crossover vehicle. That is, it crosses over accepted market segments. It's an estate car. It's a six-seater so it is part MPV. And it is a four-wheel-drive, so it is part SUV. The trouble is, this crossing of boundaries makes it difficult to pin-point who will want to buy one. Read More...
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Lexus LS460 comes loaded with technology

It's an odd feeling sitting in the driver's seat doing nothing more than feathering the brake pedal while the car parks itself. The park assist system is probably the headline-grabbing technology on the car that has everything... or at least you can have everything if you pay for the right level of specification. Read More...
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Kia goes mainstream

Kia has two established niche markets where it is seen as a serious player in the UK - the MPV Sedona, beloved by taxi companies, and the Kia Sportage. Until the Cee'd, however, its saloons and hatchbacks have appealed largely to the motorist on a tight budget who is determined to drive a new, rather than second-hand car. Read More...
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Tribeca opens new market for Subaru

When Subaru first appeared in the UK they were seen as workhorse vehicles for rural types. Pick ups and estate cars with some go-anywhere ability thanks to their four wheel drive system. Then, along came Colin McRae spearheading their high-profile world rally championship successes, Subaru suddenly became the sporty.
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Golf GTI still nimble after 30 years

Volkswagen have celebrated thirty years of the Golf GTI with the launch of the Volkswagen Golf GTI Edition 30. And if you have been disappointed by the "softness" of some of the preceding models of GTI, this one is a cracker... a fire cracker! Read More...
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Ford returns to the convertible market

Just over a year ago I was driving a Ford Consul convertible down the road into St Andrews and it set me thinking about how long it had been since Ford had been in the market with a drop-top version of one of their mainstream models. If you discount the SportKa, you have to look back to the Ford Escort Cabriolet.
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Hyundai Coupe - now more desirable

I remember going on the press launch for the first Hyundai Coupé (as opposed to its predecessor the Hyundai Scoupe - S Coupe get it?). The Scoupe was best forgotten so I didn't hold out much hope for the Coupé.
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Audi's big off-roader

Almost everyone remarks about the Audi Q7’s size. So, if Audi’s intention was to make an impression with their first ever off-roader, they certainly succeeded with the new Audi Q7. Read More...
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Kia makes a convincing case, but infuriates

With Ford having bought the Rover name to protect their own Land Rover brand, SAIC - who bought the rights to the Rover models - have had to reconsider their plans to start producing the cars with the Rover badge.
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Hybrids can produce headline grabbing economy

I find out how to do 57.6 mpg in a 4.7-metre long off-roader (with a little practice and some help from downhill gradients!). Read More...
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Powerful, responsive and exciting - the Audi A3 quattro Sportback DSG

I remember my “hot hatchback” years with considerable fondness. In the mid 80s the car to have was the Peugeot 205 GTI and I was fortunate enough to be able to graduate from the 1.6-litre to the top performance 1.9-litre.
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Jaguar's new XK is a real driver's car

Jaguar’s design team under Ian Callum faced a tough challenge in creating the new Jaguar XK Coupé and Cabriolet. To satisfy the traditionalists, the new model had to have the unmistakable looks of a ‘big cat’. But, at the same time, it was important for the future of the company it would appeal to a new, younger generation of buyers. Read More...
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500 horses harnessed and ready to go

Over the years I have been lucky enough to drive some exotic machinery. But I'm pretty sure that the most powerful car I have ever driven is my most recent test.
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