Our team bring you informed analysis of selected new vehicle models and put them in automotive industry perspective
Vauxhall can’t seem to catch the Focus and Golf but the addition of the new estate is giving the griffin logo brand a strong sales boost, the Astra pulling past the VW Polo in June to become the UK’s sixth best selling model.
It's been a long time coming but finally European car buyers are becoming aware of Infiniti. The Q30 is the reason why brand sales were up by 177% in the first half of 2016.
Are there really people who think the 585PS 4.0-litre biturbo V8 S8 is too slow? It seems so, as Audi now sells a 605PS plus variant which also has a handy lift in torque to 750Nm.
Porsche’s worldwide sales were up by just three percent in the first half of 2016 but the 911 is doing better than that, deliveries rising by 10 percent. That’s thanks to the release of a model which has had so many changes in mid-life that it even gains a new project code: 991.2, as opposed to 991 for the series which first appeared in late 2011.
Never a big seller, nonetheless JLR does have plans to replace the now six years old Jaguar XJ. That won’t be for another three years but in the meantime, a package of tech updates and a new diesel are paying sales dividends.
The latest 500 is a worthy update of what had already been a big seller, especially in European countries. Like Mini, this is an expanding franchise, as the 500e, 500X, 500L and 500 L Living/MPW prove. FCA has further plans to add even more derivatives, each of which should aid the ongoing cause of a major revival in the fortunes of the Fiat brand.
Audi's updated A3, launched in Europe last April, has reached the UK with new driver assistance systems and engines plus the usual 'mid life facelift' updated headlights and tail lights and other minor styling tweaks. The Audi 'virtual cockpit' is also available in a range that encompasses three- and five-door hatchbacks (the latter dubbed Sportback), a sedan and cabriolet. There are also sport S3 versions, and (not for the UK) electrified e-tron plus g-tron gas-fuelled models.
Volkswagen's mid-life Update for the Up can be summed up as more poke, more connectivity and more customisation. Simple as that.
It didn't take too long on the Volvo S90/V90 international media launch in sunny southern Spain for Naughty Boy here to get a lecture on Volvo driving.
The Prius has always been an engineering tour de force. What it hasn't ever been, is a genuinely economical model in all conditions and in all markets. Designed mainly for tax laws in Japan and car pool lanes in Northern California, for European buyers Toyota's eco image poster child has never lived up to the hype. Until now.
The new turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine which Volkswagen has quietly slipped into the Golf is one of the best kept secrets of 2016. Power, torque, CO2 and economy are all state of the art, but the best bit is how terrific it sounds - like an old school BMW six-cylinder.
Flippin' typical. The Family was not even finished reviewing the seven seat C4 Grand Picasso when Citroen announced the range - which also includes the five-seat non-Grand version - is getting a facelift this summer. There's a new front end, a silver roof bar option for the Grand and two-tone options for the shorter model plus more personalisation options, a hands-free feature for the current power tailgate, new Citroën Connect Nav and two new petrol engines: PureTech 130 S&S EAT6 (automatic) in C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso and PureTech 110 S&S (stop and start) six-speed manual for the five-seat version.
For too many years, those running Jaguar listened to ‘experts’ who said an SUV would dilute its image. What nonsense. Now, as the leaping cat brand prepares to launch the F-PACE, it believes it has a car that’s as good as the Macan. Is it?
PSA Groupe, as PSA Peugeot-Citroen now likes to be known, has turned itself around since the dark days of 2012 when it made an annual loss of EUR5bn. This, let us remind ourselves, was a volume player that was seen as spread thinly with sales across two poorly differentiated brands while also overly reliant on the depressed European car market where it also possessed excessive and costly manufacturing capacity.
The DS4, as you'll see from older ones sporting the deux chevrons, was originally launched in 2011 as a Citroen with DSign, DStyle and DSport trim levels and a range of petrol engines (VTi120, THP155, THP200) and diesels (HDi 110 and HDi 160) with a mix of five and six-speed manuals and an automated six-speed manual. At the end of 2014, the delightful new, three cylinder, 1.2-litre PureTech 130 engine was introduced and plans were announced for DS - also now wrapping up the DS3 and DS5 - to become a stand-alone brand by the end of 2015. After a Frankfurt show debut last year, came the DS4's mid-life update by year-end - three new trim levels called Elegance, Prestige and Crossback (a Brazil market-style, higher riding SUV wannabe) and a stack of new engines - petrol THP165 and 210 replacing the 155 and 200, a whole new range of 'BlueHDi' 120, 150 and 180 diesels (urea injection with Selective Catalyst Reduction and particle filter to meet Euro VI emissions regs), six speed manual and stop and start standard on everything and the option of a 'proper' six-speed Aisin automatic transmission for several versions, both petrol and diesel. Time The Family and I had a look at a DS, then.
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