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Drive

VAUXHALL CROSSLAND X

ISSUE 3: MAY 2019

BRITAIN’S ONLY FREE MOTORING NEWSPAPER

Small SUV is big on kit and practica lity – and no t short of valu e

VOLVO V60

the family New versions of have every estate that will yer paying premium car bu n serious attentio

SUV Shootout

Honda’s new CR-V takes on the latest Skoda Karoq and Kia Sportage in a bid for supremacy in the family SUV market SECOND-HAND: Ford Fiesta buyers’ guide

THE BIG STORY: Cutting loose in the Peaks aboard our project GT86

PLUS Time to plug in to the new wave of hybrids? Toyota’s latest Prius and Hyundai’s slick new Ioniq are here to convince you of their green credentials…

CLASSIC: Original MX-5: prepare to want one…

INSIDE 2 News 6 Road Tests 20 Buying Second-Hand 28 Modified Cars 30 Events Calendar


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Issue 3: May 2019

To advertise in Drive, call our team on 01283 553245

CONTENTS Issue 3 • May 2019 2 News Latest on new models, offers and promotions

6 Road Tests First drive of the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace and two very different new editions of the Volvo V60 estate, plus road tests of the MG3 and Vauxhall Crossland X

SUV hat-trick for Skoda as all-new Kamiq is unveiled All-new mini-SUV • Range of three petrol and one diesel engine at launch • Front-wheel drive only

12 Honda CR-V v Skoda Karoq v Kia Sportage Three 4x4 family holdalls battle for supremacy in the megalucrative medium SUV market

16 Toyota Prius v Hyundai Ioniq Electric powertrains are the future of motoring… and with these two hybrid family cars, the future is here now

18 Our Cars We’ve traded a hairy-chested sportscar for a peppy hatchback called Monty this month… and taken a step back in time to scratch the itch left by a very old Land Rover

20 Second-Hand Ford Fiesta buyers’ guide, Mazda MX-5 factfile and four of the best seven-seat people carriers for under £4000

24 The Big Story We’re running our Toyota GT86 on Nokian winter tyres… and how better to test them than with a cold blast in the Peak District?

28 Modified One man and his Vauxhall Corsa… make that Corsas. A tale of learning as you go along…

30 Classics We visit a Mazda MX-5 specialist for the lowdown on the earliest examples of the world’s favourite sportscar

SKODA IS ADDING a third model to its SUV ranks. Called the Kamiq, this smaller SUV slides into the range underneath the already mightily successful Kodiaq and Karoq models. Unlike its bigger brethren, however, the Kamiq will be exclusively front-wheel drive. Four powertrains will be on offer, with brake energy recovery and stop-start technology to further aid efficiency. Engines include a 1.0 TSI unit offered with 95 or 115bhp, a 1.5 TSI with 150bhp and a 1.6 TDI diesel also generating 115bhp. Petrol models boast cylinder deactivation technology and the entry-level unit comes with a five-speed manual, while everything else has a six-speeder as standard but can be upgraded to a seven-speed automatic.

Interior space is generous and there are three infotainment systems on offer with screens ranging from 6.5” to 9.2” in size. All can be ordered with Skoda’s new Virtual Cockpit, a 10.25” information display which replaces the dials behind the steering wheel. The Kamiq also has on-board internet, and you can download mobile apps to let you control and monitor various aspects of the car. A raft of safety features also appear on the Kamiq, along with some of Skoda’s more innovative highlights – such as the automatically deployed door edge protectors that were first introduced on the Kodiaq and now appear in this smaller SUV segment for the first time. Prices for the Kamiq will be announced closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date.

Honda

Production go-ahead for e Prototype Honda has unveiled its funky looking e Prototype – and confirmed that the vehicle, currently described as an ‘urban EV concept’, will go into production later this year. The e Prototype is based on an all-new EV-specific platform. Honda claims a range of more than 200 kilometres for the vehicle, which has a high-speed charging function capable of replenishing 80% in of its batteries in just half an hour. The e Prototype’s wide stance has echoes of an early Golf GTI about its posture. All four wheels are pushed towards the corners of the vehicle; if the production version looks anything like it, Honda should certainly have a success story on its hands.

Subaru

e-Boxer engines add electric economy Subaru will join the march towards electrification later this year. The company has revealed new e-Boxer versions of its XV and Forester models, which combine a 2.0-litre diesel engine with an electric motor. Driving through a Lineartronic auto gearbox as standard, the new models claim to use 11% less fuel than the 2.0-litre petrol equivalent during city driving. They are due to go on sale in the autumn, with prices and specifications to be announced in due course.

ISSN 2632-3761 01283 553243 enquiries@assignment-media.co.uk www.facebook.com/@DriveUK Group Editor Alan Kidd

Editorial Executives

Mike Trott, George Dove

Contributors

Dan Fenn, Rob Ronson, Robert Bracegirdle

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Vic Peel, Richard Hair

Advertising Executive Abigail Cooper Tel: 01283 553246

Advertising Sales Manager Gary Simpkins Tel: 01283 553245

Group Advertising Manager Ian Argent Tel: 01283 553242

Publisher

Sarah Kidd Email: sarah.kidd@ assignment-media.co.uk Every effort is made to ensure that the contents of Drive are accurate, however Assignment Media Ltd accepts no responsibility for errors or omissions nor the consequences of actions made as a result of these When responding to any advertisement in Drive, you should make appropriate enquiries before sending money or entering into a contract. The publishers take

Volkswagen reasonable care to ensure advertisers’ probity, but will not be liable for any losses incurred as a result of responding to adverts Drive is distributed through a network of supermarkets and other outlets. It is free to readers Where a photo credit includes the note CC-BY-2.0 or similar, the image is made available under that Creative Commons licence. Details are available at www.creativecommons.org Drive is published by Assignment Media Ltd, Repton House, Bretby Business Park, Ashby Road, Bretby DE15 0YZ

© 2019 Assignment Media Ltd

ID Buggy is a 60s’ throwback

Volkswagen’s new ID. Buggy is a throwback to beach buggies of the ‘60s. The concept is fully electric, with two motors turning its front and rear wheels. True to the Beetle-based buggies of yesteryear, it’s is a two-seater with no doors or fixed roof. It can be expanded to offer a 2+2 layout, and the interior is fabricated from a range of waterproof materials.


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Striking new Peugeot 208 set to hit British roads by autumn Wide range includes Peugeot’s first all-electric model • Styling and interior borrow from larger models

PEUGEOT’S SMALL HATCHBACK has been reborn. The all-new 208 is strikingly styled and has new petrol and diesel engines – as well as a zero-emission e-208 variant. All three of these will be available from the outset – and Peugeot aims to electrify its entire range by 2023. The e-208 features a 100kW motor and a 50kW battery which between

them offer a range of 211 miles. It has three driving modes, two prioritising battery life and driving fun and one toeing the centre line. To help convince customers, Peugeot is covering the battery with an eight year, 100,000-mile warranty. From a domestic plug, the e-208 takes more than 20 hours to go from empty to fully charged. Using a

dedicated charging point, however, this drops to just eight hours. These charging points are supported by government subsidies of up to 75%, so installing one at home is much less fearsome than it might be. Traditional combustion-engined versions of the 208 are greener than the old model, too, as they tip the scales at 30kg lighter than their predecessors.

There are three petrol versions and a single diesel to choose from. Petrols are all three-cylinder 1.2-litre units, available with 75bhp, 100bhp or 130bhp. Five and six-speed manuals are available, alongside an eightspeed auto on higher-spec models. The diesel, a 1.5, comes as standard with the six-speed manual box. Standard features across the range include adaptive cruise with stop and go, lane positioning assistance, automatic emergency braking, driver attention monitoring, automatic headlight dimming, speed limit recognition and active blind spot monitoring. Peugeot says the new 208’s cabin prioritises space and practicality, and that it was laid out with all key controls clearly in the driver’s view. These include a choice of 7” and 10” touch screens, and the dash is padded for a soft-touch feel. There’s plenty of oddment space, too, thanks to a large stowage area beneath the front central armrest and a compartment within the floor console that can be used for charging compatible smartphones. Full prices and specs for the 208 are yet to be announced, however lefthand drive markets are set to get their first customer vehicles in the summer and Britain should be following soon afterwards. Go to a Peugeot dealer asking to place an order, and you won’t be turned away.

New models add to Corolla’s appeal

Mazda

CX-30 crossover on sale this autumn

Mazda has announced a new compact crossover, the CX-30. Promising the benefits of SUVs and compact hatchbacks alike, it will be powered by Mazda’s current range of Skyactiv engines. The vehicle, which Mazda says was designed to take four adults in comfort, will go on sale in the UK later in the year.

SsangYong

New Korando to arrive this year

SsangYong has taken the covers off its all-new fourth-generation Korando SUV, which goes on sale this summer. The Korando will boast the latest in safety technology, alongside a generously equipped cabin and its phenomenal warranty of seven years/150,000 miles.

Kia

GR Sport and Trek models to spice up Toyota’s hatchback range with racetrack and off-road image Soul gets an electric TOYOTA WILL ADD in the motoring world – except in the literal sense – and it has just reached a big milestone. Toyota will add two new versions of the Corolla within the next year. Called the GR Sport and Trek, both will be available with a choice of 1.8 or 2.0-litre self-charging hybrid powertrains. The GR Sport takes on motorsport styling cues with its rear diffuser and sporty sills and skirts, plus a new dark chrome grille at the front. There’s also 18” alloys, LED headlights, rear privacy glass and an exclusive two-tone Dynamic Grey paint finish to complete the look. Inside, you get black cloth seats with leather-effect bolsters blackand-red stitching. The Corolla Trek, meanwhile, takes the hatch in the other direction to its

sporty sibling as it prepares the Corolla for outdoor adventures. Available in both hatch and estate form, the Trek sits 20mm higher than standard models and features front and rear under-run guards. Its wheels are smaller at 17”, allowing taller tyres for those off-tarmac jaunts, and the vehicle’s spec also includes rear privacy glass, front fogs and LED headlights. There’s a 7” TFT infotainment system as standard, with cloth upholstery and wooden trim. The Trek will be the first of these new Corollas to go on sale, with a due date in August, while the GR Sport will follow along in January next year. In each case, full details on pricing and availability will be announced nearer the time.

makeover

The Kia Soul has been boosted by the addition of two new all-electric powertrains, resulting in zero emission driving. Dates and prices for the UK spec will be announced in due course.

Suzuki/Toyota

Joining forces

Japanese manufacturers, Toyota and Suzuki, have announced plans to collaborate on future projects. The focus will be on hybrid and electric vehicles, but they will also share platforms and powertrains for both compact vehicles, hybrids and SUVs. The target is the Indian market, but we may see shared powertrains in the UK in the next decade.


4 Hyundai

New Nexo fuel-cell SUV on sale now

Hyundai has announced the pricing for the Nexo, its second-generation hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. Available solely in high-spec Premium SE trim, this is an SUV that’s designed to be as aerodynamic as possible – something that helps give it a range of 414 miles, thus helping to quell concerns over the scarcity of refuelling points in the UK. With the technology still being in its infancy, the Nexo remains an expensive way to do your bit for the planet – taking into account the government’s Plug-in Car Grant, for which is qualifies, its on-the-road price will be £65,995. It comes with Hyundai’s usual five-year unlimited-mileage warranty, however, and is available to order now.

Jeep

Renegade and Compass go green

Jeep’s Renegade and Compass models will now be available as plug-in hybrids, returning an estimated 31 miles of range in their purely electric modes. Electric motors will work alongside the new 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine, making up to 237bhp. All this results in emissions that can dip under the 50g/km of CO2 mark. Both Renegade and Compass hybrids are set to go on sale in 2020.

Issue 3: May 2019

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Striking new looks and extra kit for revised Jaguar XE Facelifted junior exec gains more premium trim and safety tech • Prices start at £33,915 • On sale now THERE’S A NEW Jaguar XE on the market. Boasting significantly revised styling, the revised junior exec features more equipment and a load of extra tech as standard. The car has an all-new interior design featuring a more widespread use of soft-touch textiles. It promises to be more convenient to use than the previous model’s, too, with door trims which have been redesigned for greater practicality. Elsewhere in the cabin, a revised centre console borrows the gear selector and drive mode controls from Jaguar’s much-admired F-Type sportscar, while the centre facia adopts the 12.3” interactive driver display from the all-electric I-Pace. This vehicle already donates its steering wheel design. Automatic transmission comes as standard on all models throughout the new XE range. Entry-level versions get 18” alloy wheels, electric leather seats, LED headlights and tail lights plus parking assistance at both the front and the rear. This includes a reversing camera, and further safety tech that’s standard on all vehicles includes lane assist. The XE also gains a ClearSight rear view mirror, which is a sector first. This uses a wide-angle rear-facing camera to feed a high-definition display to a screen in the interior, meaning taller rear passengers can sit upright without impeding rear visibility. Smart mobile charging also makes its debut in the XE.

Three choices are available under the bonnet, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing either 250 or 300bhp and a 180bhp D180 diesel completing the launch line-up. These are available in rear or all-wheel drive variants, with a return of 57.6mpg making the rear-powered diesel being the most economical option. This model is also the cheapest, kicking off the range at £33,915. Between them, these revisions are set to provide a much-needed shot in the arm to the XE – which is on sale now at Jaguar dealers.

Prices announced for Skoda Scala All-new Focus-sized hatchback • Three trim levels, all with extensive equipment • Prices from £16,595

Volvo

S60 now on sale

The Volvo S60 has been launched in the UK, with the all-new saloon offered in the sporting R-Design Edition trim from the off. Priced at £37,920, the first deliveries will be in May, where owners can revel in the generously equipped launch derivative. which comes with the 247bhp T5 petrol engine and utilises the ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox.

SKODA HAS ANNOUNCED full details for the new Scala hatchback, a Focus-sized vehicle whose prices will start at £16,595. The car will be available in three trim levels, each of them boasting a high level of equipment as standard. Set to arrive during the summer, the Scala will initially be offered with a choice of three petrol engines and one diesel. A 1.0-litre TSI can be had with 95 or 115bhp, while the 1.5-litre TSI produces 150bhp and the diesel is a 1.6-litre TDI with 115bhp. For gearboxes, there’s a five or six-speed manual and optional seven-speed auto on offer for all but the entry-level powertrain at launch.

All Scalas will have alloy wheels, air-con and LED headlights, and the entry-level S model also offers a 6.5” media screen for its infotainment system. The mid-range SE adds cruise control, rear parking sensors and upgraded media system with an 8” touch screen, while the SE L version gains a 9.2” screen, digital cockpit, climate control and keyless entry with stop/ start abilities. Prices start at £16,595 for the 1.0 TSI 95 S, while SE and SE L models kick off at £18,580 and £20,380 respectively. An on-sale date is still to be announced, as are performance and economy figures, but you won’t have to wait long for either.


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Issue 3: May 2019

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First Drive

VOLVO V60

New R-Design and Cross-Country models expand the Swedes’ mid-size estate range in very different directions THE NEW VOLVO V60 was unveiled last year, with the entry-level Momentum and luxurious Inscription versions available from launch. But two other variants have recently joined the ranks, in the shape of the sporty R-Design and dare-to-take-it-off-road Cross Country models. These represent two ends of the V60 spectrum. At one extreme, the R-Design is a lower, stiffer model with a more performance-orientated approach, while at the other the Cross

Country possesses off-road capabilities and places an emphasis on comfort over speed. Like the existing V60 models, the newcomers both offer a boot measuring 529 litres with the back seats up. This is accessed through a tailgate that’s powered as standard, and the boot is flat and easy to slide items into. There’s various storage and securing options to work with, too. Further common ground between these two can be found in the cabin,

where the rather large V60 puts its frame to good use and provides loads of legroom, both in the front and back. All V60 models are given a 12.3” active driver’s display, rear parking sensors and 9” touch-screen with sat-nav as standard. It’s a good system, with cool graphics and colourways to match the calming ambience of the V60’s interior. The only problem is that some settings require a few too many prods to find and adjust. Safety, of course, has always been a Volvo forte and it doesn’t come as a surprise to find the V60 has a five-star Euro NCAP rating. There’s a raft of technologies on board as standard to protect occupants, including front collision warning and autonomous braking with steering assistance, lane keeping assist and Run Off Road Protection, which tightens seatbelts and collapses a section in the front seats moments before an accident.

The cabin, then, is safe, generously equipped and generally brilliant. It’s very well put together, with premium materials that feel sumptuous to the touch, buttons and toggles that are a pleasure to operate and seats that provide support and relaxation for mile after mile. But it’s in the seat where you can start to differentiate between these two versions.

Best-seller

We’ll start with the R-Design model, which Volvo predicts will be the best-selling V60, making up some 40% of sales. Its seat bolsters are more pronounced and the leather trim has its own embossment in typical go-faster fashion. R-Design models also gain front parking sensors, gearshift paddles on auto models, 18” diamond-cut alloys and gloss black detailing. In addition, the R-Design sits 12mm lower than the regular car, with stiffer

suspension and thicker anti-roll bars, resulting in a tauter driving experience. Don’t think this is a track weapon, though – whatever guise it’s in, the V60 is still a large, practical estate car. Given its size and load-lugging attributes, even in R-Design form the V60 is much more of a cruiser than a B-road hero. And that’s okay, because to cover miles in this thing is nothing but satisfying. We tested the D4 engine with the sixspeed manual gearbox. That means a 2.0-litre, 187bhp diesel and a maximum 295lbf.ft of torque, dished out from as low as 1750rpm. It’s a hushed motor that is only really heard under hard acceleration from low speeds, but it does enough to suggest that the 148bhp D3 option would make more of a meal of it. We haven’t driven the 247bhp T5 petrol but, on paper at least, the D4 makes sense in terms of blending real-world performance with economy.


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Our manual D4 is capable of a 7.9-second 0-62mph surge, yet can return between 47.9 and 55.4mpg on the WLTP cycle – not bad for a 1648kg car. The V60 disguises its weight well on the road, however, remaining composed in any derivative, but the R-Design is just that little more agile. There’s a positive nature to the steering that belies the V60’s proportions and it’s easy to get into a flow around the bends of the British countryside. It’s better not to try and wrestle the V60, instead just enjoying the supple ride and low-down performance of the diesel. The smooth ZF eight-speed auto is probably a better fit for the car as well; the manual box isn’t bad, with a short throw given the V60’s dimensions, but it’s not as slick as we’d like. The R-Design, like the Cross Country, is very well damped and keeps itself neatly in shape around corners to let you get into the groove of making swift progress. Place it in Dynamic mode and you’ll register the sharper throttle response and stiffened steering, but there’s no revolution to the driving experience. As a full-on performance car, then, it doesn’t really work, but if you rightfully remember that this is a hefty estate car with immense practicality, you’ll be satisfied to settle with it being more of a GT package.

All-rounder

Which brings us on to the Cross Country model. On the road, this all-wheel drive estate lofts about slightly more than its lowered brother, but it still possesses positive steering and a composed ride quality, whatever the surface. And that’s where the Cross Country V60 really shines. Most won’t ever test its limits, but off-road it can handle far more than you’d expect of what is essentially a raised estate. Sitting an impressive 66mm higher than the regular V60, the Cross Country can handle ruts deeper than you’d imagine, maintaining momentum and, even when you think there’s a risk of scraping a bumper, steering clear of ground contact. There’s only one drivetrain set-up for the Cross Country, and that’s the D4 unit with the eight-speed auto – which is absolutely fine. It plays to the comforting aura of this model and ultimately means there are few things it can’t do. When you’re off-road, for example, providing you’ve selected the appropriate drive mode Hill Descent Control will automatically intervene if you find yourself descending a steep slope. The V60 is a good all-rounder and, with the introduction of the R-Design and Cross Country models, you can have one that’s tailored more to your general needs. The R-Design starts from £35,410 and the Cross Country £38,270. Both can get expensive with options but, even without this, each is a superbly practical estate car that is good to drive, whatever the surface. Mike Trott

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“It’s cheap to buy and full of kit, but don’t test drive a Ford Fiesta beforehand…”

MG3 1.5 EXCLUSIVE

Chinese supermini has lots of kit at a very low price, but struggles to measure up as a car PERHAPS TO BE EXPECTED, the Chinese-built MG3 is a relatively cheap car to buy. With prices starting from just £9495, it costs considerably less than rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza. But is there any cheer to go with the cheapness? First off, the MG3 is not a bad looking thing, with a few sporting details such as a roof spoiler and diamond-cut alloys, which come as standard on the top two trim levels. The burgundy tone it’s dressed in here doesn’t show it off quite as well as other available colours, but there’s a sharpness to its styling that will fare well in supermarket car parks. Going back to the different trims, you have a choice of three: Explore, Excite and Exclusive. We spent a week with the latter, the most lavish example; even with its extensive equipment levels, including cruise control, Bluetooth, automatic LED headlights, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, it still works out at just £12,795. That’s more than £1000 less than the entry-level Fiesta. Weirdly, however, even with all this kit you only get manual climate settings and although it’s fitted with Apple CarPlay, there’s no Android Auto. Sorry Samsung fans, you bought the wrong phone. At least if you own an iPhone, you can take sanctuary in the CarPlay function, away from MG’s

own multimedia system. It’s not terrible, with clean graphics in its favour, but it’s positioned downwards and out of the eye-line of the driver and isn’t the simplest system to navigate.

Good and bad

As for the rest of the cabin, well, it’s a case of some good and a fair amount of bad. The seating has decent levels of adjustment and support, although their half-leather trim reminds me of the sort of pleather I encountered in my Mum’s old 53-reg MG ZR. The rest of the cabin feels equally cheap, with scratchy plastics and few quality details. There’s only a single cup holder, for example. Legroom is good for a car of this size, however, and the boot can cope with a more than modest load. It isn’t as large as the Fiesta’s, though, and there’s a lip to haul your purchases over. Plus, with the rear seats down, you’ll encounter a substantial ridge if you’re trying to slide in that Ikea wardrobe. In terms of engine options, there is only one – a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated 104bhp petrol unit. On paper, it’s capable of running the 0-60mph sprint in 10.4 seconds, but it never feels that quick on the road. With no turbo to call upon, there is little torque at low revs to get the MG3 up and running, and even when you get into its peak band, the engine feels breathless and

unwilling to be worked. Not ideal when you need to use the rev range to get going. The five-speed manual gearbox is similarly joyless. So, sadly, if its badge had you hoping for a return to the great days of iconic British sports cars, you’ll find that this is an MG in name only. It can’t even make up for its lack of performance in economy. An average of 42.6mpg in predominantly motorway use is nothing to write home about in this sector.

MG3 1.5 EXCLUSIVE Seats 5 Fuel Petrol Engine 1498 cc, 4-cyl Performance 10.4 sec, 108 mph Economy 42.3 mpg (WLTP) 140g/km (NEDC) PRICE £12,795

Grippy handling

Get on to the open road and the cabin suffers from plenty of outside noise, particularly around the windscreen. Still, the MG3 doesn’t ride too badly, although damping could be better. Its best asset, though, is its handling, with good grip and some meaningful weight to the steering. This is no adaptive system, however, which means the weight you enjoy at speed is not as much fun in car parks. Try as it might, the MG3 just isn’t up to par. There’s plenty of room for improvement in most areas and a general lack of solidity to the way it feels. It’s cheap to buy and full of kit, however, and it comes with what is an impressive seven-year warranty. Just don’t test drive a Fiesta beforehand. Mike Trott

VERDICT Don’t expect this to be anything like the cars on which MG built its name. It handles adequately but is otherwise defined by its cheapness alone.

★★


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Issue 3: May 2019

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“It answers a lot of the questions family car buyers ask”

VAUXHALL CROSSLAND X 1.2 128 ULTIMATE Scaled-down SUV convinces as a small but practical people carrier with a rugged character VAUXHALL LABELS THE Crossland X as an SUV. But you only need to be in its presence for a minute or two before you realise that this vehicle is more of a segment-bender than that. Look past the alloy-effect skid plates put there to give it a sense of ruggedness, and you’ll soon see this is an MPV on stilts. For starters, there’s no four-wheel drive. The Crossland X is driven by its front wheels only, with power from a choice of engines shared with

Vauxhall’s new stablemates Peugeot and Citroen. These include two diesels, a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol and no less than three turbocharged petrol units. These too displace 1.2 litres; they’re tuned to range in power from 80bhp to 128bhp. We’re testing the 128bhp version here. It doesn’t sound like much, but the engine is actually quite a fun and rorty little number in its turbocharged three-cylinder format. Keep it spinning

and you can really fly along in this guise – but while Vauxhall has managed to keep the engine fairly hushed for a three-pot, there were a few noticeable vibrations coming through the wheel at low revs. Our vehicle came with a six-speed manual gearbox, although a five-speed manual and six-speed automatic are available elsewhere in the range. This one is not the slickest or most precise in operation, but then neither is it dissatisfying to use. On the move, the Crossland X feels satisfyingly light on its feet. Its steering is equally light, making it easy and numble to drive around the urban environment in which you feel it was designed to excel. Roundabouts and twisting B-roads, on the other hand, start to expose a lack of body control; the vehicle leans a fair amount here and starts to lose its composure when pushed hard. It can fidget about underneath you and traction can break at the front or rear rather too easily. But if you’re looking to drive like a lunatic, you’re missing the point entirely. And the point is that the Crossland X is actually a very good

VAUXHALL CROSSLAND X 1.2 128 ULTIMATE Seats Fuel Engine Performance Economy PRICE

5 Petrol 1199 cc, 3-cyl 9.1 sec, 128 mph 55.4 mpg (NEDC) 117g/km (NEDC) £22,800

VERDICT If you want an SUV, you might struggle to find the Crossland X convincing. But as a compact but very practical family wagon with good economy, plenty of kit and a healthy dose of rugged attitude, it gets the job done.

★★★★

family car. Its proportions have been used to good effect, with large windows to help bring light into the cabin. The doors feel solid but not heavy and, in the front especially, they feature useful door bins. The materials used around the cabin, along with the layout of the dash itself, are both good. Controls are neat and compact, while the upgraded 8” touchscreen in the model we drove is clear and easy enough to use, if not quite the sharpest in its reactions. Interestingly, Vauxhall’s OnStar feature is standard across the range. This is essentially an onboard assistant, providing a Wi-Fi hotspot, automatic crash response and roadside assistance, among other things. There is more good stuff to behold in the cabin, too, like the heightened comfy seats that have several different ways of adjusting. Finding a suitable driving position is easy, especially with the height and reach adjustable steering wheel. The back seats also have their merits, like tethers that make it a piece of cake to fold them, and the whole back bench slides to suit passengers or boot space depending on circumstance. This is an optional feature, but one that’s well worth ticking. There’s also a boot floor splitter as standard with most trim levels. This can be dropped to create extra space or kept raised to generate a flat loadspace alongside the folded rear seats. Perhaps the only gripe in the cabin is the handbrake, which is awkward to release and rubs against the armrest when raised. Not what you’d call a masterpiece of ergonomic design. Our test vehicle, a range-topping Ultimate model, was priced at £24,575 with options. There are more affordable versions lower down the range, however; the Tech Line Nav, for instance, starts from £17,810 and still gives you the upgraded 8” touchscreen with nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus an extra USB charging port. Add in the rear-parking sensors, automatic LED lights and wipers, the Flex Floor divider and a front camera system that monitors traffic signs and this could well be all you need. A Safety Pack throws in forward collision alert and autonomous braking (must-haves in a family car, surely), and the Versatility Pack is worth a tick too. Our 128bhp version achieved around 40mpg, and that was with some spirited driving, but lower-powered engines might reasonably be expected to get you further per drop. Either way, the Crossland X is a good family vehicle that blends a bit of MPV practicality with a touch of SUV style in a pretty contemporary way. It’s not quite as polished on the open road as some of its rivals, but it answers a lot of the questions family car buyers are most likely to ask. Mike Trott


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First Drive

JAGUAR I-PACE

Jag’s first all-electric offering is elegant, surprisingly practical… and astonishingly fast JAGUAR HAS BEEN quick to embrace electric power. Its first all-electric car is the I-Pace, a handsome looking SUV whose swooping body and hunkered stance combining to create a car that looks really rather futuristic. There are plenty of attractive design elements to the I-Pace, such as the vents in its bonnet and the door handles, derived from the Range Rover Velar, that disappear out of sight on the move. The appealing design isn’t just limited to the exterior, either.

Jump in and you’ll find a spacious five-seat vehicle with a commodious boot. It’s more practical than you might be expecting, but it’s in the driver’s seat that you can appreciate more of the cabin. That deep-dish steering wheel, for example, along with the buttons used to select gears, are both nice touches – in fact, generally everything in this interior feels premium. Jaguar has also adopted the infotainment system from the Velar, meaning you get a set-up that works well and

does everything you need it to. It reminds you that cutting-edge technology runs throughout the entire vehicle, too.

Electrifying

So far, so ordinary then. But of course, when you fire up the motor you’re no longer igniting something as mundane as a fossil fuel engine. Your first clue is the lack of a rev counter displayed in front of you and the absence of any noise, other than perhaps your own breath – and that, too, will soon be taken away. Jaguar’s I-Pace uses a combination of electric motors at the front and rear axles in conjunction with a 90kWh lithium-ion battery, which in layman terms gives you all-wheel-drive and around 400bhp. You might think that sounds like quite a lot of power for an EV – and you’d be right. This pulsing feline can hit 60mph from a standing start in just 4.5 seconds. The I-Pace really is electric, then. But how does that translate from paper to tarmac? Well, other than the initial whirr of the motor working away underneath you, the I-Pace is civilised

and a comfy, refined method of getting around, with Jaguar-ish ride qualities and a steering set-up that is heavier than you’d expect, but not in a negative way. It gives you real confidence and there’s a reassuring stability to the way it feels. You might join us in appreciating the fact that it’s still the human being behind the wheel who’s calling the shots, too. Even so, it just takes the flick of a switch for the I-Pace to change its personality. It might change the way you perceive electric cars, too. Applying full throttle in the I-Pace is an experience like no other I’ve encountered before. It’s not so much the power that will keep you pinned into your seat, but the 513lbf.ft of torque may have a say in it.

Queen of speed

Because all that torque is available from the moment you place your foot on the throttle, and you have all-wheel drive, the acceleration feels very similar to the type of launch you get on Rita at Alton Towers. It’s fantastic – and with a real-world range of more than 200 miles, so too is the fact that you can use the I-Pace in most everyday driving situations without being inconvenienced by where the power is coming from. Overall, the I-Pace a great display of new technology. But it’s more than that. It’s a graphic illustration of the fact that electric power is more than a wacky gimmick – it’s a genuine alternative for the future. And with this car, the future is now. Mike Trott


It doesn’t matter when – or where. Earn the title ‘Driver Enough’ when you drive on our tyres. #DriverEnough BFGoodrich.co.uk

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The Country Set Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid EX Price as tested £37,855 Economy 51.4mpg (NEDC) CO2 126g/km (NEDC)

Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI 150 Scout Price as tested £33,375 Economy 44.1mpg (WLTP) CO2 134g/km (WLTP)

Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi GT-Line S Price as tested £34,545 Economy 48.7mpg (NEDC) CO2 152g/km (NEDC)

Family SUVs have grown to mean massive business for car makers. The latest models need to be sophisticated, well equipped, fun and practical – and the clamour for attention in the yummy mummy market has never been more fierce. Alan Kidd weighs up the new Honda CR-V against two of its most compelling rivals


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EQUIPMENT

IN THE CABIN WE’RE NOT COMPARING like for like in terms of specific versions of the CR-V, Karoq and Sportage. But even making allowances for this, these are three very distinct vehicles. Starting with the Sportage, if its cabin is notable for one thing it’s being black. It’s less welcoming than the others thanks to this, and also because it confronts you with several rows of very similar looking buttons. The seating position is good, though, as are the seats themselves. Don’t expect to fit adults in the back without a struggle, though; it’ll take one six-footer behind another, but only if the one in the back doesn’t

CR-V

mind splaying his knees around the back of the seat. Kia’s build quality is excellent, with a feeling of solidity to its cabin. The dash plastics feel cheap, however, with lower surfaces that feel hard, scratchy and almost brittle. The CR-V suffers the same way, albeit not to the same extent. Its dash is rather hard in general, and the wood trim in this model is less than convincing, but it’s very well put together and feels built to last. We’re not taken by its ergonomics, either. It’s comfortable up front, with plenty of space in all directions, but the controls on the steering wheel are

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CR-V Wood inserts in this EX model add an olde-worlde feel. Build quality is very good, but dash materials feel cheap in such a high-spec car

KAROQ

overwhelming – there’s simply so many of them. You also have a bank of buttons hidden in front of your right knee, and the digital dash could be clearer, though the push-button controls for the auto gearbox are nice and simple once you’re used to them. For rear-seat accommodation, the CR-V wins by a walkover. Even with the fronts all the way back, you can fit a six-footer in there and his knees will barely brush the back of the seat in front of him. It’s outstanding. The Karoq is outstanding too, but for the wrong reason. Even with the rears slid all the way back, you simply can’t get your legs in there – hard

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KAROQ Skoda’s cabin looks good, gets all the simple things right and is very well made. The rear seats are only suitable for kids, though

SPORTAGE

seat-backs with no give don’t help, but mainly it’s just a lack of room. The Karoq does have a trick up its sleeve, however. Its rear seats are rail-mounted and have a 40:20:40 split; the middle one can be removed, allowing the others to be slid inwards to create a more spacious four-seater. Up front, the driving position is excellent and the dash is outstanding in terms of layout, materials and construction alike. It looks good without being showy in any way, and it makes complete sense from the word go – all you need is there, but nothing is confusing. It’s an ergonomic masterpiece.

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SPORTAGE Everything is black in the Sportage, giving it rather a funereal feel. It’s laden with switches, too, and the dash plastics feel quite scratchy

PRACTICALITY THE KAROQ IS FAVOURITE for a clear victory here, thanks to its ultra-flexible rear-seat layout. But it’s up against two usefully bigger vehicles – and as we’ve already noted, this shows as soon as you try to climb into the back seats. If that level of flexibility works for you, it’s likely to seal the deal on its own. Those rear seats can be slid, reclined, folded, tumbled and removed altogether, and in the latter arrangement the Karoq has a massive 1810 litres of cargo space. That compares to 1638 for this version of the CR-V and 1480 for the Sportage.

CR-V

The space is bigger than it is usable, though. However you configure it, the Karoq can’t give you a flat boot floor when in cargo-carrying mode, whereas the other two can. The CR-V in particular is excellent, with an elegant seat-folding mechanism which creates a long, flat-bottomed loadbay. The Sportage puts on a fine show here, too. Its rear seats fold as good as flat and the resulting cargo area has a very handily low floor, even if the tailgate aperture is a little cramped. The CR-V scores heavily for general stowage up front, too, thanks in particular to a truly enormous

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

CR-V Rear seats fold flat to create a long and extremely usable cargo area. Oddment stowage up front is brilliant, too, thanks to a massive cubby box

KAROQ

cubby box whose sheer volume is enhanced by a sliding tray that can be used for holding things or hiding contents from prying eyes. There’s still space for another large bin at the front of the floor console, and while the glovebox and door pockets are nothing special they’re at least as good as the others’. The Sportage is perfectly good in this area, with decent door pockets and a good stowage arrangement in its floor console that will cater for most needs. Likewise the Karoq is very usable in general – but without coming close to matching the CR-V.

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KAROQ Removeable rear seats mean a winning boot volume but don’t leave a flat floor. Side rails are useful for hanging bags of shopping

SPORTAGE

Once again, the Karoq has a trick up its sleeve, in the shape of a lidded tray on top of the dashboard. This adds something – though overall, the vehicle still isn’t in the same league as the CR-V. It needs to be recognised that as the biggest vehicle here, the CR-V is at an advantage from the word go. But that’s not what it’s all about. Skoda can claim to have used the space in the Karoq’s cabin with an unchallenged level of creativity, and in this it is indeed a worthy successor to the Yeti – but Honda puts on a winning show of doing the simple things right.

THIS AREA must be viewed in the light of a hefty disparity in the three vehicles’ prices. The CR-V costs £37,855 as tested, compared with £34,545 for the Sportage and £33,375 for the Scout. In each case, that money gets you a model with plenty of premium kit. Each vehicle boasts DAB, Bluetooth, sat-nav and smartphone mirroring, as well as cruise, climate, heated seats, a panoramic sunroof and all-round parking sensors – as well as a rear-view camera. All have alloys, of course; 18” on the CR-V and 19” on the others. It’s to be expected that the Honda should have the strongest kit list, and this is indeed the case – to the above, you can add electrically adjusted leather seats, head-up display and autonomous emergency braking. The Sportage has leather and electric seat adjust, too – and, uniquely, those seats are also cooled as standard. We thought its seat heaters were the least effective of the three, however, and for sheer quality of equipment it’s hard to see past the Karoq. There’s little to complain about with the others, though the CR-V’s radar-operated cruise control kept slowing down while overtaking on the motorway, which wasn’t very clever. Overall, however, the Karoq stands out because even though it lacks one or two A-list items, every bit of the equipment it does have is top-notch in the way it does its job. CR-V

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KAROQ

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

SPORTAGE

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

SPORTAGE Decent stowage up front is backed up by an adequate boot and seats that fold near-flat. There’s no big idea to it, but little to criticise

All three of these cars are high-speccers with plenty of equipment. The CR-V has most, but the kit in the Karoq wins for its sheer quality


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ON THE ROAD NO, WE’RE NOT comparing like for like here. We have a full petrol-electric hybrid in the CR-V, a diesel mild hybrid in the Sportage and a simple diesel in the Karoq. The latter is the only one with a manual gearbox, too. None of these things have as big an effect on the differences in the vehicles’ respective driving experience as you might expect. Similarly, the fact that the Karoq is an off-road enhanced Scout model and the Sportage is a sportier GT-Line example doesn’t show through much, if at all, in everyday use. There are less obvious areas in which differences do show through – though it has to be said that you’re looking at three very capable all-rounders here. There’s a clear winner on the motorway, however, in the shape of the Sportage, whose composed ride and lack of intrusive wind or engine noise makes it easily the nicest cruiser. The CR-V’s petrol unit pipes up all too often at speed, sounding strained in the process, and this is accompanied by a surprising amount of buffeting from around the front of the vehicle. You feel the road surface pattering away through the wheels, too, which is an unwelcome surprise. The Karoq doesn’t suffer from this, but like the CR-V its body struggles to settle and motorway speeds bring forth a troubling level of both wind noise and booming from the engine.

It’s much better on A and B roads, where it feels planted, stable and agile. The 2.0 TDI 150 engine pulls well through a manual box that’s an absolute delight to operate, needing just a quick short-shift or two on take-off if you want to get moving briskly. The Karoq has a Sport drive mode, whose main benefit is that it makes the steering feel much more natural. It doesn’t do anything to the vehicle’s suspension – but that’s no problem, because it doesn’t need anything. The CR-V has a Sport mode, too, and engaging it on the move is rewarded with an instant leap forward. In Eco, on the other hand, you constantly feel as if you need to floor the throttle to get it moving properly – the response you get to loads and loads of loud pedal feels completely unnatural.

The CR-V can also be driven in full EV mode, which could be popular with your neighbours if you work a lot of shifts. Either way, it glides around town without any issues, dealing well with pot holes. Rough surfaces can make it fidget at higher speeds, however. It does grip extremely well here, though, in particular feeling natural to steer. So long as it’s in Sport mode, the CVT auto box doesn’t sap anything much out of the power available, either. The Sportage is an auto too, this time with an eight-speed box which, like the Honda’s, can be controlled by paddles behind the steering wheel. It feels tight in corners, with good body control and steering that lives up to the standards of response its sports-SUV image demands.

Around town, the Sportage rides smoothly and soaks up any tendency towards crashiness on the way through jagged pot holes. Once again, its composure is excellent; both the CR-V and the Karoq are good in this area, but the Sportage is excellent. Most importantly, all three of these cars are easy to drive. The majority

will be bought by people who don’t care about vehicle dynamics and ask merely that their transport doesn’t openly offend them, and none should – though even the most unquestioning of drivers are likely to notice that they’re having an easier time of it on the motorway if they happen to be behind the wheel of a Sportage.

HANDLING Which is the most fun? CR-V

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CR-V Rough surfaces do make the CR-V fidget a little. But it’s perfectly positive on A and B roads, in particular feeling very natural to steer

KAROQ

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KAROQ By far the lightest vehicle here, the Karoq feels brisk and agile on fast roads, though it needs to be in Sport mode for its steering to have any weight

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SPORTAGE Despite weighing the most, the Sportage is tight and fluid through corners, with excellent body control and responsive steering

MULTIMEDIA

SAFETY CR-V

SPORTAGE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

KAROQ

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SPORTAGE

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ALL THREE OF THESE vehicles score well for safety, simply by dint of being SUVs. But the Sportage lags a touch due to its lack of autonomous emergency braking as standard, and its A-posts obstruct the view in corners a little more than the others’. It still gets a five-star EuroNCAP rating, however, as do the others.

These results suggest that the Sportage is a little behind for adult protection, while the Karoq trails for child protection but wins for pedestrian safety. NCAP scores the CR-V highest for assist systems, which is as you’d expect from the most expensive vehicle here. As mentioned above, we found that they don’t all work flawlessly, but they do err on the side of caution. The Sportage, meanwhile, is the most composed on the motorway, which means it’s the least distracting to drive.

CR-V

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KAROQ

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IN TERMS OF WHAT they offer here, all three of these vehicles are much of a muchness. But there’s a very clear winner nonetheless. Quite simply, the Karoq’s system is an absolute delight to use. Neither of the others’ is bad (though in each case the design of their graphics has a touch of the ghetto blaster to them), but the

VW Group’s infotainment know-how gives Skoda an unbeatable advantage. First off, the 8” screen is beautifully integrated, looking like part of the dash rather than something stuck to it. Its graphics are nice and crisp, too, and it’s easy to operate – whereas the CRV’s 7” unit is tricky as there’s nowhere to lean your hand while tapping it. The Sportage also has an 8” screen, and it’s easier to operate. Once again, though, the Karoq’s clear menus and graphics put it on another chapter.


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CONCLUSION

VALUE AND RUNNING COSTS if the car discount websites are to be believed. In the real world, the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KAROQ Karoq is probably the one on which 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 SPORTAGE you’re likely to get the best deal. THE KAROQ IS cheapest to buy, Skoda’s reliability record is very but of course there’s more to it than strong, too – though at three years or that. If you want a vehicle that’ll 60,000 miles, the Karoq’s warranhold its value, the CR-V does so ty is the meanest here. The CR-V pretty tenaciously – to the extent that gives you three years or 90,000 after three years, its whole-life cost miles, which is a bit better, but the of ownership might not be much Sportage lays waste to its rivals higher than the others’. with the mighty seven-year, You’ll get similar discounts on 100,000-mile cover for which Kia all three if you shop around, at least is rightly famous. Ironically, the CR-V

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Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid EX

Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI 150 Scout

Kia Sportage 2.0 CDRi GT-Line S

SCOREBOARD Cabin Equipment Multimedia Practicality Performance Handling Ride & Refinement Economy Safety Value

7/10 7/10 6/10 9/10 7/10 7/10 7/10 7/10 7/10 7/10

8/10 8/10 9/10 8/10 7/10 8/10 7/10 7/10 7/10 8/10

6/10 7/10 7/10 7/10 7/10 8/10 8/10 7/10 7/10 8/10

TOTAL

71/100

77/100

72/100

Korean company’s showing in most reliability surveys suggests it’s the one you’re least likely to have to claim on, too. For everyday fuel economy, it’s hard to compare the official figures as Skoda’s use the new WLTP test whereas the others still quote the now-discredited NEDC protocol. What we found is that sure enough, the CR-V and Sportage return around 10mpg less than they claim – meaning the Karoq is marginally the most frugal in real-world use.

WE ADMIRE ALL THREE of these vehicles. That much ought to be apparent from the overall scores, with each of them garnering enough points out of a hundred to merit an ‘A’ grade. Despite this, they’re a trio marked out far more by their differences than their similarities. Thus we have a case of horses for courses – though all are generally strong and none are likely to prove disappointing. If you value practicality above all else, the flexibility of the Karoq’s multi-function rear seating system is great – but it’s trumped by the simple brilliance of the CR-V. The biggest, flattest floor will always be hard to beat when it comes to load carrying – and when you add in the exceptionally good oddment stowage offered by its floor console up front, not to mention the only rear seats here capable of accommodating one tall adult behind another, the CR-V is unbeatable whether as a workhorse or family wagon. Yet it comes bottom in the overall scoring. This came as a surprise when we added up the numbers on our clipboards, but the truth is that the CR-V does let itself down here and there, and being by far the most expensive car here it can ill afford to do that. One of those black spots is its ride and refinement, particularly on the motorway. This is an area in which the Karoq struggles, too. The Sportage, on the other hand, feels totally at home

/100

77

/100

72

/100

71

when cruising – and it’s streets ahead of the others in terms of its ride on city streets, too. Here, the opposition is at least good – but not as good as the Kia. So the CR-V is the practical choice, and the Sportage is the driver’s car. It’s the motorway mile-eater, too. If your purchasing decisions are based on narrow enough criteria for you to make decisions based on these facts alone, don’t be put off by the overall result: neither of them will let you down as all-round transport. If it’s an all-rounder that you’re after, however, the Karoq is the car for you. It scores particularly well for the general quality of its cabin, with its multimedia system in particular showing the others how it’s done. Its build quality is top-drawer, its dash layout is impeccable and even though the CR-V beats it for practicality, it manages to pack the biggest volume of luggage space into the smallest body here. It’s very capable on the road, too, falling short of the Sportage in terms of all-round ride and refinement but proving a match for either of its more expensive rivals in terms of agility, performance and ease of driving. It’s the lightest car here, and it feels it. It’s also the cheapest vehicle here. There’s very little in it overall, and either the CR-V or the Sportage will make a fine purchase if chosen for the right reasons. But there are more reasons to choose the Karoq.


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Green Machines

The writing has long been on the wall for traditional combustion engines – and more and more manufacturers are joining the rush to develop hybrid powertrains. Hyundai’s Ioniq is the closest competitor yet to the latest version of the car that started it all – the eco-legend that is the Toyota Prius IF YOU’RE A long-time watcher of The Simpsons, you might remember an episode in which one of Homer’s buddies from the bar comes over all trendy modern Hollywood, turning into a hipster, drinking cucumber smoothies instead of beer and adopting a child… who he immediately renames Prius. Toyota’s hybrid has almost become a Hoover word, if not for green motoring then for cars driven by eco-bores. Much as the world likes to mock anything new, though, it’s been a massive success. It first hit Japanese roads 22

years ago, came to the UK in 2000 and has been a pin-up for petrol-electric efficiency ever since. Many other hybrids have hit the market since the Prius’ inception, of course. But none have yet squared up to it quite as plainly as the Hyundai Ioniq. The Korean marque is on a roll at the moment and the Ioniq has a big part to play in the next phase of its development here. The Prius, meanwhile, now in its third generation, is a benchmark simply for the fact that it was the first. These are two very similar vehicles

– and from the word go, you can tell that comparing the two of them will come down to fine margins. This one is going to be close.

CABIN The interior is the area in which these two vehicles are most different. It’s considerably lighter in the Prius, as the tester we had came in a stark two-tone design which meant half was black but, to compensate, the other half was white. It might make you cringe if you regularly carry small children, but to

us it really brightens up proceedings, giving the cabin an air of roominess. In all honesty, however, there’s an unnecessary complexity to the design of the dashboard before you. It’s not overwhelming, but we found it hard to relax in front of. The centre console, which feels as though it’s tilted away from the driver a little, features a seven-inch touchscreen that sits proud at the heart of things, with easy to operate switches beneath it. Above that and set back towards the windscreen are three more readouts which can toggle various

driver information, and below the screen is an unorthodox gear selector that sticks out from the centre of the facia, looking a little cute but definitely a lot unusual. Hidden away beneath this is a small cubby space set underneath the bulk of the dash, on the edges of which are located the switchgear to activate the heated seating. This is very easy to miss. The same cannot be said for the wireless charging pad positioned where handbrakes usually live, which dominates the front edge of the floor console.


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Talking of handbrakes, this is operated by a pedal where the clutch would be, were it a manual. It might feel unusual to start with, and sitting your left foot on the rest beneath it can be a bit awkward, but as with many such features you do get used to it. This isn’t just a Prius thing, either, as the Ioniq has exactly the same set-up when it comes to the parking brake. Mainly, though, Hyundai’s interior contrasts with Toyota’s in that nothing about it feels out of the ordinary. The gear selector is similar to that in many an auto and the dash is laid out more conventionally, with an eight-inch touchscreen in the middle of the facia being the only display it needs. This is surrounded by the necessary buttons and dials for climate control, stereo and so on. Located in front of the gear selector, the wireless charging pad in the Ioniq is less of a statement. The materials are more tactile in the Hyundai, too, with the steering wheel’s leather more comfortable to the touch, though the Prius feels harder wearing and more as it it was made with outright longevity in mind.

PRACTICALITY This is an where, again, both go tit for tat. If it’s outright space you want, then the Toyota has the win, with 502 litres of luggage capacity when all five seats are in place. That’s 59 litres better than the Hyundai. It still comes out on top with the rear seats flattened, too, a maximum capacity of 1633 litres trumping the Ioniq’s 1505. In the cabin, though, the Korean vehicle is more accommodating. The cupholders behind the gear selector are roomier than the Toyota’s, though those in the Prius do have a section between them that depresses to accommodate a flask with a handle. Door pockets are more generous in the Hyundai, both in the front and the

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back. The central armrest also opens up in both – to reveal a reasonably sized bin with an overlaying tray in the Toyota and a split compartment in the Hyundai, with a general storage space and a specific tablet slot down the side. You know, for your iSlab or whatever, rather than your blood pressure meds…

EQUIPMENT Both the Excel spec Prius and the Premium SE Ioniq tested here are at the top of their respective ranges, so equipment levels are high. Both get heated seats and steering wheel, DAB radio, smartphone integration, wireless smartphone charging and a host of safety kit. As standard on both models you get adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, hill-start assist, lane departure warning with steering aid, blind spot monitoring and tyre pressure monitoring tech. ISOFIX fittings are also present, as are front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. That’s a whole lot of similarities, and it leaves little room for major differences. The Ioniq has vented seats, while the Prius has onboard

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WiFi, but if you’re looking for ways to tell these two apart, then you’re best looking elsewhere.

ON THE ROAD Don’t look here, though. In terms of numbers, at least, we can’t change the record. There’s a mighty great 0.3 of a second between the two cars in a 0-62 sprint. Their top speeds are separated by 3mph. For what it’s worth when things are this close, the Prius accelerates a touch quicker (10.8 seconds plays 11.1), while the Ioniq tops out marginally higher at 115mph. The Ioniq is more powerful, with 139bhp rather than the Prius’ 120, and the Hyundai is more torquey too with 195lbf.ft as opposed to just 105. Both weigh more or less the same, too, and economy figures are as good as identical – they return 61.4 and 61.5mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and both emit 84g/km of CO2. Whatever the figures say, however, the Ioniq feels sprightlier on the road. The difference isn’t enormous, but it has enough of a zip in its step to not feel sluggish and can pull off an overtake without working as hard as the Prius does.

Both these cars are comfortable cruisers with impressive equipment lists. They’re spacious and plentifully practical inside, and come with subtle blue accents around them to prove how green they are. No, we don’t know why blue is the colour of green either. The Prius’ cabin is nice, slick and well made, with a space-age feel to it that will appeal to many people. But sitting in the Ioniq, everything is where you expect it to be – it’s like driving a totally normal car. And isn’t that meant to be what hybrids are? There’s a feeling here that the Prius is straining for effect a little. Its cabin isn’t baffling, but it spends too much time on being different for the sake of it and not enough on getting the simple ergonomics right. Things like the door bins and stowage are better in the Hyundai and don’t feel like an afterthought. Then you come to the pricing. The Korean undercuts its rival here, costing £26,505 as tested compared to the £28,350 of the Prius. That isn’t the biggest disparity in list prices, but the Hyundai does come with a more extensive warranty, too. These are both good cars. And the differences between them are both subtle and, in most cases, very small. For this reason, we’d expect a lot of people to make a decision based on which one’s doors shut with a nicer clunk, or which manufacturer has a dealer closest to their house. The Prius is very well made, has more space and in our hands proved more economical. You get the reassurance that comes from Toyota’s long history of making hybrid cars, too. But the Ioniq comes with reassurance of its own in the shape of an unlimited-mileage five-year warranty – and to us, it’s a little more usable as well as being the better of the two to drive. It’s better value to buy, too – which is why, if it were our money, that’s what we would do.

But that isn’t the point of it. We don’t think Toyota’s CVT gearbox does the Prius any favours alongside the Ioniq’s six-speed dual-clutch unit, which gives you greater access to the deep grunt of the hybrid system and means the aforementioned overtakes don’t need as much forward planning. There’s little between the two in terms of ride quality, and both make comfortable mile-munchers with adequate refinement for long motorway journeys. In town and on B-roads, the Prius’ suspension is more comfortable, but here the Ioniq displays better body control, making it more entertaining to drive. Not that either is a livewire, though conversely neither is like driving a blancmange either. Rather bizarrely, both vehicles also have highly unusual split rear windows, with spoilers running across their

glazed areas. That’s how similar they really are. These sounds like they’ll obstruct your rearward vision, but in fact the view in the mirror is fine.

OWNERSHIP COSTS These are the sort of vehicles that used to be able to quote ridiculous fuel consumption figures, thanks to the work of fiction that was the old NEDC test regime. Now, WLTP is here – and in our hands the Prius came within a whisker of matching its official figure, returning 61.1mpg as opposed to 61.4. The Ioniq didn’t do so well, coming home with 56.3mpg on its display. That’s still a good bit of mileage per pound, nonetheless. Still, road tax might not be as cheap as you expect; either of these vehicles will cost you £130 a year.


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Issue 3: May 2019

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Captain Sensible… or Uncle Monty? Vehicle: Mazda 2 1.5 Sport Nav Year: 2015 Run by: Mike Trott IF YOU’VE BEEN following the first few issues of Drive since our launch, you’ll be aware that one of my colleagues is currently evaluating a new set of Nokian winter tyres on his Toyota GT86. He’s very much besotted with his Japanese sports car and I know first-hand why he loves it so. I know, because until earlier this year, I too owned a GT86. Despite it being around for over six years, the GT86 is still one of the very best sports cars on sale today. You lower yourself down into the cockpit where a fantastic driving position awaits your buttocks, giving you the same sort of ergonomics you feel you’d experience in a GT4 racer lining up at Le Mans. Then, when you stop making silly car noises with your mouth like you’re sat playing Mario Kart and actually start driving the thing, the crisp steering, precise, short-throw gearbox and 7000rpm shift light, which appears when you’ve maxed the naturally aspirated flat-four boxer engine for all its worth, all combines together to create one truly unforgettable drive. However, if it’s so brilliant, you might ask, why have I since become a former owner of said hero? Well, the simple fact of the matter is my GT86 wasn’t getting used. When there’s a test car awaiting your attention each week, you obviously need to utilise your time with it as efficiently as possible – it’s all so that we can give you, dear reader, the best advice possible on whatever it is we’ve put through the wringer. So in a way, I’ve sacrificed my GT86 for you. I’m hearing mutterings of first-world problems and the slight whiff of insult, so I’ll swiftly move on. In reality, the lack of use was just one of the reasons why I sold the Toyota. For starters, trying to reach that wonderful driving position isn’t so appealing after working 12 hours or more in the office following a long week. Neither is the incredibly firm ride. Nor the twitchiness you get in the wet, or indeed its rear-wheel drive vulnerability in the winter. In fact, nine times out of ten you find yourself wanting to just get home in a comfort-

able environment without having to dish out armfuls of opposite lock every time you encounter a roundabout. An exaggeration, perhaps, particularly if you speak with my colleague, although the truth is the Toyota GT86 is a fine car for a fine road. But day-today, you’re making a compromise on most commutes and journeys you need to make. So, call me old, call me an idiot or call me insane – because what I’ve done is replace the GT86 with a Mazda 2… I can already see the glares and eye rolls the other side of this page and the thing hasn’t been printed yet. However, I’ve had time to make my case and am prepared to deflect any criticism or sharp objects coming my way. Firstly, Mazda don’t make a bad car at present and the Japanese manufacturer is actually a company I like very much – as should you. They actively try and make their products enjoyable to drive, and it shows. My Mazda 2, which I have decided to christen Monty, can do the running about town with its non-backbreaking ride and light steering, plus with this top-spec Sport Nav model you get rear

parking sensors as an extra helping hand when you’ve reached your chosen supermarket. Other good stuff includes the £30 tax premium I pay for the year, because it was registered before the new laws – and, as he returns an average of 50mpg, little Monty is like a teetotal monk in comparison to the boozy 86. The Mazda 2 may be easy to jump into, economical and cheap to run, however. But it’s also a bit of a lunatic underneath when you ask it to cut loose. It’s like discovering that your mum’s Tuesday evening yoga class is actually when she goes base-jumping with her mate Carol. Mazda’s 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine shares the same DNA as the one you get in the MX-5. It’s detuned a little, but in this guise it’s the most potent version available in the Mazda 2, generating 113bhp. Doesn’t sound much, I know, but like all Mazdas the 2 is a light machine; its kerb weight is just 1050kg. It’s a very chuckable car, gripping well in corners and handling sweetly while you’re threading it down your local B-road. The best thing, however,

is the naturally aspirated engine. Not only do you get closer to the official mpg figures because you’re not overworking a small turbo, but you can rev it until the pistons start doing pirouettes on the bonnet and you’ll be rewarded for doing so. Honestly, Mazda will miss a trick if they don’t make a proper hot hatch version of this car. They need only make a few tweaks, of which I’ve taken the liberty of noting down for them below. Firstly, install the MX-5’s 1.5-litre tune, giving the 2 an extra 16bhp.

Confessions of a Car Maniac

Terrible ideas we’ve been lusting after in the classifieds this month… I don’t want to sound like a stuck record. But a couple of months ago, I was to be found ranting on here about my enduring love for the surrealist masterpiece that is the Renault Avantime. Part-coupe, part-MPV: it’s literally a work of genius. Well, no, I haven’t gone and bought one. Yet (ahem). But Mrs Kidd is looking for a bigger car than the Fabia which is her current ride, and I accidentally on purpose showed her a picture of the Avantime’s more sensible cousin, the Vel Satis. This was less barmy but still very classy and very very distinctive, and it was available in diesel form, so less of a guzzler. Well, 3.0-litre V6 diesel form, but still. Incredibly, she liked the look of it. Then I showed her the interior, and she liked it even more. Then she took the mouse off me, started clicking through the pics herself, and came across the rear view. ‘What’s that thing going on with its bum?!’ So close… Alan Kidd

Doesn’t need much more with the roads we have these days, plus Mazda likes the whole ‘less is more’ concept. Secondly, give the car a sport mode so you can stiffen up the steering slightly and get a sharper throttle response, without harming the default comforting attributes of this practical supermini. Then, finally, whack a sports exhaust on the back and you’ll appeal to every teenager and big kid out there. Convinced? You should be. And if you’re not, well don’t be surprised if I’m Mazda’s next head of R&D…


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A known quantity Vehicle: Land Rover Defender 90 Td5 Year: 2006 Run by: Alan Kidd ABOUT A QUARTER OF A CENTURY AGO, I was presented with a brand new Land Rover 90 as my company car. I was editor of a Land Rover magazine at the time, so we set about modifying it (quite incompetently) and off-roading it like crazy, and before long it was in a hellish state but I had absolutely fallen in love with it. I ended up buying it when I left the company. The love affair continued, but eventually common sense came calling and I needed to raise a deposit for my first flat. The 90 had to go. I’ve missed it every day of every year since then. I always said I’d replace it one day, but nothing ever seemed like the right truck. But then an old friend, who I’ve been off-roading with many times down the years, offered me his own 90. It’s a late Td5 from the year before the unpopular new Puma engine came out, it’s on a sensible mileage and it’s already been modified for off-roading. Conventional wisdom has it that you shouldn’t buy someone else’s old project, but when it’s a known quantity it’s not so bad. Some of the work was done before my mate bought it – but the good news is that it was done by Twisted, the Yorkshire Land Rover specialist whose reputation goes before it. According to Twisted’s original advert for the vehicle, which was still there in the extremely thick folder of invoices, instructions and so on that came with the vehicle, it originally rode on +3” springs. In the intervening period, these were changed for +2” coils made to order by Extreme 4x4 to take into account the extra weight of a winch and roll cage. Under the bonnet, there’s a power upgrade chip which is augmented by a bigger intercooler and a K&N air filter. There’s something funky going on with the exhaust, too. The chip isn’t the original Twisted unit, however, so while the paperwork claims 170bhp for the vehicle my feeling is

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• Rearguards are available that it has less. You see some chipped 90s that go like the absolute clappers (normally followed by a huge cloud of black smoke), and I’m not in the slightest bit interested in that, but truth to tell I didn’t notice much difference from a standard 90. Indeed, the previous Defender I drove, a late 2.2 TDCi, felt significantly sprightlier. I’m old-school, though, and my view is that if you want a Defender to go fast, you’re looking at the wrong

car. I don’t want mine to go fast: I want it to go anywhere. To this end, I’m happy with the fact that it’s already fitted with off-road tyres (not too big, just enough), a snorkel and a steel bumper with a winch on top. There are changes to be made, as there are whenever you buy a new off-road vehicle, but this is close to being a turn-key fun wagon. I’ve even almost stopped missing my old one…

I’m not sure what’s got into me, because not only have I ditched the GT86 for a supermini that averages over 50mpg, but this month I’ve also found myself looking at old, economical and practical Skodas that offer immense luxury for a minuscule budget. Specifically, I’ve been looking at an automatic DSG-equipped Lauren and Klement version of the Skoda Octavia. Laurin and Klement is Skoda’s ultimate spec level, with all the kit they can throw at a car plus lavish levels of luxury inside. This one’s from a couple of generations back, before the Octavia got properly smart, but the legroom is superb, the TDI engine frugal and the equipment list enviable even by today’s standards. My social status may have melted like a penguin sunbathing in Tahiti, but I don’t care. There’s more to life than opposite lock on roundabouts. I’d happily drive one of these over the German metal I see being rammed up my rear by berks every morning on the way to work. Mike Trott

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20

Issue 3: May 2019

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BUYING USED

BODYWORK

Scuffs and dings are extremely common, in part due to the amount of time Fiestas spend in cities (and, in particular, car parks). Minor scrapes can be sorted surprisingly cheaply, but avoid cars that look as if they’ve been left in a rough state for years.

SUSPENSION

A lifetime of pot holes and speed bumps can hardly help but have an affect. Alloy wheel damage is almost inevitable. Look for signs of uneven or wobbly steering, and bounce all four corners while listening for creaks and groans.

INTERIOR

A cheap, flimsy cabin was the Fiesta’s achilles heel when it was new, and they don’t tend to age well. Make sure the electrical stuff works (including the stereo), and look for trim and fittings that are scuffed, loose or missing. Peel back the carpets and look for any signs of water ingress, too – this is most likely down to ineffective door seals.

FORD FIESTA 2008-2017 Stylish and great fun to drive, the Fiesta redefined what a supermini should be. It was Britain’s top-selling car for year after year, so you’ll find lots to choose from

THE FORD FIESTA was a household name long before 2008. But that was when the Mk6 model was unveiled – turning a staid, even frumpy supermini into one of the most desirable small cars on the market. Almost a decade of market-leading sales followed. The result is that if you’re after a used Fiesta from this era, there’s plenty of choice. But you need to go shopping with your eyes open, because there are some woefully neglected cars out there – and others that have been ragged by boy racers.

The cheapest Fiestas from this era start at well under £1000. But at that price, you’re best treating one as being essentially disposable. You’re unlikely to regret buying the best example you can comfortably afford. The majority of Fiestas were petrolpowered, though there are various diesel options in the range – including the 1.6 TDCI Econetic, which was one of the first cars to scrape beneath the 100g/km mark. These days, a modest petrol unit may prove cheaper to run – especially in the long term, as the

FOUR OF THE BEST £4000 7-SEATERS 2009 Renault Grand Scenic 1.9 dCi 86,000 miles, £4000 There’s a huge number of Scenics on the used market. This one is in Dynamique TomTom trim, so you get plenty of toys, and it’s a spacious seven-seater with a less bulky body than the bigger Espace. Sold by the trade, it has a year’s MOT but lacks full service history.

most expensive fault you’re likely to suffer in a used Fiesta will be injector problems on diesels. Turbochargers can be another source of grief, and these were fitted on both petrol and diesel models. Make sure it’s working properly during your test drive and be wary of sluggish cars. Something else to bear in mind is that Fiestas’ suspension will have taken an above-aaverage pounding on Britain’s laughably poor city streets. This can lead to the usual recipe of wheel and tyre damage, steering issues

and, further down the line, the potential for collapsed wheel bearings and cracked springs. Talking of suspension, the Fiesta was renowned for its sharp steering and handling. It’s a lot of fun to drive – which is good, obviously, but does mean a used example may have been given a hard life. This makes one-owner examples with low miles and a known provenance particularly appealing. Even then, though, look out for clutch wear, especially on cars with the smallest engines.

2010 Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi Ghia 131,000 miles, £4200 It’s on the leggy side, but this Galaxy has the right engine and comes tidily equipped in Ghia trim. It only has six months’ MOT and a partial service history, however, with ‘a Ford mechanic’ looking after it from 70,000 miles onward. A professionally fitted towbar and bike carrier add some extra usability, though they might hint at a hard previous life.


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INSTANT INFO

ENGINE

Full service history is highly desirable, and essential on diesels. Check that turbochargers are working properly – if the car feels oddly sluggish, be afraid. Manual gearboxes should slip gently into each gear, inclulding reverse, with no baulking, and in particular on cars with smaller engines you should check for signs of clutch wear or juddering on take-off.

MAZDA MX-5 Ë YEARS 2005-2015 Ë PRICE RANGE £2500-£14,000 The used market contains a huge range of engines. The 1.6 TDCi from the Econetic model is among those least likely to have been thrashed

The Fiesta’s interior wasn’t as stylish looking as its body. It felt cheap in places and the dash plastics are prone to scuffs and wear

STEERING

OVERVIEW The third-generation MX-5 was a massive improvement over the cute but dated model that preceeded it. A little more heft, backed up with increased power, made it a more grown-up proposition – and you could get it with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes, as well as a folding hard-top. IN THE CABIN If your only experience of the MX-5 is from previous models, this one will come as a surprise. It’s impressively spacious, with enough room to keep all but the tallest drivers happy, and the quality of the plastics and switchgear is extremely impressive. There’s a good view of the road ahead, too, even though you’re sat low down in a snug but not restrictive sports seat. EQUIPMENT The range wasn’t huge, but early low-spec MX-5s had steel wheels. These might now have been replaced by aftermarket alloys – which your insurance company may consider a modification. Cars with the 2.0-litre engine gained side airbags, and top-spec models included cruise, air-con and a premium stereo, as well as sports-car must-haves like uprated shocks and a limited-slip diff. Coupe-Cabrios have a folding hard-top, and it works beautifully.

This should feel alert and responsive, with no unevenness in feel as you wind it on. It may be affected by poor tracking due to pot-hole hits, but early wear is not unheard of too.

Above: Alloy wheels weren’t standard on all models. They can suffer damage; steels like these are less pretty but a lot stronger

PERFORMANCE There were two engines, a 1.8-litre unit and a 2.0-litre rangetopper. The former is adequate and does its job without sounding pained, but the bigger engine is absolutely the one you want. It has enough power to let you get the best from the MX-5, but not so much as to make it a handful. ROAD MANNERS Neither version of the MX-5 is uncouth, and it rides remarkably well. If you want it to be hushed, go for a Coupe-Cabrio. PRACTICALITY Forget it for your holidays – but there’s a small boot that’ll take a couple of small cases or the weekly shop, so day-to-day practicality is fine. RELIABILITY Both engines are typically faultless if they’ve been looked after, so look for a full service history. Search tirelessly for body rust, and for signs of water ingress. Leaky soft-tops can be a problem, and folding hard-tops may become obstinate – thankfully as a result of faulty sensors rather than expensive mechanical wear. Overall, this is one of the most reliable cars around.

Whichever Fiesta you’re after, the interior can be a let-down after it’s wowed you with ts looks. The materials and fittings never felt special at the best of times, and a decade of wear can leave them looking very tired indeed. Look for scuffed trim panels, loose fixtures and buttons that don’t work any more. The good news is that it only takes £5000 or so to get one of the very best Fiestas from towards the end of production. Look after it, and it’ll give you years of trouble-free service.

RUNNING COSTS The 2.0-litre engine uses a little more petrol, but no MX-5 is a guzzler – even with an automatic gearbox. Insurance costs will be higher with the bigger engine, but look after your car and depreciation will be minimal. BUYING USED Take your time and be sure to avoid the ill-maintained, dodgily modified or harshly treated MX-5s that are out there.

VERDICT Mazda MX-5 Mk3

+ Great fun, cheap to own and very reliable indeed - Some rough ones on the market that need to be given a swerve SUM-UP One of the best, most universally enjoyable cars of all time

2003 Land Rover Discovery TD5 88,000 miles, £3995

2006 Toyota Previa 2.0 D-4D 103,000 miles, £4000

Feeling brave? The Discovery 2 is a proper off-roader, with all the running costs that come with it, but if you don’t mind that it’s an enormous amount of car for your money. The TD5 engine is very reliable, though the rest of the vehicle has a dire reputation that’s not helped in this case by a lack of service history. The private seller would be likely to take an offer, though.

Your biggest challenge if you’re looking for a Previa might be finding one that’s not a grey-imported Estima model. This one is a pukka UK car with full service history and a year’s MOT, in T-Spirit spec and boasting a kit list as long as your arm. You won’t get the trade seller to knock much off, but at this money it’s a quirky family bus with Toyota’s famous build quality behind it.


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24

Issue 3: May 2019

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Cat and Fiddle Fun THE BIG STORY

With Spring fast approaching, so was the time to replace the winter tyres. So, to send them out with a bang, I headed for some proper roads in proper British weather. Were the Nokians up to the task posed by Derbyshire’s finest, or did the rain stop play? Words: George Dove Pictures Jack Appleyard EVERY SINGLE CAR on the market comes with compromise. If you want to get stellar fuel consumption, you can’t have a huge beast of an engine. If it’s outright driving thrills you’re after, more often than not you’ll have to scare one passenger at a time. If you want space for seven, you can’t have this in a small car. This list could go on for some time, but you get the gist. With my GT86, as much as I love it, there are several compromises. It’s technically a four-seater, but I’ve only ever squashed three into it. Still, I’m not about to fill the next few pages with the hardship of GT86 ownership. No, the more pressing issue comes

from the way that it’s set up, specifically with the engine at the front sending power to the back wheels. And with its comparatively narrow tyres for a sports car, the end result of this is you can easily kick the tail out on corners and have a bit of fun. With this in mind, I realised that I hadn’t taken the ‘86 out with the sole purpose of enjoying it for quite a while, plus before long the time will come to remove the Nokian winter tyres I’m currently running. So I headed to my nearest haven of good driving roads, in and around the Cat and Fiddle Run between Buxton and Macclesfield, favoured by bikers and keen drivers alike.

Easy slider

In terms of its mechanical layout, the GT86 is by no means unique – most sports cars, supercars and hypercars boast a rear-wheel drive layout (there was even a rear-wheel drive Renault Twingo) – but the ’86 is rather more playful. This is thanks to the fact that the limits of grip are not particularly hard to reach. Recently, I was driving to work along a slightly uphill road shortly before making a left-hand turn. Nothing unusual here, except during this typical act of habitual cornering, the tail started to kick out. As the traction

‘Opposite lock to get it under control is ingrained in my muscle memory’


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control fought to find grip, exasperated, I looked down at the speedo. Why did I look at the speedo, whilst the car was skidding without permission? Because it happens all the time, to the point that applying opposite lock to get it under control is now ingrained in my muscle memory. And also because I was travelling at just 17mph. So that’s why I went to some roads where I could really test the Nokian WR A4s on the tail-happy coupé. The twists, turns and climbs of the Cat and Fiddle run (named after a now closed pub at the summit), combined with unruly side winds and a constant downpouring of rain would certainly

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be testing. For the Toyota, Nokians and photographer alike. The drive out to the playground wasn’t particularly long, but still managed to take in a wide variety of roads. It was mainly a mix of dual carriageways and then the undulating B-roads that pave the way through the heart of Derbyshire. Over these more civilised stretches of tarmac the Nokians fared well. They have what Nokian call Silent Sidewall Technology – this is essentially a rubber compound between the sidewall and facia tread that eats up the vibrations and dissipates sound waves. Whilst the sound of lashing rain was a constant drone, the tyres

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didn’t add to the situation with any noticeable road noise. These weren’t the best conditions in which to judge this, but to be honest, throughout the winter, I’ve never noticed any tyre noise from them at all. What I have noticed, though, is the fuel consumption. This is a benefit that Nokian attribute the WR A4 brings to the table. Toyota claim a combined fuel economy of 36.2mpg, which is a figure I used to hover beneath. However, having had the Nokian boots on the ’86 for a few months now, the figure has swelled up to 37.9mpg. I’ve also replaced the standard paper air filter to a K&N

number which alleges the same effect on fuel consumption, amongst other things. But either way, they’re both helping the car use less fuel.

Sharp as ever

One of the characteristics that really manages to get under my skin with the GT86 is the agility it possesses out on the road. In the summer on OE tyres, the weight on the front wheels means that steering is sharp and the car responds pointedly to your inputs – it’s a real joy. With the ski shoes on, this has barely changed. The tread blocks and the tough shoulder ensure a stiffness to the tyre that makes it dependable, and

despite the wet and twisty conditions as I headed towards Macclesfield, I trusted the turn-in abilities of the tyres no end and my faith was repaid. What has changed, though, is how the power is put down. Simply put, it isn’t as snappy with the Nokians fitted. I’ve said before that wheelspin is significantly less with the winter rubber, and what I’ve noticed is despite the resistance to a smoking start, the car doesn’t jump off the line in as spirited a fashion as before, be it wet or dry. But in these wintry conditions, this is a welcome bit of added control. The 197bhp output is a figure that wains in comparison to the majority of


26

Issue 3: May 2019

To advertise in Drive, call our team on 01283 553244 Left: This cool piston badging on the wings is a neat inclusion for geeky owners Right: Having the weight of the engine over the front axles means the front end is grippy and hunkers down in the corners

‘I pushed just enough to appreciate the weight of the steering through the corners and encourage the engine to be a little more vocal’ sports cars, and max power and torque (151lbf.ft) are accessed high up in the rev range – 7,000 and 6,400rpm, respectively. So, whilst there isn’t much on offer in normal driving situations, working the engine closer towards its peak is actually one of the reasons there is so much fun to be had.

Above 3,000rpm the boxer unit comes into life with a fruity rasp and on the rare occasions that you get towards the red line, it fizzes gleefully. There was absolutely none of that out in Derbyshire, however. Sadly, depending how you look at it, there was simply too much water in play to consider

working that far towards the limiter. So heavy and persistent was the rainfall, in fact, that we ventured from the intended run and onto randomly chosen off-shoots in a bid to find more sheltered surroundings where photography duties could be undertaken without being wholly bullied by the

wind and rain. Even though less open, the roads were still blotted with large puddles and certain crevices verged on flooded status.

Change of track

I found myself heading down a much narrower lane, lined either side with

luscious green fields bordered by old-school drystone walling. The roads weren’t fast ones and featured no hairpins or opportunities to push the tail out in safety. Cruising along at a comfortable speed, I could more readily enjoy the natural beauty of my surroundings – even considering


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the weather. I then had a prompt epiphany that I needed to push the pace a little as, if I wasn’t careful, I could spend the next forty years in a downward spiral, yearning for retirement and a bus pass. I upped the ante without starting to bounce the needle of the rev limiter and the car off the nearest drystone wall. The tightness of these roads, in comparison to the Cat and Fiddle Run itself, meant that they were a technically different proposition – single lane, tighter and with few straights to extend the right leg. I pushed just enough to wholly appreciate the weight of the steering through the corners and encourage the engine to be a little more vocal. This was a pleasant sweet spot, as I got to enjoy driving without the nervous edge of injected adrenaline that comes with higher speeds – and stakes.

Grand finale

On the verge of calling it a day, a change in the weather occurred that could only be considered a win in the UK. Conditions improved a little, but the sun didn’t come out, nor did the rain stop, but at least we’d downgraded to a heavy drizzle. Good old Blighty, eh? This did instil a little more confidence behind the wheel and open the door for a little more fun before the day’s end. Again, restraint was a prominent theme, as there was still a healthy dose of surface water in the mix. Water aside, the Nokians came out on top that day. Pushing the throttle a few more percent on the corners where I was comfortable to, half expecting a light spot of familiar oversteer and half braced for barrelling down the hillside, thankfully neither availed. Occasionally the traction control computers were called into action, but this was fleeting and, even then, entirely undramatic. The flashing light on the dash was a more prominent indicator than any slipping. The day may not have featured whitened knuckles and squeaks between the cheeks, but I came to appreciate the nuances to the handling of the ’86 that I’d forgotten throughout generic winter driving. But the GT86 wasn’t bought to be a commuter, and for the first time in months it was let off the leash to express itself in true sports car fashion. It was the first time that I’d taken this particular weapon out on the Cat and Fiddle run in anger and I’ll certainly be taking it back come summertime. I won’t have the winter tyres on by then, but seeing as they haven’t put a foot wrong in the time I’ve used them, for greasy, wet and unpredictable roads, I can certainly recommend the Nokians to bring some calming confidence to a Britain in stormy conditions.

NOKIAN_KV_podzim_4x4mag_210x297.indd 1

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Issue 3: May 2019

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Back on Corsa

When it comes to modifying vehicles, there are a few models that are particularly popular. So, when you’re working on one of those vehicles, you have to push the boundaries to stand out from the crowd Words and pictures: George Dove EVERY PETROLHEAD WILL have that one car that, if they don’t keep it forever, they’ll always be looking to replace it. Sadly, Michael White didn’t take the decision to replace his old Corsa, it was made for him. ‘My previous Corsa was written off,’ explains Michael. ‘I was heartbroken, but when people asked what I was getting next, it was always going to be another Corsa.’ In his eyes, as much as he loved the car, it had saved his life when they

crashed. So when a friend was selling his Black Edition Corsa, Michael was straight in there. Michael’s style isn’t to do things by the rule book. For example, the first Corsa he had was black but had some accents of a pink hue. And while he readily admits that that was rarer than the current colour scheme, he inherited this car with a few touches already administered. ‘When I first got this Corsa it already had the green accenting on the

interior, so I decided to run with that colour scheme.’ The project is still a work in progress, but Michael has been very busy working to make this Corsa his own. He sourced full leather and heated VXR Racing seats, plus a matching steering wheel, gearstick and even trimming plaques. Passengers are held in place with Luke racing harnesses and the rear seats have been removed to give room for an Enhance Performance strut brace for body rigidity.

Left: The full leather heated VXR Racing seats were a steal and keep Michael, and his passengers, comfortable through every turn. Right: Those green interior accents were the spark for the whole colour scheme on this racy Corsa porject.

You’ll have noticed that the green highlights extend to the exterior, with the chrome strip at the front now wearing a metallic lime finish, as do the wheels which, when you look closer, tell a story of their own. ‘I saw a Vectra for sale and I noticed the wheels on it, so I contacted the guy and said I’d buy the wheels off him. They’re genuine Range Rover L332 Vogue wheels, and he didn’t think they’d fit the Corsa, but I made them fit with a custom PCD change.’

They were refurbed and prepped by Grange Paint Solutions before they went on, but you may be asking why Michael opted to go for them. His answer would simply be because nobody else has done it. In keeping with that theme, the front splitter is from a Seat Leon Cupra and the bonnet vents from a Ford Focus RS. Custom Backyard Civics fabbed the rear BGW spoiler, and finishing off the look are custom stickers and decals made by BecauseBob.


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Despite the upsized, custom sprayed wheels, the Corsa sits lowered on AP coilovers and the rear wheels have a steeper camber. The Corsa’s 1.4-litre turbo four-pot is helped by a Pipercross foam cone air filter, JS Performance intake hoses, an Airtec intercooler, a Scorpion decat pipe and a Severn Valley Motorsport remap that boosts the output from 118 to 175bhp. Whilst Michael does take his beloved Corsa to a vast number of car shows, all of this sporting potential hasn’t been installed purely for show. ‘When Three Sisters host their track days for cars, I take the Corsa along,’

says Michael. ‘I like racing on the tighter karting track.’ But, if you’re into the Vauxhall club scene, chances are you’ll already be familiar with this particular Corsa. Michael is an administrator for Club Vaux, and is thankful for all of the support he’s found within the club over the half a decade that he’s been involved in it. ‘They’re a fantastic club, and you don’t even need to own a Vauxhall to attend the meets. They even have events across Europe.’ Having been into cars since his childhood, this isn’t the only club that Michael and his Corsa attend though –

they also get together with likeminded modders at Poorman’s Project meets. Being a mechanic by trade, Michael spends most of his time working on cars, but he couldn’t have got his Corsa this far if it wasn’t for the help and support of his friends and family, nor those within the club scene. And, like all projects, it isn’t finished yet. ‘I’m really happy with the rear wing, the wheels and the interior because no-one had done them before,’ states Michael proudly. ‘This is my forever car, but I still want to give it a lower and wider stance, repair bits of the paintwork and look into more suspension parts, too.’

THE MK8 FIESTA ST has picked up where the Mk7 version left off, namely claiming the lower league hot hatch sector for its own and being one of the very best cars to drive on sale today. But as with the old Mk7 ST, performance specialists, Mountune, have decided that the car is missing a little something… In an attempt to improve the ST further, Mountune has released the m225 package that takes your Fiesta up from the paltry 197bhp to a stonking 222bhp. Lovely. And do you want to know the best part? Not only is this covered under warranty by Ford dealers, as was the case with the Mk7, but you can make the changes via your very own smartphone. Alongside the power upgrade, Mountune has launched the mTune SMARTflash app, meaning you can program your car and gain horsepower within minutes. Imagine explaining that to your nan! Explaining the concept to her may not reap any understanding, but if you plonk her in the passenger seat and blast off on a 0-60mph sprint, she’ll be able to tell you’ve shaved over half a second off the stock time and can now hit 60 in under 6.0 seconds. And you’ll be able to tell that you’ve forgotten the incontinence pads. The most impressive thing here, though, is the increase in torque, with an additional 36lbf.ft of grunt to play with, which has cut the Ford’s in-gear time by a full second when propelling from 31mph to 62mph. Included in the package is a high-flow induction kit, the SMARTflash app and EVI Bluetooth OBD adapter to go with it, plus you’ll get three different modes to switch between on your smartphone. Performance mode gives you maximum attack, whilst Stock returns the vehicle to regular factory settings. The final mode is Anti-Theft that simply immobilises the vehicle. A handy feature given that you’ll be the envy of every petrolhead on the road. That is unless you decide not to utilise the little Mountune badge that’s included…


30 DATES FOR THE DIARY Shows and events around the UK during the coming month

The Fast Show 2019 7 April Santa Pod Raceway, Bedfordshire

Issue 3: May 2019

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Proud and Joyful

Welcome to The Fast Show at Santa Pod Raceway, the first performance and modified car event on the calendar. Featuring huge club stand displays, Run What Ya Brung, FWD drag racing, drifting, stunt displays, jet car, trade village, caterers, fun fair rides and much more. Gates open at 8am £28 per person (£20 in advance) Tel: 01234 782828 thefastshow.co.uk

Techno-Classica Essen 10-14 April Messe Essen, Germany

If there’s one classic car that still remains ideal for the back roads of Britain today, it’s the first-generation Mazda MX-5

World show for vintage, classic and prestige automobiles, motorsport, motorcycles, spare parts, restoration and world club meeting. Show opens from 9am daily €11-€45 depending on ticket Tel: +49(0)24 07-173 00 www.siha.de

Festival of Power 2019 19-21 April Santa Pod Raceway, Bedfordshire An action-packed Easter weekend for the whole family with jet car shootout, Nitro funny cars, 300mph top fuel dragsters and National Drag Racing Championships including 200mph pro mods. A full line-up of displays and attractions plus Monster Trucks, stunts, sideshows and traders. Gates open at 8am Adults £22 – Kids under 16 go free Tel: 01234 782828 santapod.co.uk/festivalofpower

Modified Nationals 19-21 April NAEC Stoneleigh, Coventry Biggest is best! Modified Nationals is the UK’s largest indoor and outdoor car show with the wildest show cars, slick entertainment, trade stands, drift taxis, stunt shows and lots of special show offers. Queue jump (arrive from 10am) £50pp Weekend tickets (arrive from 2pm) £45pp Day tickets £18pp Aged 13 and under go free Tel: 07376 257168 modifiednationals.co.uk

Pure Ford 27 April Castle Combe, Wiltshire Now in its third successful year, the Pure Ford show is designed for those who love cars with the Blue Oval! 9am-5pm Adults £12 (£20 on the day) Aged 17 and under go free Tel: 01249 782417 pure-ford.com

Words and Pictures Mike Trott PICTURE THE SCENE. It’s 3pm on a sunny afternoon in June; the kids are off rinsing your bank account as they demolish the stocks in the local Pizza Hut with their friends, while your wife is off with her pals taking some time out for some much needed retail therapy. You’ve just finished mowing the lawn and sat down to watch the Formula 1, but the race isn’t turning out to be a classic for the ages. And then in the corner of your eye, you see a little Mazda MX-5 being rolled out of its garage and on to your neighbour’s drive. It looks clean, really clean. You’ve always admired that darker shade of green, a bit like the British Racing Green you used to have on your old MGF. You know, the one that never used to start… The MX-5 chirps into life. You hate your neighbour… For as long as most Brits can now remember, the MX-5 has been the sports car. When it came along in 1989, it showed everyone how a little two-seat roadster could provide all the fun you’ll ever need on four wheels, at a price that made your smile wider than ever.

Extinct

It arrived at a time when the roadster as an entity was near extinction. Gone were the days of the British battalion, with MGs and Triumphs offering

roof-down thrills to question the need for pricey exotica. But it was precisely because of old British sports cars, and in particular the original Lotus Elan, that the MX-5 even came into fruition. An American motoring journalist by the name of Bob Hall got into a conversation with the then head of research and development at Mazda, Kenichi Yamamoto, way back in 1979. Hall admired the likes of the Elan and Spitfire and rued the demise of the sector, even if none of the British products were renowned for their reliability. It was suggested that Mazda should produce a vehicle to fill the void, a two-seat sports car that wouldn’t break the bank to buy or run. A couple of

‘‘They were built in the same vein as the old Lotus Elan” years later, Hall had become a Mazda employee, the idea was revisited and Yamamoto, who was now the company’s chairman, gave the go-ahead for the Mazda Experiment, Project Number 5 – or as it came to be known, MX-5.

Scroll forward to the present day. Guy Griffiths, who runs Pride and Joy in Shropshire, is well versed in the foibles of the Elan – and the brilliance of the MX-5. ‘My first business was based around restoring and selling the old Mk1 Lotus Elans,’ explains Guy. ‘These days I only have the odd vehicle or two passing through my hands, mainly modern classics like the Mk1 MX-5. I’ve usually got two or three MX-5s in stock and they were built in much the same vein as the old Elan.’

Lightness

The MX-5 remains the most popular sports car ever produced and has stayed true to its original design. Over the years, the pint-sized Mazda has had to adjust to new laws and gained weight as a consequence, mainly down to added safety equipment – which is why the company’s engineers shaved every gram they could from the latest version, just to get it close to the original’s kerb weight of approximately 940kg. ‘I think it’s been successful for several reasons, but particularly because of its lightness and sharp handling,’ continues Guy. ‘It’s also retained the market very well as Mazda was one of the first companies to jump on the idea of limited editions. It keeps customers on their toes and just as they think they’ve got the newest version out,


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NEXT MONTH IN

Above: Two V-Special Eunos Roadsters – limited edition models of the Japanese MX-5 Below: Few cars, built today or throughout history, will serve up controls as engaging as those you’ll find in the Mk1 Mazda MX-5 there’s another limited edition waiting around the corner!’ Just a brief search online reveals a raft of different MX-5s, including the Gleneagles, Monaco, Harvard and Berkeley limited editions. And that’s just the Mk1 model produced between 1989 and 1997. There’s another version you might spot online at the moment, too, called the V-Special, and it belongs to Guy. Actually, the V-Special is a Eunos Roadster rather than a Mazda MX-5, which means it’s the Japanese version of the car. You might see a thing called a Miata, too: that’s what the MX-5 was christened in America. But the V-Special is a rare model. And Guy currently has two of them. Any Eunos models you come across will have been imported. But the fact that it comes from Japan means you’ll get a car likely to have experienced less corrosion than the salt-washed roads of the UK. And with the V-Special, you get a little more besides. We’ll start with the Type I V-Special, a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated delight adorned with a wooden-rimmed Nardi steering wheel and a gearstick to match, air conditioning and that all important power steering. The British Racing Green exterior is always going to be a hit and the tan leather you’ll find inside compliments the bodywork beautifully. The seats also have speakers in their headrests, and

Peugeot 508: How good is the new Pug? The French manufacturer’s new saloon is certainly a handsome devil, but how does it stack up against two left-field rivals at the £30,000 price-point? Find out in the next issue of Drive...

like all Mk1s it has those wonderfully evocative pop-up headlights. This 1.6 V-Special has also gained a chrome rollover bar, TSW alloys and, at the front, an aftermarket grille protecting the radiator. V-Special versions were also equipped with a viscous limited-slip differential to allow tailout hilarity in corners – though that was probably more suited to the Type II V-Special Guy currently has sitting next to the 1.6. The Type II – an even rarer version of Eunos – had a 1.8-litre engine and 129bhp to play with rather than the 115bhp produced by the 1.6. Alloy kick plates were installed inside, while a chrome finish was applied to the mirrors and wheels, the latter of which were hollow-spoked for lightness.

Both of these cars were built in tiny numbers and remain absolutely authentic to the original concept behind the MX-5. Guy was kind enough to let me get behind the wheel of the 1.8; as soon as you slide down into the compact cabin and start working the controls, you can’t help but smile.

Worth the premium? We compare two superminis, both five-door, both with 1.0-litre three-cylinder engines, but representing two ends of their respective sector. The question is, which one is better? With seven seats, an engine that produces 237bhp and returns 44mpg, huge levels of practicality plus all-wheel drive perks, is there nothing the Skoda Kodiaq vRS can’t do?

Bliss

The gearshift is so precise, the steering filled with information and the engine hungry for revs. The entire driving experience is just completely, wonderfully analogue, with none of the nannying you get from today’s cars. It’s an unbeatable combination. The MX-5 will be your friend: you’ll egg each other on for more fun with each corner that comes into view. It may only have 129bhp, but that’s enough. It’s plenty. The engine has a lovely peppy note, ready to infiltrate your senses and encourage you to open that soft-top and have a ball. If you’re lucky with the weather like we were, you can flip the roof down in seconds, revel in the sunshine… and enjoy one of the most blissful driving experiences you’re ever likely to encounter. What are you waiting for? Summer’s coming… don’t let the neighbours have all the fun! Thanks to Guy Griffiths at Pride and Joy for the use of MX-5s pictured here. The company is on 01902 840746.

You won’t see many of these about: it’s the fabulous Subaru SVX and Steve Mulvaney swore to himself from the day it broke cover that he would have one in his garage, sooner or later...

There’s a new face in the Drive fleet next month, as a zesty Mazda 2 settles in quickly and stakes its claim for being an understated hot hatchback

PLUS!

• First Drives: Vauxhall Insignia, Range Rover Evoque and more • British Touring Car Championship preview • Drive fleet update: one vehicle takes us back to the birth of vRS • Latest news and vehicles from the car world

The June 2019 issue of Drive is published on 26 April – and it’s 100% FREE!


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Drive - May 2019  

Drive is a free monthly newspaper covering the whole of the new and used car market. Drive includes no-nonsense road test reviews from acro...

Drive - May 2019  

Drive is a free monthly newspaper covering the whole of the new and used car market. Drive includes no-nonsense road test reviews from acro...

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