For a supermini to be successful, it needs to perform a seemingly impossible task: it must appear larger on the inside than it does from the outside. Rather encouragingly, we’ve seen with the Optima that Kia has a history of performing minor packaging miracles, so it was with raised expectations that the new Rio arrived for a week’s testing, accompanied by a press pack that described Kia’s global best-seller as a ‘big little car.’
When we reviewed the Mitsubishi ASX back in 2014, it arrived almost exactly as large swathes of the UK became submerged during the worst flooding the country had seen in decades. At the time, the ASX impressed us with its willingness to keep on chugging even as our roads became fast-flowing rivers, but with Mitsubishi giving the ASX something of a facelift for 2017, we thought we’d see how the company’s crossover has fared over the years.
Mazda has always been one of the better manufacturers for regularly updating their products to keep them ahead of the curve, and for 2017 it’s the turn of the Mazda6 to benefit from a little fiddling. From the outside, you perhaps wouldn’t know anything has changed, save for a new Machine Grey metallic paint finish and indicators built-in to the door mirrors. That’s because most of the changes are to things you wouldn’t necessarily notice at first glance, but the cumulative effect is far greater.
If, like me, you’re of a certain age, you’ll probably remember being buzzed by a Suzuki Whizzkid. Despite having less than 50hp to play with, these little tykes had a habit of appearing in your rear-view mirror as if from nowhere before whirring past the instant a tiny gap appeared. As anyone who drove one knew, the secret to making progress was to maintain momentum at all costs. Clearly, someone at Suzuki has similarly fond memories, because the new Ignis feels like the Whizzkid’s spiritual successor.
A few years ago, I pitched an idea to a number of car manufacturers, that of using the existing forward-looking camera that powers the wave of new safety features as a built-in dashcam. At the time, no-one seemed interested. But when the new Citroen C3 was unveiled, the company also demonstrated its new ConnectedCAM system. Turns out it's just as useful as I hoped it would be...
When Volvo launched the new V90, they did so with a series of rather stirring videos. There’s nothing unusual about that: we’re used to seeing images of the latest model pivoting from one sinuous corner to the next on an implausibly traffic-free road. But what Volvo did was more striking. Because the subject of the video wasn’t so much a car, as an entire country.
At last year’s Geneva Motor Show, Kia confirmed that their well-received Sportspace concept would enter production as the Optima Sportswagon. This piqued our interest for several reasons, not the least of which was how the thing looked. So has Kia's first attempt at a Mondeo-rivalling estate car been a success, or merely a case of style over substance?
Before we get too far into the nitty gritty of whether Toyota's latest iteration of its long-lived pick-up is any good, I ought to make an admission: I already own a Hilux. It's a 2012 model, and although it's been largely dependable it's up for replacement. Trouble is, this segment is now packed with a commendable selection of rivals, so the Hilux has its work cut out to stay ahead of the curve.
When we first reviewed the current generation Mazda3 back in 2014, we came away impressed. That’s not surprising, really: it looks good, drives well, and is powered by a range of great engines. Thankfully when time came for Mazda’s engineers to give their best-seller a mid-life update, they wisely chose not to mess with a winning formula.
Isuzu, perhaps to crown their 100th anniversary celebrations, packed their already capable D-Max off to Iceland to be fiddled with by Arctic Trucks, the company that’s been re-engineering 4x4s for life in the frozen wastelands for the best part of 25 years. The result is the D-Max Arctic Trucks AT35. And it’s the most extreme pick-up on the market today...
Imagine your CEO stands up in front of the world and bravely declares: "by 2020, we will reduce the average CO2 emissions of our range by 25 per cent." What do you do? If you work for most car companies, you’ll probably be forced to hunt through your existing range to find something into which you can shoehorn an electric motor and a stack of batteries. Kia's engineers, however, decided to do it differently. The result is the Niro.
This might surprise you, but Subaru have been making ‘boxer’ (or horizontally-opposed) engines for 50 years now. In that time, they’ve churned out more than 16 million of them, so it’s certainly fair to say they’ve got it down to a fine art. That process of continuous refinement applies equally to the cars that are powered by them, and none represents that ethos better than the Subaru Forester.