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.
We Brits like a good pick-up. Although initially derided as the proverbial sow’s ear, attempts by ‘ute manufacturers to drag them towards some semblance of modern-day convenience (perhaps kick-started by Mitsubishi and their Animal tie-in) did actually go on to prove one thing: they are bloody useful things. We tested the new Series 5 Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian to see just how useful.
You need only spend a few brief moments talking to Tyrone Johnson, Vehicle Engineering Manager for the new Focus RS, to understand just how much effort has gone into creating this latest fast Ford. To say he’s a man who knows what he wants is putting it mildly, and he certainly wasn’t willing to compromise to get it. So has all this engineering effort translated into real world performance?
I'll be honest – when the new Kia Sportage was unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show, I wasn't entirely convinced by the looks. In fact, there were some angles where it bore a passing resemblance to a frog that's been, shall we say, anally surprised. Thankfully, in the flesh it's quite a handsomely proportioned thing, particularly in the new GT-Line spec. That's just as well, because the Sportage is an important car for Kia.