First Drive

Porsche Taycan 4S Cross Turismo 2021 UK review

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 17, 2021
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The Porsche Taycan range expansion continues with the introduction of the 4S Cross Turismo, the not-quite Turbo version of Porsche’s big EV estate with off-roady cladding. I’m not sure you’d actually off-road in the £88,270 4S, but it has a ski chalet vibe to it. Mechanical specifics are similar to other Taycans’. This is a near-five-metre-long car and the door mirrors make it more than 2.1m wide. The estate bodywork doesn’t create the biggest load Read More »

Ssangyong Tivoli 1.5 Ultimate 2021 UK review

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 16, 2021
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You know what you’re getting with Ssangyong: no-nonsense motoring at the market’s cheap end. The newly updated Tivoli is a prime example: with a revised interior and tweaked exterior looks, it majors on what the firm does well without getting lost in any fripperies. Having said that, there is a new tablet-style infotainment screen, so clearly even Ssangyong isn’t immune to trends. There are also redesigned climate control buttons that help smarten things up (the Read More »

Nio ES8 2021 review

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 16, 2021
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Few models exemplify the global nature of today’s car industry better than the Nio ES8. The first of four EVs from a Chinese firm that was established only in 2014 yet is now valued higher than BMW, this seven-seat SUV was developed by four ‘competence centres’ around the world: Shanghai conceived it, Munich styled it, Oxford engineered it and Silicon Valley coded its software. At 5022mm long, 1962mm wide and 1756mm tall, it’s considerably larger than the Read More »

Ford Focus ST Edition 2021 UK review

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 15, 2021
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The ST Edition has the same wheel geometry and active diff settings as the standard ST, so it’s a fairly mild-mannered thing on a B-road. It doesn’t follow camber or bumpsteer much and, though you can feel the diff working when cornering hard under load, you don’t get much tractive corruption of the steering. The wheel doesn’t jink and squirm in your hands like those of some old RS’s once did, then. Feel is a Read More »

GTO Engineering California Spyder Revival

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 15, 2021
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Cal Spyders came in two distinct series, with around 45 long-wheelbase versions being made from 1958 to 1960, when they were replaced by the lighter, more sporting short-wheelbase model. Which is great unless, like me, you measure 6ft 3in or above. Because with 20cm less space between the wheels, I have to splay my legs either side of that fabulous triple-spoked, wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel just to reach the pedals. But it’s no less gorgeous Read More »

Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible 2021 review

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 14, 2021
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Both coupé and convertible are near enough identical cars to interact with at a simpler level. Even in their sportiest drive modes, neither troubles you with much weight or tactile feedback through the steering, but they’re still easy and intuitive to place on the road. And they need to be, of course, because they’re sizable cars with wide bonnets that can make the margins of a winding lane hard to judge, and wide A-pillars that Read More »

Audi SQ2 2021 UK review

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 13, 2021
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If nothing else tells you this is an Audi from a previous generation, then the relative lack of technology will. No touchscreen, no hybrid assistance, just a good old turbo four in a crossover suit. Nothing about this facelift has altered that. In an increasingly crowded market for hot crossovers, the SQ2 now has its work cut out, the Hyundai Kona N just the latest to join the fray. A slight pause here to apologise Read More »

Toyota Camry 2021 UK review

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 8, 2021
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You might have forgotten about the Camry. It’s been a couple of years since Toyota’s large saloon returned to Europe and it has since been enjoying modest sales. In fairness, no one, not least Toyota, ever expected it to gain the same popularity here as it has in the US, where big saloons from non-premium manufacturers are still seen as the default option.  True to the Camry’s American roots, Toyota has been regularly giving it Read More »

Lamborghini Huracan STO UK review

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 3, 2021
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Of course, you’d expect the Lambo’s engine to be gloriously unhinged, but more surprising is the deft way the chassis deals with the UK’s scarred roads. Yes, the ride is firm but, like the Performante that preceded it, the STO’s adaptive dampers round off all the worst edges. Ramp up the pace and body control is exceptional, the Huracán shrugging off challenging topography with near-perfect poise, with only really ragged surfaces upsetting its equilibrium. In Read More »

Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet Design 1.0 TSI UK Review

Posted in CAR NEWS on September 1, 2021
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Let’s be honest, this isn't your classic road-testing car: it’s just too easy to be cynical about a roof-less SUV. But then you look at the sales figures and it becomes clear why Volkswagen builds it. In the year to the end of July, the Cabriolet made up 6.9% of Volkswagen T-Roc sales in the UK – not a bad return, but not a patch on Germany, where the proportion was 28.8%. Before we go much further, it’s worth pointing Read More »

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