At the end of every year we do a rundown of how we’re doing and what were the highlights of the past year. Admittedly, 2016 has been tough on many people, with the downturn in the economy leading to job losses and a 30% decrease in car sales. This was reflected in our traffic statistics, which has always been a window into the local car market. However, we still managed to eke out a 5% increase in revenue, and still remain the most profitable automotive portal in the region (despite increased costs in “fees” and unfavourable rules) thanks to our genuine readers, so you can be sure we’ll keep bringing you the most honest coverage possible in a region where almost every automotive journalist is bought out. Here were our top stories for 2016.
We got inside the secret Ford GT design studio
It’s not every day that you get to visit a carmaker’s design studio and see prototype drawings. It’s even more unlikely when that design studio is a (formerly) secret one, hidden away in the basement behind a warehousing area with not even most of a company’s employees knowing about it.
We somehow got our hands on a McLaren 570S
While we’ve never had any track-time with McLarens, we did get offered a short session with a pre-production 570S on public roads, making it one of the first of these new models on the road at the time.
We drove the Ford Edge across Jordan
Ford doesn’t do too many overseas events, but when they do, they go big. The American carmaker flew us to Jordan for an epic cross-country drive through towns, mountain roads and deserts in the hopes of tracing Lawrence of Arabia’s legendary march, although we did downplay that history lesson in our review of the then-new Ford Edge.
We sent someone to play with a Porsche Cayman in Sweden
We brought in veteran auto journosaur Gautam Sharma this year to attend several overseas events for us. One of those trips happened to be a first drive of the Porsche 718 Cayman in Sweden. Needless to say, he was on a paid vacation on our behalf.
We again sent him to drive on the Nurburgring
Our journosaur was also sent to drive the fastest VW Golf GTI ever made on the most popular racetrack ever. The Nurburgring is on the to-do list of every car enthusiast out there, and we handed over that opportunity to one lucky man. It pays to work for us.
We drove Jeep’s latest Trailhawk in Las Vegas
We were invited to drive the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, which meant there was to be some good offroading involved. What made it more interesting was we were doing so in and around Las Vegas. It’s a lot less crazy there than you think (in the mornings).
We exhaustively covered the legendary SEMA show
What’s crazy was SEMA, the world-famous tuner show that lives up to the hype. It is quite possibly the biggest auto show of any kind that we’ve ever visited. We ended up walking 15 km in one day, taking photos of all the interesting vehicles, and we still managed to miss so many.
We finally drove a Ferrari on a racetrack
As any idiot cruising around beach roads can attest, driving a fast car nowadays is a frustrating experience with all the speed cameras around. So it was great to finally open up the lungs of a Ferrari 488 GTB at Yas Marina circuit. And then we got to compare our driving with a former F1 racer as well.
We were the only ones to test how CarReport works
Every newspaper in the country was hailing the launch of CarReport as the saviour of used car buyers, copy-pasting the press release as if it were definitive news. It’s a service that will apparently tell you if a used car has had an accident. So we put it to the test with a couple of accident-repaired cars.
We bought a Nissan Patrol!
Anyone can tell you that the best car deals to be had are when the market is down. However, some used car dealers will still try to rip you off. We put our own money on the line and bought ourselves a shiny new Nissan Patrol, and told you what sort of trickery to avoid from certain used car peddlers.