When the Porsche Cayenne was first announced by the German manufacturer, everyone thought it will be beginning of the end of a brand which had a long heritage of building legendary sports cars. Fast forward 14 years later, and the Cayenne is one of their top selling models, and now with the introduction of the third-generation model, Porsche just makes it drive even more like a sports car.
Jeep is synonymous with off-roading, and nothing epitomised that more than their Trailhawk-branded range of vehicles, which came with more offroad equipment than regular versions of the Renegade, the Compass and the Grand Cherokee. We found all three Trailhawk models to be impressive both on and off the road. Yet there was a lot of noise being made to build a Hellcat version of the Grand Cherokee SRT, offroad abilities be damned. So they did. And it gave birth to a new badge — Trackhawk. And we got to try out for a few minutes at a racetrack in the United States.
Raising the stakes for German-dominated full-size luxury saloon rivals, the fourth generation Audi A8 is a technologically advanced tour de force. The first level-three autonomous driving production car -– of five levels –- the A8 rolls out a raft of high tech driver assistance, safety, infotainment, convenience, self-parking, mild hybrid, driveline and chassis technologies and systems. And as traditional for luxury flagships, much of its technology, and design elements, should eventually trickle down throughout the Audi model range.
The Audi Q5 isn’t particularly common in the GCC, but it is currently the VW-owned carmaker’s top-selling model worldwide. It still sold around a healthy 280,000 units in its final year, and 1.6 million in total since its inception in 2009. As it remains hugely popular, just like the A4, Audi has gone for evolution, rather than revolution, when it comes to the exterior. However, underneath the skin, everything has changed, with more technology, power and efficiency.
The latest in a string of recent crossover and SUV launches from Nissan, the 2018 incarnation of the ever-popular X-Trail seems an intentionally conservative mid-life refresh focusing on aesthetic, refinement and technology updates. The “world’s best-selling SUV” according to Nissan – and brand’s best-selling model with 835,000 units sold in 2016 alone – the Japanese automaker understandably doesn’t quite yet feel the need to upset such a successfully well-positioned proverbial apple cart. Unchanged mechanically, the 2018 X-Trail instead builds a winning formula of adept user-friendly driving, versatile practicality and affordability. We drove the updated model in Lebanon.
Volvo has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance ever since they got bought out by Geely. The Chinese carmaker has taken a hands-off approach to running the quintessentially-Swedish brand, allowing Volvo to explore riskier design ideas, moving them from the almost-premium segment to competing with proper luxury marques, one model at a time. After the well-received XC90 and the conservative S90, the all-new XC60 compact crossover we drove in Turkey may just be their best model yet.
After getting into the self-driving game a little late compared to several other mainstream carmakers, Honda plans to introduce cars with highly-automated driving capabilities in most driving situations by 2025. We tried out their latest autonomous prototypes during a trip to Honda’s R&D centre in Tochigi, Japan recently.
Keeping in mind the current trend of crossovers becoming the most popular type of vehicle among car buyers, Chevrolet recently launched the all-new 2018 Equinox for the Middle East market. Chevrolet will be hoping the Equinox proves to be just as popular as it is in the United States, where it is their best-selling vehicle, only behind the Silverado. It will replace the Korean-built Captiva, which never quite gained a foothold here.
Maserati’s GranTurismo has now been soldiering on for 10 years, but the stylish coupe – and cabrio – have now come in for a final round of upgrades to keep the car fresh until an all-new replacement finally arrives over the coming year or two.
The last time we did a muscle-car comparo back in 2011, the Mustang still had the suspension of a bullock cart, the Camaro was a heavy tank with slit windows, and the Challenger was the size of the Titanic. Fast-forward to 2017, and the Mustang has now become a refined tea-sipping aristocrat; the Camaro is a lighter, smaller car with even slittier windows; and the Challenger is still the size of the Titanic, except with better everything under the skin. Time for another comparo then. Which is the best muscle car available today?
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