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?
Emirates Driving Institute (EDI) in the UAE announced the launch of its “Platinum Driving Course” a few months ago, where well-heeled customers can learn how to drive on a fleet of premium cars instead of the usual Nissan Sunnys. And we got the chance to go back to school to try it out.
Perhaps it’s a legacy of Enzo himself, but Ferrari has never been one to err on the side of conservatism or modesty. Who else would roll out cars with names like ‘Speciale’, ‘LaFerrari’ and ‘Superfast’? Fortunately, the company has the cojones and know-how to back up the bluster, and whenever it unleashes a car with a superlative appellation, said vehicle never fails to deliver on its promise.
When we attended the Honda Meeting 2017 press conference in Japan, at the carmaker’s Tochigi R&D centre, we got an unexpected taste of some of the company’s latest products. The cars on hand to drive were the much-hyped Honda Civic Type-R, the new Honda Clarity range of hybrid/electric vehicles, and a Honda Civic Dynamic Study prototype. While our time with each of them was limited to a few minutes, if you ever get your hands on these on the same day, you’d have a completely different view of Honda as a carmaker than you would when walking into a local Honda showroom.
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