Top 10 greatest DriveArabia stories of 2013
Having recently completed our 9th year of operation, we’ve grown our GCC visitor count by 20% compared to a year ago. We’ve also bought a Jaguar XK, to get a taste of how much it costs to live like the upper crust of society, bringing up the number of cool cars in our current personal long-term fleet to three. But that’s just the numbers game. We’ve had some fun along the way, immortalised in articles on this site. Here’s our top ten memorable moments for 2013.
- We drove the Rolls-Royce Wraith on its international launch in Austria
This was probably the highlight of our entire existence. A drive through some of the most beautiful roads in the world in one of the most expensive cars in the world. It was a bonus that we were among the first people in the world to drive the sportiest Rolls-Royce ever, in the same week as all the top international media.
- We got four of the best crossovers together for the ultimate comparo
Our first ever proper comparison test showed the local media how it’s done, as we gathered crossovers from whoever would lend us one, and put them to the ultimate test, onroad and offroad, with clear winners and losers.
- We drove a trio of Ford prototype hot-weather test cars
It’s not everyday we get to drive cars long before they’re launched. In fact, these Ford pre-production cars were at the tail-end of the hot-weather testing phase. We even got to throw in some of our observations, which will supposedly be heard at the mothership in the States.
- We took a privately-owned Renault Duster 4×4 off-road
A friend of ours recently bought a manual Renault Duster 4×4, quite possibly the rarest car in the country. And our off-road guru/monkey Vivek promptly took it into the desert, alongside Wranglers and Patrols. It did rather well actually.
- We drove a Range Rover Sport off-road and on a racetrack
Our sub-editor Marouf went to the local launch of the Range Rover Sport, and hit the desert, the highway and the racetrack in what is probably the most comprehensive look at the new trucklet’s abilities.
- We took part in the Nissan Xplore longest off-road convoy world record
Armed with a Nissan Xterra, our man Marouf hit the desert again, this time to take part in the surprisingly-gruelling Nissan Xplore off-road event that even attempted to create the world’s longest off-road convoy this year. They succeeded, and now we’re part of a world record.
- We survived the Jeep Jamboree yet again
We also survived the Jeep Jamboree this year, bringing Vivek and his friends along as a back-up in their own Jeep. This time was easier than before, so we didn’t really need his help. But then he went wild with our Wrangler as we stepped out for a breather at Fossil Rock.
- We snagged a McLaren 12C test-drive again
Even if we’re the most popular automotive website around, you’d be surprised to know how snooty the supercar brands can be when dealing with us. Not McLaren though. They handed us one of their cars again, this time the 12C Spider, that too for an entire weekend. A tour of the state ensued.
- We rock-crawled in a Jeep Grand Cherokee without even touching the pedals
It’d seem that there was no shortage of off-road events for us this year, but this one was a bit different. Aside from the obligatory desert runs and wadi drives, Jeep also set up a rock-crawling course to demonstrate the crawl-control feature on their new Grand Cherokee. We’ve seen similar downhill systems before, but this one could go down as well as up rocky slopes without a single input from us, aside from steering. It was a freaky-cool demonstration of technology.
- We thrashed five different Mercedes-Benz AMG cars on an F1 track
We ended the year on a high note with our annual visit to the AMG Performance Tour at Yas Marina Circuit. While Mercedes-Benz doesn’t make it particularly easy for us to road-test their cars, they bring in almost all their latest AMG models to the track once a year for a no-holds-barred speedfest, and the immense amount of actual wheel-time this year left us more than satisfied.
It was a good year. It could’ve been better. But there’s always next year.