Mazda has built a bit of a reputation with enthusiasts on a budget. Building cars that drive well, no matter what category they play in, it is popular among certain younger buyers. Of course, the problem is most buyers aren’t of the enthusiastic variety, and Mazda has always been way behind when it comes to the basics of space and comfort, thereby giving up market share to brands which understand their respective segments better. Does the new Mazda 3 change that?
The Lincoln Nautilus is basically the facelifted version of the outgoing MKX. As the Ford-owned American luxury brand steers clear of the ill-conceived “MK-whatever” naming convention that was introduced just a decade ago, proper names are back on the tailgates of Lincoln models, all of which are now taking design cues introduced on the flagship Continental sedan and made familiar with the new Navigator.
The midsize sedan segment is a competitive one dominated by the Japanese. But Chevrolet has had a competent entry for a few years now that hasn’t gained traction, even with competitive pricing. The current Malibu garnered a decent review from us when it was launched in late 2016, but then the well-known Japanese trio all got redesigns as well, raising the bar for what a midsize sedan can offer. The Korean-built Malibu received a quiet facelift for 2019 though, along with a new engine that’s a huge improvement.
Renamed but little changed since it first launched 40 years ago, Lada’s legacy model remains the brand’s defining model as it makes a comeback to Middle East markets. Formerly known as the Niva, the diminutive Lada 4×4 is both precursor to the crossover segment and a highly capable off-roader. With uni-body construction, rugged four-wheel-drive, and coil spring double wishbone and live axle suspension, it was designed as an affordable people’s car for city streets and rugged rural Russian winters alike.
A complete mental recalibration is called for. This is just the first three-quarter-throttle squirt out of the pitlane and onto the front straight of the Dubai Autodrome, yet it’s already evident the forward thrust being served up here is on the gob-smacking end of the scale. It feels as though I’ve been implanted in a movie that’s playing in fast forward, and the grey matter is still trying to comprehend this madness.
It’s not often that the launch of a new car is held in the basement. But there we were, in the underground parking lot of the Ford Middle East HQ, getting an exclusive walk-around of the all-new 2020 Explorer. Only two US-spec pre-production cars are in the country at the moment, in Hybrid trim, and we were among the first journos to get a look at them.
Remember the Ssangyong Actyon? Distinguished by a roofline that tapered sharply at the rear, it was arguably the first SUV-coupe in the world. The only problem? It wasn’t particularly good, which meant it never sold in significant numbers, so the Korean carmaker quietly laid it to rest in 2010 after a five-year production run.
In all the faff over Tesla this and Tesla that, most people idolising it tend to forget that a fully electric car is absolutely useless for the majority of people who live in apartments, which is why we’ve never shown any enthusiasm for EVs. But what if you could get the benefits of an electric car without the hassle of plugging one up to a faraway public charging station for an hour? That’s where the Nissan Note e-Power comes in, and it has become the top-selling car in apartment-heavy Japan.
Tesla has played a lone hand in the premium performance EV segment for the past several years, but the genre is now starting to gain critical mass, with virtually every mainstream prestige manufacturer pouring massive investments into developing and marketing battery-powered offerings.
The global launch of the 2020 Nissan Patrol was probably the biggest car launch the Middle East has ever seen. While the model is sold in only a handful of countries, it is clearly one of the best-selling premium cars ever in the UAE. The new model is more of an extensive update than a full redesign, but there’s no one better to review the changes, considering we actually own the outgoing model.
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