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.
We love grand tourers. They have the perfect balance of excitement and practicality. We owned a big brash third-generation Toyota Supra (the one before the Farce & Furious hero car) about a decade ago, and it had immense road presence as well as the ability to carry four people in a pinch. From that we moved on to a Jaguar XK, and even considered an old Bentley Continental GT at some point. But the 2020 Toyota Supra is not a grand tourer. It’s a full-blown sports car.
For most of its 102-year history, Lincoln has churned out solely sedans and coupes, but over the past decade the marque has become a purveyor of predominantly SUVs – a shift that’s in line with changing buyer tastes. Forget the gargantuan Continental land yachts of yesteryear, the lion’s share of Lincoln’s sales volume today comes from high-riding wagons, and these now represent two-thirds of the brand’s model line-up.
Audi was one of the first Euro players to enter the luxury seven-seat SUV space when the first-generation Q7 launched back in 2005, and Ingolstadt’s big all-terrainer has since carved out a solid niche for itself. That said, a decade ago the Q7 didn’t have too many direct competitors, but it now must stave off the likes of BMW’s brand-new X7, reinvigorated Mercedes-Benz GLS, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX80 and Lexus LX570, all of which are arguably one size bigger.
Sedans are dying – this is what automotive sales charts around the world indicate, thanks to the mass exodus of buyers to the crossover SUV segment. The latter genre is booming and virtually every manufacturer under the sun – Audi included – has been stuffing its line-up over the past decade or so with an assortment of high-roofed contraptions offering at least a pretence of off-road ability.
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