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First drive: 2017 Maserati Levante in Oman

First drive: 2017 Maserati Levante in Oman

Maserati, the brand best known for building cars that Ferrari didn’t want, has finally dipped their toes in the hugely-profitable SUV segment. While you may never see a Ferrari SUV, Maserati’s new Levante is as close to that as you may get, assuming you ignore the lack of a V8 option. We got our hands on one during a recent trip to Oman, as they seem oddly hard to come by in Dubai.

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First drive: 2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe in Oman

First drive: 2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe in Oman

If you’ve read our previous reviews of Mercedes-Benz’s AMG cars, you’ll realise that we don’t particularly find them impressive, specifically anything that seats more than two. All of their beefed-up sedans and coupes are rocket-fast, but when it comes to corners, it’s either severe understeer with the ESP in ‘sport-plus’ mode, or complete oversteer with the ESP fully off. Their rear-wheel-drive four-seater models are rather unbalanced cars compared to BMWs, held in line only by electronic nannies, which is why many of them now come with all-wheel-drive. The only car they currently have that’s truly an engaging drive is the AMG GT sports car.

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First drive: 2017 Kia Optima GT in Oman

First drive: 2017 Kia Optima GT in Oman

The last Kia we drove was the latest Kia Sorento. It was an impressive crossover in every possible way, except one — it was pretty darn boring to drive. Still, it ended up on our recommended list because it at least handled decently. Every Kia we drove before that was even worse in terms of driving dynamics. Kia has been constantly improving over the past half-decade, and the latest Optima looks like it could finally be up there with its Japanese and American rivals. So it was with great anticipation that we got behind the wheel of a turbocharged 2017 Optima GT for a quick spin while we were in Oman as judges for the 2016 Oman Auto Excellence Awards,

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First drive: 2017 Nissan Patrol SE V6 in Oman

First drive: 2017 Nissan Patrol SE V6 in Oman

The exterior as well as the interior are familiar. It feels like being back home. Everything we know about the Nissan Patrol is here. And we know a lot, since we bought one earlier this year. But ours is the LE V8. This is the new Patrol SE V6, a replacement for the discontinued SE V8. And the only way you can tell the difference is when you mash the throttle pedal.

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