Whether or not it is a new trim stage, an addition to the engine line-up, a whole overhaul or a completely new mannequin, if it is new we wish to drive it. In opposition to the chances, you would possibly say, 2020 has been a very busy yr for the Autocar evaluations desk, with all the pieces from £300,000 SUVs to hybrid superminis passing underneath our microscope.
Listed below are the highlights:
It is solely been on sale because the begin of 2020 however already the Puma is nicely on its manner up the bestsellers listing. Clearly, Ford’s pilfering of a hallowed 1990s nameplate for a Fiesta-based crossover was a canny advertising resolution, and you understand what? Put the curvy previous coupé subsequent to its fashionable namesake on a very flexible little bit of street, and the taller automobile will not embarrass itself half as badly as you would possibly anticipate. Plus, it is bought a hidden storage field within the boot and fuel-saving delicate hybrid tech. No marvel it solely simply missed out on a five-star verdict.
Volkswagen ID 3
First there was the Beetle, then got here the Golf and now we’ve this: an all-electric household hatchback that begins Volkswagen’s third age however blends parts of the 2 that got here earlier than. Thus, it is a sensibly sized five-door household hatchback (there’s your Golf) with a motor on the rear (there’s your Beetle) and a charging port on its rear flank (there’s your future…). Vital, for certain, then. However does it actually transfer the sport alongside?
Land Rover Defender
You may hardly say we have not given the brand new Defender a great going-over. Absolutely conscious of how essential the mannequin’s profitable revival was – not simply to Land Rover, however to its hordes of loyal followers – we examined its off-road mettle in Namibia earlier than returning to the UK to strive a number of variants on our battered tarmac, stage a significant off-road showdown with its key rivals after which conduct a full street check. The lengthy and wanting it? Overlook its extra rounded edges and better listing worth, it is a Land Rover Defender that totally deserves to put on its badge.
Porsche 911 Turbo S
“You are wanting on the quickest automobile on the planet.” If that sentence does not hook you in, we do not know what is going to. However that is no gratuitously gushing opening salvo; the 641bhp Turbo S variant of the most recent Porsche 911 is actually in a category of its personal on a point-to-point sprint throughout the twisties, and our tester reckons no matter was becoming a member of you for the journey would keep firmly within the rear-view mirror. Whether or not it is also “the very best supercar” on the planet is one other matter completely, nevertheless…
Volkswagen Golf R
Essentially the most potent series-production Golf was at all times going to trigger a stir, and when it guarantees not simply enhanced straight-line efficiency over its predecessor, but additionally to excel dynamically, you understand it is going to be one thing particular. Our first stint on the helm didn’t disappoint, and likelihood is when it touches down on UK roads within the subsequent few weeks, the Honda Civic Kind R can be quaking in its boots.
A model with the esteemed sporting fame of Porsche was by no means going to have a straightforward time launching its first electrical automobile. The unique Cayenne, diesel Panamera and four-cylinder-powered 718 had been every controversial in their very own proper, however pale compared to the prospect of a 2.3-tonne, four-door EV from Stuttgart – with a Turbo badge on the again, no much less. Simply as nicely then, that the Taycan – even in ludicrously fast 751bhp Turbo S guise – manages to hide the heft of its electrical innards to the extent that it could actually behave like a real sports activities automobile that doesn’t want the “…and it’s electrical” caveat. Our 100th Porsche street check and the primary EV to land 5 stars: a milestone certainly.
Not one to relaxation on its laurels, Toyota has utterly reinvented its best-selling Yaris supermini. The fourth-generation automobile doesn’t simply mark a radical design departure from its predecessor, but additionally presents more room, improved effectivity and – maybe most surprisingly – boosted driver attraction. It’s one of many priciest automobiles in its phase courtesy of its hybrid-only powertrain, however with character and allure excessive on its listing of traits, it’s a welcome return to kind for one among our long-time favorite city runarounds.
Ten years in the past, in the event you’d have mentioned an organization known as Tesla could be battling one other firm known as Polestar for govt EV supremacy, we’d have informed you to go and have a lie down. However nonetheless that’s the place we’re, and although the Californian model’s newest European providing, the three, is an undeniably spectacular piece of package – its rival from Volvo’s newly hived-off electrical efficiency model may simply edge it by way of kerb and cabin attraction.
Porsche, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Maserati have every generated no finish of controversy in launching high-end SUVs to shore up gross sales of their shorter and sportier rangemates, however none extra so – maybe – than Rolls-Royce. The Cullinan is a 2.7-tonne, V12-powered London taxi lookalike that Rolls refers to as a “high-sided automobile”; it’s not one for the purists. However climb (and we do imply climb) aboard, and it’s not arduous to see what your £300,000 outlay will get you.
It’s taken practically 20 years for Ferrari to correctly plug the hole in its line-up left when the 550 Maranello bowed out on the flip of the millennium. Combining four-seat grand tourer credentials with the model’s trademark poise and agility is not any imply feat. Add in real drop-dead attractive design and a suitably plush inside to the cut price and it begins to appear to be the choose of the vary.
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