► VW Golf GTE long-term test► Popular PHEV put under the spotlight► Is it more Golf or more hybrid? You'll be familiar with at least one of the many movie versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where aliens take over humans, but you can't tell by looking at them. (In the case of the Donald Sutherland version, he actually seems to become less alien after he's been taken over.) That's the worst-case scenario with the Golf GTE, the plug-in petrol-electric hybrid: looks like a Golf, isn't.The best-case scenario is that it looks and feels like a Golf, with the same characteristics and charm and quality and practicality, but it happens to have an electric socket behind the VW badge on the grille. In the same way that diesels came to be an accepted part of the Golf family, why shouldn't there be a version with a powertrain that incorporates an electric motor?Well, we'll see. I've driven it literally twice so far (after Phil McNamara had it for a couple of weeks, keen … [Read more...] about VW Golf GTE long-term test: paternity test required…
Long term test
► CAR lives with a Toyota GT86► GT86 Pro long-term test review► Still the hero affordable sports car? When the GT86 was first launched, the ABS would chime in too early. I wondered if the 17-inch tyres were to blame, perhaps because they were running out of grip before the brakes were running out of stopping power. This revised version sticks with those same Michelins, but I haven’t once triggered the ABS.Perhaps the updated suspension does a better job of keeping the front tyres in contact with the road, perhaps the ABS is now less intrusive, but either way it feels better to me. Browse used Toyota GT86s for sale By Ben BarryEngine 1998cc 16v 4-cyl, 197bhp @ 7000rpm, 151lb ft @ 6400rpmGearbox 6-speed manual, rear-wheel driveStats 7.6sec 0-62mph, 140mph, 36.2mpg, 180g/km CO2Price £28,005 As tested £29,550Miles this month 444 Total 6446Our mpg 34.9Official mpg 36.2 Fuel £68.58Extra costs None This month, we let Mazda MX-5 … [Read more...] about Toyota GT86 long-term test: an everyday handling hero
► CAR runs a Volvo estate► Ours is a D5 AWD R-Design► Grown-up, but not boringA laboratory chimpanzee does not write his own reports. He doesn't know why the cosmetics make him cry: he just knows that they do. This is the best analogy I can come up with for my inability to explain why I don't entirely get along with Volvo's Sensus 'connectivity and entertainment technology': basically the huge nine-inch portrait-format touchscreen in the middle of the dash.I can make a few specific allegations: it has crashed and rebooted a few times while driving, the pinch-to-zoom function can be frustratingly slow and the map can lack detail, with street or place names too often absent and minor roads disappearing too soon.But there's also something about the nature or timing of the sat-nav instructions which I can't explain but which I know often leaves me confused and occasionally on the wrong road. Doubtless some human-machine interface expert could identify the fault, and it … [Read more...] about Volvo V90 long-term test: car and driver are out of sync
► CAR lives with a used Tesla► Model S long-term test review► Comment below if you own one! After the build-up, the research, the endless questions from mates and mums, the time has finally come. CAR magazine has collected our approved used Model S from Tesla’s UK headquarters and has become a fully signed-up member of the Tesla fraternity.The HQ in west London doubles up as the London Heathrow dealership and we sat alongside a handful of owners popping in to collect their own purchases and service their electric vehicles. There’s a cool, calm, premium vibe percolating the showroom, which is sparsely furnished with minimalist furniture, Apple Macs and displays showcasing the various charging solutions available to private customers.So far, so typical of any premium garage - but one distinguishing feature is the clientele. Tesla seemingly has a broad appeal, but there’s a strong interest from older, wiser, wealthier motorists, it … [Read more...] about It’s arrived! The start of our Tesla Model S long-term test review
FINAL REPORT - scroll down for earlier reports“Do you know what?” my partner asked me as we homed back in on Calais after 1500 miles in a week in the BMW 320d xDrive, adding those to the 15,000 miles racked up in the previous 11 months. “I’m really going to miss this car.” Why did she think that? “I don’t know why...”Ah. But as strange as it sounds, I’m with her on that. Well, I do know why, but I understand what she meant: the 3 Series is one of those cars that gets pretty much every little thing right, in such an unassuming way, that it makes life with it so easy, enjoyable and rewarding almost without you ever really noticing it.Whatever the 3 Series’ status and reputation as a stellar car to drive and a fine all-rounder, though, it still arrived in our possession last summer with a lot to prove. Back then, it had just undergone a facelift and its position as the star pupil of the class it had ruled for so long was under … [Read more...] about BMW 320d long-term test review: all the car you’d ever need?