Small SEAT Arona SUV is rewarded for having a big heart

 

By Nigel Wigmore

IT was timely when I got behind the wheel of this week’s drive, because the Seat Arona had a good start to 2020 by winning a top award.
The Arona celebrated its first full year of sales by picking up What Car? magazine’s Small SUV of the Year.
I would add to that accolade that above all this car strikes you as, yes, small — but it is an SUV (sport utility vehicle) with a big heart.
Indeed, the panel of judges praised the Arona for its “interior practicality, pricing, smooth ride and handling”.
Which is fundamentally what the Arona is all about. Continue reading

Design and technology are what drivers are looking for the most

By Nigel Wigmore

MOTORISTS now look to carmakers to come up with the kind of high-tech specification they would expect to find on a smartphone.
“Design and technology are what drivers are looking for the most,” says Nissan.
In response, it was announced in Paris recently that Nissan has come up with the new Qashqai N-TEC edition.
The Qashqai has enjoyed unprecedented success as far as the Japanese carmaker is concerned.
It has an exemplary history as a production model. Having first gone on sale in February 2007, it proved a hit straight out of the blocks. Continue reading

Illustrated children’s fantasy novel on e-book: The BDC by Nigel Wigmore now available on Amazon

The BDC

Story and illustrations by Nigel Wigmore

Mae and Megan’s father brings home an old car. It belonged to a man in Liverpool who has died and left it to his son, Billy. But Billy was too sad to keep the car. Mae and Megan fall in love with the car and name it the BDC, (Billy’s Dad’s Car). One night, Mae sees a light inside the BDC. It is a cry for help from a family of Menders, the tiny folk who live inside the car.

 

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A tough trip but the Peugeot 3008 SUV came into its own

By Nigel Wigmore

OF all the medium-sized SUVs on the market, the Peugeot 3008 remains top of the class for comfort, interior space and style.
And a road trip at the weekend proved that when it comes to travelling in Britain today, it pays to be in a car of this high calibre.
Indeed, the 3008 has scooped the Best Medium SUV (sport utility vehicle) award at the Carbuyer Best Car Awards 2020 for the fourth consecutive year.
I think the judges nailed its appeal. They said it was a “practical family car, with class leading levels of technology, a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, engaging driving dynamics and stylish design in an affordable package”.
It is this all-round appeal that strikes you about the 3008 when you first get behind the wheel. And believe me, if you are faced with a difficult journey, as we were at the weekend, all these good things about the car come into their own. Continue reading

Kamiq is one to watch in Škoda’s growing family of SUVs

By Nigel Wigmore

THE mantra relentlessly heard on television soaps is that “family is everything” — despite the fact that you know it is only a matter of time before everything goes pear-shaped.
In the less histrionic world of car manufacturing, these days family is also everything.
All the major carmakers have been beavering away during past decades to develop and produce “families” of SUVs (sport utility vehicles).
Usually, this manifests itself into a simple line-up of large, medium and small SUV models.
This week’s drive is the “baby” of Škoda’s excellent range of SUVs.
The all-new 2020

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Taking a LEAF out of Nissan’s book as the electric car makes a comeback

By Nigel Wigmore

The electric car was first invented in the 1880s and was met with enthusiasm. Then the internal combustion engine took over. Current developments make me wonder if in the next decade the electric car is set to make the biggest comeback in the history of motoring.

Nissan showcases Electric Ecosystem designed to deliver the future of driving today

The new Nissan LEAF: the world’s best-selling zero-emissions electric vehicle now most advanced and accessible on the planet

The new Nissan LEAF: the world’s best-selling zero-emissions electric vehicle now most advanced and accessible on the planet

Nissan LEAF

This decade then is predicted to be a time when the electric car comes into its own.
In 2020 alone one major carmaker is already saying it will produce 14 new “electrified vehicles”.
So with all this huge investment on the part of car manufacturers finally bearing fruit, it will be interesting to see what the take-up on electric cars will be in the next 10 years.
In 2018, for example, 2.2 per cent of vehicles sold worldwide were electric and that was a record-breaking year, according to www.carinsurance.net — but that is bound to change in the next few years.
This week I have been driving an electric car that has been around, would you believe, for the whole of the previous decade.
The Nissan Leaf, a compact five-door hatchback electric car, was first introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010. It is now — since 2017 — in its second generation.
I have written about the Leaf several times before, once identifying two “conflicting emotions” while at the wheel. One was a rather “laid-back” state of mind where you are more relaxed and calmer than you might be while driving a “normal” car.
The second was one of anxiety — the principal concern of which was simply the question “Will I make it to where I am going and back again?” Continue reading

Audi picks up the pace with new look A5 for 2020

Interior

Dynamic photo
Color: Turbo blue

Dynamic photo
Color: Turbo blue

SONY DSC

By Nigel Wigmore

AUDI is moving at a pace into 2020 with upgrades to the popular A5 range — the Audi A5 Sportback, A5 Coupé and A5 Cabriolet.
This week’s drive, the A5 Sportback 40 TDI quattro Black Edition S tronic, displayed all the attributes of a car that is seriously moving with the times.
So, the A5 range has a new look, new mild hybrid drivetrains and the latest MMI touch-operating concept.
For example, at the top of the Coupé and Sportback line-up, new S5 variants come on stream using TDI power for the first time.
TDI, meaning “Turbocharged Direct Injection”, describes turbocharged diesel engines that have direct fuel injection.
This is combined with an electric powered compressor and mild hybrid drive based around a 48-volt main electrical system. Continue reading

Kia: At last an electric car that looks perfectly ‘normal’

By Nigel Wigmore

FIRST impressions count when it comes to appraising new cars, and my first look at the new Kia e-Niro was positive simply because it didn’t look like an electric car.
This is a compliment, by the way. For all too long, designers of nascent electric cars seemed to believe that somehow an all-electric vehicle had to look, well, different.
So, you would get those rather ugly, tiny all-electric city cars that looked as if they had escaped from an old-time fairground.
The Kia e-Niro I have been driving this week looks straight away like a normal car. That is, it is not spectacularly stylish but is perfectly easy on the eye.
More to the point, it does not look peculiarly electric. Continue reading

Volvo is my carmaker of the year for 2019

New Volvo S90 & V90 interior

Volvo V90 T6 Location

Volvo V90 Location

By Nigel Wigmore

FOR me, 2019 was not a year about one car in particular but more about one particular carmaker. Volvo is my standout carmaker for 2019 for its world market impact, model range refinement on both the technology and safety fronts and — not least for the Swedish carmaker — significant recent sales.
From the XC40, the smallest Volvo SUV, to the mighty XC90 SUV, the largest production Volvo car, the model range has not failed to impress.
The estate car models, such as this week’s Christmas drive in the Cotswolds, the Volvo V90, have shown an excellence of manufacturing execution, driveability and performance that will be hard to beat. Continue reading

Range Rover: Encounter with a true thoroughbred

By Nigel Wigmore

THE definition of a thoroughbred — according to at least one online dictionary — is “an outstanding or first class person or thing”.
I’m not sure any of us think of a car as a “thing”. This seems far too detached a term for the next most expensive object we buy after a house.
Few cars these days I would describe as thoroughbreds, but this week’s drive is the exception.
The Range Rover has well-documented antecedents that stretch back more than 70 years, when the humble Land Rover first appeared.
The Rover Company originally used the name Land Rover for a four-wheel drive off-road model launched in 1948. Continue reading