Lamborghini Arus

in Motoring Insight

I went over to the Lamborghini factory in Italy in July 2017 when the early pre- production models of the Urus had been hand assembled in an all-new purpose built, very modern building.

 I looked at the Urus, and remember saying, a big SUV from the Sports Car manufacture, Lamborghini, it will never sell. But then I remember saying the same thing about the Porsche Cayenne back in 2002. Porsche making a big SUV, how ridiculous. This does prove, that not only can you be wrong once, but in fact twice!

The Urus I tested was from Lamborghini Leeds and painted in Nero Ade (black) probably not the best colour for the Urus, as more vibrant colours are available, with some looking outrageously good.

The Urus is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine that produces a whopping 650bhp, and goes from 0-100kph in a staggeringly quick 3.6 seconds, especially for a large, heavy SUV.

The interior is so luxurious, and every bit a Lamborghini, the quality and fit and finish is superb. The centre console replicated a fighter jet, with similar shaped controls, and even a small red, hinged cover that goes over the start button. Lift it up, Press the starter, and up it fires, making the most fantastic sound, and a sound that just gets better and better, as you move off from stationary, and when you are cruising it sounds so good, really makes you smile. But I’m not sure ‘green’ people would be overly supportive of such a vehicle,

The Urus was launched in 2019, and headed straight into the Covid Pandemic, so production slowed to nearly nothing for quite a while, but production in Bologna’s factory is up to full capacity now, around 5,000 units per year, but you’ll still have to wait a while for delivery, time enough to save up for one.

The Italian design is crisp and so attractive, but aggressive with its sloping roof, that gives it a sports car look, but the roofline does create a problem in the fact that vision can create poor visibility, especially the rear.

At the factory, there is a visitors’ centre, where anyone can book, and go and have a look at current and classic Lamborghinis, some of them are very rare, and worth a fortune, but well worth a visit to see some absolutely tremendous pieces of extraordinary car designs.

Many people often forget that this is not Lamborghini’s first ‘off-roader’ as back in the 1980’s they had the very boxy LM002. Lamborghini also are famous for making agricultural tractors, but the tractor division of Lamborghini, is completely separate now to car production.

The starting price up in the UK is around £188,000 (circa €208,000), but once you start ticking a few boxes for some very nice options, you can soon find yourself with an invoice of over £250,000.

During the time I had the Urus on test I didn’t get chance to put it through its paces, to try its fantastic handling just a nice steady drive around West Yorkshire. Nor did I drive across any farmers fields or up any “mountains” to test its very competent off-road capabilities. I didn’t think taking the car back covered in mud was a good idea.

If you drive the Urus very carefully, which I’m sure most owners will do, then you’re u can get a range of over 400 miles (640km).

The Lamborghini has supercar performance, has room for five-adults, and their luggage, looks spectacular, sounds spectacular, can comfortably go off-road, and has those all-important Lamborghini badges on it. Just a great all-rounder, but does come with a hefty, yet justifiable price-tag.

Citroën Ami Cargo

in Motoring Insight

It measures only 2.41m long, so it is tiny, but very easy to park, and probably small enough to take into Morrisons to do your shopping in, and I’m sure it would go up and down the isles, and with a small turning circle, of only 7.2m, it’s very nimble.

Citroën has been clever with their design, as the front panel is identical to the rear, just the lights are different. The drivers door opens rearward, and the passenger door opens forward, all Ami’s are left-hand drive, so ideal for Gibraltar and its narrow streets.

In the cabin, which is remarkably spacious for such a small car, it is fairly basic, with hardly any nice bits of standard specification. It does have a heater, but I found it to be underwhelming, and you are better not using it, and conserve some electric. 

The Ami does have a nice touch first used on the Citroën 2CV over 80 years ago, these are the hinged ‘pop-up’ Windows, a bit of retro design in a modern vehicle.

The Ami is technically not a car, it’s a large electric quadricycle, and in some European countries it can be driven by 14 year olds without a driving licence. This could be a very good or a very bad thing!

The electric motor produces just 8 BHP, which gives it a top speed of 28 mph, or 45kph, so highly unlikely you’ll ever get a speeding ticket. RGP, take note.

Anyone thinking of buying an electric Ami, really needs to think long and hard about where and when they are going to use it. Its range is going to be very dependent on the gradient of the terrain. Also, obviously, required is the ability to efficiently charge the vehicle. This isn’t always practical in Gibraltar if you live on the top floor of a block without parking. The Ami really is a “buyer-beware” vehicle, do your homework before making any buying decisions. It is also available badged as an Opel Rocks Electric, so could be available over the Frontier at the relatively new Opel dealership there, with all the duty fun and games that would entail.

But the Ami is not expensive to buy, in the UK the one-the-road price is £7995, but if you do buy one, be prepared for many people looking at it, it does attract lots of attention.

The Genesis

in Motoring Insight

I have recently driven not one but two Genesis models. “A Genesis”, I hear you say out loud, yes a Genesis, not the Biblical version, or something from the rock band, or from an ancient Latin word, no, Genesis as in the new car brand.

Genesis is to put it bluntly, the posh arm of the Kia/Hyundai company, it makes cars that are basically a very luxurious car, but based on the well proven Hyundai & Kia drivetrains and technology.

First I had the all-Electric G80, which is a four-door saloon, and does look good for a full five-seat car.

It is powered by Twin-Electric Motors, driven by the batteries and they produce the equivalent of 364bhp, and it goes from 0-100kph in a staggering 4.9 seconds; a good job it has nice headrests to stop you hurting your neck while accelerating. It has solar panels on the roof to help produce a bit of electricity, but in all honesty they are not really big enough to charge up the battery that much.

As I was driving the Genesis, a song came on the radio, not by Genesis, but from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it was Truly Scrumptious, and that’s what this car really is.

The second Genesis I drove was another all-electric, the GV60, which is a medium sized SUV, and like the G80, it too is very good. It just oozes quality, the materials used are first class and certainly up to a very high standard to easily match the best from the United Kingdom or Germany.

Kia & Hyundai have improved dramatically over the past few years, but Genesis takes them to a new level.

The G80 I drove was electric, but you can buy a petrol version, a 2.5-litre that produces 304bhp, which is ideal for those (like me) not ready for an electric vehicle … yet.

While I had the G80, over a week, I did have some difficulties charging it. To do so at home takes forever, up to three days using the 3-pin plug, so that is not an option, and you do ideally need off-street parking too, which many people (especially in Gibraltar) just don’t have.

But putting the charging issues aside, Genesis has created and built some amazing cars in a relatively short space of time. Quality is everything. They really are truly scrumptious.

Yaris Cross

in Motoring Insight

Toyota have taken a pretty boring looking small five door hatch, that does sell in big numbers around Europe and made it into something very special.

I can just imagine the conversations at Toyota HQ, someone has got their design drawing pad and added a few extra body parts onto a standard Yaris, they’ve then gone into their boss and said “I’ve had a great idea, why don’t we do a ‘pumped-up’ version of the fairly dull Yaris?” I can imagine the initial reaction would be one of, not a chance, it wouldn’t work, and it wouldn’t sell.

But it has gone into production, and it is selling extremely well. It is powered by a 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine coupled to an automatic gearbox and the very clever and frugal Toyota hybrid system.

I had one recently on test, and before it arrived wasn’t sure about it’s design or concept, it just reminded me of what Rover did to the 25 back in 2003. They too took a pretty basic 25 hatch called it the Streetwise and added various bits to it, such as roof rails, plastic wheel arch mouldings and larger bumpers and called it the ‘Urban on-roader’ it was suppose to attract younger buyers to the Rover brand, and in fairness to Rover it didn’t do too badly in the market. But underneath it was still a fairly unreliable 25.

But the Yaris Cross is a cross of two things that Toyota do really well, make great small cars, and produce a fantastic non-plug-in Hybrid System. But the designers have completely transformed the exterior from the Yaris and made it almost unrecognisable from the standard car. Like the Streetwise lots of added body parts, but all very tastefully done, and all up to a very high quality in both materials used, and the fit and finish, not just a bit of glue holding it all together.

It has a higher driving position than the standard Yaris and even higher than its competitors such as the Ford Puma and Skoda Kamiq. In the Cross there are plenty of manual adjustments to the seats and steering wheel, so getting comfy, whatever size you are is really easy.

Rear leg and head room is fairly good for a small car, and the luggage space with its two-piece height adjustable boot floor is adequate.

But the economy on this Toyota is very good, during the week I had the car it achieved over 60mpg (4.7 l/100 km) which I thought was excellent and much of this was just local and short journeys. The hybrid system charges a battery whilst slowing down, braking, coasting or going down hills. The energy it saves, is then used for acceleration, and can run for a few miles purely on electric power, which helps fuel consumption and reduces emissions.

After a week, it was collected by Toyota GB, and I was a bit sad to see it go, as I really enjoyed using the Yaris Cross much more than I thought I was going to.

Prices in the
UK start from £24,840.

Citröen C5

in Motoring Insight

The original Citröen C5 was produced at the Rennes Plant back in 2001, wasn’t the prettiest of five-door hatches, but sold in reasonable numbers, and the French loved them.

Move on 20 years and we now have the C5 X, and the only thing it really has in common with the original, is sharing the C5 badges, everything else is completely new.

The C5 X is undoubtedly the most luxurious car that Citröen produce. It is very difficult to ‘categorise’. It mixes Estate car, long low hatch, and a bit of SUV with its raised height thrown in for good looks; yet all of these descriptions do seem to contradict each other. But for some reason, the exterior design seems to work well. The rear end, in my humble opinion is very reminiscent of the C6, a car not that popular back in its day, but quite sought after now.

The C5 X I had on test from Citröen UK Press Department was powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine, coupled to electric motors giving it a total of 222bhp, making it a true hybrid. It goes from 0-100kph in 7.9 seconds. You can plug it in, and this will give you a range of around 40km. It also ‘self-charges’ when you are slowing down, braking or going down hills, and this spare energy goes back into the battery, is used at slow speeds, and reduces petrol used – in turn lowering emissions. But the driver does not have to think about what is going on with any of this as it does everything itself. All this technology and cleverness is coupled to a very smooth and efficient 8-speed auto gearbox.

All models of the C5 X has ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushion Suspension’ and driving it took me back to the days when Citröen’s just gilded along, you never felt any lumps or bumps in the road, it just drove as though they were not there. The C5 X has got this feeling, only a whole lot better. Added to the superb suspension it also has Advanced Comfort Seats, to provide maximum cushioning. A great in-car sound system keeps you from having a siesta, when you should be driving. The cabin is such a quiet, peaceful place to sit, especially when everyone else has nodded-off. The downside of this ultra-comfy car is it tends to lean a bit on corners, doesn’t feel as sharp at handling as many other cars, but you can’t have it all in one car.

The other difference between the original C5, which was made in France, is the all-new C5 X is manufactured in China. It’s built to a very high standard with high quality materials and great fit & finish throughout.

I really enjoyed the Citröen C5 X for the week I had it, but after seven days, I was still unsure as to what, it was exactly, or where it fitted in in the market, but, does it really matter?

Peugeot 3oh!8

in Motoring Insight

The first Peugeot 308 was launched in June 2007,
replacing the 307, and was available as a hatchback, estate and a coupé-cabriolet. It regularly sold over 250,000 units per year globally.

But the 308, like many other French cars suffered from reliability problems, a legacy that lives on in many people’s minds today.

PSA the owner of Peugeot, Citroen, DS, have over the past few years worked overtime to overcome the problems they once had, and now being part of the Stellantis Group (Fiat, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Vauxhall, Opel etc) they certainly have made massive improvements in every department.

The car I had on test recently was a 308 Allure Premium, powered by a 1199cc 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that produces 130hp. This is coupled to a very smooth 8-speed efficient automatic gearbox, and goes from 0-100kph in 9.7 seconds. Not bad for a 1.2 litre car.

The car was painted in Olivine Green, a colour that certainly grew on me during the time I had it, and was a real eye-catcher wherever I parked it.

The all-new 308 has certainly grown up to be a handsome looking car, the styling is superb from every angle.

It now wears the new Peugeot badges, which ooze modernity and are a big step away from the cumbersome chrome badges we’d grown accustomed to. The Peugeot logo dates back to 1847, which makes it the oldest car emblem. The lion, as the brands symbol, was designed when the steel business of the Peugeot family needed a logo. It was a heraldic symbol of the commune the Peugeot family came from, and serves as a reminder to this day.

The interior of the new 308 shimmers with quality, it’s more like an expensive German car, than a French hatchback.

The 308 is jammed packed full of goodies and above “standard” specification, so at UK OTR £28,020 it does look good value.

During the week I had the 308 I enjoyed every minute of driving it, and on average 55mpg (4.27 litres/100km) which I thought wasn’t a bad result.

Civiv Duty

in Motoring Insight

The first Honda Civic was launched 50 years ago, back in 1972. I too have had a long relationship with the Civic as I was selling Hondas at a local garage in Huddersfield from 1976. Despite the locals reactions to selling Japanese cars in the village, they gradually accepted them, well, most did, and we sold loads.

The latest version of the Civic is the 11th generation, and when you take a look all the previous models, they are all very different. Not like most other similar sized hatchbacks that have evolved with styling, every Civic had radical changes in its design. But the one thing they had in common was the build quality and reliability.

For quite a while Hondas were well out of favour with younger buyers, and drivers tended to be in the older age bracket – not good for Hondas image.

The all-new Civic e:HEV is all-new from the ground up. The exterior design is coupé-like with its sloping roofline, but the lower roof at the rear doesn’t affect rear head room for passengers. It has uncluttered simple lines that makes it a good looking five-door hatch, with an overall cleaner look.

Major changes have been made under the bonnet since a new full hybrid system has been fitted, similar to other powertrains offered by competing manufacturers. It is powered by a newly developed 2.0-litre petrol engine coupled to dual electric motors and produces a total of 184ps, and goes from 0-100kph in 8-seconds. The gearbox is a CVT automatic, and no manual gearbox will be available. The hybrid system, like others, is self charging. This means no plugging in, as the batteries are charged when slowing down, going downhills, braking and so on. This stored energy is then used when setting off at traffic lights, roundabouts, and to give the petrol engine a boost on acceleration. All of these measures help save petrol, and make it greener and more economical.

During the time I drove the e:HEV, the car achieved 3.564 L/100km, which I thought was a good result from a two-litre petrol car. It feels safe and solid on all road surfaces, with handling fairly good, and much sharper than the previous model.

The new Civic will be built in Japan and exported to Europe following the shutdown of the Swindon plant in the UK.

All Honda Civic models will include Honda’s SENSING driver safety systems. These include a 100-degree front wide-view camera, lane-keeping assist, blind spot information and low speed braking control.

The model line-up comprises three versions: Elegance, Sport and Advance. All models have a decent long list of standard equipment.

Out on the roads, the Civic is very capable. It felt quick, very comfortable, and all the switches and buttons are in the right place and easy to use. The hybrid system works effortlessly – you don’t have to do anything – it does everything all by itself, and the economy was outstanding.

Overall a great package from Honda, and if like most people you’re not ready yet for an electric car, then the e:HEV is as close to clean as you’ll get.

SsangYong – Musso

in Motoring Insight

A what, many of you may be thinking, a SsangYong, never heard of it, it is really a car manufacturer. Some others may see SsangYong and think of the very agricultural vehicles they may have once owned or been in, and probably couldn’t wait to get out of. It is fair to say that SsangYong hasn’t got the best of histories, in terms of quality and design.

SsangYong was established in 1954 in South Korea, and in the short time has had quite a chequered history, it has produced special purpose vehicles, built Jeeps for the US Army under licence, and a variety of trucks and buses. In 1991 SsangYong started a technology partnership with Daimler Benz to develop a SUV.

In 1997 Daewoo Motors (now GM Korea) bought the controlling stake from SsangYong Group, then in late 2004 the Chinese automobile manufacturer SAIC took a 51% stake in the company. In 2009 the company went into receivership due mainly to the global economic crisis. Then in 2010 four local and foreign companies took over the company, and very recently a consortium led by KG investment took over the company.

So a bit of a up and down history, and so SsangYong had to turn it round and make vehicles people actually wanted to buy, and get rid of the previous image. 

The test car I had a Musso Pick-Up truck was a bit of a surprise to say the least. It looks good with great and bold exterior design, looks very purposeful. The interior is so good, if you didn’t know what it was, you would think you were in a premium German saloon. SsangYong have gone overboard with the materials used and fit and finish in the cabin, it is very luxurious.

It is powered by a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged Diesel engine that produces 181ps and available with either a 6-speed Manual or 6-speed automatic. All versions have part-time four-whee, drive system that sends drive to the front wheels, and to front and rear when needed, this does help with fuel economy.

Although you might feel as though you are sitting in a very expensive saloon or SUV, the ride, as expected is very much a pick-up, a bit lumpy and bumpy, but, it is a work horse, and not a Chelsea tractor. 

Currently there are very few new pick-ups on sale by manufacturers as many pulled out of the market for many reasons including high CO2 figures and emissions that were not acceptable, but this will be resolved soon, and those that disappeared will return, so SsangYong are currently in a good position with the Musso.

Interestingly SsangYong have a big connection here in Gibraltar, as some of you will know. BAG [Bassadome Automotive Group] based here on The Rock, acquired SsangYong UK distribution rights in 2011, and is the national distributor with 65 franchised dealers. BAG was founded in 1904 and has operations here, Spain, Finland, The Baltic’s and UK.

SsangYong has undergone a dramatic transformation over recent years, a new growth strategy, new management, new engineering, and obviously an new, and younger design team. It will continue to grow providing the quality remains sky-high and its design looks bold and appeals to European demanding tastes.

Pricing of the Pick-up I had on test is around £30,665 plus VAT, a lot of car for the money, as it comes fully loaded with standard specification.

Multivan vs Shuttle

in Motoring Insight

In my humble opinion, people can buy cars for some of the oddest reasons. Perhaps they buy it because it looks good and stands out in a crowd, because it’s fast, or they’ve always liked the manufacturer, or because they like the colour or quite simply, it fits within their budget.

But I see so often, probably too often that the vehicle they bought just doesn’t suit their life, or lifestyle, or, more probably, the kids. People buy a “people carrier” because as the name suggests, it carries people, large, and small. But these people carriers usually can’t carry much else, such as prams, luggage, get the dog in the back, picnics, chairs and everything else you need for a day out with the family. I see so often neighbours setting off for the weekend with a drive full of stuff to go in the car, but nowhere to put it, and mum & dad arguing over what goes, and what stays. So what is the best thing a parent can buy, for safety, comfort, practicality and space, well Volkswagen have a lot to offer, as do Ford, Peugeot, Citroen, Toyota and others, but let’s look at what VW currently have in the way a practical solution, and to help stop the driveway disagreements. 

I recently drove the much anticipated Multivan, the latest people carrier from Volkswagen and many regard this as the T7 Volkswagen started with the ‘T’ Series back in 1949, and based on the Beetle, with a water-cooled rear engine. You will remember it had a flat front and a split windshield, and today they are making a fortune, because they’re very collectible. Through the years VW introduced the T2, T3 and so on, until today we have an updated version of the T6 called the T6.1. It is available as many guises including a standard van, pick-up, crew-van and the ever popular Shuttle with either 8 or 9 seats and short or long wheelbase.

Then the Multivan came along and replaced the Caravelle 7-seater bus. Many thought the Shuttle would be discontinued in favour of the Multivan, but VW in their wisdom, correctly decided to carrying on building the Shuttle.

The Multivan is just so luxurious with seven individual seats with a 2-2-3 configuration, with the two centre seats able to turn around and slide back and forth. It is jam-packed full of technology and it just oozes opulence and quality. It is available with a choice of petrol, diesel or a plug-in Petrol to help save fuel, and reduce emissions, and VW only offer it with a DSG automatic gearbox. The Multivan is offered with either short, or long body, with the wheelbase remaining the same on both versions.

The T6.1 Shuttle is only available with diesel power, but does have the choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.

The Shuttle is available with long or short wheelbase and either 8 or 9 seats, the 8-seater has a double front passenger seat, whereas the 8-seat version has two individual ‘Captains’ front seats, the middle row has three individual seat and the third row a 3-seater bench.

So which is the best, or the one to choose? This all depends on your personal requirements. The Multivan is so luxurious and everything is high quality, full of technology and looks brilliant … but does lack a bit of space, especially in the luggage area, nowhere near as much as the T6.1.

The Shuttle is more like a van with windows, and seats, which is exactly what it is. But VW have been very clever in disguising the fact it is a van with windows, by making the interior look and feel very special, comfortable by using quality materials. The Shuttle is much more practical than the Multivan, you can get more people in it, and in the boot you can get dogs, bikes, trikes, proms, go to the tip, and so on. Whereas the Multivan is so good, and so precious you’d be frightened to put anything in it, it is… just too nice.

It is great though that Volkswagen actually offer you the choice, with these two very competent people carriers.

My choice, if you’re asking, would be the T6.1, just better for my lifestyle, four grandkids, dogs, always going to the tip, and the coast with buckets, spades, folding chairs, cool-box, all the usual rigmarole. So for me, the Shuttle suits me best, but I wouldn’t say no to a more expensive Multivan, but would have to restrict what I put in it.

All the angles – Kia Sportage & EV6

in Motoring Insight

It is not that long ago I can remember standing on Immingham Docks looking at some new Kias that had just arrived after their long journey from South Korea. The cars were, just alright, but not up to the standard of European or British cars, but they were trying their best in a tough market.

Move on seventeen years since the viewings at Immingham, and the models Kia is making now are unrecognisable from years ago.

I recently tested two of the latest models from Kia, the ever popular Sportage that has been a huge success for them, and the full-Electric EV6.

The EV6 is a great looking five-door crossover-coupé with some very nice, and bold lines to make the exterior design look very attractive, and stand out in a crowded car park.

As with most electric-cars the 0-100kph is pretty amazing, the EV6 is capable of doing this in 3.5 seconds, but the car I drove was a more leisurely 7.3 seconds, still quick though. With a full battery, and on a good day, it has a range of up to 328 miles, but on a bad day when the heating, or air-con is needed you can generally knock up to 25% of this range.

The interior is equally as impressive as the exterior, it is very modern, almost futuristic, like something out of a sci-fi movie. But everything seemed easy to use and intuitive.

Prices OTR in the UK start from £41,695.

The second Kia I have driven recently was the all-new Sportage, and although the previous model was really good, this new one is a massive improvement in all departments. The exterior design is sharp and crisp and looks great from every angle.

The interior has been changed dramatically, for the better, and the quality throughout the cabin is very high. The materials used, and fit and finish is up to a very high standard.

The car I had on test from Kia UK PR was the GT-Line Hybrid, that was ‘self-charging’, so like most hybrids, it charges the batteries when slowing down or going down a hill, stores the energy, so you can use it to power the electric motors; and that saves using the petrol engine to save fuel, and hence reduce emissions. This Kia technology is excellent and really does work, and saves precious and expensive fuel. During the time I had the car it averaged over 50mpg/4.7 litres per 100km.

I was expecting the new Sportage to be good, but was so much better than I expected.

1 2 3 5
0 £0.00
Go to Top