RANGE ROVER VELAR REVIEW

It would seem that Land Rover can’t put a wheel wrong. Last year their sales volumes were up almost 20 per cent in the UK, and in a market that is down so far in 2017, this year’s registration figures are up by more than 7 per cent. The Range Rover Evoque is still the bestselling model with more than 27,000 examples finding homes last year, and both the Discovery and Discovery Sport are selling very well indeed. But Land Rover had a problem. The step up from the Evoque that starts at £30,760 to the Range Rover Sport that is priced from £60,015 was huge, and the company needed a new model to fit in between. Enter the Range Rover Velar.

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VOLVO XC60 REVIEW

When it was announced that Volvo was being sold to Chinese firm Geely, there were a fair number of sceptics. They were worried that the much revered brand would be cheapened, watered down and left to wither, with management inexperienced of looking after a long-established brand. But the transformation has been nothing short of staggering, pushing the brand upmarket with well-engineered products that befit the legendary badge. Now Volvo can be spoken in the same breath as Audi and BMW, with products that stand up well to scrutiny. One model range has already been replaced - the luxury 90 series - to great acclaim, and now it’s time to begin to update the 60 series, with the SUV XC60 kicking off the rejuvenation. And if our first acquaintance with the model is anything to go by, the S60 saloon and V60 estate that will follow are going to be absolute crackers.

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NISSAN X-TRAIL REVIEW

The all-conquering Qashqai is the first Nissan to spring to mind when you think SUV, but its bigger brother is growing in popularity. Already the world’s biggest selling SUV, X-Trail sales were up a massive 76 per cent here in the UK last year, with more than 16,000 examples finding homes on British driveways. Nissan hopes that with a host of changes to the five- and sevenseater, that this will grow further thanks to bolder exterior styling, a better-quality cabin, greater refinement and additional technology. And while it’s still a way off yet, Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous drive technology will feature on the SUV towards the end of next year.

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YAMAHA FZ25 REVIEW

It has been a whirlwind month with all the motorcycle tests, launches and reviews that have been happening. From scoot-shoots to litre-class monsters, I have been changing rides faster than a model changes clothes at a fashion shoot! In the middle of this madness came Yamaha’s FZ25 for a road test. My first thought was, not another one! But by the end of the day, I knew this was a completely different machine. Not just in form and manners but also in approach towards the premium motorcycle space in India.

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DUCATI XDIAVEL REVIEW

Six years ago, when Ducati decided to launch a muscle bike to rival the likes of the V-Max and the V-Rod, the Diavel blew the minds of bikers around the planet. It was the wickedest thing on two wheels. Powered by an engine derived from the ferociously fast 1199 Panigale, the Diavel was no slouch. It was a naked muscle bike unlike any other and could cream many a sportbike in an outright drag. Indeed, its advertising tagline - ‘Don’t call me a cruiser’ left one in no doubt as to what the Diavel was not.

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APRILIA RSV4 RF REVIEW

It’s taken our country by storm and thrown all our financial calculations to the wind. Not to mention, every news channel worth its salt has been trying to explain it for the benefit of the common man. And if you’ve actually got what it is, then I dare you to explain GST to me. On Twitter. Gotcha, didn’t I? Well, guess what? I’m faced with the exact same predicament. I have to list down all the extra equipment that the limited-to-500- only edition Aprilia RSV4 RF comes loaded with and expand all those mental acronyms that make up the Aprilia’s electronics package. And I only have the 1,200 words that Aslam, our art director, has been able to spare for me. I suppose life was never going to be easy. Not if one was faced with the daunting challenge of putting down on paper the Thrill of Riding the exotic, sultry, tech-laden... and superfast, Aprilia RSV4 RF.

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BMW R NINET URBAN REVIEW

While the 1980s were a pretty terrible time for both fashion and music, not everything that emerged from the decade that brought us shoulder pads and Day-Glo socks was completely terrible. Over in Germany, where presumably the mullet and white socks with sandals continued to reign supreme, in the basement of BMW a very important prototype bike was being developed...

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SUZUKI GSX-R1000R REVIEW

Turns four and five of the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore happen to be my favourite corners. More than individual corners, four and five is actually a fast chicane, where on a superbike you need to lean in a bit but on smaller bikes you simply keep the throttle pinned and straightline things. It is quite exciting on a track that is otherwise known for its tight slow turns. Exiting this chicane astride the brand new Suzuki GSX-R1000R is nothing short of thrilling with the front wheel bouncing off the black top even as the flickering yellow traction control light tells me that the bike’s traction control system is working overtime to keep the bike glued to the track. Each time the wheel hits the ground, there is a slight shake of that head, quickly mitigated by the electronic steering damper.

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BENELLI 302R REVIEW

I have a poster on my bedroom wall back home in Calcutta of a rather unique silver and green superbike. The bike in question? The Benelli Tornado 1130. A youth in the in the middle of the dial-up decade, I scoured the city’s bookstalls until I found the copy of Motorcycle News where they had reviewed the bike. More than a decade on, in a social media battle scarred 4G landscape, I find myself looking at a similar colour scheme on a motorcycle bearing the name Benelli.

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SEAT IBIZA REVIEW

I’VE NEVER SEEN the appeal of Peter Pan. He must always be asked for ID in pubs, and he can’t have paid off his student loan, let alone got on the housing ladder. But when some people mutter that a car has grown up, you get the sense they mean it negatively.

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CORVETTE GRAND SPORT REVIEW

LIKE DRIVING A Ferrari whose birth certificate says ‘Peugeot 406 coupe’ or going out with a girl who makes a living looking a bit like Kate Middleton, there’s a whiff of fake about the Corvette Grand Sport. Or at least there should be. Essentially this is the supercharged Z06, just without the supercharger or Z06 badge. Visually, it promises plenty. But with an entire western’s worth of ponies left on the cutting room floor, it looks as likely to under-deliver as a postman with chronic fatigue.

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MERCEDES-AMG GT C ROADSTER REVIEW

EVER SINCE THE arrival of the 2003 Mercedes-McLaren SLR and the gullwing SLS that succeeded it in 2010, extrovert styling and a lot of noise have been trademarks common to all full-blooded AMG creations. Although the current AMG GT coupé embraces this approach, it’s eclipsed in both those key areas by its new soft-top sister models.

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VAUXHALL INSIGNIA GRAND SPORT REVIEW

THE NEW INSIGNIA is essentially a whole new car - with the emphasis on car. Rather than take on any of the high-rise, slidey-seat trappings of the booming crossover style, the Vauxhall has gone the other way: it’s not just longer and wider than the old car, it’s also lower. If the body style is very traditional, the rest of the car is all modern, going big on small-cc turbocharged engines, touchscreen interfaces, electronic safety aids and connectivity. The hatchback is now called the Insignia Grand Sport and arrives in the UK in June. It’s followed a few weeks later by the estate, called the Insignia Sports Tourer, which has the same choice of petrol and diesel engines. There’s no saloon version.

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