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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MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS COUPE REVIEW

CHALLENGING COASTAL roads and large Mercedes coupes traditionally go together like the yips and a title-deciding 18thhole putt. But the E400 Coupe is keeping its composure on the roads that lead from Barcelona towards the Pyrenees. Sport Plus mode selected, air suspension flexing its muscles, the Merc’s body deftly follows every steering input like a choreographed dancer. The composure is maintained at surprisingly high speed thanks to the standard 4Matic allwheel drive; more power is going to the front wheels than you’d experience with an xDrive BMW, but it’s still a rear-biased feel. When understeer creeps in, you just feed in throttle and ping out of the bend. This is no out-and-out sports car, but for a four-seat coupe that should cosset and pamper first and foremost, the broad grin on my face is unexpected.

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SKODA OCTAVIA SCOUT 2017 REVIEW

You may have noticed that road test reviews of the Skoda Octavia have dominated these pages over last few issues, and there’s a good reason for that. Not only are there a vast number of different versions, but also the Octavia is the best-selling car in the firm’s model line-up.

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SSANGYONG KORANDO REVIEW

To anyone other than a car enthusiast, the mention of SsangYong is likely to be met by a blank look. The vehicle maker, mainly known for buildings SUVs, can trace its roots back 63 years, but it is only the last few years, with the launch of capable vehicles like the Tivoli, that the firm has begun to make inroads into the UK market. In 2016, the South Korean car maker sold 4,444 cars in the UK, more than Subaru and MG, and management hopes that with the launch of this enhanced Korando and the all-new Rexton later this year, that the results will continue on an upward trajectory.

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SKODA RAPID REVIEW

While Skoda might be chasing SUV sales with its Kodiaq and forthcoming Karoq, it’s not forgotten that a smaller number of buyers want nothing more than a sensible hatchback. An even smaller number want one that’s a bit bigger than a Fabia but a little smaller than an Octavia, which is where this Rapid model fits in.

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BMW 4 SERIES COUPE REVIEW

It’s hard to keep up with BMW’s model range, with what seems like a constant avalanche of new products. Whether that be an all-new model or a life-cycle impulse, to use BMW’s fancy words, which basically means a nip and a tuck here and there, which is more commonly referred to as a facelift.

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RENAULT CAPTUR REVIEW

When Renault launched its compact crossover model, the Captur, four years ago, it was quickly onto a winner. Last year the friendly-looking Captur was Europe's best-selling urban crossover, known in motor industry jargon as a B-SUV, with a tally of over 215,000 sales.

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BMW5 SERIES ESTATE 2017 REVIEW

THE BMW ESTATE car is not a pioneer. When the first model arrived in the ’80s, we’d already seen Mercedes estates, and watched the Griswold family trek to Walley World in a station wagon. But in today’s era of forensic product planning, its genesis now seems pleasingly spontaneous and unpretentious.

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MINI COUNTRYMAN PHEV REVIEW

THE FORD F-150 pick-up is to Texas what I expect the Mini Countryman hybrid will soon be to the London Borough of Islington. Compact, reassuringly expensive at £31,585 before options, SUV-shaped, posh inside and with zero emissions outside (sometimes), the Mini Countryman looks like catnip for the middle-class urbanite.

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FIAT 500L REVIEW

THE METEORIC RISE of the crossover means that even the humblest small cars have had to grow up and diversify, hence Fiat’s freshly facelifted 500L has now spawned three separate models.

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