Updated: 2017 Honda Civic spotted testing in the UK

The 2017 Honda Civic has been spotted testing in Cumbria by two Autocar readers.

TVR cars to be built at Circuit of Wales

TVR has signed a deal with the Welsh government to set up its new manufacturing plant in Wales.

Honda FCV Clarity could arrive in the UK this year

Drive for the FCV comes from an electric motor which is capable of providing more than 134bhp, while power density has been increased by 60% over that of the FCX. The fuel stack size has also been reduced by 33%.

Honda Amaze Facelift: Why it has become relevant once again

Has Honda been smart with the Amaze by concentrating all its efforts on the new interior? And has that made it a much more relevant car than it ever was? Read on...

Hyundai i20 Active review

The Hyundai i20 Active adds to the niche band of jacked-up, rugged-looking superminis. It might not have quite the same authenticity but it’s decent value compared to purpose-built small crossovers. It’s also spacious, fairly well-made and a competent drive.

Motorsport: Supercars drops "V8" brand as Virgin comes on board

The Australian motorsport landscape shifted today as V8 Supercars dropped the 'V8' and announced it will rebranded itself as the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
The development is significant as it represents the first naming rights sponsor for the category in a decade, following the airline's agreement to support the category over five years for an undisclosed sum.
But it also reflects the shifting nature of the nation's car industry as the series chose to do away with the homegrown "V8" name tag from July 1.
V8 Supercars chief executive James Warburton says the decision was not taken lightly, and that is is part of a larger plan.
"More will become clear as we roll out our 2025 vision and our strategy in terms of the other categories we're looking at and things that will come together," he says.
The series boss says recent changes such as the rebranding and a new rule book have "been able to open up conversations with manufacturers who under no circumstances would ever consider a V8".
Warburton intends to build Supercars into something significantly larger than the domestic touring cars series. The company now owns the rights to the Bathurst 12 Hour, an event set to grow significantly in 2017 as new cars from the likes of BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and more join the grid.
Warburton says the race could be rebranded as something akin to the Supercars 12 Hour.
"When we unveil the 2025 vision you'll see a little bit more in terms of some of the plans," Warburton says.
"With Supercars Events running the Bathurst 12 Hour and looking at some other events in terms of motorsport, we are one of the largest events companies in the country. It gives us the option to develop further."
The series recently considered a modern alternative to motor shows as part of its expansion, a sweetener in the ongoing courtship of car companies considering an investment in the sport.
"We've offered all sorts of ideas to manufacturers," Warburton says.
"We were going to do it at Homebush - we were going to move our trucks out of the Dome and actually bring a motor show to make it a weekend, but we just couldn't find any interest from the manufacturers to do so.
"It's worth considering, and as we diversify a bit it's worth looking at."
Having been restricted to 5.0-litre V8 engines since the mid 1990s, the championship will soon open up to four- and six-cylinder machines with a conventional front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. Turbocharging is back on the menu, something more in line with increasingly compact and powerful road car engines.
Volvo ran away with the last V8 Supercars meeting at Phillip Island, where Kiwi young gun Scott McLaughlin got the better of more experienced contenders. His Polestar-branded machine uses a similar 5.0-litre V8 to Ford and Holden rivals, though that isn't in tune with the brand's innovative and eco-conscious ethos.
Having already ditched V8 power in passenger cars, Volvo is set to drop all five and six-cylinder engines as part of a revamped range with four-cylinder propulsion.
Garry Rogers, owner of McLaughlin's Volvo-branded outfit, says four-cylinder Supercars are a future possibility.
"Do I think four-cylinder engines will work in Supercars? I think with the right engines they will," Rogers says.
"Eventually we might want to do that and [Volvo] might want to do that, but at this stage, no. We're happy and they're happy with what we're doing.
"I wouldn't have thought we'd be making changes too soon."
Rogers isn't in a rush to swap power plants following reliability struggles with Volvo's V8 "which are now sorted".
Scuttlebutt surrounding the series suggests V8 Supercars could drop from current power levels of around 450kW to 375kW or so in order to give more modern, compact motors a chance to be competitive.
While it is possible to extract 450kW from a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine, doing so reliably would present a significant challenge.
Rogers says he would not rule out a reduction in power.

Audi to commence dieselgate recall

Audi is set to start fixing its dodgy diesel-powered cars within weeks with confirmation of an official recall expected soon.
The German brand is caught up in the same emission-cheating software scandal that has rocked its parent company, Volkswagen, with more than 16,000 Audi vehicles featuring the manipulative engine codes.
Like Volkswagen, which commenced an official rectification process in Australia last month with its Amarok dual-cab ute, Audi will issue a staggered series recall notices for individual models over the course of the year.
Audi Australia's managing director, Andrew Doyle, told Drive this week the first notice is "in the final stages of approval with the authorities" and he expects the company will begin official communication with customers soon.
"The first model we have is the A4; it's relatively small volume - between 30 and 40 cars - to start with, but we're moving forward and we believe we have a solution. We're moving through the correct channels and the process should commence very soon," he said.
Doyle confirmed that, like the Volkswagen campaign, the software upgrade will take approximately 30 minutes to install and will be completed at no charge to customers.
He also said that Audi will offer owners a replacement vehicle if required, despite the relatively quick fix.
Other Audi models that feature the EA189 2.0-litre diesel engine include the related A5 coupe, popular Q5 SUV and TT sportscar. These vehicles will be added to the recall roster over the next few months while other models powered by the smaller 1.6-litre motor will be subject to a separate rectification process that may not be confirmed until later this year.

Next-gen BMW M5 spotted on test



Next-gen BMW M5 spotted on test
BMW will probably take the evolutionary route with the next-gen 5 Series which is set to come out in the second half of this year. Now this can only mean one thing, the range topping hot M5 won't be out sooner than late 2017 or early 2018. Nevertheless, the latter has been caught on camera again while undergoing testing.
For the first time in its history spanning over three decades, the M5 will receive an optional xDrive all-wheel drive system. Rear-wheel drive, however, will obviously be standard and power should come from the same twin-turbo V8 4.4-litre engine from the current model but uprated to deliver up to 620bhp. What could come as a disappointment for some is the possibility of BMW ditching the 6-speed manual which is an option in some markets. The next M5, then, could be automatic only.
The new M5 is expected to shed a noticeable amount of weight as a result of using BMW’s new 35up platform that underpins the latest-gen 7 Series. What’s more, BMW could even bring back the Touring (estate) version to take on the Audi RS6 Avant and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG estate.
 

Skoda Rapid facelift – 5 things you need to know

Ahead of its official launch later this year, the Skoda Rapid facelift has been spotted. The sedan will come with an interesting set of cosmetic and feature upgrades this time around. Here are five things you need to know about the new Skoda Rapid –

Design: The new Skoda Rapid is based on the company’s new design philosophy. The front sports an edgier design with sharper headlights and a restyled grille. The fenders and the front bumpers have been redesigned for a modern appeal. The bumper at the rear has been smoothened out on the edges for a neat finish. The sides resemble the current generation but the car features new alloy wheels to complement the new look. The facelift model might also get electronically adjustable and foldable ORVMs.

Engine: The new Skoda Rapid will retain the existing engine options in India. The 1.6-litre petrol engine generates around 103bhp of power and 153Nm of torque and will be offered in a five-speed manual and an optional six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel, on the other hand, will continue to be offered with a 1.5-litre engine that generates 103bhp of power, and it will come mated to five-speed manual or a six-speed manual transmission option. 

Interior: The Skoda Rapid always featured a decent interior design. This time around the facelift will get new seat fabrics, front seat armrest and dual tone interior combination. The new model will also get Climatronic-automatic AC with dust and pollen filter, and rear AC vents. The interiors will have a premium feel to it. 

Features: The Skoda Rapid facelift might get new features like a new Mirror Link touchscreen infotainment system with a reverse camera option, cruise control and rain sensing wipers. In terms of safety, the new Rapid will offer standard airbags and ABS with EBD.

2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn first drive: Easy roller

Another effortless Rolls-Royce


Are you preposterously wealthy? How much is too much to spend on a watch? Do you have a jet? Actually, how many jets do you have? If you have a jet or two, I’m sitting here, at the Delaire Graff Estate in South Africa, recommending that you call Rolls-Royce and ask them about Dawn.
Not Dawn, the checkout clerk at that rural grocery store where the only-moderately wealthy shop for food. Dawn, the four-seat convertible from Rolls-Royce. Elegant proportions, 563-hp V12, wooden waterfall, available in any conceivable color. Colour. I just rambled around all day in this thing over some really spectacular roads, and if I’ve profiled you correctly, you’re going to want one—probably more than one.
The thing about the Dawn is that it’s a Rolls-Royce, but for driving.
“No chauffeur required.” This is the hack line everyone trotted out when the alliteratively named Rolls-Royce Wraith was announced, prompting legal action from the National Limousine Association.
Saying that it’s a Rolls-Royce that you’d want to drive is not the same as saying it’s a sports car, or even one of the big leathery rockets that Bentley makes. No effort was made to make it feel lightweight or racy or dramatic. It’s not a hot rod. It’s not even built for performance in the track-day sense of the word. It’s built to make driving as easy as firing bad domestic help. 

Photo: 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn Photo 3
2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn Photo by Rolls-Royce

If it can go 0-60 in less than five seconds, that’s because being that quick makes passing effortless. If it has giant brakes, it’s because they make it easier to avoid running over a guy who has wandered into the road. This happened to my co-driver on the launch, and he was able to stop all 5,644 pounds of Dawn (and let’s say 450 pounds of passenger) with a little ABS and the most opulent tire chirp I’ve ever heard. (Avoiding a “The Bonfire of the Vanities” scenario is the very height of luxury.)
In corners, the big convertible is composed, offering plenty of grip. It doesn’t lean, or wallow, though you can feel the weight, and it’s trying to tell you something like, “Don’t be an idiot. This car handles, but there are four (sizable) contact patches holding on to damn near 6,000 pounds here.”
Of course, this being a modern car, you’d really have to be actively trying to kill yourself to force a serious misstep. But yeah, when you turn, stop or accelerate, there’s a sense of heft, which is coupled with the sense that you’re pretty much in control of the heft, to pleasant effect. In keeping with the effortlessness theme, the steering is very light, which is fine, though once you really get rocking, a little more steering feel would be comforting—especially if you’re driving a right-hand-drive car and you’re an American oaf.
Oh, and the transmission knows when you’re about to go up a hill, because the GPS system tips it off. It’s one of those things that works well enough that you never notice it. Between the ZF eight-speed that shifts pretty much imperceptibly and the GPS trick, you pretty much have to watch the tach—or, excuse me, the Power Reserve dial—to know when shifts are occurring. 


Read more: http://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2016-rolls-royce-dawn-first-drive-easy-roller#ixzz470eGjNBi

Turns out Jag's first SUV isn't a sign of end times, but rather cause for celebration

If you’re one of the few still flummoxed by the concept of a Jaguar SUV, get over it. Any luxury brand paying attention has been watching the success of the Porsche Cayenne, coupled with market trends favoring crossovers and SUVs in the U.S., and arrived at the same conclusion: Build an SUV or die.
Build a good-looking SUV and customers will flock to your door, as Jaguar discovered in the form of 10,000 preorders for the F-Pace. Those early adopters are in for a treat when vehicles start arriving in May. Not only is it poised to break Jag sales records, the F-Pace may be the best all-around product in the brand’s recent history.
Based on the aluminum-intensive architecture beneath the XF and XE sedans, Jaguar penned its first SUV with two things working in its favor: a rear-drive platform to aid in sporty styling and driving dynamics; and an absence of historical precedent, freeing stylists to forge their own interpretation of what a Jag SUV should look like.

F-Pace I4 diesel engine
The 2017 Jaguar F-Pace SUV is powered by either a supercharged V6 engine or a four-cylinder turbodiesel, shown here.

That platform results in a lightweight, aluminum-intensive unibody with complex multilink suspensions front and rear. Stylists then wrapped voluptuous sheetmetal -- again, much of it aluminum -- around the chassis with a corporate fascia/headlamp treatment and functional power-bulge hood, creased side lines and an unmistakably F-Type rear end, creating perhaps the sexiest SUV on the road today.
Three engines will be available across five F-Pace U.S. trim levels: Base, Premium, Prestige and R-Sport will have a choice of Ingenium 2-liter diesel I4 or 340-hp supercharged V6, while top-shelf F-Pace S will come with a 380-horse version of the gas V6. All engines are coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-biased AWD system. Entry price starts at $41,985, but Jaguar expects most customers to fall into one of the two midlevel trim categories with prices ranging from about $43K-$50K.
The F-Pace’s list of tech features is, as with most new vehicles, long enough to earn its own article, but the important point is this: Jag’s appalling infotainment interface of yore is dead and buried, replaced by a very responsive and reasonably intuitive touch display in one of two flavors: InControl Touch, the standard system, gets an 8-inch screen with typical smartphone/tablet controls like swipe and drag.
InControl Touch Pro is the techie’s delight with a 10.2-inch widescreen interface powered by a quad-core processor and 60 GB solid-state drive for tablet-like response. The car can be accessed by smartphone app for tasks like unlocking and remote starting, and a waterproof wearable “key” wristband lets you lock and unlock the F-Pace by touching it to the “J” in Jaguar on the rear fascia. It’s enough to make one wistful for a trio of SU carburetors and a balky electric overdrive.


Read more: http://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2017-jaguar-f-pace-first-drive-best-seller-or-simply-best#ixzz470e8gRAJ

Best April Fools Day jokes by car brands

 April Fools’ Day comes but once a year and when it does even the big car brands get involved. These are their best April Fools’ jokes

The world’s car manufacturers aren’t generally known for their senses-of-humour but once a year the various PR departments are given licence to cut loose and exhibit the human side of their particular faceless corporate behemoth through the medium of an April Fools joke. 
In case you didn’t know, many car firms love an April Fools gag as much as the rest of us and they’ve churned out some memorable (and best forgotten) attempts at duping the public over the years. These April 1st pranks usually take the form of a spurious advert or press release about some unlikely new model or technology breakthrough the brand has supposedly been working on.
• Amazing world record cars
These pun-laden flights of fancy then lie in wait for any unsuspecting punter who's failed to check their calendar or consume the requisite gallon of coffee on April 1st morning.
There’s a cluster of new April Fools’ Day efforts from car companies every year and while some are scarcely worthy of the term 'joke', others live relatively long in the memory. These are the best April Fools Day jokes from car companies, as wistfully remembered by the team at Auto Express...

April Fools Day: best car company efforts from years past

Ford's massive Mustang shrubbery

In one of the more elaborate April Fools stings of 2015, Ford produced a spoof breaking news video about a farmer so besotted with the Ford Mustang muscle car that he planted a giant shrubbery in the shape of the car's iconic badge. The report claims that the painstakingly laid out prancing pony is visible from planes landing at Stansted Airport and there was even a happy ending for our fictitious farmer because the Mustang was indeed coming to the UK for the first time that year.  

Skoda's chameleon car



On April 1st 2015, Skoda revealed the solution to the age old car buying question, what colour should i choose? The answer being 'all of them'.
The brand announced a Colour Concept system, a £500 option on the Fabia supermini that allows buyers to mix and match body, roof and wheel colours with appalling results. Better still, the  ShadeChange function lets you change the colour of individual body panels at the touch of a button. According to Dr Gio Kyng of Prague University, "each panel is coated with a microscopic layer of unobtainium – a newly discovered element that changes colour when a small electrical charge is applied to it." 

New Peugeot and Citroen pick-up trucks on the way?

 Pick-up sector is an 'opportunity' for growth for PSA Peugeot Citroen, and could likely use the Toyota Hilux platform

A new Peugeot and Citroen pick-up could be on the way after Peugeot CEO Maxime Picat announced that the sector was an ‘opportunity’ when speaking at the launch of the new Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch panel vans in France.
With Peugeot and Citroen having entered into a platform sharing agreement with Toyota for their new mid-sized panel vans, the Japanese brand would be the logical source for pick-up truck knowhow. The new Toyota Hilux is already on sale in Asian markets and is due to arrive at UK dealers this year so the prospect of Peugeot and/or Citroen offering their own version seems realistic.
• Best pick-up trucks
Peugeot has not built a European-market pick-up truck since the 504 pick-up went out of production in 1993, however the sector is proving to be more popular than ever with the Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200 and Isuzu D-Max all battling for a share of the market. The new Toyota Hilux and facelifted Volkswagen Amarok are on the way, while Renault, Fiat and Mercedes have models in the pipeline.
Picat said: “We always consider the pick-up market as an opportunity, it’s part of our history. We’re thinking about it. We update our group strategy on Tuesday 5th April and we’ll mention which cars we will be targeting. I will be able to reveal more then.” 
Denis Martin, the CEO of PSA Europe, also appeared to confirm that a pick-up is being considered. He added: “Maybe. You will see. It’s not a question for today, but you will know more next week.”

2016 Subaru Levorg: Initial Australian details revealed

The 2016 Subaru Levorg will be offered with the same powertrain as the Subaru WRX when the new performance wagon arrives in showrooms later this year.
The Subaru Levorg is set to be powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged ‘boxer’ engine with 197kW of power and 350Nm of torque, though as we’ve previously reported, there will be no six-speed manual gearbox offered. Instead, all Levorg models will have a CVT automatic with paddle shifters.
Previously it was understood that Subaru would consider both the WRX drivetrain and a lower-spec 1.6-litre turbo unit, but with the 2.0-litre turbo boxer engine it will be the genuine WRX wagon that buyers had been hoping for. But it isn’t as grunty as the 2.0-litre version sold in the Levorg’s home nation of Japan (it has 221kW and 400Nm).
2016_subaru_levorg_jdm_review_11
Based on documents seen by CarAdvice, it is understood there will be two specification levels available – the entry-level GT and the top-spec GT-S – and as you’d expect from Subaru, the car will only be sold in all-wheel drive.

The GT model is set to ride upon 17-inch wheels while the GT-S will get bigger 18-inch wheels. Full details are to still to be revealed, but it is highly likely the GT-S will gain leather trim and other extras to differentiate it from its more affordable sibling.
2016_subaru_levorg_jdm_review_15
Stay tuned for more news on the Subaru Levorg as it comes to hand.

We’d expect pricing and full specifications to be revealed in the coming months, ahead of the car’s predicted launch mid-way through this year.

New South Wales snags Lexus RC F police car

It won't be on the chase, just at publicity events


New South Wales is getting an addition to its police fleet in the form of a new V8-powered Lexus RC F. It will mostly be a publicity vehicle, playing its roll in roadside campaigns and community activities. Still, if you Aussies see it in your rearview, best to slow down.
The coupe will work in the Southern Region of NSW and will also appear at events like the MS Sydney to the Gong Ride, which is Australia’s “most respected and spectacular one day community bike ride." 
"It gives us great pleasure to provide the NSW Police with a stunning RC F coupe to assist them with their important task of promoting safety on our roads," said Lexus Australia chief executive Peter McGregor. “It’s a critical issue for all road users as we enter the Easter period and colder months of the year.”

Lexus RC F for NSW police force
ZF shocks keep everything planted at speed while Brembo brakes slow it all down.

The curved-wedge RC F gets the company’s 5.0-liter V8 making 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. Power is fed to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. It’ll get to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 170 mph. We’re not sure how all of that police equipment will affect that sprint, but like we said, it won’t do a lot of normal police work. Getting a perp into that back seat would be easy.
ZF shocks keep everything planted at speed, while Brembo brakes slow it all down.
"The RC F will be a major help in our efforts to engage with the public at major gatherings around the state," said Inspector Jim Fryday. "There will be further opportunities at motorsport events to communicate our message to race fans while showing off the RC F in a very appropriate setting."


2016 Audi S3 review: four expensive rings

Spectacular powertrain makes us forget plain interior


I only had a chance to use this S3 for quick ride, but I’ve driven them before, though, and I’ll repeat: MQB platform plus the 2.0-liter turbo-four plus AWD equals some good fun. The car is quick -- from the seat of my pants, I believe Audi’s sub-five-second 0-60 claim. The engine is a joy; the little bugger turns out 292 hp! Here’s how old I am: I remember it was a big deal when the VW Group 2.0-liter turbo-four’s hp cracked 200. Anyway, the power and torque come on smoothly. Turbo lag? Doesn’t exist. The dual-clutch snaps off gear changes quickly. This truly is a car that’s fun to pitch around town. It lets you fling it into corners with some oomph without giving up grip. Conversely, you can truck down the freeway quickly and comfortably. It’s all just so nice.
The cockpit is, well, Audi-like in terms of quality, and the layout is nice and simple -- few buttons/switches gumming it up. I dig the S3 stitching and brushed aluminum inside.
I dig it.
-- Wes Raynal, editor
OTHER VOICES:
Methinks Raynal is letting the S3's inherent driving goodness cloud his judgment. This interior is Audi-like in its layout only in the sense that it contains instruments, a screen and a badge with the word "quattro." Otherwise, this is the bizzaro-Audi, the one where my only real bone of contention is its bleak, spartan interior.
I've been critical of highly tuned turbo-four/DCT combos, but much like the CVT, time is making these powertrains vastly better. There's very little jerkiness when creeping in traffic in the S3, and once you've got room to open it up, this little bastard is stupid quick as it spits lovely DTM blatting sounds from the exhaust on shifts.
Thing is, a Golf R will do that for $12K less and give you a far nicer cockpit in which to sit. I suppose if you must have a sedan (and it's a good-looking sedan at that), the S3 might be worth the extra coin, but it won't be a contender for me until Audi fixes the interior. 
-- Andy Stoy, digital editor
If I’m getting into an S-badged Audi for somewhere in the 40k range, I’m not complaining. This is the new paradigm. The Mercedes CLA45 AMG, granted it has a good bit more power, is 50k! If you compare it to a Subaru WRX STI, it’s about the same price, about the same power, ‘cept you get that Audi badge on your hood. And sure, the same chassis/engine combo can be had in the Golf for less, but there is something to be said about brands and appearances, for better or worse.
This car rips on the street. Audi smoothed out most of the dual-clutch jerkiness and it’s basically smooth sailing from there on out. Once the gears mesh, this thing takes off like a rocket, and shifts don’t slow it down in the least. And like Andy said, you even get a little brap-brap out of the exhaust when going full blast.
Steering has a good, mechanical feel as do the suspension and brakes. The ratio is quick and chopping apexes is almost required. It’s a fun little game to play, try to straighten out your ride to work, knocking tenths of a mile off at a time.
The interior is Spartan, but that’s what you get with the least expensive go-fast Audi in the bunch. The dash is extremely clean and easy to understand, and it all works well together, as long as you’re not looking for A8 levels of refinement. Seat comfort is medium, lateral support is good, but remember, this is the hardest and most uncomfortable these seats will ever feel. After a year or so, these babies will be nicely broken in.
At $44k-$48k this S3 probably wouldn’t be my first choice in the small, sport-luxury sedan group. I’d probably want something rear-wheel drive, and with a manual, though those are getting harder to find, but it would definitely be on my list. And I’ve said this before, but it’s really the key. Manufacturers know to price these semi-niche cars right next to their competitors, and they’re all very good. Test drive them all, you can’t go wrong.
-- Jake Lingeman, road test editor

2016 Audi S3 with photos specs and price i2
European model shown.

Options: S3 technology package including 1 CD/DVD-player with HD radio, Audi MMI navigation plus with voice control, Audi MMI touch, Audi connect with online services and Audi side assist ($2,600); S Sport seat package ($1,450); mythos black metallic ($575); red brake calipers ($400)

Actually, Detroit isn't the worst winter driving city

Editor’s note: I meant to publish this quite awhile ago but didn’t get around to it. I’m aware that it’s springtime now.
Today I am overflowing with joy because it snowed hard last night and I had access to a 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition. The big, wide boulevards were empty. There was a base layer of ice, with wet snow on top. There were no cops around.
I had Michelin snow tires, a stick, 291 hp and all-wheel drive. By the standards of the traction-control era, that’s nothing. But it’s enough to go gas, torque steer, rear end, countersteer. There was even a real handbrake that worked to turn the car.
Anyway, ripping around the empty roads in the fresh snow and thinking "Man, this is everything that's good about driving a car," I remembered that someone took the time to write a column about how Detroit is the worst city for winter driving. Like, a month ago. And I’m still thinking about it. 


And before that, the same guy wrote this Tom Friedman/Bourbon Bastard thing where “I learned some immutable truths about a place I used to live within 100 miles of by going to two damn bars during the big damn car show and also I am a bastard so some drink kinds are too fancy for me to like” thing. Back then, I wanted to comment on it but didn’t because the author is supposed to be a nice guy and I’m sure he became a well-known, well-respected and well-liked auto writer for a reason. And because he was obviously trolling.
But, in the Evo, sideways and grinning, I kept thinking about the story about which city is the worst winter driving city that was written, edited and published in a city that instituted a travel ban because of an admittedly bad snowstorm.
I’m still thinking about it.
Stories like these tend to be the result of a “study” that some PR firm concocted to get the name of a windshield wiper manufacturer mentioned on a car blog. This one isn’t. It’s just a weird potshot at Detroit. The kind that had their heyday in the early aughts.
If I were forced to concoct such a story (like, if someone was threatening to make me ride a stinky underground train for a month), I’d start by making a list of cities that would be in the running for Worst Winter Driving City. 


First, I’d remove the cities that DON’T BAN DRIVING WHEN IT SNOWS. Then, I’d immediately remove cities from the list that weren’t openly hostile to drivers and cars. I’d then strike cities with big, unclogged boulevards from the list. Then I’d nix the cities with light traffic enforcement (you don’t want some cop bugging you while you’re trying to whip shitties.) To narrow it down further, I’d start considering the relative ease of owning a car in each of the remaining cities on the list: Is there free/cheap parking, can you rent or -- gasp -- own storage/parking space affordably?
Anyway, if you hadn’t guessed, Detroit wouldn’t be on my list of cities where it’s especially bad to drive in the winter, even if there were an opportunity to recycle some really cool jokes I heard at a suburban country club in the 1980s.
I’m not going to say that Detroit is the best winter driving city. That would be stupid. In fact, there are some bad things about driving in Detroit.
1. I have seen drivers do things in metro Detroit -- some incredibly stupid, dangerous things. I have referred to some of these people as America’s Worst Drivers.
2. The condition of the roads is very bad. There are potholes, sinkholes and broken water mains. As you may have heard, Detroit has had some financial issues.
3. Salt is also bad, and it’s smart to wash it off of your car. If you can own a car -- which is a thing a lot of people can do here, in Detroit.
4. Insurance is expensive and people still steal things.
I would never say that New York City is the worst winter driving city. That would be stupid. I like New York; I still like going to Brooklyn. There is probably some joy to be had driving there in the winter. Alex Roy certainly seems to be having fun. And, though The Drive, and anyone else can say whatever they want, as a reader, I’m hereby registering my preference for new, less-tired Detroit jokes. 


Renault Clio to get Scenic hybrid tech

 Next Renault Clio could use the brand's Hybrid Assist function, but it won't be a plug-in

The next Renault Clio could feature mild hybrid tech as seen on the brand’s new Scenic MPV. Speaking to Auto Express at the Geneva Motor Show, Bruno Ancelin – Renault executive vice president, product planning – said: “We want to add electrification that’s affordable. It means we give the customer just enough to deliver low CO2.”
• Best hybrid cars to buy right now
Asked if the more cost-effective Hybrid Assist function from the brand’s new people carrier could feature on the smaller Clio, Ancelin revealed: “Yes, we’ll consider the tech for other cars. It’s not the only initiative to reduce fuel consumption, but it won’t be a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle [PHEV].”
The new Clio, which will replace the Mk4 seen above, could adopt a host of aerodynamic features, along with advanced hybrid tech from the EOLAB concept, which hints at the future. The Renault boss also told us: “There’s no need for massive deployment of PHEV tech on small cars, as the price will be too high.” But Ancelin didn’t rule out plug-in powertrains for larger saloons and crossovers, which are heavier.
• Best superminis on the market
“Weight reduction is always cheaper compared to a PHEV, as battery price is the biggest barrier,” he said. “But we’ll probably need that [PHEV] in the upper segments, depending on future diesel regulations.”
Would a hybrid Renault Clio be a success? Let us know below...

New Lincoln Navigator concept unveiled in New York

 The 2017 Lincoln Navigator will feature new contemporary styling and lots more tech

Channelling elements of the new Bentley Bentayga SUV’s grille and the Range Rover’s iconic clamshell bonnet, you can’t say the latest Lincoln Navigator concept isn’t right on trend.
Just unveiled at the New York Motor Show, the Navigator concept also features gull-wing doors and steps leading up to its vast cabin that wouldn’t look out of place in a cruise liner’s ballroom. Neither feature will make it to production, but the rest of the concept previews a new Lincoln Navigator luxury SUV that will go into production in 2017.
With a much more contemporary style than the outgoing model, the new Navigator SUV shares some of its design elements with the latest Lincoln Continental – a new luxury saloon that also goes on sale later this year in the US.


As well as featuring a new 400bhp+ twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 engine, the new Navigator could potentially share some of the Continental’s platform engineering. If that’s the route Lincoln is taking, it would provide the basis for a much-enhanced driving experience over the current Navigator, which features more rudimentary truck-like body-on-frame construction. Lincoln hasn’t said which way it's going, but Lincoln’s upmarket SUV competitors like BMW, Mercedes and Land Rover will be among those watching with interest.
What Lincoln has confirmed, is that the suite of technologies on show in the Navigator concept is likely to form part of the production model’s option list.


As the official pictures show there’s emphasis on connected in-car entertainment with a huge touchscreen for the driver, and tablet style screens for all passengers mounted on the headrests in front. Other on-board technologies include pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, as well as 360 degree cameras, lane-keeping and parking assistance – features that buyers of premium European SUVs are already well used to. 

Car bulbs: halogen headlight bulb reviews

 Xenons, LED and Lasers are trendy, but most UK cars still use halogen lights. We review the best on sale...

While Xenon bulbs, LED and even Laser headlamps are being fitted to increasing numbers of new cars, it's going to take a while before they outnumber the halogen headlight bulbs lighting up UK roads.
While exotic new headlamp tech is longer-lasting, the halogen bulbs most of us are used to wear out over time, as constant switching on and off erodes the filament. This gradually makes bulbs lose brightness, and ultimately causes headlamp failure. Replacement bulbs are the answer, but you don't need to wait for lights to go out before investing in new car light bulbs. If you think your car lights are dimming, a new set of headlamps could be a life-saver on a dark wintry night.
The majority - around 40 per cent - of UK headlights use the popular H7 bulb size, but many sizes are available and it's easy to find out which ones you need online, or at your local accessory shop.
Even new cars can benefit from upgrading to the latest performance bulbs. To find the best lights to keep you safe during winter’s long, dark nights, we took 11 top sellers, plus a new design, to Osram’s light tunnel in Herbrechtingen, Germany.

The test

The beam from our H4 twin filament bulbs was key. In a VW Polo headlamp we measured the light in the centre of the road, and the kerb 50 metres in front of the car. Light was also measured kerbside at 75 metres ahead. These figures were combined to give the beam rating, which is an average of two bulbs adjusted to legal glare levels. 
Bulbs were bought from several samples to prevent filtering, and prices for a pair are from online sources – although cost played a small role as these are safety items. Samples were split between the cheaper bulbs, offering up to 60 per cent more light than standard lamps, and the top-performing flagship products claiming more than that.

Verdict

No surprise to see original equipment suppliers Osram and Philips at the top of the table, with the latter clinching a narrow win in the plus 60 per cent category. Osram easily took up to 60 per cent honours with its Silverstar 2.0 from the budget PowerBulbs.