Earlier in the year Renault cut back on its UK range quite brutally making some people wonder in the French car maker was thinking about ducking out of the British market altogether. Not a chance. What La Reggie is doing is focusing in what it does best, small cars like the Megane and excellent new Clio, the electric Zoe, the budget Dacia range and now its funky looking entry into the small MPV/SUV/hatchback arena, the Captur (pronounced Capture).
Back in the day Peugeot made a truly great motorcar called the 205 1.9 GTi. I owned one and loved it. For blasting down narrow B-roads few things on four wheels were faster. Along with the Volkswagen Golf GTi the 205 GTi created a whole new class of car, the iconic Hot Hatchback. Both VW and Peugeot had trouble replacing their first and greatest hot hatches though in Peugeot's case the failure was the greater - after 1995 the hot versions of the 206 and 207 got flabbier, softer and more and more wretched. The 207 never actually carried the GTi badge in the UK, that’s how bad it was.
Back in the day medium-sized MPVs where frumpy, bulbous affairs that you bought for reasons of practically not style. My how things has changed. Citroen's new C4 Picasso may be an MPV but it's one of the most eye-catching shapes in the French car-maker's line-up, and that means one of the most eye-catching designs on the road full stop. With its striking nose featuring four lights (headlamps down low, indicators and running lights above) and tastefully restrained chrome trim the new Picasso looks funky, modern and grown-up all at the same time and that's quite a trick to pull off.
With the new 500L (L standing for Large) Fiat is out to prove that Mini isn't the only car maker that can stretch, bend, twist and re-shape an entire model range out of a single retro hatchback. The 500L is intended to be a family-friendly version of the the 500, a cracking little hatchback that I have a lot of time for, especially the rorty TwinAir versions.
Hyundai, the Korean car maker that has gone from making cars you really don’t want to those you really do in an alarmingly short space of time has announced that it will have hydrogen-powered motors on the UK's roads as early as 2015. This has gotten the motoring team at My Dad Rocks not a little excited because like electric cars though we do (see our recent reviews of the Renault Zoe and Volvo V60 Plug-in) it's hydrogen cars that really tick all the clean-motoring boxes.
Electric cars - too slow, too range-limited, too much hassle, right? Actually you’re not far wrong, but what about a hugely fast, 4WD electric estate car with a range of 500 miles? That’s the new Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid in a nutshell. You see under the bonnet of this V60 us 215bhp 2.4L 5-cylinder turbodiesel engine while at the back is a 11.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 20kW (50kW peak) electric motor that generates 324lb-ft of torque.