Look­ing back at last year, one 4x4 still re­ally grips me

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - NEWS - Fred­eric Manby

MY pick of last year’s new­com­ers, the Volk­swa­gen Golf, swept up the ma­jor prizes this year. Fol­low­ing its Euro­pean Car of the Year ti­tle it won the World Car of the Year ti­tle and be­came the first for­eign car to win the Ja­panese COTY ti­tle. Its vot­ing score of 504 out of 600 was a new record.

Do fe­male mo­torists have a dif­fer­ent view?

A women-only panel of 18 crit­ics gave the Ford Fi­esta one litre Eco­boost its Women’s World Car of the Year ti­tle. Oddly, given the eco-cred of that gong, their run­ners-up were the Porsche Boxster S, Audi All­road and Range Rover. Hmm.

BMW’s MINI cel­e­brated its mil­lionth model from the Ox­ford fac­tory since 2006, with the to­tal since 2001 sure to pass two mil­lion any day now. A new, larger Mini is on sale in Spring.

This month eight cars (ex Dick Skip­worth, Ecurie Ecosse, with 1950s Le Mans vic­to­ries) were sold by Bon­hams. A 1952 Jaguar C-Type made £2.9m and a ‘56 D-Type made £2.6m while the team’s three-car trans­porter Com­mer made £1.8m – to the same US buyer.

Re­nault cel­e­brated the 20th birth­day of the Twingo – the best French car never to be im­ported to Bri­tain. SEAT cel­e­brated 60 years with a press re­lease which omits its orig­i­nal links with FIAT. The 1953 1400 sa­loon sold for the equiv­a­lent of £32,500. Now it is part of Volk­swa­gen Group. Pro­duc­tion has passed 16 mil­lion.

My own picks from the new cars I have tried this year in­clude the Mazda3 (re­viewed on page 8), the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Cay­man and Da­cia Duster. I can’t ig­nore the SEAT Leon and Skoda Oc­tavia, ver­sions of the Golf. The fastest ac­cel­er­at­ing car I drove was Audi’s RS7, which has stag­ger­ing pace. At the mo­ment I am driv­ing a Chi­nese-sourced MG3, which is worse than I’d ex­pected.

My pick, money no ob­ject, would be the Range Rover Sport. It is cheaper and nim­bler than a Range Rover and a leap ahead of the old Dis­cov­ery-based Sport. It will go any­where, smartly and ef­fi­ciently. The pic­ture shows it de­scend­ing icy grids on a ski jump at Schon­wald, in the Black For­est.

DE­BUT: SEAT’s first car, the 1400 from 1953. The man­u­fac­turer is cel­e­brat­ing its 60th birth­day. Main im­age, Range Rover Sport.

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