SsangYong Tivoli review

SsangYong Tivoli 1.6 review: 2015 first drive

SsangYong Tivoli review

SsangYong hopes the Tivoli will thrust the brand into our hearts. We reckon some of you might grow to love it

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith | May 2015

This is a landmark moment. SsangYong has finally delivered a car with genuine mass market appeal that can hold its own in a fiercely competitive sector. Whether enough people will care remains to be seen, but if you’re on the hunt for a good value, well-equipped compact crossover, the SsangYong Tivoli deserves to be on your shortlist.

There’s a danger here that a Tivoli review could turn out to be a rather patronising exercise. A pat on the back for SsangYong with congratulations on a job well done. But here’s the thing – in the UK at least, SsangYong has played the role of a niche player for so long, with a range of large and even larger SUVs designed to appeal to those who put practicality, value and warranties above all else. The Tivoli is an entirely different proposition – it’s much smaller, is being launched in two-wheel drive guise and is designed to appeal to young and trendy types.

Which creates a problem for SsangYong, because Fiat is chasing the same people with the 500X, as is Jeep with the Renegade, Suzuki with the Vitara, Citroen with the C4 Cactus…you get the picture. The amount of people fishing in the compact crossover pool is growing at a ridiculous rate, but it is rapidly filling up with highly credible cars. Alongside some of the more established players, SsangYong is a mere minnow.

SsangYong Tivoli badge

So the Tivoli is having to paddle upstream against the tide. Few of the buyers SsangYong is hoping to attract won’t have heard the name, let alone be able to spell it. The company has therefore invested in a £1 million TV campaign with the aim of making the SsangYong Tivoli a household name. For SsangYong this represents a significant investment. There’s a heck of a lot resting on the Tivoli’s shoulders.

On the basis of our first drive, the car is certainly up for the challenge. The Tivoli looks and feels like no other SsangYong of the past, moving the brand from niche to nice in an instant.

What’s the SsangYong Tivoli like to drive?

SsangYong Tivoli 2015

To drive, the Tivoli doesn’t excel in any area, but neither does it disgrace itself, which is a huge step forward for SsangYong. The Fiat 500X is unquestionably more fun to drive and the Jeep Renegade will provide a greater sense of occasion, but the Tivoli is perfectly pitched for the assault on the sector.

Two all-new 1.6-litre engines are available, with the petrol version available now and the diesel unit arriving later in the year. A CO2 figure of 113g/km for the diesel version is new territory for SsangYong and at least puts the brand in the same ballpark as its more illustrious rivals.

The 1.6-litre petrol engine needs plenty of work to eek the most power from it, but starts to wail in agony when you hit the upper reaches of the rev range. It’s not a pleasant sound and will certainly encourage you to take life at a more leisurely pace. On the plus side, the six-speed manual gearbox is perfectly acceptable. We’ve yet to test the automatic transmission, but as it’s the same unit found in the MINI and Fiat 500 we’re unlikely to find serious cause for complaint.

The steering is nicely weighted – especially in Sport mode – but offers nothing in the way of feedback. Body roll is largely kept in check, but there’s little in the way of entertainment value. For some inexplicable reason, SsangYong chose to send us down some of the poorest roads in Italy for the Tivoli test drive. Think of the worst road on your morning commute and throw in some craters, crevasses and worn-out surfaces for good measure and you’ll be somewhere close to the types of roads we experienced.

And the Tivoli just about managed to cope with all but the worst of the conditions. It was certainly given a proper workout. On the motorway, which was drenched with the contents of a passing electrical storm, the Tivoli felt composed with only the wind and road noise blotting an otherwise impressive copybook. It’s not as refined as its European rivals, but the gap is much smaller than you might think.

At motorway speeds, the 1.6-litre engine is having to work hard, so you may wish to wait for the diesel version if your daily commute involves motorways and dual carriageways.

Does the Tivoli put right some of the wrongs of the past?

SsangYong Tivoli interior

Historically, SsangYong has made life tough for itself. If you managed to look beyond the challenging looks of old models you were greeted with a lacklustre interior that lacked the quality and the ergonomics of rival models. As a result, SsangYong purchases were driven by factors such as load space and towing capacity, not to mention the firm’s generous and comprehensive five-year warranty package.

You can make up your own mind on the Tivoli, but we reckon SsangYong has got it right. While hardly original, the Tivoli is well-proportioned, compact and – in the right colour – almost cute. There are echoes of the C4 Cactus and Vitara in the styling. Heck, there are even hints of the Range Rover Evoque in places. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

However, it’s the interior where the SsangYong Tivoli shows the most amount of promise. Breaking news – SsangYong interiors are no longer rubbish. The fit and finish is excellent, especially for car in this price bracket, and the ergonomics have been significantly improved. Some of the buttons on the lower part of the centre console are out of touch with the industry’s move towards minimalism and simplicity, but some will like the ease of use they present. There’s also a useful 423 litres of luggage space.

Special mention must go to the seats – which are leather on the EX and ELX models – and offer excellent levels of side support. Apparently SsangYong has won an award for them in Korea. That’s one way of getting bums on seats.

The SsangYong is very well equipped, too. Even on the basic SE trim level, you’ll find air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, seven airbags and engine start/stop come as standard. But it’s the mid-spec EX trim where the Tivoli starts to offer exceptional value for money. For an extra £1,650, buyers are treated to heated leather seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual zone climate control, 7-inch touchscreen and a rear-view camera.

SsangYong expects 90% of buyers to opt for the EX and ELX models and when you consider that it’s possible to buy a top-spec ELX diesel with four-wheel drive for less than £20,000, it’s not hard to see why. We always thought the 500X and Renegade were expensive. SsangYong has just confirmed this. You can buy a mid-spec EX diesel with 4×4 for just £17,100 and let’s remember, SsangYong’s heritage lies in the rough stuff.

Verdict: SsangYong Tivoli (2015)

If we were acting as a school headmaster and dishing out awards for the most improved pupil of 2015, SsangYong would be in with a chance of scooping the top prize. The Tivoli represents a monumental leap forward for the brand. It looks OK, feels good inside and represents astonishing value for money. It’s hard not to be seduced by the ELX model which offers 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, a smart instrument cluster, keyless start, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, auto lights, auto wipers and TomTom sat nav. Crucially it also adds a roof spoiler which helps to sharpen up the Tivoli’s styling.

It’s not perfect. The opening to the boot is too high and of an awkward shape and the 60:40 split folding rear seats don’t fold flat, leaving a massive step between the boot floor and the seats. There’s plenty of headroom in the back, but tall passengers might struggle for legroom, made worse by the storage cables on the back of the front seats which can dig into your knees.

SsangYong Tivoli boot

SsangYong reckons the Tivoli will appeal to two types of buyers. Firstly, young mums looking for a practical and reliable car for the school run. Secondly, older buyers looking to downsize from a larger SUV. For now SsangYong lacks the brand cache required to attract the 25-35 year olds who are buying it in Korea. A low-hanging fruit would be to sell to existing SsangYong customers, but the numbers are too small and this fails to move the brand forward.

Somehow SsangYong has to find the X-factor. A tough ask for such a niche player. But with the Tivoli it has a fighting chance of success. If there’s a SsangYong dealer near you, check it out. You might be surprised.

Rivals: SsangYong Tivoli

  • Fiat 500X
  • Citroen C4 Cactus
  • Suzuki Vitara
  • Nissan Juke
  • Renault Captur

You have to feel some sympathy for the little Tivoli, for it’s going into battle against some major players. The Fiat 500X is the newest kid on the block and packs a mighty punch in terms of its styling, funky interior and the way it drives. And let’s not forget the thousands of Fiat 500 owners who may be looking to upsize in the future. The Citroen C4 Cactus upstages it in terms of style and individuality, while the Suzuki Vitara is perhaps the closest match in terms of design, price and brand profile. And the Nissan Juke isn’t getting any younger.

Specification: SsangYong Tivoli 1.6-litre petrol

Engine 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol

Gearbox Six-speed manual and six-speed automatic

Prices from £12,950

Power 113hp

Torque 118lb ft

0-62mph 11 – 12 seconds

Top speed 99 – 106mph

MPG 39.2 – 44.1

CO2 149 – 167g/km

MG Rover CityRover

Great Motoring Disasters: MG Rover CityRover

MG Rover CityRoverIts name was the cleverest thing about it. Or it would have been, had the Rover marque not been so stained by years of messy history.

The next best thing about the this small supermini was the neat and classy array of chrome ‘C I T Y R O V E R’ characters across it tailgate, this one of the few positives to be found in this tale of the last whimperings of MG Rover.

In the broadest sense, acquiring the rights to use this Italian-designed supermini might have seemed a good idea for a company struggling to survive. MG Rover had not launched an entirely new model since the ludicrous De Tomaso-based MG SV.

A new supermini – even an old new supermini – was a model that might sell at a decent rate and make a profit, so cheaply could it be landed at a dock ready for UK sale.

Dock? The CityRover was not made at MG Rover’s Longbridge plant but at Pune in India, this car made by Tata Motors, whose sister automotive business these days is Jaguar Land Rover.

The Tata Rover

MG Rover CityRover

The CityRover was a (very) lightly modified version of the Tata Indica, the Indian company’s first car. The Indica was capably designed for Tata by Italy’s IDEA, whose previous credits included many Fiat Auto models from the early 1990s including the Fiat Tipo and Tempra, the Alfa Romeo 155 and Lancia Delta, as well as the Nissan Terrano/Ford Maverick.

The Indica was engineered to be very affordable, was powered by a modified 1.4 litre Peugeot engine of more than average grunt and had an interior spacious enough to carry inadvisably large numbers of passengers, as was highly likely in its home country of India.

It debuted in 1998 and sold very strongly until customers uncovered its patchy quality. Recalls and a reworked version recovered the Indica’s reputation sufficiently to restore its best-selling status and it was this modified version, known as the Indica V2, that became the basis for MG Rover’s version.

Not good enough for MG Rover

MG Rover CityRover

When MG Rover’s engineers got hold of an example for evaluation their improvements list was long, and included the need to improve a gearchange that moved like a blunt carving knife through gristle, the high-riding suspension and an interior finish barely worthy of a van.

But the management largely ignored their suggestions, allowing only light modifications to the suspension, which was lowered 20mm and used stiffer spring rates, these changes complemented by a quicker steering rack and larger wheels.

The engine was cleaned up to meet mandatory emission requirements, one of its mountings reworked to reduce vibration into the cabin and the transmission’s final drive ratio was altered to compensate for the larger wheels.

MG Rover CityRover

New front and rear bumpers, the application of the nastily-cheapened Rover Viking badge and the devising of Sprite, Solo, Select and Style trim packages completed the budget makeover, save for the issue of price. Which was clearly going to need to be low, despite the roomy interior, inoffensive styling and surprisingly peppy performance, 84bhp pushing 1040kg of Tata steel along quite effectively.

The low price was needed because this car was already a five-year old design, because no effort had been made to lifts its interior and its gearchange continued to provide pesky manipulation battles for your left hand.

The £900 brand new Rover?

MG Rover CityRover

Still, the pricing should have been easy to get right. There were rumours that the unit cost of a CityRover was somewhere in the region of £900-£2000. Even £2000 sounds on the low side, but whatever the truth there seems little doubt that the cost to MG Rover was easily low enough to allow it to make a decent profit, and return to a market that it had deserted when the long-running Metro was deleted.

But the Longbridge management seemed to be in the grip of the kind of reality loss that had so far produced the unsaleable MG SV, the rear-drive MG ZT V8 and a two-season assault on Le Mans.

So at its September 2003 launch, the basic CityRover Solo was priced at least £1000 too high at £6495, and the £8895 asked for the top-of-the-range Style was laughable against a mid-range VW Polo.

Self-inflicted sabotage – and James May

MG Rover CityRover

The self-inflicted sabotage didn’t end there, MG Rover proceeded to launch the CityRover by stealth. There was no significant advertising, no proper press launch and fatally, it denied Top Gear a test car.

Instead presenter James May got plenty of laughs testing a dealer demonstrator using subterfuge and a hidden camera. It was, he reckoned, the worst car he had ever driven while working for the programme.

Despite all this, other sections of the press gave it middling to positive reviews. They liked its space, go and paint finish, but the gearchange, the cabin plastics and the mean equipment levels knocked it back.

So did the arrival of a new Fiat Panda, this neat new basic car good enough to collect a Car of the Year award.

40,000 sales a year, they thought…

MG Rover CityRover


With all this against it, together with MG Rover’s wavering enthusiasm, the forecast sales of 30-40,000 units annually looked about as likely as BMW deciding to buy MG Rover back.

Even a speedy stabbing of a smartphone calculator indicates profits of at least £50 million a year on these numbers, making MG Rover’s reticence weirder still.

Sales accelerated like a New Year’s day road-sweeper, the inevitable price cut soon arriving along with plans for a mildly revised model, due in 2005.

The facelift that never was

MG Rover CityRover

And that was the fateful year in which MG Rover went under, though not before a boat-load of 1200 revised CityRovers had set sail for Britain.

These orphaned cars got no launch at all, being disposed of by receivers PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which is why you can find examples registered as late as 2007.

Around 8600 CityRovers were eventually sold, some 5000 surviving today despite super-low used prices that now start from under £500. The Indica’s underlying robustness must have plenty to do with that, along with the fact that many were bought by Metro-loving pensioners.

The CityRover shambles produced a dismal book-end to the small-car history of the company that that brought us the 1959 Mini, and still more dismal for the bizarre way in which the project was handled.

Vauxhall Viva review: 2015 first drive

Vauxhall Viva review: 2015 first drive

Vauxhall Viva review: 2015 first drive

The Vauxhall Viva is a competent and sensible city car. But it needs to up its game to better the best in this sector.

Andrew Brady | May 2015

Remember when city cars were abysmal things, bought only by those who couldn’t even stretch to a Ford Fiesta? Think cars like the Chevrolet Spark, Kia Pride and, shudder, City Rover. These were the sort of cars that came with nothing as standard and could barely reach motorway speeds. Most of us only had the pleasure of driving one when tossed the keys for €10 a day during our yearly pilgrimage to Kavos.

Then the Volkswagen Up! came along and changed everything. It looked great, wasn’t painful to drive and for the first time ever, was a city car people actually wanted.

Other manufacturers followed. They realised that low-priced and small needn’t mean basic and, well, horrible.

Suddenly the city car segment became popular. It became fashionable to have the latest Up!, Aygo or Twingo. These cars were packed with kit, loaded with personalisation options and were surprisingly fun to drive. No wonder the segment has doubled in size since 2005 and now accounts for 10% of all new car registrations in the UK.

So, you’re expecting us to tell you about how Vauxhall’s latest city car contender combines a suitably retro name (the original Viva was axed in 1979), a generous amount of kit as standard with low running costs, and a low, low purchase price. Well…

What’s the Vauxhall Viva like to drive?


Buyers of the Viva don’t get a choice of engine. You get the same 1.0-litre as in the Corsa and Adam (and as of later this year, the Astra). The turbocharged three-cylinder is a hoot in bigger models, and a genuine rival to Ford’s class-leading Ecoboost.

Only, in the Viva, it doesn’t get the turbo. That means it’s packing a modest 75hp and takes 13.1 seconds to reach 62mph. Not the end of the world, perhaps, as performance isn’t a priority for buyers in this sector.

Around town, it’s perfectly sprightly and flows with the traffic nicely. Out of town, though, and you’ll be wanting a downhill section to overtake. A long downhill section. A long, downhill section of dual carriageway.

You soon get used to working the Viva hard to get anywhere. But that’s not a bad thing. The five-speed gearbox is lovely, while the clutch is lighter than a very light thing. It’s all very easy to drive, as long as you’re not in a rush.

The steering feels similar to that of a Corsa, which is a good thing – fairly direct and confidence-inspiring. You also get Vauxhall’s city steering button which can be pressed to make the steering ultra, ultra light around town. That makes darting in and out of traffic really easy, but its turning circle isn’t up there with the likes of the Smart Fortwo.

The ride, however, is excellent. Vauxhall claims it’s spent about a year perfecting it for UK roads, and it certainly copes with bumps and uneven road surfaces well. Wind it up to motorway speeds, however, and while it rides well, you will find yourself having to talk a little bit louder to hold a conversation. That’s the Viva’s blocky shape for you.

OK, so what’s the Vauxhall Viva like inside?


Buyers at this end of the market love choice, apparently. That’s why the Vauxhall Adam’s interior can be customised in over 82,000 different ways. But if it’s customisation you’re after, stop being miserly and buy the Adam.

The Viva gets a choice of just two trim levels. There’s the entry-level SE, starting at £7,995, which comes with a competitive amount of kit as standard. We’re talking cruise control, heated door mirrors and hill start assist – fairly impressive for an entry-level city car.

Then there’s the top-spec SL, which starts at £9,495. That adds Bluetooth music streaming, climate control and 15 inch alloys. Crucially, it also adds a leather-covered steering wheel and two-tone grey facia – both of which combine to make the Viva feel a little bit, er, less cheap.

At this price you can forgive the Viva for a few cheap looking plastics, but the Viva’s interior is almost entirely devoid of character. On the plus side, the seats are comfortable and there are a few grown-up features which make it feel like a Corsa that’s been shrunk in the wash. The steering wheel, for example, is straight out of the Corsa, while some money has been spent improving small things like the gearstick.

This goes some way to lifting the otherwise slightly drab cabin, and practicality is on its side. Even the entry-level model comes with five doors, which helps if you’re carrying rear-seat passengers regularly. While there’s not copious amounts of rear legroom, you will get a couple of adults in the back at a push. They’ll soon be complaining of feeling claustrophobic on anything more than a short, urban journey, however.

Boot space isn’t particularly generous, either, coming in at 206 litres. Access is good, but it falls short of the Hyundai i10 (252 litres), Suzuki Celerio (254 litres) and Volkswagen Up! (251 litres).

This is all starting to sound a bit average…


That’s the thing about the Viva. Had it been introduced five or six years ago it would have been a revelation. But today, well, it’s a competent, sensible car for not a lot of money.

But why would you buy one when its rivals are just so good? A lot of people seem to have an affinity to Vauxhall. It’s been jostling with Ford for the position of number one carmaker for UK sales since, well, forever. The fact is you can buy a better all-rounder with a longer warranty for similar money from a Korean manufacturer (enter Hyundai i10), but some people just want a Vauxhall.

And we can respect that. With 363 dealers in the UK – second only to Ford – the chances are you’ve got a Vauxhall dealer locally. Is that enough of a reason to buy a Viva?

OK, there’s also the excellent ride, five doors and decent amount of standard specification. We could understand why you would buy one. But visit your local Hyundai dealer before handing over any money.

Rivals: Vauxhall Viva

  • Hyundai i10
  • Skoda Citigo
  • SEAT Mii
  • Toyota Aygo
  • Suzuki Celerio

The Hyundai i10 is the one to beat in this segment, and the Vauxhall Viva does fall short in most areas. The Citigo (and its Up! and Mii brethrens) has been around for a while but continues to be a strong contender, while the new Toyota Aygo (along with the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108) offers a bit more character for the money. The Suzuki Celerio also puts up a good fight against the Viva.

Specification: Vauxhall Viva

Engine 1.0-litre petrol

Gearbox 5-speed manual (Easytronic due in January 2016)

Power 75hp

Torque 70lb/ft

0-62mph 13.1 seconds

Top speed 106mph

MPG 62.8 – 65.7

CO2 99 – 104g/km

Coventry MotoFest

Coventry MotoFest 2015: all you need to know

Coventry MotoFestCoventry MotoFest 2015 gets underway today (Friday 29 May) for a long weekend celebrating everything motoring.

2015 is the second year of the event and it already has a quite astounding list of attractions, including a bespoke city centre race course, BTCC and Renault Clio Cup demonstration runs, dozens of world-famous Coventry-themed heritage cars in action and gatherings of, literally, hundreds of modern and classic cars within Coventry’s infamous Monaco-style ring road.

Indeed, here’s why Coventry MotoFest 2015 is the Monaco of the Midlands…

Coventry MotoFest 2015: Monaco of the Midlands? Really?

Coventry Motofest sprint circuit plan

OK, so maybe Coventry lacks a little of the glamour of Monaco, but this isn’t stopping MotoFest 2015 organisers going all-out to put on an amazing show. The fact they’ve got the council to agree to the motoring spectacular itself is amazing – but they didn’t stop there.

See, Monaco is all about the racing – and this year, so too is MotoFest: because a special temporary ring road race course has been created especially for this event!

The 1.5-mile long circuit will run on a closed section of the Coventry Ring Road between Junction 4 and Junction 7; organisers have arranged for the closure on Saturday 30 May between 8am and 5pm.

Planned cars in action include BTCC racer Rob Austin in his Audi A4, Renault Clio Cup racers, Group B rallycar demonstrations, Jaguar Heritage and Jaguar Le Mans classics and even the BRM Rover Gas Turbine Car.

Darren Langeveld, MotoFest Race Director said the track “will provide one of the most distinctive and one-off race circuits you will see this year”.

And as if the idea of racing cars thundering through the centre of Coventry at flat-out speeds wasn’t enough, the organisers haven’t stopped there…

Coventry MotoFest 2015 Short Oval Action Arena

Falken Drift

The thing with motor racing, even flat-out motor racing on city centre ring roads normally either jammed with traffic or kept legal by police cars and speed cameras, is that it passes by rather quickly.

What you really need is a short oval arena to watch the action. Going to Coventry MotoFest 2015, you’re in luck…

The MotoFest Action Arena is a short oval circuit staged just off the ring road sprint course. Because it’s off the public roads, the council doesn’t have to worry about keeping traffic flowing through the city, so this can run on both Saturday 30 May and Sunday 31 May, between 10am and 6pm.

BTCC racer Rob Austin will be showing off his Audi A4 touring car there too, as with the Renault Clio Cup stars, other racers from the BARC series and the iconic Group B rally cars.

But MotoFest organisers have also secured the services of the Falken International Drift Team which made the recent Nurburgring 24 Hour race so exciting: believe us, if you like watching sideways cars and breathing in lots (and lots) of tyre smoke, it’s a must-see.

Likely to be similarly stylish are the Legends, the TVR Speed Championship cars and various other MotoFest invitational classes. Smartphones at the ready, be sure to visit the short oval circuit, located next to the Grosvenor Road military vehicle display between junctions 6 and 7 of the Coventry ring road.

But what else is going to be at MotoFest 2015?

Coventry MotoFest 2015 map

Coventry MotoFest 2015 map: click to enlarge

Coventry MotoFest organisers aim to once again turn Coventry city centre into a petrolhead’s dream, packed with vehicles from the past, present and future. It ran for the first time last year, when 70,000 fans indulged in 400 cars. This year, it’s going to be bigger still.

Within the ring road live action arena, a welter of special events will be held. The Top Gear Experience Racing Aces will be in action, there’ll be Scalextric, diecast cars, a French Connection vehicle display, the latest from Coventry University Transport Design Degree Show, a Land Rover experience showcase, cool exhibits from the Heritage Motor Centre and plenty more.

The Triumph 1300 and Dolomite’s 50th birthday will be celebrated alongside hundreds of other classic cars, some Ikea-themed family fun will keen the kids busy and street food stands will keep everyone fed. Don’t feel left out if you’re into two wheels either; there’s a display of classic bikes and scooters next to the Jaguar Heritage stand.

The MotoFest Jaguar world debut car

Jaguar FTYPE Bloodhound

Jaguar will even launch a brand new car at MotoFest 2015 – the F-Type R AWD Bloodhound SSC Rapid Response Vehicle, which celebrates the firm’s association with the world land speed record-chasing Bloodhounds SSC team.

Jaguar is a technical partner of Bloodhound SSC, and its 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine powers the fuel pump for Bloodhound SSC’s rockets. It’s celebrating this over MotoFest with the one-off F-Type RRV, which will be one of the Jaguar cars supporting the 1,000mph attempt.

Set to run on the sprint course on both Saturday and Sunday, the special Jaguar wears a Jaguar Design custom livery and has been created by the firm’s Special Vehicle Operations division, located just up the road off the A45 in Coventry.

It’s a genuine home-grown machine then – as indeed is the Jaguar brand itself, which is why Jaguar Heritage will be out in force with a historic cavalcade.

Again set to run on Saturday and Sunday, the Jaguar classic car display will include a 1956 D-type Long Nose and 1966’s one-off XJ13 (and your writer himself is due to drive the XJ13 on Saturday – no pressure!).

Jaguar will also run a 1974 Group 44 E-type, 1976 Broadspeed XJ13 Coupe and the amazing 1988 Le Mans-winning XJR-9.

MotoFest 2015 housekeeping: where, when, how much?

Coventry MotoFest

Coventry MotoFest 2015 begins today (Friday 29 May) and runs until Sunday 31 May. It’s mostly contained within the Coventry ring road, taking over the city centre with special displays throughout.

Hundreds of classic cars from dozens of classic car clubs are going to be on show, and those owning a pre-1995 classic car are also involved to take it to Coventry on Saturday and Sunday, say the organisers: from 8am, go to the Broadgate and Salt Lane area of the city centre, heading for Little Park Street just off junction 5 (type CV1 2JZ into your sat nav).

Do note, though, parking is first come, first served.

And how much is it all? This is the best bit: it’s completely free. Simply turn up and indulge. The racing demonstrations are free, the exhibits are free, the classic displays are free. The only thing you’ll need to pay for is food and drink (A MotoFest feast, indeed) at the pop-up Ace Café. Ace.

Which roads are closed for MotoFest?

Coventry MotoFest 2015 road closures

Coventry ring road is fully closed between J4-J8 for the duration of MotoFest: see the blue-highlighted road sections within the red box above.

Other roads surrounding the ring road are also closed, or partly closed:

  • Grosvenor Road
  • Short Street
  • Westminster Road (Grosvenor Road to Warwick Road)
  • St Patrick Road (Friars Road to Cheylesmore Road)
  • Manor House Road (onto ring road)
  • Manor Road (Park Road to ring road)

Coventry MotoFest 2015: download a map

Coventry Motofest sprint circuit plan

Coventry MotoFest ring road race course revealed

Coventry Motofest sprint circuit plan

Coventry’s notorious ring road will be transformed into a unique race course this weekend as Coventry MotoFest 2015 gets underway.

A section of the ring road between junction 4 and junction 7 will be closed on Saturday 30 May to create a 1.5-mile racetrack, on which organisers will run a remarkable selection of demonstrations including a top-spec BTCC touring car!

Darren Langeveld, MotoFest Race Director said the sprint course “will provide one of the most distinctive and one-off race circuits you will see this year.

“It will provide the drivers taking part with a unique opportunity to run their cars in a urban setting and all those we have spoken to are really looking forward to it.

“For those attending MotoFest it represents a fantastic opportunity to see some world class race cars away from the traditional circuits and get close-up to the action.”

Coventry MotoFest 2015 ring road sprint course: in detail

The 1.5-mile long course begins just before the slip road at junction 6; setting off in a new Friargate tunnel, there are several chicanes along the way before the course dips beneath junction 5.

The course runs eastbound to junction 4, before again dipping under the ring road, looping round and returning back. The finish line is just before the Friargate tunnel at junction 6.

Coventry city engineers have created a brand new race paddock at junction 8 (there’s a turn around area in the central reservation!) and the entire course is lined with a series of crash barriers. Fully marshalled, there are defined spectator zones along the way (indicated by blue markings in the diagram above).

Bold plans to hold official time trial races on the sprint course have been shelved for 2015 though, after legislation from the Department for Transport failed to come through in time.

The Coventry MotoFest 2015 ring road sprint circuit will be live between 8am and 5pm on Saturday 30 May: check the MotoFest website, Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates on what’s running and when.

Hyundai Kia World Cup

Hyundai ‘extremely concerned’ about FIFA corruption scandal

Hyundai Kia World CupFootball World Cup sponsor Hyundai Motor has said it is ‘extremely concerned’ following the arrest of senior FIFA officials on corruption charges.

Nine current and former FIFA executives have been arrested and charged in Zurich following arrests on behalf of U.S. authorities.

The charges relate to corruption around the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 football World Cups.

In a statement, lead sponsor Hyundai has said it is “extremely concerned about the legal proceedings being taken against certain FIFA executives and will monitor the situation closely”.

Hyundai Motor joined other World Cup title sponsors in expressing its concern about the FIFA arrests. Coca-Cola said they had “tarnished” the World Cup and Visa expressed its “disappointment”.

Hyundai Kia FIFA World Cup

Hyundai and sister company Kia first became involved with FIFA in 1999, with prominent involvement from the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. It is a top-tier sponsor of the World Cup and Automotive Official Partner until 2022.

Hyundai supports all FIFA World Cup competitions, including the Confederations Cups, Women’s World Cups, U-20 World Cup and U-17 World Cup.

Hyundai Kia World Cup

Hyundai 'extremely concerned' about FIFA corruption scandal

Hyundai Kia World CupFootball World Cup sponsor Hyundai Motor has said it is ‘extremely concerned’ following the arrest of senior FIFA officials on corruption charges.

Nine current and former FIFA executives have been arrested and charged in Zurich following arrests on behalf of U.S. authorities.

The charges relate to corruption around the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 football World Cups.

In a statement, lead sponsor Hyundai has said it is “extremely concerned about the legal proceedings being taken against certain FIFA executives and will monitor the situation closely”.

Hyundai Motor joined other World Cup title sponsors in expressing its concern about the FIFA arrests. Coca-Cola said they had “tarnished” the World Cup and Visa expressed its “disappointment”.

Hyundai Kia FIFA World Cup

Hyundai and sister company Kia first became involved with FIFA in 1999, with prominent involvement from the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. It is a top-tier sponsor of the World Cup and Automotive Official Partner until 2022.

Hyundai supports all FIFA World Cup competitions, including the Confederations Cups, Women’s World Cups, U-20 World Cup and U-17 World Cup.

Volvo On Call app Apple Watch

Volvo syncs with Apple Watch, talks to Cortana

Volvo On Call app Apple WatchVolvo is the latest brand to offer connectivity with its cars via smartwatches such as the Apple Watch.

The firm is to release an update for its Volvo On Call smart app, that will incorporate wearable devices such as Android Wear and the Apple Watch.

Smartwatches: how they’ll make the cars of the future safer

It will allow Volvo owners to locate their car, lock and unlock it remotely and access various onboard functions through the device.

There will also be a full iPad user interface and unified Windows Phone app offering voice control through Cortana, says Volvo.

Volvo On Call was launched back in 2001 and was one of the world’s first in-car telematics systems. Based around an in-car SIM card, it’s grown from its original safety-based functionality into “a solution that allows the driver to stay connected with their car and provides many new benefits to support their everyday requirements,” said Volvo Cars On Call manager Sofia Wessman.

The updated Volvo On Call app, which also boasts a new look similar to infotainment systems on the new Volvo XC90’s Sensus system, will be released later in June.

New Lamborghini SUV likely to share a platform with Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga.

Confirmed: Lamborghini to launch Urus SUV in 2018

New Lamborghini SUV likely to share a platform with Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga.

Lamborghini has confirmed that it will launch a production SUV based on its Urus concept car in 2018.

It will be built at Lamborghini’s Italian factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese and is expected to share a platform with other Volkswagen Group SUVs including the new Audi Q7 and forthcoming Bentley Bentayga.

Details are to be confirmed – but while the concept featured a naturally-aspirated V10 engine, we expect Audi’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 to make its way into the Lamborghini. A hybrid version could follow – and potentially a diesel.

Speculation suggests prices could start as low as £120,000 – undercutting Lamborghini’s current entry-level model, the Huracan.

The manufacturer says it is predominantly targeting the USA, China, the Middle East, the UK, Germany and Russia, with volumes expected to be around 3,000 a year – doubling the firm’s current sales figures.

Lamborghini president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann said: “This is a proud moment for everybody in Lamborghini. The introduction of a third model line endorses the stable and sustainable growth of the company and signifies for us the beginning of a new era.”

He added: “The new SUV will be made in Sant’Agata Bolognese, demonstrating our commitment to safeguarding the values of ‘Made in Italy’ worldwide.”

Sant’Agata Bolognese factory to double in size

Lamborghini deflected pressure from head office to build the new SUV at the same factory as the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga.

Instead, its production facility at Sant’Agata Bolognese will double in size to 150,000sq m – and 500 extra staff will be recruited.

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said: “Lamborghini, Italdesign Giugiaro and Ducati have developed very successfully under Audi parentage, and kept their Italian identity. With the decision to produce the Lamborghini SUV in Sant’Agata Bolognese we have proven once more our commitment to Italy as an important automotive industrial nation.”

It’s believed that Lamborghini was offered considerable tax breaks to keep production of the SUV in Italy.

7 Ferraris scoop the Euromillions jackpot at Villa Erba

7 Ferraris scoop the Euromillions jackpot at Villa Erba

7 Ferraris scoop the Euromillions jackpot at Villa Erba

What did you do at the weekend? Guzzle Bucks Fizz at the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna? Or sip champagne alongside some of the world’s wealthiest car collectors at the RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba sale in Italy? Forget Europop, it was all about Euromillions at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, as bidders from 26 countries spent a total of €26,714,530 on 34 of the world’s rarest and most exotic vehicles. Ferrari dominated proceedings, with seven cars realising a final price in excess of €1 million.

Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta: €6,720,000

Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta: €6,720,000

The 1952 Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta opened at €3 million before climbing to an incredible €6,720,000 (£4,750,000), believed to be an auction record for the model. This – the last Touring-bodied 212 Export – campaigned at Targa Florio in 1952 and 1953 and was also an entrant at the 1956 Mille Miglia. It was registered in Switzerland in the mid 1950s but would go on to lead a nomadic life, spending time in California, Florida, Madrid and London. It is believed to be the best of its kind, hence the remarkable price.

This was in stark contrast to the Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider – which despite attracting a pre-auction estimate of between €11,000,000 and €13,000,000 – failed to sell at €10.25 million. A sign that the Ferrari bubble might be about to burst? Maybe not, but there could be a changing of the guard in terms of which Ferraris attract the highest bids.

Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso: €2,016,000

Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso: €2,016,000

This is arguably one of the most beautiful cars ever to wear a Ferrari badge. The 250 GT/L is a grand tourer in the purist sense and featured a body designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti. Little wonder it sold for just over € 2million (£1.425 million).

Records suggest that this particular car was displayed at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show before being sold to a gentleman in Switzerland. The engine – a 240hp 3.0-litre V12 – has been rebuilt, but the interior is believed to be original.

Ferrari 288 GTO: €1,904,000

Ferrari 288 GTO: €1,904,000

A final fee just shy of €1.9 million (£1.35 million) for this 288 GTO may seem like a lot of cash, but let’s not forget a similar car sold in Arizona earlier this year for $2.75 million (£1.78 million). A mere 272 examples were built and it remains one of the most sought-after Ferraris ever built. Its 400hp V8 engine helped to propel the 288 GTO to a top speed of 189mph. The 0-62mph sprint time of 4.9 seconds may seem relatively modest by today’s standards, but this was a thoroughbred of a Ferrari.

Despite being delivered new in Italy, this 288 GTO spent over a decade of its life in the US. During this time, the owner – a collector who also happened to own a Porsche 959, an F50 and two F40s – travelled a mere 300 miles in the car. That’s willpower. We would find it hard to resist.

Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II: €1,568,000

Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II: €1,568,000

The hammer fell on this Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II at €1,568,000 (£1.1 million). It’s number 89 of just 201 Series II Cabriolets ever made and was built in October 1960. The original owner was French billionaire, Pierre Schlumberger of Schlumberger Limited – one of the world’s largest oil-field service companies. He and his wife enjoyed fine living, fine art and fine cars. In fact, his wife, Sao, even commissioned Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol to paint portraits of her.

If we’re honest, we’d prefer to commission Ferrari to build a car for us. Amazingly, Mr Schlumberger still owned the 250 GT at his death in 1985 and it wasn’t sold until the 21st century. It’s refreshing to find such a timeless vehicle used in the manner in which it was intended. The husband and wife enjoyed driving this car in North America and Europe and had the funds to keep it looking in fine condition.

Ferrari Enzo: €1,260,000

Ferrari Enzo: €1,260,000

You know it’s been a successful auction when a €1.26 million (£890,000) Enzo is the fifth most expensive Ferrari to go under the hammer. Launched at the 2002 Paris Motor Show as a tribute to the company’s founder, the Enzo felt every inch the Formula One car for the road. Take the nose, which looked just like that of the Ferrari F1 cars. The 660hp delivered by its 6.0-litre V12 engine was also reminiscent of an F1 car.

This was Pininfarina’s actual Paris Motor Show car. Almost everything that wasn’t required was stripped out to save weight, with only the leather seats and climate control providing the slightest of nods towards luxury. All 349 cars were sold via invitation only and the Enzo was sold out before Luca di Montezemolo unveiled it in Paris. You won’t find many finished in Giallo Modena yellow paint. Original price? Around €700,000.

Ferrari F50: €1,232,000

Ferrari F50: €1,232,000

The Enzo was essentially the spiritual successor to this – the Ferrari F50 of 1995. A total of 349 cars were built between 1995 and 1997 and the car sold at Villa Erba is number 215. Built to celebrate Ferrari’s 50th anniversary, it was unveiled at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show. Power was sourced from a 4.7-litre V12 engine producing 520hp at 8,500rpm. It would sprint to 62mph in just 3.87 seconds, giving it F1-style acceleration.

Make no mistake, this was another F1-style car for the road. The monocoque was made of composite materials, the fuel tank was made from a rubberised material derived from the aircraft industry and the hubs were forged from titanium. This particular car has covered 36,000km and retains its original books, tools and luggage.

Ferrari F40: €1,008,000

Ferrari F40: €1,008,000

And before the F50 came this, the F40 – surely one of the most famous Ferraris of all-time. If nothing else, it must win an award for most bedroom wall posters ever produced. Built to commemorate another anniversary – this time the company’s 40th – the F40 was powered by a 3.0-litre V8 with two turbochargers. Output was rated at 478hp, with a 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds.

This particular car was sold new in Milan before making its way to Germany. The massive rear engine cover is one of its standout features, complete with vented Plexiglass window. This served two purposes. Firstly – to allow the engine to cool, but secondly – and most importantly for us mere mortals – it gave us the chance to gawp at the engine beneath the cover. A proper legend of a car.