Honda CR-V Hybrid

2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid: the petrol SUV that mimics a diesel

Honda CR-V HybridHonda has confirmed fuel economy for its forthcoming 2019 CR-V Hybrid – and it’s good news, for this is a petrol SUV that does a fair impression of a diesel in the efficiency stakes.

Combined fuel economy under the revised, tougher WLTP-related NEDC test is 53.3mpg, equalling CO2 emissions of 120g/km.

That’s for the front-wheel drive model. Choose all-wheel drive and the figures are still decent, with economy of 51.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 126g/km. Not bad for a family-friendly mid-size SUV.

Honda CR-V Hybrid

It’s Honda’s clever i-MMD hybrid tech that’s to thank for this. It enables the 184hp 2.0-litre petrol engine to constantly switch between electric (it has two electric motors), hybrid and engine drive, maximising economy and minimising emissions.

The new CR-V Hybrid will make its production-spec debut at the Paris Motor Show 2018 next week, alongside a revised version of its smaller SUV sibling, the HR-V.

Honda’s given the junior crossover a bolder grille with more chrome, revised headlights and LED running lights. It launches with a 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine, with a turbocharged version of this petrol motor following in 2019, alongside a 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel.

Honda’s also showing a Civic Type R wearing a full ‘ArtCar Manga’ wrap, and the surprisingly successful Honda-powered Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13 Formula 1 car will be shown – as will the NSX GT3 that Jenson Button is racing this year.

Richard Rawlings Dodge Challenger Hellcat Stolen

Star of Discovery Channel’s Fast N’ Loud has prized muscle car stolen

Richard Rawlings Dodge Challenger Hellcat Stolen

Richard Rawlings, owner of Gas Monkey Garage and larger-than-life star of TV’s Fast N’ Loud has suffered the theft of one of his prize muscle cars.

Rawlings announced on social media that the Dodge Challenger Hellcat had been stolen overnight, with a reward offered for information to help recover it.

Painted black, with black wheels and black interior, this particular Hellcat belongs to Rawlings’ wife, Sue. A priceless photo featuring Sue Rawlings and her son was left inside the car, making the need to recover the Hellcat even more pertinent.

The 707-horsepower Hellcat, powered by a supercharged Hemi V8 engine, has made numerous appearances in the Discovery Channel show across its 14 seasons. Most typically, the Hellcat has been seen with smoke pouring from the rear wheels as Rawlings completes yet another burnout.

First launched in 2015, the Challenger Hellcat has gained a cult following with muscle car fans, thanks to the combination of retro-inspired styling and supercar rivalling performance.

The success of both Gas Monkey Garage and the Fast N’ Loud TV series has seen Rawlings amass a wide a varied car collection. Ranging from Ferraris and Lamborghinis, to a replica of the Ford Shelby GT500 used in the Thomas Crown Affair movie, his collection is certainly diverse.

Richard Rawlings Dodge Challenger Hellcat Stolen

Since 2014, Rawlings has appeared in adverts promoting Dodge products, along with representing the brand at events such as Roadkill Nights and Woodward Avenue.

Anyone with information on the stolen Challenger is asked to contact the Dallas Police Department.

McLaren Senna vs motocross bikes at Goodwood

Wacky races: McLaren Senna versus 3 motocross bikes – who wins?

McLaren Senna vs motocross bikes at Goodwood

It answers a question asked by thousands of motorists every summer. No, not whether the M4/M5 or M3/A303 is the best way to the West Country, but what’s the quickest route to the top of the Goodwood Hill?

To celebrate the launch of Forza Horizon 4, a McLaren Senna and three motocross bikes lined up at the start of the iconic hillclimb, poised for a straight fight to the top of the hill. 

The rules were simple: the driver in the Senna had to stick to the track, while the motocross riders were free to follow a route more akin to that chosen by a crow. 

Who won? Well, you’ll have to watch the video to find out, but the riders used more than a few tricks and stunts to outmanoeuvre the incredible speed and power of the McLaren.

Senna by name…

The Senna is the most extreme road car McLaren has ever built and the latest model in the Ultimate Series. It’s all about the ‘three 800s’: 800hp, 800Nm (519lb ft) of torque and 800kg of downforce (at 155mph). Zero to 62mph takes just 2.8 seconds, while 124mph is seen off just four seconds later.

We’ve driven it, although not against a trio of motocross bikes at Goodwood. Our verdict: “Does it live up to the name? Without doubt. This McLaren is Senna. I now have a hesitation-free answer when people ask me what’s the best car I’ve ever driven.”

Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Edition is available from Friday 28 September, four days ahead of the global launch on Tuesday 2 October. Gamers can collect, modify and drive over 450 cars and play solo or team up with friends to race through Great Britain.

Maybe Forza will have the answer to the M4/M5 or M3/A303 conundrum. We’d opt for the A303, especially if we had the keys to the McLaren Senna.

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Toyota Corolla Union Flag

The Toyota Corolla’s coming home – and we’re excited (no, really)

Toyota Corolla Union Flag

The Toyota Corolla and the England football team share a lot in common. No, really, they do, as I’m about to explain.

In 1966, England won the World Cup – your parents may have mentioned this a couple of times – signalling 30, 40, and now 52 years of hurt and the birth of the phrase “1966 and all that”.

It’s not entirely clear what the “all that” is referring to, but while Nobby was dancing and Jules Rimet was still gleaming, Toyota was predicting a motorisation boom. The Japanese economy was flourishing, and people began to realise that scooters and bicycles wouldn’t cut it as family transport.

The result was the 1966 launch of the Toyota Corolla, which, much like the England football team, would go on to conquer the world, sweeping all before it. Two heavyweights of their respective industries, admired by all, and loved by millions.

OK, so England’s World Cup victory didn’t exactly herald the dawn of a new footballing dynasty, but within eight years, the Corolla was already the world’s best selling car, going on to amass in the region of 45 million sales (and counting).

Only the Ford F-Series can rival the Corolla for its stranglehold on the world market, although, in the case of the American pick-up, the success is about as global as the World Series of Major League Baseball.

Well, they said you was high class

2006 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla was the second Toyota to be imported into the UK, arriving here in the same year football decided it was staying at home. It forged a reputation for dependability, reliability and, dare we say, mediocrity before the name was pensioned off in 2007.

Our love of premium badges and soft-touch plastics left the Corolla out of touch and outta here. With a swipe of a Chanel handbag and the kick from a pair of Jimmy Choos, the Corolla was gone, replaced, in Europe at least, by the Toyota Auris.

“We needed to change people’s perceptions of our C-segment hatchback,” said Andrea Formica, vice president of sales and marketing at Toyota Motor Europe. “We believe we have succeeded, people spontaneously reacted to the name with words such as ‘futuristic’, ‘high-class’ and ‘attractive’.”

Others asked if this was Toyota doing a ‘Consignia’. Probably.

In fairness, the Auris name lasted a whole lot longer than Royal Mail’s disastrous rebrand – 1.5 million sales is a decent return for the family car – but killing the Corolla name was a little like removing the sausage from an English breakfast. Or irrational thoughts from a Brexit debate.

It’s largely the same, but you can’t help but think something is missing.

But, that was just a lie

High flying Toyota Corolla

So, Toyota’s decision to bring the Corolla name home – in the same year that football very nearly did the same thing – is a reason to be cheerful. Heck, it’s a cause for celebration. An excuse to splash out on some Iceland mozzarella sticks and jumbo tempura prawns.

Why? Because the Toyota Corolla was always the chariot driven by your friend with no interest in cars. They were never late for work, rarely splashed out on expensive repairs, didn’t care where they parked, and they always reached their chosen destination without a hiccup or a splutter.

It was the go-to car for those who approach car shopping like you would approach a day at a retail park. The default choice. A domestic appliance.

The Auris confused matters. The change of name gave it ideas above its station and left dyed-in-the-wool Corolla owners feeling dazed and confused. They will welcome the return.

Burning love

You, on the other hand, will welcome the second coming of the Corolla for another reason: the sporting models. Take the AE 86 GT Coupe, described by our Tim Pitt as a car that offers an “analogue driving experience [that] can’t fail to make you grin.”

Toyota Corolla GT Coupe AE 86

Only 2,717 AE 86s were sold in the UK, but our growing fondness for retro Japanese – not to mention its appearance in Gran Turismo – has cemented its reputation as a rear-wheel-drive cult classic. Sadly, prices reflect this elevated status.

That’s not to say your chances of bagging a hot Corolla are as remote finding a spare moment in Mark Wahlberg’s daily schedule.

Take the Corolla 1.6 GT-i of 1987. Based on the sixth-generation of the world’s most ubiquitous car, the Corolla GT-i was a rev-happy, dynamically-sorted hot hatch for those who weren’t interested in a Golf GTI, Astra GTE or Escort XR3i.

Some would argue that the Corolla GT-i doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves and that it should be held up as the car with the best chassis, gearbox, brakes and driving position in its class. It’s just a shame so many of them have rusted away.

Another hot(ish) Corolla is the fifth-generation GT – the front-wheel-drive alternative to the AE 86. In a triple-test with the Renault 11 Turbo and Alfa Romeo 33 Green Cloverleaf, Car concluded: “You’d have to buy the Toyota from these, even knowing that it is a lovely engine clothed in fairly routine running gear.

“The twin-cam, which doesn’t even demand more fuel than the average shopping trolley, must be one of the finest fours in production, regardless of cost.”

The devil in disguise

Toyota Corolla GT

High praise, and yet the Corolla GT is largely forgotten. Similarly, the WRC-inspired 1.6-litre 16-valve G6R is another Corolla to slip from the radar. The limited edition featured colour-coded sills and front and rear spoilers, along with six-spoke alloys, sports seats and… wait for it… red seatbelts.

The point is, the Corolla isn’t quite the unfancied and undateable car popular opinion would have you believe. Beneath that ‘white goods’ exterior burns a heart of raging desire and passion. Or something.

We haven’t even mentioned the Castrol-liveried WRC car driven by Carlos Sainz and Didier Auriol, which finished second and first in the manufacturers’ championship in 1998 and 1999 respectively.

The return of the Corolla name signals the end of a decade of hurt in the UK. The future looks bright: the Touring Sports is a good looking estate car, and we wouldn’t bet against a GRMN version of the hatchback.

Don your Gareth Southgate waistcoat and raise a glass to the return of the Toyota Corolla. We’re delighted it’s coming home. The Corolla, not the waistcoat. Sorry, Gareth.

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Learner driver

What do learner drivers really want to be tested on?

Learner driver

Learner drivers have revealed what they really want to be taught and tested on  and the most common desire is to experience everyday, real-life scenarios.

According to car insurer Marmalade, learner drivers aged between 17-24 indicated they want guidance and tuition on the following experiences:

  • Night driving: 58 percent
  • Rush-hour driving: 48 percent
  • Roadside wheel changes: 37 percent

What’s more, parents (for once) actually agree on what a learner needs to experience. Night driving (74 percent), rush-hour driving (66 percent) and roadside wheel changes (45 percent) also topped their list of important scenarios to be schooled in.

Learner driver

“We take it very seriously that new drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident,” said Crispin Moger, CEO at Marmalade.

“However, most bumps are not down to reckless behaviour, they’re caused by inexperience. Rather than apply restrictions, let’s encourage the Government to broaden their knowledge with skilled professionals, in a safe environment.”

It seems both learner drivers and their parents agree: don’t overcomplicate things, simply make sure new drivers are taught the basics, and overall driving standards may rise accordingly. 

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Drifting Mustang

This Ford Mustang just drifted the ENTIRE Nürburgring

Drifting Mustang

Drifting, love it or hate it, is a finely honed and balletic skill. It’s an impressive demonstration of car control wherever you see it.

And this is a drift well worth seeing: Vaughn Gittin Jr and Ford have just set the benchmark for the ultimate drift challenge – all 13 miles of the famous Nürburgring, smoking and sideways in his Mustang.

It’s the sort of thing a group of young lads would speculate about on the playground. “Reckon you could drift the whole Nürburgring?” one would speculate. “No way!” the others would respond.

It’s that unbelievable, but Vaughn Gittin has taken his 900hp supercharged RTR Mustang for the hairiest lap of the Green Hell ever.

Lairy enough that the lap had to be split into sections. Why? One set of tyres was never going to last a whole sideways lap of the ‘Ring. In the end, a full three sets were sacrificed.

“Drifting the Nürburgring represents the ultimate challenge to me,” said Gittin Jr.

“It is something that many question whether it would be possible and whether the car and driver could do it and come out in one piece.

“Something inside of me had to take this on to find out.” And how…

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Brabus Widester

Mob goals: Brabus Widestar G-Class defies physics (and taste?)

Brabus Widester

What could possibly make the all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Class any better than it already is? Well, Brabus, famed Mercedes tuner, has an idea, mostly involving giving it 700 horsepower…

More power isn’t exactly the top of the list of changes we’d make but hey ho. Welcome to the Brabus 700 Widestar.

The standard G63 is already the Kardashian/mob boss/Middle East oil baron daily hack of choice, but the Widestar takes it to the next level. And where better to debut such an outlandish machine than in Monaco at the exotic 2018 Yacht Show?

The looks

You won’t need to even fire up your 700hp Brabus Widestar to get noticed. 100mm-wider wheelarches can harbour enormous 23-inch Monoblock “Platinum Edition” wheels if you so desire. Measly 20s come as standard.

Brabus badging all around the car lets everyone know this is no (ahem) pauper-spec AMG. Roof-mounted LEDs are perfect for lighting up the next sand dune to be conquered.

The cabin

It should come as no surprise that the sky is the limit when it comes to speccing out the cabin of your new Brabus Widestar. The finest leathers, Alcantara, carbon fibre highlights and wood are all available.

The car on display in Monaco features a literally tasty-sounding vanilla and black leather cabin, with orange piping and vanilla seams.

The power

The power was perhaps the easiest thing to eek out for the Brabus Widestar. The B40 700 package is already available for other models that come with the 4.0-litre V8.

The changes include a new control module and a new engine map that up the boost and fuel flow, as well as an optional sports exhaust to really make it sing. There’s even a subtle “Coming Home” exhaust mode; an uncharacteristic consideration of others who might not want to hear your booming 700hp V8 truck as you leave of a morning.

That said, neighbours aren’t something we imagine Brabus Widestar buyers are blighted by.

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Hyundai i30 Fastback N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N revealed ahead of Paris debut

Hyundai i30 Fastback NThe Hyundai i30 Fastback N is a five-door GT coupe version of the i30 N five-door hot hatch, which Hyundai hopes will prove a fast and value-packed alternative to models such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. It debuts next week at the 2018 Paris Motor Show.

From the front, it’s largely the same as the i30 N hatch, the range-topper of the i30 five-door range.

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

It’s the slinky hatchback rear that’s the standout aspect. Hyundai would rather us refer to it as a four-door coupe, thanks to its sweeping roofline and elegant tail.

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

Instead of the upright rear of a hatch, it’s more curvaceous and more like one of those premium German alternatives (it doesn’t have a rear wiper either, which should be interesting in rainy wintry Britain…).

Yet it should still have a reasonably roomy rear and the 450-litre boot is actually bigger and more practical than the hatch.

It extends to a yawning 1,351 litres with the seats down. So the sexy-looking version of the i30 N is actually the more practical version too – at least until Hyundai decides to be bold and give us an i30 N Estate…

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

As with the hatch, the 2.0-litre turbo’s offered in both 250hp and 275hp Performance guise. The latter gets a limited-slip differential, plus bigger 19-inch wheels that are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tyres and hide enlarged brakes. Its dual-exit exhaust is fruitier, too.

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

Performance? 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds for the regular i30 N Fastback, with the i30 Fastback N Performance Package doing it in 6.1 seconds. Top speed is again capped to 155mph.

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

Expect prices to show a mild hike over the regular i30 N, which costs £25,760 in regular guise and £28,760 as a 275hp Performance. But as the regular Fastback is only around £350 more than the hatch, it may not be as step as you think.

We’ll find out more at Paris next week – and bring you first live images of the better-looking Fastback four-door coupe alternative to the i30 N hot hatch.

McLaren 600LT scale model

Mac Mini: buy a McLaren 600LT scale model for £65

McLaren 600LT scale modelThe new McLaren 600LT hasn’t just launched to the world’s press for first drives, it’s also been launched as a scale model, with prices starting from £65.

The TSM-Model McLaren 600LT is a factory-approved version that rolls out to coincide with the introduction of the real thing in McLaren retailers.

Made from resin, it’s offered in two sizes – 1:43 scale for £65, and larger 1:18 scale for £200. Both are a little more affordable than the £185,500 price of the road-going McLaren 600LT.

McLaren 600LT scale model

McLaren’s offerering it in two colours, Myan Orange or Chicane Effect grey. Both are the launch colours for the 600LT, and both share the same black interior.

A range of special liveries will also be offered.

McLaren scale model cars

The launch of the 600LT scale models takes the line-up of TSM McLarens to more than 75 models. Included in the range are both production and development cars, road-going and race-spec McLarens, plus key cars from the Sports, Super and Ultimate Series range.

Perfect, says McLaren, for enthusiasts of all ages to “curate their own McLaren-themed collection, by series, model, variant or even colour”.

McLaren 600LT

McLaren 600LT review: flat-out in the best driver’s car of 2018

The new McLaren 600LT is a faster, more focused take on the 570S supercar. We explore its limits at the Hungaroring F1 circuit