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Author: admin | Category: Car Loan Canada | Date: 20.03.2015

A bit of minor airbrushing around the exterior, with droopier graphic eyelids inside the headlights for a more doe-eyed expression, and new body-coloured patches inside the tail-lights turning them into oblong mint-with-the-hole cut-outs. The radiator grille’s been polished up with some extra chrome, most noticeably on the top Lounge trim, with a kind of three-dimensional pincushion treatment – fussy or fabulous depending on your point of view. Last, but certainly not least in fashionista 500 world, there’s a new swatch card of exterior colours, including our test car’s glitzy ‘Avantgarde Bordeaux’ red. No reinvention of the wheel here either: look to the centre console for the biggest changes, with Fiat’s latest-generation ‘uConnect’ multimedia screen replacing the previous CD-radio unit. Minor tweaks to the electric window switches and steering-mounted audio controls make them sturdier and easier to use, but the gear lever surround, noted for ‘popping off’ after a few thousand miles on a few customers’ cars, returns unchanged, as do the similarly vulnerable exterior door handle mouldings. A deeper set of cupholders are now more capable of actually holding cups, helping to keep the new range of interior fabrics (a kind of vintage tweed in our test car) coffee stain-free.
Still charming, still sounding like a wasp blowing a raspberry, and still capable of surprisingly potent performance for such a tiny engine, especially in top 103bhp guise (an 83bhp version is also available). There’s a laggy initial response, then a surge of power to rush you towards the soft rev limiter – easily bumped into, especially as it cuts in before the needle actually reaches the redline. As with the pre-facelift 500, slow steering and a short wheelbase can give the initial impression of skittish handling at speed, but it’s ultimately quite stable.
That does make for a fantastic turning circle, though, and the 500 remains well at home in the city. And if you’re likely to take the 50 out of its natural habitat and venture onto the motorway regularly, an updated version of the 1.3-litre diesel engine’s on the way soon. Two-and-a-half years since we saw the Jaguar F-Pace concept, we’re here with the very similar-looking production car, door open, engine running, driver’s seat empty. At 4731mm long, the F-Pace slots between XE (4672mm) and XF (4954mm) saloons, and between Evoque and Range Rover Sport.
Rear-wheel drive and manual transmissions are available on the four-cylinder models, giving Jag an answer to the BMW X3.
The six-pots both cost ?51,450, and are available in top-spec S trim, which brings 20-inch rims, a subtly toughened-up bodykit, adaptive dampers and a few other niceties.
You can choose from 18-, 19-, 20-inch alloys in a range of summer, all-terrain or winter tyres, but the 22s on our car come only with the summers. The F-Pace driving position immediately sets the scene: despite the elevated stance, the comfortable leather seat is set low in the cockpit, and the XE steering wheel feels small and wieldy.
Because the glasshouse swoops up and could make young ’uns feel enclosed, Jag has borrowed a trick from Land Rover: ‘stadium’ second-row seating is raised by 10mm compared with the fronts.
Perhaps the only downside is the actual interior design, which we’ve mentioned on XE and XF. From the passenger seat, we can report that the ride feels a little fidgety at low speed, but it flows beautifully when the pace increases, and that body control is particularly noticeable when the suspension compresses and then releases again as the Jag speeds through dips.
Overall, the feeling is of rear bias, but a bias that seamlessly directs torque forwards when you start to demand an awful lot from the F-Pace, say by turning the steering and flattening the accelerator during tighter corners. Two things particularly strike me: first, the F-Pace feels more like the super-agile XE than it does the less involving if still enjoyable XF, which deserves a round of applause given the higher centre of gravity and extra bulk.
It’s jumping headlong into a super-competitive marketplace, but the F-Pace has got the talent to hit the opposition where it hurts. Mid-life refresh time for the Audi A6, which means the brawny S6 gets to enjoy a few updates of its own. It’s hardly surprising they’ve unlocked more power so easily: with everything turned up to 11 in the RS6, the same unit churns out 552bhp. Either saloon or Avant (Audi-speak for estate) variants of the S6 can be had, and both have their own appeal. Our car had the Dynamic Steering option which remains a bit horrible, weighting up artificially beneath your hands in a way that does nothing to enhance the driving experience and frankly just feels odd. When it’s not covering ground incredibly quickly, the S6 Avant does a fantastic job of being a normal car.


The metal paddles behind the wheel feel great too, part of an interior with as epic a standard of fit and finish as you’d expect. Our car was decorated with flawlessly woven carbonfibre dashboard panels and quilted leather seats that looked like they’d been borrowed from Thunderbird 2. No massive changes then, but the S6 Avant remains a rapid, refined and very likable superwagon. The steering’s perhaps a little over-light at speed and could be a touch more communicative, but its fluid, easily twirlable nature comes into its own around town.
This being a MediaNav version, a shield-shaped panel in the middle of the dashboard houses Renault’s R-Link touchscreen system, which isn’t quite as ropey to look at or operate as it used to be. Everyone bangs on, quite rightly, about how good the Ford Fiesta is but there’s no reason this car shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath. You can read our in-depth review of the renewed car in entry-level 1.2-litre form here, but this is the other side of the petrol coin – the buzzy little two-cylinder 875cc turbocharged TwinAir. Top Lounge models get a new (and slightly fiddly) touchscreen, and all 500s now get illuminated USB and aux-in connections.
And the latches to flip the front seats forwards are now in black, replacing the old grubby-in-no-time cream-coloured handles.
Adjusting the seat height only serves to make the driving position feel more awkward, as the mechanism lowers your hips but keeps your knees in the same place. The slender powerband offers a very narrow window to work within, and until you become accustomed to the TwinAir’s quirks it can be difficult to drive smoothly. You’ll need to change up earlier than feels natural, especially if you want to achieve anywhere near decent fuel economy. The ride’s still a little on the thumpy side though, largely a function of the titchy wheelbase.
The facelift can’t fix some of its enduring shortcomings: tough ride, lack of headroom for tall folk, odd driving position and expensive pricing in particular.
The cheapest F-Paces are just over ?34k, with a choice of entry-level Prestige, mid-range R-Sport (?36,670) or top-of-the-tree Portfolio (?39,170) trim. It’s perhaps slightly worrying that the 22s don’t look huge, given that entry-level cars will wear 18s; they may look like Kate Moss wearing a size-16 dress.
It doesn’t sound like much, but it works, and the back seat feels as airy as it is spacious. The quality and layout – save for the fiddly interface for the three drive modes – is fine, but Land Rover interiors are more confident, and that juxtaposition is more obvious when you’ve got four driven wheels and raised ground clearance.
Just like the driving position, your initial prods at the controls quickly set the scene for a sporting experience. The F-Pace rolls slightly, but quickly settles; it gives enormous confidence for the driver to pick a line and power through the corner. Combined with the all-wheel-drive chassis and supple damping, it means you can blat cross-country at a very high average speed. Really lean on the front end by adding more steering when the tyres are already stressed and you’ll find the ultimate limits are far higher than you imagined, and that just a little understeer gives warning that you’ve over-stepped the mark. The F-Pace is faster, more assured, more enjoyable and more practical too, despite its raised ground clearance. We’ll find out more when the car is properly launched in April, but, from this first impression, the signs are promising indeed. Minor styling tweaks include meaner-looking LED headlights and altered air intakes carved into re-profiled bumpers, but comparing old with new is a pretty tough game of spot-the-difference. As before, the engine bay’s generously filled out by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with fuel-saving cylinder-on-demand tech. The saloon has a getaway-car vibe that’s undeniably alluring, but there’s something cooler in the contrast between the Avant’s B&Q-friendly bodywork and the epic performance concealed therein.
Though the V8 has a nice woofly note, it’s surprisingly quiet even when augmented by toggling Dynamic mode in the Drive Select menu.


It’s not physics-defyingly rapid like the RS6, but strong enough to give your neck muscles a workout nonetheless. When the current-gen Renault Clio first emerged, blinking its large headlights in 2012, it seemed like its features had been drawn too large for its face; that supersized badge and those elephantine lamps just seemed so big.
It pulls strongly and never feels underpowered or undertorqued, even when the throttle response is dulled by the switchable fuel-saving ‘Eco’ mode. According to the trip computer, fuel economy fluttered around the 60mpg mark over a mix of A- and B-roads, and dropped closer to 50 during harder driving. The suspension’s geared more towards ride comfort than sports car tautness – it’s less firm than a Fiesta for example – and that’s absolutely fine. This is one supermini that doesn’t make you feel like a bull in a china shop, stamping on feather-light, over-assisted pedals. It’s decent to drive, different to look at and pleasant enough to sit in, with similarly wavy design cues to those of the exterior. It’s not all that cheap; while the boggo Clio Expression kicks the range off from around ?11k, this particular engine and trim will set you back more than ?15k, and with a sprinkling of options our test car topped ?17k. The headroom-eating glass roof in the car we tested flattened a few taller drivers’ haircuts, too. We saw mpg readings in the low 30s on the trip computer – a little way off the official high 60s combined figure. But a well-judged set of worthwhile updates have made a great piece of product design feel that little bit fresher.
There’s certainly plenty of room if you’re well over six feet, and Jag claims a 6’5” team member was perfectly comfortable. The steering feels a little heavier than other Jags, but it’s very precise and swift, and every little input of steering yields a result; no slop here, and sadly not an awful lot of feel. We also tried an S6 saloon with the optional sports exhaust, which yields a great deal more passenger-impressing volume as a result.
There’s no let-up in pull as the speed builds, just a gentle but insistent push in the back like sitting on board a passenger jet on take-off. But it’s ageing nicely, and those swoopy styling cues still help the Clio stand out in a segment that’s mostly about horizontals and creases. It’s not a new engine – this block’s been round the proverbial one a few times in various Renault-Nissan models – but it is a good one. There are only five speeds for the manual gearbox (an auto is an option) but they’re so well-matched to the engine that you never feel the need for a sixth. Not quite the on-paper 80mpg+, but good enough to mean you wouldn’t need to fill up all that often nevertheless.
It deals with lumpy roads with aplomb at speed yet manages to avoid feeling overly soft or wallowy, and contains its body movement nicely. But it’ll cost peanuts to run, and if you rack up plenty of miles the dCi is the engine to go for. The bodyshell is aluminium-intensive; it packs 80% aluminium content, a little more than both XE and XF.
Jink it left and right on tracks like a rally stage and the F-Pace quickly follows your direction with zero lag and excellent body control. While you’d probably pick a Fiesta for outright driving fun, the Clio’s not a million miles away.
You get reasonable leg- and headroom for tallish passengers in the back, and a handily deep boot too.



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