Our latest reviews: 30/01/2012
This is where you can find all the whatcar.com test drives we've published over the past week.
You'll also be able to read all of our new nine-point reviews, too, along with any that have received major updates. Make this your one-stop guide to the latest model news.Latest reviews on whatcar.com
Audi A5 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI 204 review
The 2012 Audi A5 Cabriolet has subtle styling revisions and an updated engine range. Here, we’re focusing on the new 3.0 TDI 204 model, in S line trim. This new 3.0-litre unit replaces the old 2.7-litre engine, and it’s clear even from start-up that it’s a far more cultured engine. It’s impressively quiet and vibration free, and when you put down your foot it revs as quickly as any petrol engine...
Read the full Audi A5 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI 204 review here...
BMW 5 Series GT M Sport review
The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo (5 GT) is an unusual mix of SUV and premium hatchback that has so far failed to sell in big numbers. That could be about to change, though. For a premium of £3300, you can now have the car in BMW's M Sport trim, which is a popular option on its other models. For the 5 GT, it brings a muscular bodykit, lowered M Sport suspension, bespoke 19-inch alloy wheels and various interior trim changes.
Read the full BMW 5 Series GT M Sport review here
Chevrolet Aveo review
We’ve reviewed Chevrolet’s new Aveo supermini before, but this is our first chance to drive all the variants back-to-back on UK roads. With an ad campaign plugging ‘78 smiles per gallon’ (a nod to the Eco diesel version’s average 78.4mpg) on the way, Chevrolet is firmly pitching the Aveo as a cash-saving eco-warrior.
Read the full Chevrolet Aveo review here
Hyundai i40 saloon review
The Hyundai i40 family car range has been expanded to include a four-door saloon – it joins the Tourer estate that was launched last year.Plenty of effort has gone into making the two cars look distinct from one another, and the new four-door car has a swooping roofline and sharp body lines that combine to create a smart-looking saloon.
Read the full Hyundai i40 saloon review here
Mazda 3 2.2d Sport Nav review
The Mazda 3 has been face-lifted, and changes include cleaner, less-thirsty engines, and various styling and trim tweaks inside and out. Here, we test the revised top-end diesel version of Mazda’s small family car. The Mazda 3’s 2.2-litre diesel engine pumps out a hefty 182bhp and 295lb ft of torque, so performance is pretty lively, no matter what gear you’re in.
Read the full Mazda 3 2.2d Sport Nav review here
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a new seven-seat MPV, designed to compete with other large people-carriers, such as the Ford S-Max and Seat Alhambra. The existing Zafira will remain on sale as a cheaper option, with this classier and cleverer Tourer model catering for buyers on a bigger budget.
Read the full Vauxhall Zafira Tourer review here
VW GT Up review
VW showed a GT Up concept car at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, and the production version will go on sale next year, priced from around £13,500. We’ve driven a development prototype, which looked like a regular three-door Up, but production cars will borrow heavily from the concept car, which traded the Up’s smiley face for an aggressive-looking trapezoidal air intake, flanked by side vents with LED strips...
Read the full VW GT Up review here...
VW Up 5dr review
The VW Up has already impressed us enough to be our 2012 Car of the Year – but the Up's plan for world domination really kicks in now, with the five-door version. Due in the autumn, it's the first phase of Up variants that will also include a 108bhp sporty Up GT version and, in the longer term, a fully electric model...
Read the full VW Up 5dr review here...
VW Up Blue-e-motion review
The VW Up Blue-e-motion – or e-Up, as VW abbreviates it – is a fully electric version of the award-winning Up city car.Planned for UK launch in 2014, the Up Blue-e-motion is intended to compete with the imminent Renault Zoe and other electric superminis that will no doubt be on the way by then...
Read the full VW Up Blue-e-motion review review here...
The lastest nine-point web tests
Here are the most-recent nine-point web tests to have gone live or recieved major updates.
Audi A1 Sportback
The Audi A1 Sportback has a high-quality interior, a range of good engines and is great to drive and own. However, as you progress up the trim hierarchy, you get firmer suspension, bigger wheels and a firmer ride. List prices aren’t cheap and other five-door superminis are roomier in the back.
Our verdict? The A1 Sportback is the classiest of superminis and proves you don't have to scrimp on quality when buying a small car. We'd put our money into the three-door A1 hatch, though.
Audi A1 Sportback review
Hyundai i40 saloon
The Hyundai i40 is good looking inside and out, offers good room for passengers and is packed full of kit. It also comes with some efficient diesel engines and is keenly priced. However, while the luggage space is large, the gap between the boot and the cabin is strangely shaped and limits carrying ability. The driving experience is bettered by rivals as well.
Our verdict A good-looking and well-specified family saloon with attractive pricing. It doesn’t quite do enough to beat the best in the class, but it is well worth a look.
Hyundai i40 saloon review here
Hyundai Veloster review
The Veloster is cheaper than most of its rivals, and its distinctive looks will appeal to some people. The single rear door isn’t just a talking point; it improves rear access. The ride is firm, the steering is remote and there isn’t much room in the back. Refinement is also poor and you need to thrash the engine to make decent progress.
Our verdict Not without its appeal, but the Veloster struggles in too many areas.
Hyundai Veloster review
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Grand Cherokee is a good off-roader, and comes with loads of equipment. On the downside, it’s noisy, the ride is poor, and so is the interior quality. It’s not cheap, either.
Our verdict? The Grand Cherokee will no doubt keep die-hard Jeep fans happy. For everyone else, though, there are much better alternatives available
Jeep Grand Cherokee review
The Kia Optima is a good-looking family saloon that has lots of space, loads of equipment and a long warranty. Not so good, however, are the unsettled ride and poor refinement - especially when other family cars perform so well in these key areas. The cabin could feel more sophisticated, too, and some versions look pricey.
Our verdict? The Optima certainly has its strengths, but it also has some big weaknesses. Most rivals fulfil the family car role better, and some for less money.
Kia Optima review
Merc's MPV comes with a choice of two wheelbases and three body lenghts, plus a variety of seating arrangements. There's plenty of space inside, too. However, it's an expensive vehicle and its van roots show through in some areas.
Our verdict? It's an expensive people-carrier, and it’s not the most refined. What’s more, it lacks the versatility of other more conventional MPVs.
Mercedes Viano review
The XV is good to drive, thanks to its tight body control and a well-balanced chassis. There’s loads of legroom in the back, while child crash protection is exceptional. However, ride quality is poor at low speeds, and the XV’s interior feels decidedly low-rent. The biggest problem, though, is the anticipated high price.
Our verdict? It’s difficult to make a case for the XV unless early price indications are wide of the mark. Cars such as the Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi offer more for less.
Subaru XV review
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
The cabin looks and feels classy, and there’s plenty of room in the first two rows. The cleanest diesel has very low running costs and every model comes well equipped. However,the rearmost seats aren’t comfortable for adults, while the middle three should be easier to raise. The ride and handling could also be better, and the diesel engine sounds rough.
Our verdict? The Zafira Tourer is a decent MPV, but the best rivals are easier to live with because they’re more practical and refined.
Zafira Tourer review