Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson

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Matt Robinson Matt Robinson Volkswagen T-Cross gains sporty sister all new Taigo 2 years ago

Volkswagen’s fifth T-badged SUV/crossover, the soon-to-arrive Taigo, is a coupé-styled T-Cross

THE FIFTH T

The Volkswagen Taigo, slated to arrive on the South African market in 2022, is the fifth T-badged variant in Volkswagen South Africa’s already extensive SUV/crossover line-up. Based on the Nivus – a product that has experienced great success in the South American market – the Taigo is, in essence, a coupé-styled T-Cross.

Seen here in range-topping R-Line specification level, the Taigo’s front grille incorporates a pair of LED headlamps, replete with daytime-running lights, and front bumper-integrated foglamps. At the rear, an LED light-bar spans the brake-lamp arrays. Adding some sportiness to the R-Line derivative, the Taigo features chrome-finished exhaust pipe housings and a set of 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Taigo R-Line’s cabin features a centrally mounted 9,2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto screen mirroring, Bluetooth connectivity and a virtual driver’s display. For the climate control system, the Taigo ditches the analogue switchgear found in the T-Cross for touch-enabled buttons.

The Taigo will be sold exclusively in front-wheel drive and offered with the choice of two petrol powertrains, available with a choice of five- or six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions. The 1,0-litre turbo-triple is available in two states of tune, 70 kW and 84 kW, while the 1,5-litre turbocharged four-pot produces 110 kW.

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Matt Robinson Matt Robinson 2022 Renault Arkana R.S. Line E-Tech Hybrid 145 Automatic 2 years ago

Drive an original Beetle and you know all about it. It’s an engrossing, engaging experience that will live with you forever. It looked different and it felt different. For the reboot, VW ironed out everything that made it memorable and ended up with a less practical Golf with a vase in it.

The Arkana – like all manner of coupe-ish hump-backed contemporaries, from the Toyota CH-R and Fiat 500X to the considerably more expensive BMW X6 – looks more different than it feels. Priced from £25,300, it’s a standalone model, made in Korea, with styling inspired by a Russian-market Renault but fresh underpinnings, shared with the smaller Clio and Captur. We get two powertrains (this E-Tech 145 hybrid, or a mild hybrid) and three trim levels.

Renault’s E-Tech hybrid system claims to use energy-recovery know-how from the Renault (now Alpine) F1 team. The aim is seamless transitions between electric, hybrid and petrol power. A battery sits under the rear seats and powers an electric motor attached to the 1.6-litre petrol engine up front, supplemented by a starter-generator.

The E-Tech’s complicated automatic transmission system doesn’t have a manual shift option, but nor is it a CVT, in case you were worried. It just gets on with delivering power to the front wheels without drawing attention to itself or requiring any driver input. The Arkana corners willingly and, while rough roads can upset its firm ride, the seats are comfortable.

On all but entry-level models you get driving modes play with, but since Pure’s a little sluggish and Sport a bit sudden, you’re best off sticking with Hybrid, which is nicely responsive.

The shape isn’t just about the looks. Renault reckons it’s more efficient than a trad SUV, helping with economy and refinement, but also claiming the Arkana’s a family car inside. It is. The curve of the roof hasn’t resulted in tiny windows for the rear passengers, unlike the C-HR, which can feel gloomy in the back.

The Arkana looks and feels like a good value-for-money package. The performance isn’t going to get anyone excited, but if your priorities are style, practicality and a smattering of convenience and comfort features, welcome.

First verdict

An agreeable alternative to a Toyota CH-R, or a step up from a Fiat 500X. Rear legroom the priority, not blowing the driver’s socks off.

PLUS + Decent-value family motoring with a modern look

MINUS — Light on driving thrills; cabin is on the plain side

Looks like an BMW X4, for better and for worse

THE FIRST HOUR

1 minute Oh hang on, it’s quite big. Like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, it looks smaller in pictures than it is

2 minutes Mmm. Compared to the current Clio and Captur, this isn’t the most modern or imaginative of interiors

5 minutes That ‘multi-mode’ transmission isn’t, it turns out, a CVT hiding behind a different name

12 minutes Ride is firm but handling pretty good as a result. Not that the powertrain demands much

42 minutes Nice and roomy in the back, and not gloomy like a CH-R

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Matt Robinson Matt Robinson 1985 Audi Quattro S1 E2 2 years ago

Need a man who can drive a Group B car properly, be funny, and know why the Quattro matters? Call Chris Chilton.

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Matt Robinson Matt Robinson 2021 BMW M4 GT3 G82 3 years ago

cool data

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