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The NEW Mini
The return a legend
Four decades Alec Issigonis penned the original, there's a new
MINI, car designed with the fundamental principles of its
predecessor in mind, but with an eye very much to the 21st
Created a joint team of Rover and BMW designers and engineers,
but built at former Rover plant at Cowley in Oxfordshire, the new
MINI is as much a fashion accessory as a piece of transport. Of
course, it is a serious car well, for BMW's intention is to make the new MINI a
true baby BMW - which means class-leading build quality,
specification, design and desirability.
While it no obvious rivals (except perhaps other fashion
statements like the new VW Beetle) other manufacturers still be keen see the effect baby BMW has on buyers. Most importantly, they prepared to trade the space and utility offered
by practical superminis the Renault Clio, Fiat Punto and Volkswagen Polo for
style and pose value? And being a trend-setter demand any compromises?
Reliability and Quality
From the first glance you see that this car is a cut above your average
supermini. Of course, entry-level price is a cut-above too, but you
get what you for. Like a body two to three times stiff as its rivals, which should mean no
squeaks, terrific detailing in items as the chromework, the door handles and
excellent exterior fit and finish. Inside, the Mini almost opulent, with aluminium finishes, expensively textured
plastics and stylish seats. Even the boot attractively trimmed. It feels well engineered, and is likely prove robust and troublefree.
3 versions costing from £10,300 to £14,500.
Overall star rating (1-5)
Superb quality, desirability, safety features,
character - and great to drive.
Tight rear seating, awkward rear access, and small boot.
A car that will make you smile. A hoot drive, refined, practical (for two) and lavishly
finished the price. A bargain BMW for those want something different!
Jaguar X Type
affordable Jag - ever
Desirable cars, Jaguars, but they've always a bit old-mannish and, good value, out of reach for of us unless we're buying second-hand. The
X-Type, , will change all that. Jaguar has never made a
car small before, nor this affordable - not that
£22,000 cheap, of course. It hopes to attract new and
younger buyers to the brand, is partly why it has re-entered grand prix
racing - Jaguar to present a younger, more dynamic face to the
The X-Type is squarely aimed buyers of BMW 3-Series, Audi A4s, Mercedes
C-Classes, Alfa Romeo 156s and Volvo S60s. are relatively few choices in the so-called
compact executive saloon market, and most of are German, so merely by dint of being
different, the X-Type is bound to attract buyers. But needs to be good, too. Apart from looking a Jaguar, the X-Type's other major asset is
that it has four-wheel drive standard.
This Jaguar is the car for those want something rather different to the usual
executive car, and want to stand out the crowd. And if that's you, you be diasappointed.
8 versions costing from £19,995
Overall star rating
Looks and feels a Jag, generally well finished, entertaining
four-wheel-drive handling, innovative equipment.
Limited range, minor quality glitches,
engines slightly unrefined, predictable styling.
Better than the S-Type, and the most
entertaining drive in class - despite some rough edges. Desirable.
Land Rover Range
From the Savoy
hotel to the Sahara, it is ultimate off-roader
When BMW took over Land Rover, it decided facelifting the Mk 2 in 2000 and replacing it 2007 - Land Rover's original plan - was not
good enough the world's most prestigious four-wheel drive.
And so all-new car was commissioned, the car that you
here. Although Land Rover is now owned by
Ford, BMW finished the job it started, delivering Ford a car which it always
intended would be best off-roader in the world - better, even, its own X5.
The new Range Rover, says Land Rover, is intended not
only to be the world's most off-roader, but to be an entirely credible
luxury car too, machine to tempt chairmen out of their BMW
7-Series and Mercedes S-Classes. It's bigger than before,
considerably sophisticated and, lovers of the breed will be
relieved hear, claimed to be vastly better built.
Pleasingly, prices start at the same level as they did the old car.
6 versions costing from £42,995
Overall star rating
Style, presence, tenacious off-road
ability, fine on-road manners, cabin quality, robustness
- and sense well-being it engenders.
Fuel consumption, especially of V8,
The Range Rover back on top the most desirable off-roader.