The new Mercedes-Benz GLA is another model due to make its debut at next month’s Frankfurt motor show – joining the growing class of…
I wouldn’t normally sing the praises of a Volvo Cross Country model, but in the absence of an XC40, this is as close as you’ll get to a compact SUV from the Swedish car maker, ready to take on the likes of Audi’s Q3 and BMW’s X1.
One of the highlights of this year’s Paris Motor Show will be this, BMW’s first foray into the MPV sector – the Concept Active Tourer. It’s a front-wheel drive plug-in hybrid, shorter in length than an X1, but around as wide as a 5 Series.
It used to be so simple – 4×4’s were big, clumsy goliaths, driven mostly by mums on the school run, with few redeeming qualities apart from their use as rescue vehicles during Britain’s recent mini Ice Age. Just a few years ago the Urban 4×4 (or SUV/SAV as car makers like to call them) were considered an endangered species as organisations sprung up – The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s – devoted to its demise.
Land Rover has chosen an aggressive pricing strategy for the new Range Rover Evoque, starting the range below the all-important £30,000 threshold. To put that in perspective, BMW’s X3 now starts from £31,135, with the smaller X1 beginning at £24,265, so with an entry-level Evoque available from £27,955 the choice available to customers has never been better.
It seems fortuitous that BMW chose a snowy Austria for the UK launch of its new 2011 X3, in fact the timing couldn’t have been any more perfect. As I write this, much of the UK is gripped by the most wintry November conditions in recent memory, Ideal for the four-wheel-drive SUV sector that BMW has targeted with its X3. But of course four-wheel-drive is only as useful as the traction available to a car’s tyres, so BMW also chose last week’s X3 launch to reveal its new range of winter-tyre packages available on all BMW and MINI models.
I recently had the opportunity to poke around the new Mini Countryman and, my word, what a ridiculous car. For starters it’s a fat old hector, not just for a Mini, but for any quasi-4×4. And secondly, this particular example cost over £30,000 which will get you a nice 997 Carrera S with not many miles on the clock. I have to ask, who would buy one?
The X3 finally grows up and turns from an ugly-duckling into… well, maybe not quite a swan.