Good News As Land Rover Grants Bowler A Licence To Use Famous Defender Shape

Land Rover has given Bowler permission to produce vehicles using the classic Defender shape in the next phase of development for the UK-based manufacturer of all-terrain performance cars and rally raid vehicles.

The new agreement paves the way for Bowler to develop a new family of high-performance models, beginning with a project codenamed ‘CSP 575’ – a new road-going vehicle with Bowler’s own rally-proven CSP high-strength steel chassis, aluminium alloy Defender 110 Station Wagon body panels and Land Rover’s 575PS Supercharged V8. This project will supplement the ongoing motorsport developments that are the foundation of Bowler’s past, present and future plans.

Initial renders of the planned 4×4 provide a glimpse of the rally-derived model, which will be the first new Bowler since 2016. Full details will be revealed early next year, but the competition-inspired off-roader promises to combine potent performance and motorsport-honed durability in a classic Defender 110 Station Wagon shape capable of accommodating four passengers.

Founded in 1985, Bowler pioneered the production of dedicated off-road competition cars in the UK. Jaguar Land Rover acquired Bowler at the end of 2019 and its expert team has been developing a number of exciting projects as part of Special Vehicle Operations.

Bowler customers are already benefitting from this relationship as Land Rover SV engineers are helping develop Bowler vehicles and using their engineering expertise to test Bowler products at Special Vehicle Operations’ world-class facilities.

Land Rover’s decision to issue Bowler with a licence agreement to build vehicles using the classic Defender shape is a natural progression of this relationship and the new station wagon project represents a unique undertaking – integrating the technology, components and engineering excellence underpinning Land Rover’s SV products with Bowler’s motorsport expertise and experience.

Michael van der Sande, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, said: “We’re excited to announce the first major project since our acquisition of Bowler. The ‘CSP 575’ will combine Supercharged V8 performance and four-seat practicality with Bowler’s rally raid-proven CSP platform, broadening the appeal of the brand. This high-performance road-going model will sit alongside Bowler’s evolving range of rally raid models, which continue to enjoy success in the world’s toughest motorsport events.”

The new model will be manufactured in very small quantities at Bowler’s headquarters in Derbyshire, UK, by the same talented engineers and technicians producing its competition 4x4s. With global appeal but targeted at customers in the UK, select European and overseas markets.Calum McKechnie, General Manager, Bowler Motors, said:“The Bowler name has stood for innovation for 35 years. The licence agreement to produce vehicles with the classic Defender shape gives us a unique opportunity. We’re excited to combine our motorsport experience with the expertise available from Special Vehicle Operations to produce a thrilling competition-inspired Defender 110 Station Wagon for the road.”

About Special Vehicle Operations

Special Vehicle Operations is a specialist team of Jaguar and Land Rover designers, engineers and technicians dedicated to amplifying the performance, luxury and capability attributes of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles:

  • SV

Designs, engineers and produces high specification SV-branded Jaguars and Land Rovers, amplifying key characteristics including performance and luxury.

  • Vehicle Personalisation

Undertakes bespoke commissions, one-off vehicles and is responsible for Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicle accessories and Premium Palette paint.

  • Classic

The official source of authentic cars, expert services, genuine parts and unforgettable experiences for classic Jaguar and Land Rover enthusiasts worldwide.

  • Bowler Motors

Derbyshire-based manufacturer of all-terrain performance cars and rally raid vehicles.

Bowler’s motorsport heritage

1985 Drew Bowler begins making and selling competitive safari and trials cars from his home in Derbyshire.

1991 Drew Bowler wins ARC National Comp Safari.

2000 Bowler first competes in world-famous Dakar Rally in Africa, and races in central Europe.

2004 Bowler vehicle wins British Hill Rally Championship.

2005 Bowler’s largest-ever Dakar entry means it’s the second-largest factory team and has the highest finisher rate.

2006 Bowler vehicles win both the British Baja National Championship and the French Baja.

2012 Bowler agrees on a formal brand partnership with Land Rover across sponsorship, marketing and engineering.

2014 Defender Challenge launched to prepare competitors for Dakar. Bowler moves into a new production facility.

2016 CSP platform development begins. Company founder Drew Bowler sadly passes away in November.

2018 Bowler vehicles claim first, second and fourth overall on Tuareg Rallye. Military CSP concept debuts.

2019 Jaguar Land Rover acquires Bowler, adding the business to its Special Vehicle Operations division.

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Jaguar Introduces The Most Powerful & Efficient 2021 Jaguar E-Pace

With a refreshed exterior, enhanced interior, the latest Pivi Pro infotainment, new vehicle architecture and a choice of powerful and efficient engines – including an advanced Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powertrain – the new Jaguar E-PACE is more assertive, connected, refined and efficient than ever.  

The new P300e PHEV powertrain combines the 200PS 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine and a 109PS (80kW) Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) motor. It provides the ability to drive up to 34 miles (55km) in zero emissions EV mode, with combined CO2 emissions from 44g/km and fuel economy up to 141mpg (2.0 l/100km) (WLTP TEH combined).  

Inside, customers benefit from the latest Pivi Pro infotainment, which provides intuitive control of the vehicle systems with simplified menus and enhanced connectivity, including Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) updates. 

Exterior 

The exterior design enhancements give Jaguar’s compact performance SUV a more assertive stance and luxurious appearance. At the front, the changes include a revised lower aperture incorporating a distinctive blade element. A new grille mesh design with diamond detailing is influenced by the Jaguar heritage logo and features a contemporary Noble Chrome finish, while new side fender vents feature the iconic Leaper emblem. 

New all-LED headlights feature ‘Double J’ Daytime Running Light (DRL) signatures, which are available with optional Pixel LED technology, delivering increased resolution and brightness. Adaptive Driving Beam capability evaluates the road ahead and automatically adapts the high beam pattern by selecting different LED segments to mask oncoming traffic or traffic signs, to optimise visibility and reduce glare without distracting other drivers.

Advanced LED technology is fitted to S models, while Premium LED headlights with Auto High Beam Assist feature on SE and HSE vehicles. The technology uses the forward-facing camera to automatically switch between high and low beam, to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers. Rear Animated Directional Indicators are standard on S, SE and HSE models with front Animated Directional Indicators fitted to SE and HSE derivatives.

At the rear, the lower bumper features a new mesh insert which sits between the integrated tail pipes that are standard with four-cylinder petrol engines. All other engine derivatives gain new slim horizontal blade finishers. The all-LED rear lights are inspired by the all-electric
I-PACE and feature Jaguar’s chicane graphic, showcasing the advanced technology and modernity of the overall design.  

In purposeful R-Dynamic specification, the new E-PACE features a series of distinct design elements for a more performance-focused look, while all models are available with the additional Black Exterior Pack, which delivers an even more dynamic appearance with bespoke elements finished in Narvik Black. 

Interior 

The interior of the new E-PACE features heightened luxury, enhanced connectivity and greater refinement.  At the heart of the new interior is the integrated 11.4-inch curved-glass HD touchscreen at the centre of the dashboard, which controls the new Pivi Pro infotainment system. Chemically strengthened, the glass screen features two coatings; one which is anti-glare and a second which resists fingerprints.

Julian Thomson, Design Director, Jaguar said: “New E-PACE features key design elements from across the Jaguar family, enhancing the exterior and introducing beautiful new details to the interior. All this ensures the latest model has a more grown-up appeal while retaining its compact performance SUV sensibilities.”  

The driver focussed interior also provides easier access to the larger stowage area in front of the new Drive Selector that houses the 15W wireless device charger. Driver touchpoints around the cluster are now wrapped in soft touch materials whilst the knee side contact area has been sculpted to provide improved luxury and comfort. 

The new Drive Selector – just one of the many beautiful details – is lower and wider and features an upper section finished with ‘cricket-ball’ stitching, the lower part being made of precision-engineered metal for enhanced tactility. 

Focus on materials extends to the metallic speaker accents and metallic vent finishes which, along with elements such as the metallic rotary dials, exemplify the premium interior.
A new steering wheel, which is influenced by the design in the all-electric I-PACE performance SUV, features hidden-until-lit switches and metal gearshift paddles. 

Heightened attention to detail is provided by an embossed Jaguar Leaper on the headrests while ‘Est.1935 Jaguar Coventry’ upholstery tags reference the history and heritage of the brand. Additional beautiful details include Jaguar animal print pattern in the central cubby area and in front of the drive selector.

Plug-in power and performance 

New E-PACE utilises Jaguar’s Premium Transverse Architecture, which has been designed and engineered to accommodate the latest electrified powertrain technologies. This includes the new three-cylinder P300e PHEV powertrain as well as the next-generation four-cylinder diesel and latest petrol Ingenium engines, which feature Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology. 

Advanced features include intelligent All-Wheel Drive and smooth-shifting automatic transmissions, ensuring the new E-PACE delivers the confidence-inspiring dynamics, traction and refinement expected from a Jaguar. 

The new engine line-up comprises: 

Diesel 

  1. 163PS MHEV 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, nine-speed automatic, AWD 
  2. 204PS MHEV 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, nine-speed automatic, AWD 

Petrol 

  1. 160PS MHEV 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo, eight-speed automatic, FWD 
  2. 200PS MHEV 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, nine-speed automatic, AWD 
  3. 249PS MHEV 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, nine-speed automatic, AWD 
  4. 300PS MHEV 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, nine-speed automatic, AWD 
  5. 309PS PHEV 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo, eight-speed automatic, AWD 

The advanced 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is the latest member of the modular, flexible Ingenium engine family, and is available in E-PACE with both PHEV and MHEV technology. 

The lightweight new aluminium engine – 33kg lighter than the four-cylinder – delivers strong performance and refinement with low levels of friction which contribute to excellent efficiency and fuel consumption. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the aluminium cylinder head, this contributes to the rapid warm-up times and minimises the distance from the exhaust ports to the turbocharger’s turbine wheel for improved responses. 

The new P300e PHEV powertrain combines the 200PS 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine and a 109PS (80kW) Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) motor. This ensures impressive performance and efficiency, with 0-60mph in 6.1seconds (0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds), CO2 emissions from 44g/km and fuel economy up to 141mpg (2.0 l/100km) (WLTP TEH combined).  

The compact ERAD motor is powered by a 15kWh lithium-ion battery located under the boot floor. When fully charged it provides up to 34 miles (55km) of all-electric range, enabling the new E-PACE PHEV to complete the average UK daily commute, to and from work, of 18.8 miles (30.2km) in EV mode without requiring a recharge.  

On both the three-cylinder petrol, and four-cylinder petrol and diesels, the MHEV system uses a Belt integrated Starter Generator (BiSG) in the engine bay to harvest energy usually lost when slowing and braking, which is then stored in a 48V lithium-ion battery located beneath the rear loadspace. It is able to redeploy the stored energy to assist the engine when accelerating and delivers a more refined and responsive stop/start system. 

With MHEV technology, the new 160PS 2.0-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine (FWD only) achieves COemissions from 181g/km and fuel economy up to 35.2mpg (8.0l/100km)**.  

Dirk Lorenz, Chief Product Engineer, Jaguar, said:“The new Jaguar E-PACE is available with a comprehensive choice of powertrains to suit any requirement while the new Premium Transverse Architecture ensures the exceptional performance, ride, handling and comfort expected from a Jaguar.” 

The new E-PACE is also available with the next-generation 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium diesel and the latest 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol powertrains, paired with MHEV technology, AWD and nine-speed automatic transmissions.  

The 204PS MHEV produces 430 Nm and is capable of covering 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds (0-100km/h in 8.4 seconds) while returning up to 43.9mpg (6.4 l/100km) with CO2 emissions from 169g/km**. 

The latest powertrain features a selection of advanced engine technologies to enhance refinement and efficiency, including high strength steel pistons for the first time. They reduce friction while a variable vane turbocharger and the new 2,500 bar piezo common rail injection system, which delivers even finer control of fuel delivered into the cylinders, also optimise efficiency. 

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine is available in three power outputs, all featuring MHEV technology. The 200PS version produces 320Nm of torque and will complete 0-60mph in up to 8.0 seconds (0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds), while the 249PS, 365Nm powertrain will complete the same 0-60mph benchmark in up to 7.0 seconds
(0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds).  

Heading up the petrol engine range is the 300PS variant. Available exclusively in the 300 SPORT, it produces 400Nm of torque delivering 0-60mph in 6.6 seconds (0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds). 

The advanced powertrain features the latest engine technologies including intelligent Continuous Variable Valve Lift (CVVL), which works alongside Variable Cam Timing (VCT) technology supported by a twin-scroll turbocharger for a strong combination of refined performance and efficiency.

Chassis and Transmission 

Significant updates to the body architecture of the new E-PACE deliver enhanced dynamics, comfort and convenience. The new Premium Transverse Architecture features new engine mounts, which contribute to an improvement in throttle response.    

The new architecture also provides improved front suspension attachment point stiffness, delivering a more comfortable ride while retaining trademark Jaguar agility. The structure reduces vibration and harshness across the whole cabin, making it a tranquil sanctuary for all occupants, while also reducing cabin noise for enhanced comfort and refinement.  

The majority of models feature Jaguar’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system, with three-cylinder AWD models mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions, four-cylinder models using nine-speed automatic transmissions. Ratios are closely-spaced for immediate response, with manual control facilitated by using the zinc-alloy steering wheel shift paddles for added driver engagement.  

The new E-PACE’s AWD system utilises second generation ‘Standard Driveline’ technology, which automatically distributes the torque between the front and rear wheels to ensure traction is always maximised. 

For the first time, Standard Driveline features Driveline Disconnect technology. During steady state cruising, the setup disengages the AWD system, sending power only to the front axle, delivering increased fuel efficiency. 

Exclusive to the 300 SPORT, Jaguar’s second-generation Active Driveline AWD system delivers accomplished all-wheel traction with trademark dynamic capability. 

Like the Standard Driveline setup, the Active Driveline AWD system is able to transfer torque between the front and rear axles. Further to this, at the rear axle, two independent electronically-controlled wet-plate clutches are able to distribute torque across the rear wheels, with the capability to direct 100 per cent of that torque to either rear wheel in 100 milliseconds (0.1 seconds). 

All E-PACE models have Jaguar Drive Control featuring Comfort, Eco, Rain-Ice-Snow (on FWD models) and Dynamic modes, which can be chosen manually by the driver based on the road conditions. The settings, selected through a toggle switch next to the all-new Drive Selector, adapt the E-PACE’s steering, transmission, throttle and (when specified) Adaptive Damping calibrations.  

Additionally, new Adaptive Surface Response, which replaces Rain-Ice-Snow mode on all AWD models, automatically determines the most appropriate of three separate settings by monitoring the surface conditions every tenth-of-a-second and reacting within half a second. 

The E-PACE uses Jaguar’s sophisticated Integral Link rear suspension concept. The Integral Link architecture separates lateral and longitudinal forces, providing the optimum combination of responsive steering and handling with longitudinal impact absorption and refinement.

Cutting-Edge Connected Technologies 

The new E-PACE features Jaguar’s advanced Electronic Vehicle Architecture, dubbed EVA 2.0, which supports a range of new technologies to ensure the vehicle is always connected and always up to date. 

The latest Pivi Pro infotainment technology is accessed through a new curved glass 11.4-inch HD touchscreen. Key benefits include enhanced clarity – the screen is three times brighter and 48% larger than the previous screen – and the simplified menu structures allow drivers to access or view up to 90 per cent of common tasks from the home screen in two taps or less.  

To enable almost instantaneous start-up, Pivi Pro has its own dedicated power source, so navigation is ready as soon as the driver is behind the wheel, while the embedded apps available – including Spotify, Deezer and TuneIn – provide full functionality even without your smartphone. Further connected features include Google and Microsoft Outlook calendar integration which enables the driver to view work diaries and even join important calls through the hands-free system.  

Pivi Pro connectivity is provided by the latest dual-sim technology with two LTE modems enabling the system to carry out multiple functions at the same time, such as streaming media and downloading SOTA updates, without compromising performance. The cutting-edge connectivity also ensures minimal interruptions caused by coverage blackspots as it roams across network providers for the strongest signal. 

Advanced SOTA connectivity enables customers to download and install software updates without having to visit a Jaguar retailer. Updates are downloaded in the background, with customers notified by an alert detailing the key changes. For updates that require the vehicle to be switched-off, customers can schedule a convenient time for installation. 

Pivi Pro is fitted as standard to S, SE and HSE models and is optional on the core E-PACE derivative. Standard on this entry model is Pivi infotainment which supports navigation functionality via the driver’s smartphone using Apple Carplay®. Pivi also features Android Auto as standard.


Complementing the central 11.4-inch touchscreen is the latest 12.3-inch HD Interactive Driver Display with enhanced graphics and a configurable layout which can show full-screen navigation mapping with turn-by-turn instructions, digital dials, media, contact list or infotainment details. The interactive driver display works in conjunction with the latest generation full-colour TFT Head-up Display which is brighter, with a larger information area and enhanced resolution.

Cabin Air Ionisation improves interior air quality through Nanoe technology, which removes allergens and unpleasant odours. The advanced system features PM2.5 filtration, which captures ultra-fine particles – including PM2.5 particulates – to improve occupant health and wellbeing and is activated by pressing the ‘Purify’ button within the central touchscreen. 

For enhanced convenience, the second-generation wearable Activity Key can be used to lock, unlock and start the vehicle without the need for the conventional key fob to be present in the vehicle. The rechargeable device incorporates a watch and has a battery life of seven days between charges. 

The new E-PACE also features Jaguar’s ClearSight Interior Rear View Mirror technology for the first time. The system brings improved convenience by ensuring the driver has an unobstructed view of the road behind. Using a wide angle rear-facing camera, the system feeds images to a high-definition screen within the frameless rear view mirror; unhindered by tall rear passengers, poor light or rain on the rear screen. 

The latest 3D Surround Camera technology delivers advanced 3D functionality using the latest camera technology to provide more detail and a choice of real-time viewing options when manoeuvring the vehicle. The selection of settings includes Junction View, 3D Perspective View, and ClearSight Plan View. 

Jaguar’s Driver Condition Monitor technology is able to detect if the driver is beginning to feel drowsy and alert them to take a break. The technology uses inputs from thousands of data points, some of which are measured every one-thousandth of a second – including steering, pedal inputs and general driving behaviour – to detect signs of tiredness. In addition, Adaptive Cruise Control maintains a set distance to the car in front, for more relaxed, enjoyable and less tiring long-distance journeys. 

300 SPORT 

The new range-topping 300 SPORT is exclusively powered by the 300PS petrol engine and is capable of 0-60mph in just 6.6 seconds (0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds). It features a selection of the latest technologies for enhanced performance, including Active Damping, Adaptive Dynamics, Active Driveline and Configurable Dynamics.  

Available in all exterior colours, it features 20-inch five-spoke Diamond-turned with Black accent wheels, Black Exterior Pack and powered tailgate. On the inside, illuminated Jaguar treadplates, Meridian Audio, Ebony Suedecloth headlining and R-Dynamic Taurus Sport seats in Ebony, Cloud or Deep Garnet all help to set the 300 SPORT apart.

Customers can choose from S, SE and HSE trim levels and all are available in R-Dynamic specification. Optional on all models is the Black Exterior Pack. Also available is the new 300 SPORT specification. 

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NEW LAND ROVER DEFENDER NAMED MOTORTREND 2021 SUV OF THE YEAR

Land Rover announced that the New Land Rover Defender has been named the winner of MotorTrend’s 2021 “Golden Calipers” for SUV of the Year.

With a nod to the historic Land Rover Defender, the New Defender is the toughest and most capable Land Rover vehicle yet, combining a new body structure with all-new technologies and legendary engineering to create a Defender fit for the 21st century.

“It’s a great achievement, and an honor, for the New Defender to be selected as the SUV of the Year from MotorTrend,” said Joe Eberhardt, President & CEO, Jaguar Land Rover North America. “We know enthusiasts have been waiting for the return of this icon back to the U.S for more than 20 years, and we especially want to thank our designers, engineers and everyone else at Land Rover for helping to create a 21st century Defender that can be personalized and enjoyed for generations to come.”

Every year, the MotorTrend editorial staff meticulously selects a field of worthy contenders for its SUV of the Year® award. Contenders are put through MotorTrend’s standard battery of instrumented testing, a rigorous series of tests that measure performance under controlled circumstances, which allow the editors to evaluate the real-world driving behavior of each of the vehicles.

New Land Rover Defender

“We are thrilled to honor the Land Rover Defender with our SUV of the Year award,” said MotorTrend Editor-in-Chief Mark Rechtin. “Part of the word ‘transportation’ is not just the driving but the feeling of being transported. The moment you get into a Land Rover Defender, you are transported. Every design element gives the aura of journey, safari, moving outward into the world with courage.”

This year’s group of 28 new or redesigned SUVs and variants were evaluated and selected for excelling in MotorTrend’s six key category criteria: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of the intended function, to determine the one model that performs best for its intended purpose and to MotorTrend’s highest standards.

In choosing the New Defender as its SUV of the Year, MotorTrend found that the reimagined icon delivered much more than just legendary off-roading capability. In redesigning the vehicle’s platform and chassis, Land Rover created a vehicle with excellent on-road comfort and handling, a slew of active and passive safety features, and strong value compared to its direct competitors.

“One SUV stood roof rack and rearviews above the rest,” said Senior Features Editor Jonny Lieberman. “There are certain vehicles you can feel are special after only 50 feet of driving. The Defender bowled us over with the wonderful synchronization of its stout engine and yeoman

transmission; the exceptional ride quality; its ambient nature; the baked-in, go-anywhere capability; and its amazing value.”

Configure your New Defender at www.landrover-me.com/defender

Watch the New Defender being named MotorTrend’s 2021 SUV of the Year here: https://youtu.be/ncgplShawXs

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Uber Faces The Pandemic Effect

Ride-hailing app Uber, like many big companies, has made it to the list of victims of the COVID-19 impact leading to companies firing their employees. 3700 Uber employees learned it while being confined to their homes. They were informed through a Zoom call which lasted for a total of three minutes. And it was with immediate effect which meant that it was their last working day with the company. All the 3700 employees that are being laid off are from the customer service and recruitment.

Ruffin Chaveleau, who heads Uber’s Phoenix Center of Excellence was tasked with the responsibility of breaking the news to their employees. From the video clip which was recorded by one of the employees who faced the axe, Chaveleau sounded disheartened to be breaking the news which she described as ‘no one wants to be on a call like this’. She said: “Your role is impacted and today will be your last working day with Uber. You will remain on the payroll until the date noted in your severance package.”

As news about the layoffs leaked, Uber feared the spread of misinformation and decided to expedite the process of announcing the decision. Uber’s business has been severely affected by the pandemic leading to 14% (3700 out of 26,900 employees) cuts from its global workforce. Employees at Uber say that more layoffs are expected in the coming months.

The company posted last Thursday a net loss of $2.9 billion. It also said that hiring has been put on hold while they are also cutting down on the existing workforce. A filing last Wednesday also revealed that the company will incur about $20 million in severance cost and charges related to it. The situation is so dire that even the CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will be forgoing his salary of $1 million-plus a possible bonus of $2 million for the rest of the year.

A spokesperson for Uber said, “It’s never easy or uncomplicated to let employees go, and that’s only been more true during this unprecedented period where we are all working from home across dozens of cities and countries. We’ve focused on providing the clearest, most empathetic experience possible and have put together a strong severance package and other benefits.”

A disgruntled former employee of the company said that the company gave them no notice. She said, “if I missed that Zoom call, I would have missed the news. We knew they didn’t have the drivers’ backs, but they don’t have anyone’s backs.” Adding that “The way they’ve gone about it is very negative. Uber has empathy training and they teach us to be sympathetic to other people’s needs, but they’re not practising what they preach.”

Make sure to check out the car reviews and videos on my website.

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My Next Daily Driver Is A Renault Megane R.S

In-depth review of the Renault Megane R.S

I have realized that you don’t really need a supercar to experience the sheer excitement, joy and the thrill of driving. What happens when a racing team decides to put their hands on a normal hatchback and dial it up to F1 style? The product of this experiment is the Renault Megane R.S 280 Cup (R.S: Renault Sport). The predecessor to the Megane R.S Cup was undoubtedly one of the greatest hot hatchbacks ever made. Which is why the pressure to better that was a daunting task for the Renault team.

So what’s changed in the new Megane R.S? At the first look itself, you can tell where the inspiration came from. For starters, the Megane R.S Cup has a Formula one inspired blade in the front bumper with seriously widened tracks that make the front arches 60mm wider and the rear arches by 45 mm compared to the standard Megane. The width may be overwhelming initially especially while tackling narrow roads but it is worth it for the improvement in performance and stability it offers. The RS steers all four wheels using 4CONTROL 4WD technology, a first in its segment. The rear-wheel steering advantage is noticeable on the track, making it easier to go around the tight hairpin bends.

Renault Megane Rear
Renault Megane Rear

There are three model types available to buyers. The entry-level 280 bhp car with softer suspension setup, a 280 bhp car with stiffer suspension (your bottoms are your suspensions) and 300 bhp, bigger brakes, biggest wheels (19-inch) and stiffest suspension possible (be ready for an early hip replacement). I had the stiffer suspension setup, so you get an idea of what I have been through.

All the Cup cars get standard 19-inch black diamond-cut alloys complimented by low-profile Bridgestone tires that offer phenomenal grip levels. It has a full set of LED headlights & tail lights, C-shaped LED DRLs, 8.7-inch tablet-style touchscreen with clear resolution and tasty graphics, rearview camera and adaptive cruise control. A 7-inch TFT instrument displays a huge tachometer in the centre that changes colour depending on which mode you are in. Of course, race mode is my favourite.

Renault Megane R.S Styling
Renault Megane R.S Styling

One of the coolest features is the R.S monitor that displays the telemetry data such as the tire pressure, lap times, acceleration (0-60mph, 0-100mph), G-sensors, brake pressure and so on. This wide variety of rich insights is gathered using the 40 sensors surrounding the exterior of Megane R.S. which constantly provides real-time driving data.

R.S Monitor
R.S Monitor

The comfort levels have been dialled up compared to the previous generation. The interiors are built using a mix of leather, plenty of soft-touch materials and Alcantara seats. The front seats are bucket-shaped so expect yourself to be cramped into one with limited adjustment options available. Some expect the car to seat five people which is doable but it won’t be a comfortable ride. Two adults can sit in the front while adults with legs cannot in the rear. The rear seats are made for more like three kids. The boot exists and you should be thankful for that.

Renault Megane Interiors
Renault Megane Interiors

Honestly, none of this matters. At least to me. You see the Megane R.S Cup has a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine that churns out 276 bhp and 390 N-m of torque. Except in the comfort mode, the throttle response is immediate with little to no lag. The double-clutch EDC gearbox is a little jerky at lower speeds. If you are someone that likes to take control, then there are pedal shifters which for some reason are shorter on the bottom side.

The R.S launches like an arrow and before you realize you are buried deep inside your seat. The most intoxicating thing is hearing all the pops and crackles with any full-throttle upshift. The chassis is so brilliant that it can handle much higher loads enabling you to push it even further.

The four-wheel steering makes cornering so effortless and goes precisely where you want it to. All these capabilities are thanks to the new suspension setup and particularly the hydraulic compression stops. The limited-slip diff lock makes it easier to get on the throttle and exit the corner.

Renault Megane R.S Exterior
Renault Megane R.S Exterior

The result of launching like a rocket and pushing it fast means the economy takes a hit. You will at best manage anywhere between 12-13 kpl (On a track, 7-8 kpl). With a 50-litre fuel tank capacity, the track days are going to be short with more time spent at the petrol station. Depending on the model you select you will shell out AED 119,900 ($32,500) for the R.S Cup and AED 124,900 ($34,000) for the R.S Trophy.

The Megane R.S Cup is an impressive and improved car. This car is equipped to handle track days with the flick of a button. The firmer suspension setup does make it tiring and uncomfortable to drive on normal roads. Nonetheless, it is still made for the passionate driver looking to test its limits. Every time I parked the Megane R.S and looked back at that tonic orange colour, I always felt like jumping in for another drive. Also, hearing that exhaust note never gets old. I could not stay put at home till the time I had the car with me. I guess, that’s what a special car does – keep you out and about looking for non-stop fun!

You can check out my review of the 2020 Nissan Patrol V6 from this link.

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2020 Nissan Patrol Review: Luxury SUV

If you sit inside the new Nissan Patrol (also known as the Y62), you would realize not much has changed in this latest iteration. Nissan seems to be playing it safe as they have refrained from making any dramatic changes. The model that I tested was the Nissan Patrol V6 Titanium (known as the Armada in the US). The Nissan Patrol enjoys being the UAE’s best selling vehicle.

Detailed Review Video of Nissan Patrol V6

The most noticeable upgrade is visible in the new headlights and taillights. The C-shaped LED headlights house 52 LEDs while the LED taillights accommodate 44 LEDs. The taillights come with the sequential turning lights. That’s new!

Some of the other changes include a novel V-motion design grille which has been updated in all of Nissan’s latest models, dual touchscreen screens in the dashboard – the upper one is for navigation while the lower is for infotainment and mobile connectivity – and lastly, a 7-inch multi-information display in the instrument cluster.

Nissan Patrol Exteriors
Nissan Patrol Exteriors

There are two bumper options available: the standard city option which has lots of chrome and the off-road version which has improved ground clearance. My test car had the off-road bumper and honestly, I liked the look of the off-road version because it gave the car an aggressive look.

The Nissan Patrol is an SUV that is loaded with features. It has got adaptive cruise control, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, wireless charging, 13 speaker music system, Intelligent Rear-View Mirror and Lane Departure Assist. If you splurge and go for the Platinum version, you get real leather trims as well! In the other versions, the wood and leather used are artificial. My advice is don’t brag about it with someone who owns the platinum version of the Patrol.

Nissan Patrol interiors
Nissan Patrol interiors

What has not changed is how huge the Patrol really is. For someone who’s new to this SUV, a Patrol is like owning a studio apartment on wheels. It’s got 7 seats with generous boot space (which is if you choose to fold down the third row), legroom that comes in meters and the highlight of owning this car – its off-road capability.

And that brings me to the Patrol’s real appeal. The Patrol comes with two engine options and three variants with each option. A 4.0-litre V6 engine might not sound a lot in an SUV that weighs slightly less than the mountain. But this V6 still manages to produce a modest 275 bhp and 394 N-m of torque. The engine is mated to a smooth 7–speed automatic gearbox that allows the Patrol V6 to average somewhere between 8 to 8.5 kpl. All these stats are impressive, but it’s the off-roading capabilities that I am the most astounded by. It took a lot to convince my mind, that a car this size can take on dunes that easily. No seriously, like effortlessly. I spent a good 2 days in the desert and not once did I get stuck or had any of my wheels begging for traction. This from someone who hasn’t done off-roading at all. All you have to do is set it to the correct mode using the swanky terrain selector knob and you are good to go.

Nissan Patrol Desert Drive
Nissan Patrol Desert Drive

The suspension setup & chassis balance makes the Patrol glide over any terrain with little to no sweat. Its beefier cousin the V8 version comes with Hydraulic Body Motion Control, a setup that helps soak bumps easily and reduces body roll when cornering. The Patrol V6 misses out on that one completely. Nonetheless, I am still impressed with the V6.

There are reports from last year that do mention that Nissan is slated to launch the Patrol into the Indian market sometime during this year-end. You can check out a walk around video in Hindi for the same:

Nissan Patrol has been an iconic car to the Middle East region. People take pride in driving them. I was shown a thumbs up every single time I was driving it from a fellow Patrol driver. It is humongous but the light steering wheel makes it easier to manoeuvre. The base version of a V6 Patrol starts from AED 199,900 ($54,500) and goes up to AED 265,000 ($72,000). Never has owning a car and a studio apartment (both on wheels) been so convenient. Happy Dune Bashing!

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2019 Honda CR-V Detailed Review

Honda CR-V
2019 Honda CR-V AWD Touring

Honda has been the most advanced car company having innovated tech like the hydrogen propulsion systems. And today I am reviewing one of their best models – the new Honda CR-V 2019. First, ‘CR-V’ is an abbreviation for Compact Runabout Vehicle or Compact Recreational Vehicle which was used in Britain officially to define the CR-V by Honda.

The Honda CR-V has been one of the best-selling compact SUV from Honda’s stable. The 2019 version has to be the best looking CR-V though it has gotten a bit wider but still far better than its predecessors. Remember not so long ago the 2016 CR-V? The round bulge in the back made it look like it had a swollen back. Although, after the big facelift back in 2017, not much has changed in terms of the overall design in the past 2 years.

Exterior:

The car that I was given for review was a CR-V AWD Touring. On first look, this car may not look very big on the outside but when you look inside it is super spacious. The exterior doesn’t look very aggressive which is a subtle reminder it has been made to ferry you around in comfort. The edges have been rounded. The front houses a fancy chrome grille in the centre which appears in all Honda models but I do feel they are bit overdone. The bonnet has these hunches on both the sides which are quite visible from inside the cabin when you are in the driver’s seat. It makes the car feel even wider than it is from inside. As is with the modern norms, it comes with a full set of LED headlights and DRLs (Day Running Lights) and a thin strip of LED fog lamps at the bottom.

Front

Move to the side, the chrome garnishing continues with bordering around the front, the rear windows and at the bottom of the doors. The doors have a smart keyless entry feature so you don’t need to bother removing the keys from your pocket. The best bit about the CR-V is visibility. It’s got huge side windows which give you a very airy and open feel from inside. Also, it has something large hanging under the side mirror (and only on the passenger side). It is the side vision camera which they have tried to hide unsuccessfully. It is quite noticeable even from a km away.

Initially, I was confused at this concept of putting a camera only under the RIGHT side mirror and not in the left (do not even ask about the video quality because it is straight out of the video games of 90s). Later on, it was explained to me by a service advisor, that Honda wants to shorten your response time, make the blind spots visible and also give you full visibility of the surroundings without the driver having to move their neck from left to right over and over again. A system created to give the driver wide-ranging visibility within the peripheral vision of the eyes. So, the infotainment screen shows the view on the right side of the car as soon as you give the right indicator. This way you would not take your eyes off the road and also be able to view the blind spots. The concern is why is it so huge?

Rear

The rear taillights flow to the side of the body and have a sharp edge that is visible from your side mirrors. The CR-V Touring comes with a standard sunroof which feels very small; thus, ruining the whole experience of having a sunroof. 18-inch alloy wheels complete the look of the CR-V Touring. The rim design is not the best, something I would change if given a chance.

Tailights and Badging

I genuinely like the look of the CR-V when you see it from the rear quarter side. While the chrome returns at the back with a thick stripe in the middle, the rear taillights are LED along with all the usual badging. The CR-V Touring has a hands-free access power tailgate with adjustable height feature which works correctly 85% of the time. The tailgate can also be opened and closed using your key. The CR-V Touring has 561 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place. The rear seats fold down in 60:40. Furthermore, there are handles provided on both the sides in the boot so you can fold the seats down which gives triples the boot space available to 1756 litres. The CR-V has one of the best boot loading capacity when compared to the Mazda CX-5 or a Toyota RAV4.

Interiors:

When it comes to generosity in terms of spaciousness, the Honda CR-V wins it hands down. When you step inside the CR-V, it’s very airy and doesn’t really feel like a COMPACT SUV. Even the quality of the material used is quite decent with the soft-touch plastics on the door cards and the dashboard. The only thing that does not fit into this whole mix is the fake plastic trim that is made to look like a wooden vinyl on the dashboard. Otherwise, the interior has a good quality of leather, a total thumbs up from me.

Interiors

The steering wheel is leather-covered and comes with your media controls and the standard cruise controls. There are flappy paddle shifts mounted on the steering which are made of plastic but are too thin to be visible on first sight. The leather seats are satisfactorily comfortable for the long run. While the driver’s seat comes with an 8-way power-adjustable with 4-way lumbar support, the passenger gets 4-way power adjustability. The rear seats are broad enough to seat 3 people although the transmission tunnel is quite large so the middle seat has a hump which would feel like sitting on a porch. The CR-V also comes with a cool feature – the remote control engine starter – so you can cool or heat your car before you enter in it.

Hands down, the best feature in the Honda CR-V is the air conditioning. If you ever want to know what your food must be feeling like when you keep it inside the fridge, then sit in a Honda with the AC dead low. It is astonishing that even in Dubai summers and with no sun protection films on the side windows, it was able to cool the car within seconds of starting the AC. Also, Honda maintains sensibility by giving physical buttons for the AC. It comes with dual climate control and rear vents for the passengers at the back.

The information display in your instrument cluster is a digital screen which can be configured to show you different options while driving like digital or analogue speedometer, media, trip details, drive modes and various other settings. During the day the instrument is difficult to see because of the reflections.

Leather Seats

The CR-V comes with a 7-inch infotainment screen in the centre with built-in navigation. It also comes with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. The other forms of connectivity include Bluetooth, AUX & HDMI (I know, HDMI, really Honda?). While the resolution of the screen could be better, it has a matte finish which hampers the visibility when the sunlight directly falls on it. But the infotainment system is customizable from inside the settings and serves a decent purpose of entertaining you. There are 8 speakers, 2 USB ports, an HDMI port & 12V power socket in the front while the rear passengers get 2 USB ports (2.1A) for just charging their phones. The speakers sounded quite good after fiddling around with some audio settings.

There is quite a bit of storage space in the Honda CR-V. The door bins on all the four doors are large enough to hold big water bottles. The hand rest storage has a slideable partition and it also has a glove box, sunglass holder on the roof, cup holders each in the front and in the rear armrest.

Safety System:

There is an elaborate list of safety systems and features that the CR-V is loaded with. To start off, there are front SRS airbags for the driver and the passenger. To keep the front passenger safe from a side impact there are also curtain and side curtain airbags. No wonder the CR-V has one of the best crash-test ratings possible. Apart from that there is Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Booster (EBB), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and ISOFIX (anchoring points for child seats). Unlike some rivals that tend to keep all these safety systems offered in only the top variants, Honda breaks that norm by offering all these safety features even in the base variant. Now that is quite impressive.

The build quality itself makes you feel confident about the car’s safety tech. There is also a reversing camera but again it is low resolution making it very basic with a grainy and washed out screen resolution. There are parking sensors in the front and the rear that will help you in tight spaces and tough parking situations.

The Drive & Performance:

Powering the CR-V is a 2.4 Liter, DOHC, 16 valves inline, i-VTEC. The i-VTEC sure doesn’t need any explanation. The block produces a modest 184 bhp and 244 Nm of reasonable amounts of torque at 3900 rpm. But the engine is mated to a CVT transmission. I am not a big fan of the CVTs. Sure it’s an easier and more efficient system but it still does not match up to the traditional gearbox setup. The lag from CVT is quite evident when you accelerate at the start or when you demand power while speeding up. I rather enjoyed the paddle-shift set up to shift the gears because that way I was able to overcome that lag. Also, the gear stick is very conveniently and ergonomically placed with simply easy to use modes. The CR-V comes with only an ECON mode to squeeze out every little bit of efficiency from the engine.

Instrument cluster

These days, everyone is shifting to electronic steering and so have Hondas too. While the electronic steering replaces the hydraulic one, they lack the feedback if not configured properly. In the CR-V, the steering is quite responsive and gives that feedback from the road, it still lacks the feeling that hydraulic steering would give you. The turning radius is quite impressive for a car that is fairly wide and long.

The CR-V has a softer suspension setup to reduce the shock of speed bumps and uneven road surfaces inside the cabin but that compromises the overall rolling effect. In the turns, the CR-V does tend to roll ever so slightly but still manages to handle them quite well. The CR-V comes with all four disc brakes and they work efficiently in bringing the car to a sudden halt quite well.

The CR-V is an AWD (All Wheel Drive) system. Technically it is, but it works only when there is a need otherwise it is just a lazy drag in the car. So most of the time, the car is a front-wheel-drive (FWD) system and only when there is a loss of traction during cornering or when you take this car for an off-road session (you will be brave to do so) it will activate AWD and power the rear wheels as well. Hence, the car gets that understeer tendency sometimes because of the way the AWD has been set up.

The performance figures are impressive. With a non-turbocharged engine, considerable kerb weight and no hybrid aids, the CR-V still manages to deliver between 10.5 to 11 kmpl of mileage in the city and goes up to 13 kmpl on the highways. That is where the Honda is strong and where the i-VTEC shows its usefulness.

Conclusion:

To sum up here are my ratings for the CR-V based on different parameters:

Exterior: 3.5/5
Interior: 3.5/5
Practicality: 4/5
Drive & Performance: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Safety: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The CR-V has come a long way and has improved a lot in many areas. It also is an easier car to maintain and drive. At a starting price of AED 92,500, it is way cheaper than its rivals in terms of the technology, features, comfort and performance offered.

 Should you consider this? Yes, I strongly suggest you put this into your shortlist and make sure to give it a test drive. This is definitely more car for less money.

You can watch a detailed video review from below:

You can also read the Volvo XC40 review detailed review from this link.

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Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design In-Depth Review

Which car brand comes to mind when I talk about safety? I’m quite sure for most of you the first thing that popped in your head was Volvo. The brand itself is so strongly associated with safety and quality that it is impossible to NOT think about them when you’re thinking of which car is more likely to save your life in case of an accident. Well, the Swedish do have high standards when it comes to safety. They have set the bar in safety quite high which means other car manufacturers have been forced to reconsider safety as a key feature while designing their cars.

Now, the car we are talking about today is one of the best mid-sized SUVs that are currently available in the overcrowded market – The Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design. And that is why I was very excited when I was loaned the car to review it. Volvo has had a turn of fortune with the XC40 and quite rightly so as it has been awarded the best compact SUV in 2018 in Europe and the most loved SUV too.

Volvo XC40

For the start, the XC40 looks completely different from its elder siblings the XC60 and XC90. It looks and feels more stylish, urban, utilitarian and youthful. Compact yet enough space to accommodate all that you need. How does it manage to do all of that?

Exteriors:

To start, the exteriors have been designed completely from scratch. The model I had was the top of the line R-design version. R-design is an in house design studio from Volvo that focuses on the comfort and aesthetic features of the cars from the Volvo lineup. And so the XC40 comes with a specially designed front grill that makes it look more aggressive than the standard version. It comes with LED headlights (which bend during the turning) and tail lights. The fog lamps are LED too but I think they look too small and unnoticeable at times. The bonnet has a tricky lever placement to open it. So where the Volvo logo on the grill meets the top right side of the bonnet, that’s where the lever is to unlock the bonnet.

Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design

The XC40 comes in a two-tone colour combination with the black exterior roof as standard on all the models. The build quality is incredibly sturdy and it is built to last till your grandchildren are born and even they may be driving it too. Other standard features include the remote-operated boot door (or tailgate), keyless entry & panoramic sunroof.

18-inch alloy wheels adorn this black and silver design that enhances the look of this car. At the back, you get twin tailpipe with chrome tips; However, the gap between the tips and the actual pipe is quite noticeable.

In addition, you get the R-design black coloured plates mounted on both sides just above the rear doors to remind you that Volvo has put in a lot of effort to design this car. The rear doors have an angular design that tapers at the end of the door to meet the roofline, slightly reducing the view from the rear passenger windows.


Interiors:

Nothing brings me more joy than to share that the quality of material used for the interiors is top-notch and very Volvo-ish. Inside you get soft-touch plastic everywhere from the door cards to the dashboard. The XC40 comes with R-Designed front and rear sport seats with dual material (leather & nubuck), perforated with white stitching. The steering is also covered in the leather with white stitching and makes it feel rather premium. But, the seats are too sporty in the sense that they are hard and uncomfortable if you plan to go on longer journeys.

Volvo XC40 Seats

The front seats are electronically adjustable in every possible way and also come with lumbar support and a cushion extension feature to support your thighs during longer journeys. The rear seats are positioned quite well in a way that the shoulder of the door does not hamper your visibility and essentially would not make you feel claustrophobic. The rear seats are not collapsible but only the hand rest provided can be folded down to accommodate your golf bags or your skis. The rear seats can easily fit 3 people with the roofline high enough to not hit the head of even the tallest of the passengers.

For an SUV this small, you may presume that the boot space must surely be compromised. But it is not! It comes with enough boot space to put two big bags and two small bags. The floor of the boot space is foldable and has these cool bit of hooks to hang in your shopping bags so I am impressed by the clever thinking from Volvo to include the hooks.  Plus after lifting the floor you still have enough space to stuff in some more luggage. Also, you get the scruff plating on the rear bumpers so you do not damage the paintwork while loading or unloading the luggage.

Volvo Xc40 Technology

Surrounded between the very long, stylish but unconventional looking AC air vents is a huge portrait styled 9.0 inches iPad-like infotainment screen. As a result, the dashboard has a very classy minimalist design. But unfortunately, the infotainment system is not the easiest system to use.

First of all, the glass on the screen is glossy meaning it is a fingerprint magnet. But do not worry, Volvo has you covered on that front and it gives you a premium cloth to clean the screen. The infotainment screen lets you swipe between menus to change anything, pinch, tap, zoom on the user-friendly maps and also has a conventional home button so you can quickly come back to the main menu. The address can be either written in letters on the screen or entered using an on-screen keyboard.

Under the screen, you would find a single row of media controls as well. But what concerns me more is that the air-conditioner is controlled from the infotainment screen itself. If the screen stops working you may be left without air-conditioning. Let’s be honest, we can live without the music system but not without an AC. The XC40 comes with a healthy eight-speaker music system with a 250W output. 

You also get a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display screen. You can see the details on that and also change the finer settings in the car from there. It displays your trip details, let’s you flick between conventional dials or a large map display for sat-nav and speed limit notifications using the 360 degrees five-camera system. You can also see the cameras on your infotainment screen as well.

In terms of storage, you can store a big bottle of water in the door bins on all the doors, cup holders are in the centre console, hand rest, glove box and one under the infotainment screen which also happens to be a wireless charging port. The XC40 comes with wireless charging, standard 12V socket in the front and back, USB and auxiliary port.

The gear stick on the XC40 is unconventional in every way. It is short and most of the times I managed to miss the gear stick. It takes a little getting used to before you know where the gear stick is and it also has a very minimum throw too. An issue with the gear stick itself is that if you want to go from the Parking mode to Drive, you will have tap the stick twice. The same goes when you are in Reverse mode and want to go into the Drive. It takes two taps to go into Drive. If you miss a tap and go into Neutral instead of the Drive or Reverse and you may end up rolling down if you are on a hill. To change the gear manually using the stick, you have to shift it sideways to change the gears up or down. All of this leads to a slightly annoying experience using the gear stick.  Oh! And the parking mode is button operated after you are done understanding how the shifter works.

Volvo XC40 Interiors

The steering wheel is adjustable, has adaptive cruise control and media control mounted on it and the paddle shifters which are plastic which ruins the feel of the steering wheel in some way.

Safety System:

No Volvo review is complete without discussing its safety system. The XC40 comes with its own ‘Intellisafe system’ which is used in lane assist, emergency brakes, adaptive cruise control and on-coming lane mitigation. It also comes with 7 Multistage Intelligent Airbags: driver, passenger, sides and curtains. The other safety systems include 360-degree cameras, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), EBA (Electronic Brake Assist), Hill Start Assist and Automatic Brake Hold system.

However, while these systems are remarkable, they tend to be frustrating as well. In particular, if you keep the lane assist feature on, the car is going to interfere on occasions even while you consciously try to change the lanes. It vibrates vigorously and corrects the steering wheel forcefully as if you were going to put the car in a ditch. Luckily you can reduce the interference from the system by going into the settings from your complicated infotainment system. Good luck figuring that out.

Overall it is a good system considering that the roads in UAE have faster average speeds of 100 km/hr and if you take into account the driving habits of some people here, this car is going to teach you how to drive safely again.

The Drive:

The Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-design comes with a T5 2.0L4 Cylinder Turbocharged engine which produces 247 bhp and 350 Nm of torque. This engine is coupled to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The car weighs around 1700 kgs and comes with an AWD (All Wheel Drive) system. This is an SUV that does not try to over-deliver on anything, perfectly balanced on all points.

volvo xc40 exteriors

The power delivery from the engine is quite smooth and the short throttle response times make it feel very sporty. Although there is a certain amount of turbo lag till 2500rpm. Also, the engine becomes a little noisy once you cross 3500rpm. But the NVH levels are well maintained all the time. The gear shifts are crisp and if you use the paddle shifts, the lag from the system is minimal while changing gears.

The steering wheel feels pretty light to drive, pointy and the XC40 manages to disguise its weight quite well. Although, the weight distribution on the XC40 is pretty even. It also comes with the Pirelli continental tyres and that’s probably another reason for the smooth handling and comfortable ride. The suspensions are stiff due to which the XC40 has a bare minimum body roll.

The XC40 comes with four different driving modes: Comfort, Dynamic, Eco and Off-Road. Put it in dynamic and the setup becomes stiff, sporty and the throttle response becomes sharp. However, even though its an SUV, it will not handle any and all off-roading that you throw at it EVEN when you put it in the Off-Road mode. I tried to take the XC40 onto the beach but it did struggle with the traction once the sandy surface started to become lose and dense. It was a sign not to push it more.

The XC40 comes with four disc brakes and the most enjoyable part about it is the brake pedal. Usually, manufacturers give you a very sensitive brake pedal meaning as soon as you step on it, the car suddenly comes to a halt. But in the XC40 things are different. The pedal has a heaviness and longer travel, hence it takes more than the usual force to hit the brakes.  

Conclusion:

While the XC40 T5 AWD is in direct competition with the Range Rover Evoque and the Audi Q3, it still is a very good match compared to the competition. The flaws in this car are so minimal, you should not even consider it. The XC40 surprised me in many areas with its upgrade and improvement in the build quality, infotainment system, ride quality, lavish interiors and its ability to perform like an SUV ticks all the boxes. Priced at AED 150,000 ($41,000) this car is a bargain compared to its rivals. You get the safest car you can possibly imagine with a robust design. My advice is you should check out the T5 rather than the T4 version as it offers an AWD option.

It is no doubt one of the best SUVs in the market and rightly deserves all the accolades. It is sporty, youthful, stylish, urban and utilitarian. But, most importantly it’s a complete package which is a delightful surprise.

You can watch a full video review of the Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design from below.

You can also read a detailed review of Honda CR-V from this link.

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F1 Drivers Salaries 2019

F1 Drivers
Image Credit: CNN

We are almost halfway through the Formula One season and boy it has been an exciting last few races. Yes, the Austrian Grand Prix was the best of all. While the drivers of these cars are no more than superhumans compared to us normal humans. It is really the younger lot currently that is performing really well and impressing us on the track. But do you know how much is an F1 driver paid for the entire season?

Well, compared to some drivers who are performing extremely well compared to how much they have been paid. Let us take a look at the salaries of F1 drivers for the 2019 season.

DriverTeamSalary
Lewis HamiltonMercedes $57,000,000
Valtteri BottasMercedes$8,5000,000
Sebastian VettelFerrari$45,000,000
Charles LeclercFerrari$3,500,000
Max VerstappenRed Bull$13,500,000
Pierre GaslyRed Bull$1,4000,000
Carlos SainzMcLaren$4,000,000
Lando NorrisMcLaren$260,000
Daniel RicciardoRenault$17,000,000
Nico HulkenbergRenault$4,500,000
Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo$4,500,000
Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo$230,000
Sergio PerezRacing Point$3,500,000
Lance StrollRacing Point$1,200,00
Daniil KvyatToro Rosso$300,000
Alexander Albon Toro Rosso$170,000
Romain GrosjeanHaas$1,800,000
Kevin MagnussenHaas$1,200,000
Robert KubicaWilliams$570,000
George Russell Williams$180,000

As seen from the table above, Lewis Hamilton is the highest paid driver for this season followed by Sebastian Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo jumps to the third highest paid driver after he switches from Red Bull to Renault this year. While amongst the new rookies entering F1, Charles Leclerc takes the biggest package out of all the young drivers as a result of making a switch to Ferrari this year after leaving Sauber which is now Alfa Romeo Racing.

You can check out my other blogs from this link. Comment below, if you have any formula one topic to discuss.

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Top 5 cars to buy in the UAE in 2018

UAE is one of the craziest markets to have some of the best cars available worldwide. Not only are the residents here spoiled for choice, but the love for cars has led to an unlimited catalog of some amazing Supercars, Luxury Cars & Sports Cars that are nowhere to be seen in the world. Some of the most beautiful & rare cars exist here in UAE. In fact, as per a survey by Autodata Middle East, people in UAE on an average change their car every 3 years. It’s that frequent! And it is this reason, that pretty much all the manufacturers are available in the UAE.

With such variety of cars in option, one is sure to get confused. While a car in every design and budget is available in the UAE, a majority of the car buyers also think about a lot of factors like car maintenance, parts & resale value. Every car depreciates differently which needs to be factored in when buying a car. In order to make your car buying decision a little easier, here is a list of the top 5 car manufacturers & their top selling cars in the UAE between 2017 and 2018 in descending order.

  1. Toyota

Toyota Land Cruiser (Photo Credit – autoexpress.co.uk)

By far, the most popular car brand in UAE with a market share of 23%. Toyota makes some of the most robust & reliable cars which are suitable for a country like UAE where the harsh summers take a toll on the car. But with, Toyota’s quality & reliability that is taken care of.

One of their most popular selling car and a desert favorite too is the Land Cruiser which is equipped with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. It comes with an automatic transmission and gives fuel economy of 11 kmpl which is impressive for a car that size and with an engine that big.

  1. Mercedes Benz

Mercedes S-Class (Photo Credit – motor1.com)

Quite a surprise this may seem but Mercedes comes second in the overall sales in UAE with a market share of just over 12%. While everyone is pretty much a fan of German cars & their engineering, Mercedes S-Class is their best selling model compared to the other models available. The fuel economy ranges anywhere from 8.5 to 11 kmpl based on the driving conditions with power ranging from 230 to 575 Bhp. All the Mercedes cars are available with an Automatic Transmission.

  1. Nissan

Nissan Patrol Safari (Picture Credit – nissan.com)

Nissan cars have always been an integral part of the UAE’s transportation network. No wonder it comes third on the list of Top 5 manufacturers with a market share of little over 11%. With the same build quality & reliability just like Toyota & in a country obsessed with SUVs their most sought after model is the Patrol Safari. With cheap maintenance costs, the Patrol Safari comes fully loaded with intelligent 4 cameras that give you a 360-degree view of your vehicle and audio-visual alert to help you detect any objects around the car. Equipped with a 4 wheel drive system, the Patrol Safari comes with an option of 5 speed manual or 5 speed automatic gearbox.

  1. Lexus

Lexus LX 570 (Photo Credit – lexus.com)

Japanese sure know how to capture the market. Coming on the fourth spot is the Lexus. Lexus is the luxury car division of Japanese automaker Toyota. It is Japan’s largest-selling maker of premium cars. Lexus has a market share of 8.5%. The premium manufacturer’s LX 570 is one of the best selling cars in the UAE market. With almost 513 Bhp from a 5.7 liter engine and an Automatic Transmission, this five seater off roader comes with multi-function steering wheel, wireless charging & a fancy gear knob.

  1. Hyundai

Hyundai Tuscon (Picture Credit – carscoops.com)

These days Hyundai is pretty much into every market. And wherever they are, they make sure they are in the top 5. Grabbing the fifth spot in the list, Hyundai makes the highest money by selling the Tucson. Inspired by the new fluidic design concept, the Tucson has a modest 2 liter engine that churns out anywhere between 150 to 180 Bhp. And it isn’t behind in the safety department either as it comes with 6 airbags. Hyundai is one of the fastest growing automobile manufacturer and is catching up with the other manufacturers too. It has a decent resale value and is super reliable too.

A lot of car manufacturers are eyeing to dominate the UAE’s growing car market. And there are several new automobile companies that plan on entering into the UAE market soon. One of the major attractions of UAE is the host of Supercars, Fancy & Luxurious Cars that are always passing by whenever you step out on the road.

Which Car manufacturer is your favourite? Which Car do you plan on buying? Let me know in the comments section below. Also, if you need any help in deciding which car to buy, feel free to consult me. You can send an email with your doubts and I shall be more than happy to help you out.

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