Tag: UK

By on September 19, 2017

Jaguar E-Type, Image: Steph Willems

Just imagine for a second that Britain’s best-known automotive nameplates aren’t owned by the Germans and Indians. Once upon a time, the Union Jack fluttered proudly over a vast empire of brands. The sun never set on the nation’s impressive array of automobiles, and enthusiasts the world over lusted over the scorching, sexy offerings emerging from a country best known for fog, breakfast fishes and military might.

When Britain decided to let its hair down, oh boy. Any red-blooded driver would gladly put up with weird electrical issues or leaks for a chance to sit behind the wheel of a curvacious, inline-six-powered dream machine that oozed sex (and perhaps oil) every mile of its life. Though the dream eventually collapsed, foreign ownership brought it partway back. (I’m poking fun just a bit, but the stinking nationalized mess that was British-Leyland is a comedy mine that never runs out.)

But we’re not here to rehash the dismal 1970s. This is a celebration — a brimming glass of scotch, gin, sherry, or port raised in honour of a quirky industry with a diverse heritage. Detroit may have cranked out the wheels that moved America, but Britain — at least for a while — cranked out cheap exports for people who couldn’t afford a Dodge. North of the border especially, postwar British cars with alarmingly low horsepower figures stoically braved weather they weren’t designed for.

Sure, my parents’ childhoods contained Fords, Chevrolets, Studebakers and Plymouths, but they also contained an Austin A30, Morris Minor 1000, Morris Oxford, two Vauxhall Victors, and a grandparent’s Triumph Mayflower (0-50 mph in 26.6 seconds). Dad still raves about the Vauxhall Firenza (“half of a V8!”) he bought in the ’70s. Maybe it’s a Commonwealth thing.

It was with these tales in mind that I travelled to tony Stowe, Vermont last weekend for the British Invasion, the Northeast’s annual celebration of UK rolling stock. Let’s take a look at some oddities and bonafide classics, shall we? (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

tvr griffith

It’s exciting times for the independent British automaker. TVR, which reappeared on the automotive scene in 2013 after an absence of seven years, plans to unveil a production sports car in September.

Apparently, many TVR aficionados were itching for an opportunity to get their hands on a boutique vehicle from the low-volume automaker, money in hand. When the company showcased a prototype at a private event, hundreds ponied up deposits for a vehicle that might appear bearing a familiar name. (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2017

2017 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 - Image: Mini USA

It’s can be difficult to wipe the smug look of a home field advantage off your face.

Yet in its home English market, the all-new second-generation 2017 Mini Countryman is failing to find favor with British car critics. evo Magazine, never one to pull its punches, published a review of the 2017 Mini Countryman chock full of significant objections.

“Mini’s new SUV has grown up, but it’s lost the Mini fun factor along the way,” Antony Ingram writes. evo says it expects “the BMW-owned company to turn out cars that are fun to drive and show up their rivals as sloppy, dull and character-free.” Yet, Ingram says, “the latest Mini Countryman doesn’t manage that.”

Citing poor value, disappointing acceleration in the hi-po S model, un-Mini-like dynamics, a cabin too twee, and a design that continues “to look ever more contrived,” evo suggests you may prefer — get this — a Toyota C-HR. (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2017

vauxhall corsa

Today’s the day we celebrate an Irish guy who probably isn’t responsible for banishing snakes from the Emerald Isle, usually by guzzling beer tinted with bowel-loosening amounts of green food coloring.

Across a tiny sea from that land, a much more vibrant color caused the inhabitants of one historic British town to rebel against the tyranny wrought by a compact hatchback. We’re happy to inform you that order has now been restored. (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2017

Front three-quarter view of 2017 Jaguar F-PACE in Aspen, Colorado, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It wasn’t exactly the Great Train Robbery, but it was daring and ballsy nonetheless. And quite expensive for the victim — in this case, quintessential British automaker Jaguar Land Rover.

The company has egg on its face and no shortage of missing engines after thieves made off with a parked trailer full of high-end motors from the Solihull, UK assembly plant on Tuesday night. Two hours later, they returned for more. (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2016

2016 Ford Fiesta green 3-door - Image: Ford UKThe Ford Fiesta is the most popular car at TTAC.

We don’t mean to say that TTAC’s audience researches the Ford Fiesta more often than any other vehicle. Nor are we suggesting that the Ford Fiesta is the consensus favourite among TTAC’s vast contributor network. Rather, there are a total of three Fiestas spread across TTAC driveways: the managing editor’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost, an ST at the home of our advice columnist, and another ST in the family of TTAC’s editor-at-large.

That’s an impressive level of marketplace penetration for a car that generates just 0.3 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle sales volume. Yet across the pond, the very same car owns an industry-wide 4.5 percent of the overall new vehicle market.

2016 will be the eighth consecutive year in which the Ford Fiesta claims the title of the United Kingdom’s best-selling vehicle. Not only is the consistency remarkable, so too is the authority with which the Fiesta scores its victories. (Read More…)

By on September 15, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The United Kingdom isn’t scared of electric vehicles, what with their high fuel prices and limited driving distances (when compared to the U.S.).

However, General Motors has developed a serious case of cold feet on the issue of launching a Vauxhall-branded Chevrolet Bolt, which could prove a decent sales performer. An all-electric range of 238 miles is impressive, so why is the General so shy? (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Camaro UK red

Anticipating virtually nonexistent demand, General Motors will ship 15 copies of the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro coupe to the United Kingdom for deliveries in September. Another three Camaro convertibles are expected to find homes one month later.

Chevrolet, which concluded a decade-long full-line foray into Europe last year, will sell the Camaro through only one UK dealer, Ian Allan Motors in Virginia Water, Surrey. You may recall hearing that Virginia Water was the first UK locale outside London in which the average price of a new home crested £1,000,000.

British buyers heading to Virginia Water in search of a new Camaro will certainly need to have access to more funds than buyers who are keen on a new Ford Mustang. Given the blame we cast for poor U.S. Camaro sales on a pricing scheme that presents the Camaro as a premium pony car, it’s not surprising to see that Camaro pricing in the UK would be similarly lofty.

But there’s one key difference. (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2016

Vauxhall-Astra-297766

Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union could cause General Motors to up and leave the country, industry analysts predict.

Production of Vauxhall and Opel vehicles could shift across the Channel if the EU places import tariffs on vehicles bound from Britain, LMC Automotive said in a report, ending GM’s decades-long presence. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2016

2017 Jaguar lineup

Jaguar Land Rover’s brands are as British as crumpets and the Union Jack (ignore the fact that it’s owned by India’s Tata Motors), so concerns over Britain’s vote to leave the European Union should fall squarely on its tweed-covered shoulders.

The automaker is keeping a stiff upper lip, at least in public, with a spokesperson saying the company doesn’t plan to make changes to its strategy, Reuters reports.

A $1.34 billion assembly plant in Slovakia is going ahead as planned, said Jaguar Land Rover strategy director Adrian Hallmark, who called the Brexit a “short-term issue” during a news conference. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2016

2014-jaguar-xfr-s-sportbrake-20

Jaguar’s design chief just broke the hearts of that tiny, tiny group of enthusiasts who were holding out for a new Jaguar wagon.

Ian Callum threw an ice cold pot of tea onto speculation that the British automaker would offer a wagon version of one of its new sedans, telling a group of auto journos in London that they were done with estate cars, Automotive News Europe has reported.

The reason for this has a lot to do with why Callum and the journalists were in the same room. The event concerned the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace, the automaker’s first crossover SUV. (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2016

IMG_4156

Luxury car companies are practiced at the art of completely redesigning a car, yet styling those new models so much like their predecessors that you’d need an illustrated guide to tell them apart. Jaguar was the king of this design exercise in the ’90s and 2000s. My personal 2005 Jaguar Super V8 may look like Jags of yore inside and out, but under the wood and leather is a thoroughly modern aluminum luxury chassis that — with updates — underpins the modern XJ.

On the other side of the equation we have the XF. The 2008 model signaled a major shift for Jaguar’s styling, but under the sleek and modern exterior sat a reworked Jaguar S-Type chassis. The first generation XF won praise for the M5-chasing XFR and a design that came to define the modern Jaguar.

For the second generation of the XF, Jaguar played it safe with an image retaining the bulk of the styling from the previous generation. Under the familiar styling is Jaguar’s all new, aluminum-intensive iQ platform that’ll be the basis for the XF, XE, F-Pace and two other mysterious Jaguar Land Rover products in the next few years.

(Read More…)

By on January 29, 2016

LR_DEF_Celebration_Event_290116_04

The last Land Rover Defender rolled off the line Friday at the Solihull, UK facility, according to the automaker.

The wildly uncomfortable, loud and grandfather to all Land Rovers will live on, albeit in name only — the next-generation Defender is already in the works.

The final Land Rover Defenders shared two common parts with the first Series Land Rover, according to the automaker: the hood cleats and underbody support strut. Which is two parts more than I expected would have survived from the originals. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2016

1.6 TDI Motor ( EA 189 ):  Flow straightener Volkswagen

Last we heard, Volkswagen’s small loophole that it could technically skate through on the definition of “cheating” in Europe was fairly well closed.

Last week, Volkswagen’s chief in the UK asserted in a letter to British Parliament that the company may not have have technically cheated in Europe.

“Volkswagen accepts that a defeat device was used in the USA in certain models, in the context of the very different regulatory framework and factual circumstances there,” Paul Willis wrote in a December letter (via New York Times). “However we do not think that it is possible to make the same definitive legal determination in relation to the software that was fitted to those differently configured vehicles in the UK and EU.” (Emphasis ours.)

Holy shit. Really?

(Read More…)

By on December 21, 2015

alcohol-bar-party-cocktail

You’ve made some bad decisions at the holiday office Christmas party. We’ve all done it. Don’t compound it by using a (probably inaccurate) free breathalyzer that you picked up at a Honda dealer instead of a cab ride.

That, and Subaru is turning production up to “11,” Hyundai was hit hard in China and Nevada’s rolling the dice on electric cars … after the break. 

(Read More…)

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