Jake Groves

Jake Groves

Jake Groves Jake Groves 2022 Vauxhall Astra gets radical redesign 1 year ago

Is this the first cool Vauxhall Astra? Yes, that really is the new Astra. Mark Adams and his design team are on a serious roll, with new models from the brand looking thoroughly modern with the ninjalike ‘Vizor’ front end and sculpted creases. Of course, it has owner Stellantis (and the former PSA Group) to thank for its powertrain and technology upgrades: the Astra’s footprint is exactly the same length as the recently-revealed Peugeot 308, and plug-in hybrid power (with around 30 miles of e-range) comes to Vauxhall’s family hatch for the first time. It’s clever inside, too: the seats actively contour to you when different drive modes are applied, and a new infotainment system aims to move the game significantly forward from the laggy and fiddly one used by so many cars from Stellantis. Vauxhall’s IntelliLux matrix lights and semiautonomous IntelliDrive tech will be available, too. In combination with the Corsa and Mokka, is this the start of a new era of exciting-looking Vauxhalls? Could be.

Jake Groves Jake Groves 2001 Jaguar XKR-R X100 SVO 6-spd Manual 1 year ago

Like all Jaguars, the XKR-R prototype is a car that likes to be driven

From the more focused XKR-R on the cover to the discreetly modified Mk 2 on page 44, and the only XJ-S cabriolet to have both TWR’s 6.0-litre V12 and a manual ’box to the E-type Series 3 fitted with a modern six-speed automatic transmission, this issue of Jaguar World features nothing but cars that like being driven.Of course, for those of us who own one, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. More than any other British marque, Jaguar has always produced models to be enjoyed.

The E-type Series 1 might be a high-end investment for the lucky few today, but – at its heart – it’s still the simple, yet highly effective, sports car it has always been. The XJ-S that replaced it is clearly more of a luxury grand tourer, yearning to be taken to the South of France. To do anything else misses the point of the car. Even the new XF Sportbrake D200, with Jaguar’s new hybrid drivetrain – which I go camping with to the far reaches of northern Scotland – fits this description, although I discover it’s more about covering miles than big, beaming smiles. My own XK8 gets into the act, too, by taking me to Shelsley Walsh for the wonderful E-type 60 event in June. The 116 miles travelled from home might pale into insignificance compared to a trip to the French Riviera, but, after 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s the furthest I’ve driven the car for some time. It was a great reminder of how fabulous a car it is. I’m sure many of you can say the same about your own little-used pride and joy. But, now that life in the UK is taking its first precarious steps back to normality, it’s time to hit the road and let your Jaguars do what they do best: be enjoyed and, most of all, be driven.

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