Autocar May 12, 2021

Autocar is the car nut’s weekly fix, delivering you a unique mix of the latest news, opinion, features, first drives of new cars and in-depth road tests – all complemented by the best photography in the business. No other magazine covers the subject you love with such enthusiasm, insight and quality every week of the year. Autocar stands for the highest quality in car journalism – and is rewarded with access to the best new cars and the biggest news stories before any of the opposition which we share with you, our readers, every week.

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United Kingdom
Haymarket Media Group Ltd
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3 min
steve cropley

MONDAY It’s hardly breaking new ground, but I’ve just spent a whole week rediscovering estate cars. I’ve done 1400 miles in a Mondeo Hybrid, the best and last of a family Ford line that will disappear in a year’s time (see p42). This car’s practical excellence was a real surprise: it’s long, it’s comfortable and it has every bit as much load floor area as one of the bigger SUVs, yet the much smaller frontal area means it slips through the air noticeably more easily and delivers 3-5mpg more in equivalent mechanical specification. The hybrid side of things worked for me, too. I didn’t even jib at the fact that it uses a ‘rubber band’ CVT, because this allows it to be both long-legged and quick off the mark. On my return…

1 min
aston makes production gains

Aston Martin boss Tobias Moers says there has been a “double-digit” improvement in quality since his arrival at the company last summer, because he has overhauled its manufacturing process. The number of faults per car has been reduced at predelivery inspections, while the manufacturing process has been streamlined, with all three front-engined models now built on the same production line at Gaydon, instead of on two, and fewer parts held in stock next to the line. The now-vacant second line is set to be used for Aston’s new mid-engined models, while production of the imminent Valkyrie hypercar has also been taken in-house at Gaydon. All regular painting is now done in the new paint shop at St Athan. This has an annual capacity for 12,000 cars per year, which is in excess of…

2 min
merc readies new small mpvs

The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQT previews the brand’s new T-Class MPV, the electric version of which will be the ninth model sold under the EQ sub-brand. Set to rival the Volkswagen Caddy Life when UK sales get under way in 2022, the T-Class is twinned with the Mk3 Renault Kangoo that was revealed late last year, while the electric EQT is a sister of the recently announced Kangoo E-Tech Electric. The new Mercedes is based on the Renault Group’s CMF-B platform, which was designed to support both internal-combustion and battery-electric powertrains. Production-bound styling cues include a prominent black panel ‘grille’ featuring a 3D star pattern, slim LED headlights and a full-width rear light bar. However, the large wheelhouses, 21in wheels shod with low-profile tyres, expansive panoramic glass roof and leather-lined interior with an integrated skateboard…

3 min
new curved roadside barriers designed to clean up urban air

SCIENTISTS AT IMPERIAL College London have come up with an ingenious, low-cost idea for deflecting exhaust fumes away from pavements and pedestrians. Tilly Collins realised vortices alongside roadside walls trap pollutants inside them, making air quality worse in those places for pedestrians and anyone in adjacent areas, such as school playgrounds. Installing curved barriers at the roadside reduces the effect of the vortices and deflects fumes away from the pavement back into the road. The Imperial College team is in advanced discussions with Transport for London to select several sites where the barriers could be installed for testing. Two types of barrier are under consideration: low level and high level. The low-level ones resemble simple Armco barriers, with the concave surface facing the traffic, bolted to the ground along the edges of…

1 min
putting you in the driver’s seat since 1895

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2 min
ford ecosport 1.0 ecoboost titanium £6299

Is there sense in buying ‘orphan motors’, cars that were generally unloved when new and on which the market has since turned its back? We’ve combed the classifieds and found five of them, starting with this, the Ford Ecosport of 2014-18. It’s a compact SUV with, bizarrely, a spare wheel attached to the tailgate that makes it look like it’s about to flip backwards. At its launch, reviewers were largely united in condemning the Ecosport’s sluggish performance, poor handling, fidgety, unsettled ride, weak brakes and small boot, accessed via that unnecessarily heavy door, which incidentally opens the wrong way for right-hand-drive roads. So far, so bad, except the Ecosport does have some saving graces. Its high driving position provides a good view out, the controls are well placed and most trim levels…