Rufty-tufty City Cars Quick Group Test

Ford Ka+ Active vs Dacia Sandero Stepway vs Vauxhall Viva Rocks vs Kia Picanto X-Line

This crossover fad is getting out of hand… Four city cars pretending to be big and tough compete to see which one can smash it out of the retail park. By Jake Groves

FORD KA+ ACTIVE
How thorough is the crossover conversion?
Active adds unique bumpers and alloys, plus roof rails as standard. Rough Road Fiesta and Focus are also suspension with a loftier available with Active bloat ride height is fitted, too, along with brown accents and rubber mats inside. The punchier of the Ka+’s two petrols and 1.5 diesel are your Active engines. No all-wheel drive, as with all these cars.

Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy Another Log on The Fire

If the Megane RS 280 leaves you wanting more heat then try the RS 300 Trophy. But does it add enough extra sizzle?

THE NEW Megane RS Trophy has very nice side windows. I noticed because most of my track time in it was spent looking through them. Goodness me, it’s one tail-happy car, partly because Portugal’s Estoril circuit was polished shiny by rain, and partly because it’s set up that way. The regular Megane RS 280 is one of the most throttle-adjustable hot hatches around, and the new, more focused 300 Trophy is no different.

The regular Renault Sport Megane has always been followed by a harder-core Trophy version, seasoned with a variety of spicy upgrades.

Mercedes-Benz A35 Warm and Friendly

Boiling Under

An even hotter A-Class is coming, but don’t shun AMG’s plenty-hot-enough A35.

MIDDLE GROUND is a dirty phrase to some. Finding it means compromise and making concessions – something looked down upon particularly in the performance car world. But AMG – increasingly keen to move beyond its hardcore heartland to bring more mainstream buyers into the fold – has risen to the challenge in an interesting and largely successful way. The full-fat A45 will arrive in the middle of 2019, but the new A35 will actually suit some people much better.

It’s a familiar German hot hatch recipe: smooth 2.0-litre turbo with 300bhp-plus on tap, grippy all-wheel drive

Mercedes-Benz GLE New Heights

Mercedes-Benz GLE It’s good – but better than an X5 good?

Like an E-Class but taller, Merc’s new GLE is a seriously well equipped alternative to the BMW X5.

HAVE A GUESS how many SUVs there were in the Mercedes-Benz range when the M-Class launched back in 1997? Four? Five? No. Two. Alongside the G-Class, the forebear to the GLE was an off-road aberration in a sea of luxury saloons and svelte two-doors.

Oh how times have changed. Skip forward 21 years and you’ll find seven SUVs proudly wearing the three-pointed star, with more on the way. It’s not only Mercedes that’s expanded its SUV line-up, of course, and the new GLE is up against a crowded field. Accordingly, Mercedes has made sure the GLE is as well equipped as its E-Class cousin.

KIA E-Niro Easy E

Are you looking at EV?

NIPPING AT THE HEELS of sister firm Hyundai’s impressive new Kona Electric, Kia’s take on the everyman electric SUV has many of the same virtues and a few more of its own, but also a bigger price ticket.

The e-Niro still gets the claimed driving range of 300-plus miles, but with a larger cabin and boot.
Kia’s offering only the larger of the two battery packs available on the Hyundai, and a single, well-appointed trim called 3: heated seats and steering wheel, wireless smartphone charging, touchscreen-based multimedia with eight speakers.

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