Tag Archive | "four wheel drive"

Experience The SEAT X-Perience

The new SEAT Leon X-PERIENCE is the latest offering from the popular Spanish manufacturer. It has permanent four-wheel drive and all-road equipment for general all round ability. The Leon X-PERIENCE is offered with a 2.0L Turbo-diesel with two power options of 150PS and 184PS outputs.

Alongside the latest-generation TDI engines and permanent all-wheel drive with intelligent electronic control (there‘s a differential on each axle), this new car boasts all-road suspension with extra ground clearance. A distinctive off-road look and individual interior offering an added dimension for family motoring fun.  As you would expect these days there is also an electronic stability programme and a multi-collision brake system for maximum safety.

seat2 Experience The SEAT X PerienceFurther options include full LED headlights, ACC Adaptive Cruise Control with City Emergency Brake function, a drowsiness detection and lane-keeping assistant for sleepy-heads.

It’s a car for all reasons. The luggage compartment offers a carrying capacity of 587 litres, which extends to as much as 1,470 litres with the rear-seats folded down which would appear to make it very practical. The Leon X-PERIENCE has robust protection moulding on the door sills and wheel arches. The sleek front end is adorned with substantial air intakes and integrated fog lamps with cornering light function, plus the front spoiler with its aluminium-look – as can be seen in the images.

The rear end, too, is distinguished by its new bumper with an aluminium-look insert and by the chrome tailpipes, which are standard on the 2.0 TDI 184 PS. The large wheel arches can accommodate 17-inch or optional 18-inch wheels in a dedicated five-twin-spoke design. The roof rails are finished in black.

Inside, new materials, attention to detail and a combination of strong colours give this car more personality. It offers the black and grey sporty elegance of high-quality fabric upholstery, as well as the option of brown Alcantara or all-black leather seats.

We’ve driven the regular Leon with the diesel engine and found it to be an excellent car although we feel the design is a tad conservative. Whether there is a need for a car like this when there are many, many crossover or SUV vehicles available with 4WD and a similar spec remains to be seen. We let you know the final verdict when we drive it for real.

seat3 Experience The SEAT X Perience

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The Legend That Is The UR-Quattro

The original. The legend that is the Audi Quattro; the version in the image dating from 1989 and your editor got a crack at it. I came, I saw and I asked if I could take it out and was quietly stunned when the answer was yes. The Ur-Quattro was arguably the first production car to bring permanent four wheel drive and a turbocharger fully to the attention of the car buying public thanks to its rally successes.

Over two decades have passed since this car was in its heyday and it is frankly amazing just how far the motor industry has come. Opening the door was like going back into history in an automotive time machine. Now I know how Howard Carter felt when he opened Tutankhamun’s tomb.

‘Where is all the seat adjustment’, I wondered, ‘What happened to the climate control?’ That’s how much we’ve been spoiled. This venerable motor even had that ‘wet dog’ smell unique to old cars.

Nevertheless, at the turn of a key, the engine sprang immediately into life. I actually laughed out loud when I found that I needed a thigh of steel to depress the clutch. Selecting a notchy first gear I inched forward and, thankfully without stalling, accelerated and was immediately reminded again how much things have changed.

We have gone soft. We have been cosseted in luxury and supported by many driver aids. Getting back to basics like this was a reminder of how it felt to be solely in charge of a large chunk of flying metal powered by a five-cylinder 2.2L turbo motor with just three pedals and a steering wheel for support. When new, this car would have produced over 200bhp, although time and many thousands of miles has taken its toll.

Nevertheless, the old dog still had plenty of life in it as I approached my first junction and found to my consternation that brakes had obviously been an afterthought. After that exciting interlude, I drove with due diligence and it was an awesome experience. I could feel and sometimes hear all the moving parts going about their business and felt fully connected to the road.

The steering was communicative and surprisingly accurate and in corners the car remained settled thanks to the legendary four-wheel drive. This was proper driving rather than the remote experiences we have now. Even the seat creaked. I drove this iconic car for a half hour and realised that we have lost as much as we’ve gained in motoring. I savoured every moment and, do you know, at the end of my drive I was quite fired up.

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Frugal Four By Fours

Four wheel drive vehicles have taken a bit of a pasting in the reputation department historically. They have been pilloried for being ‘gas guzzlers’ and ‘huge’ and generally a scourge to the greening of our planet. Yet they are also very handy when the going gets rough which is why there is still a healthy demand for them and manufacturers have made great inroads into answering the complaints. That’s right – buyers can now purchase small but perfectly formed 4×4’s that also offer great fuel economy coupled with low emissions.

For most users, four wheel drive and a raised ride height are all that is needed as most of these vehicles will never do any serious mud-plugging. Agricultural users need not apply. Thanks to the wonders of modern automotive technology you can have your green cake and eat it too.

A case in point is the FIAT Panda 4×4. We’re quite keen on this car here at Motor Blogger and reviewed it a while back. It’s small certainly but is a handy choice for the rural school run or for just pottering in the countryside. The small size belies its ability off road. Not a huge amount of ground clearance obviously but otherwise this is a very competent vehicle indeed. It only coughs out 114g/km of CO² and should achieve nearly 60mpg from its TwinAir petrol engine.

MINI1 Frugal Four By FoursMINI’s largest car to date, the Countryman D-ALL4 (shown), offers five seats, comfortable seating for four and room for a small one, although boot space is slightly compromised for space. Really it is a crossover rather than a proper four by four but it is stylish and does have that extra on-road safety feature. Figures are similar to the FIAT but with a little more in the way of emissions from the bigger diesel engine.

The Vauxhall Mokka (pictured) might not seem to be the first choice when it comes to 4×4 but it does make for an interesting alternative. It is a surprisingly good drive and has a spacious interior. Again the figures are similar to the previous cars. Then of course there’s the new kid on the block, the Dacia Duster, which is winning plaudits at the least expensive end of the all-wheel drive consumer market. It’s emissions are a little higher as you’d expect from a more basic engine but it is still low compared to the 4×4’s of old. Fuel consumption is about the same though.MOKKA1 Frugal Four By Fours

With alternatives from Nissan, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Mazda the modern 4×4 market offers excellent choice of these versatile vehicles but they can’t be called ‘gas guzzlers’ any more. Maybe we should call them ‘fuel-sippers’.

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