27 Oct 2013

Catch-up Corner - some stories from the week we missed

Graham King rounds up some the week’s motoring stories you might have missed

Race team launches modified MX-5

Le Mans racing team Jota have launched a tuned, 203bhp version of the Mazda MX-5. Tagged the Jota MX-5 GT, it is based on the top-spec MX-5 Roadster Coupe. The naturally-aspirated motor gets the car from 0-60mph in 6.4 secs, some 1.5 faster than standard, with top speed limited to 140mph. Bilstein/Ohlins suspension sharpens up the handling, while a carbon bodykit aids the aerodynamics. While it isn’t an official Mazda offering, it available through a single Mazda dealer, and it’s covered by a full warranty. It sounds deeply tempting, but there is a problem. It’s £29,995. Which is a lot for a nine-year-old car and very close to Nissan 370Z territory. One for the hard-core fans, I think.

Range Rover Sport in desert-crossing record attempt

Land Rover always enjoys a good challenge and this is its latest. Next week, a completely standard Range Rover Sport will attempt to break the record for a 1000km crossing of Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter. As the name suggests, the Empty Quarter is 650,000sq km of deserty nothingness, with 50 degree heat, little water and 850ft dunes. At least with ten years experience on the Dakar Rally, driver Moi Torrallardona should be up to the challenge. But will the car? Probably, actually…

Latest NCAP crash test results

You expect new cars to achieve a five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating these days, and the latest batch of test subjects have done just that. The Jeep Cherokee, Peugeot 2008, Mercedes CLA and the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross pictured above, were all awarded the top score.

Vauxhall sets endurance record with diesel Astra

Vauxhall has set a still-to-be-ratified 24 hour distance record with the Astra. A team of 12 drivers drove two Astra 2.0CDTi 165PS’s round the clock on the High-Speed Bowl at Millbrook Proving Ground. Between refuelling, driver changes and a single tyre change, the cars were only stationary for 22 minutes during the entire day. As such there were able to cover nearly 3000 miles at an average speed of 125mph. When it’s confirmed, it will break a 1500-2000cc forced-induction diesel class record that has stood since 1992. A total of 18 records were broken on the day.

A Skoda Yeti has covered 100,000 miles

A man from Merseyside has become the first Skoda Yeti owner to drive his car for 100,000 trouble-free miles. This caught my eye because a) my dad is on his second Yeti and b) I’m amused at the mere existence of the press release.

Subaru launches a special edition XV

Were you even aware of the Subaru XV’s existence? We get it instead of the Impreza, although it actually is an Impreza with jacked-up suspension and off-roadery body trim. It’s a rival to the Qashqai et al. Anyway, there’s a new special edition, the Black Edition. And it’s, er, black. There’s some unique styling touches and the already generous equipment list has been expanded. It looks good value at £24,995 for the 2.0-litre diesel, which is the one you want, and it’ll certainly be rare. But for the same money you could have a Honda CR-V, Ford Kuga, Hyundai ix35, or Kia Sportage. I know where my money would go…

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