A software update introduced the Chill Mode, which can be accessed via the on-board infotainment screen. In the software update notification, it says that Chill Mode is ‘ideal for smoother driving and a gentler ride for passengers’.
We like General Motors’ free-spinning 3.6-liter V-6 in most of its applications, and it does a fine job in the 1LE most of the time, pulling cleanly from low revs and making the snarling noises you’d expect from a pony car when pressed a little harder. But although it runs to 7000 rpm without complaint, it also does so without fireworks, struggling to deliver on straight-line pace when compared to either its more muscular siblings or the broader sports-car segment. It wasn’t that long ago that a 5.2-second zero-to-60-mph time would have been regarded as a serious achievement, but now it feels almost leisurely, as does the 13.8-second quarter-mile time at a trap speed of just 101 mph. For perspective, the V-8 1LE reaches 70 mph in less time than it takes the V-6 car to get to 60, and it will be past 120 mph by the time the smaller-engined car reaches 100.
In certain circumstances, time is a healer. But after that glowing build-up, it seems time has wounded our once great champ. Climb inside the Mk3 Cavalier now and you’re met with a driving position that simply wouldn’t cut the mustard today. The non-adjustable steering wheel is offset so far to the left that you’re left wondering if your passenger should be the one steering, while the La-Z-Boy-esque seats lack any form of lateral support, sending you sliding sideways round the first hairpin bend.
There's also no formal name for the SUV yet. Seat has been holding a vote, with the public able to choose their favourite. The current finalists are Talboran, Taranda, Avila and Tarraco. Of those, our money is on the Seat Avila, given that it fits in well with the current line-up of Ateca and Arona. Seat was due to make a formal announcement of the name this month, but that has been delayed due to events taking place in Catalonia.
To understand the significance of the Cavalier Mk3, we need to go back to 1981, when the Mk2 appeared. The Sierra, which arrived a year later in 1982, failed to match the Mk2’s sales throughout its life but, in 1987, the last year of Cavalier Mk2 production, Uncle Henry’s 'fortress of the fleets' finally sneaked ahead. Some argue that this is a measure of just how long it took us sceptical Brits to adjust to the Sierra’s ahead-of-the-curve, jelly-mould looks. By which time we were ready for some svelte.
Indeed, he was right: it is a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV) – bang on-trend for our changing times, despite actually having been on sale in the UK since 2014. Underneath our Mitsubishi’s long bonnet is a conventional 2.0-litre petrol engine mated to two battery-driven electric motors, one at the front and one at the rear, enabling the Outlander PHEV to be driven by engine power alone, by the batteries or by a combination of the two. These batteries can be charged a little while the car’s on the move or plugged into the mains for a much more sizeable dosage. Fully charged, our PHEV should then have an electric-only range of around 30 miles. Perhaps more impressively, its official fuel consumption is listed at 166.1mpg and its CO2 figure as 41g/km, which is extraordinarily good for such a large and practical five-seat SUV.
Krause's departure is expected to deal another major blow to Faraday following a string of disappointments. The company's fundraising efforts faltered this summer after LeEco money dried up, reportedly due to Yueting's unwillingness to step down from the company, as well as rumors of an impending bankruptcy that were sparked by filing papers that Faraday says had been faked by someone.
Honda’s order sheet for the Sport leaves no room for options. Drivers who want more equipment have no choice but to opt for a higher trim, so that’s where the decisions end. Simplicity is bliss.
The EPA rates the Accord 1.5T’s Sport and Touring trims with the CVT at 29 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined; the lower-spec LX, EX, and EX-L models achieve higher ratings of 30/38/33 mpg. While it was in our leadfooted possession for 590 miles, our Accord returned 30 mpg. Not shabby but not quite vicuña, either.
The XJ's interior is looking a bit dated these days next to newer rivals, but it still has a wonderful ambience. Up front, the diamond-quilted seats (embossed with some questionable '575' branding) come with a wide range of adjustment, and those in the rear are treated to plenty of leg room; there’s little reason to opt for the long-wheelbase variant.