Thankfully, the rest of the interior is far more commendable. Soft-touch plastics cover the entirety of the dash and, despite the interior looking a tad bland in its monochrome colour scheme, this being a later top-of-the-range V6 CDX model, there's at least plenty of kit to keep you entertained: air conditioning, heated seats, an electric sunroof and a fancy Blaupunkt CD player.
This powertrain is available for as little as $24,460, and Honda asks $34,690 for the top-spec 1.5T Touring, still a solid value for such a fully realized and useful machine. But yeah, save up a few bucks and get the 2.0T if you can. And we’d get the manual transmission, too.
The new X2 will be priced from £33,980 in xDrive20d SE form. At that price, the X2 sits conveniently in-between the X1 and X3, which start from £28,460 and £38,880 respectively. It will also be substantially more expensive than both the Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar E-Pace.
It isn’t the most sophisticated small SUV going and its interior feels rather cheap in places, but the Suzuki SX-4 S-Cross is still decent enough to drive and spacious enough for most families. It’s great value, too, with lots of low-mileage examples going very cheaply, and it comes with plenty of equipment. What’s more, Suzuki has a great reputation for reliability, so the SX-4 S-Cross should be dependable.
Considering our philosophical bias in favor of manual transmissions, the charms of the CVT are limited. So the best thing about this automatic is that you don’t have to settle for it, because there’s a stick shift available with the 1.5T in the Accord Sport model. That said, the combination of 1.5T and CVT isn’t bad.
What do you get when you outfit a Ford Mustang with a racetrack-ready chassis and a high-revving V-8 engine? The spectacular Shelby GT350, of course. Its muscular proportions are exaggerated by stretched scoops and special splitters to manipulate airflow. Out of the box, the track-focused GT350R is stripped of superfluous stuff such as a back seat and rigged with racing equipment (such as carbon-fiber wheels). Both Mustangs make glorious sounds and put power down with a standard 526-hp naturally aspirated V-8 and a six-speed manual gearbox. While the Shelby is outgunned at the drag strip by the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Ford has heavily transformed its twin snakes for hypnotic high performance.
Applying more lock won't help because the front tyres have lost grip and you won't gain any more by doing so. Instead, the first thing you must do is slow down, then take some steering lock off to help the tyres regain grip. If you've slowed enough, then adding lock again to get around the corner should see you back on course - if it doesn't help, then you need to slow even further. However, if the road is slippery, then just backing off the throttle might be the only thing you can do, because stepping hard on the brakes will only make matters worse.
However, ABS isn't an impenetrable safety net. It's not an excuse to drive into hazards more quickly, and doesn't mean you can drive closer to the vehicle in front - yes it does help to reduce braking distances, but you should maintain distance so you don't need to put the ABS to use. Plus, on slippery surfaces, bear in mind that ABS doesn’t work as well – and on sheet ice, nothing will stop you except crashing into the kerbside or another object. Safe speed is the key for winter driving.
Oversteer affects the rear wheels, and there are two types of oversteer to contend with. The first happens under braking, where the car's weight transfers towards the front of the car, causing the rear end to become light and lose grip. If you are steering, then the momentum can then bring the back end of the car around like a pendulum. In this instance, you need to steer into the skid, so if the car swings out to the left, you need to steer to the left.
Grip levels are impressive, with the 1LE’s peak 0.98 g on the skidpad being significantly better than the 0.91 g we recorded in the standard V-6 coupe, if some way short of the huge 1.05 g that the V-8 SS 1LE managed on its fatter tires. It’s worth mentioning that our test car also showed evidence of a hard life during its 6500 miles, suffering noticeably more understeer when turning right than left; a factory-fresh car or brand-new rubber might have done even better. But the V-6 Camaro is 215 pounds lighter than the V-8 car, and although it can’t produce the same ultimate adhesion, it feels very agile when attacking a series of corners. In the dry, on-road traction is pretty much absolute, with only the hardest use causing the rear to squirm. In the wet, grip levels are much more limited on these summer-spec tires—the 1LE felt positively skittish, especially when asked to deal with standing water.
Its genesis was in 1975 with the rear-wheel-drive Mk1, which headed into a cutthroat battle for fleet sales against the ubiquitous Ford Cortina. But by the time the Mk3 was thrust into action, the Cortina had bitten the dust, leaving its replacement, the Ford Sierra, to pick up the baton. And for years, it was these two titans alone vying for the top of the new-car sales charts, leaving realtive minnows, such as the Austin Montego and Nissan Bluebird, picking up the scraps.
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.