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‘The noise doesn’t so much raise the hairs on your neck as apply

electrodes directly to your nape and crank up the voltage’

IMAGE

THIS WEEK

Issue 6469 | Volume 309 | No 1

NEWS

Ferrari 296 GTB Artura rival with 819bhp hybrid V6 6 Vauxhall Astra All -new hatch – and we’ve driven i t 10 Honda Civic Details of next-gen version due in 2022 13 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Focused 631bhp f lyer 14 Ford UK’s boss Exclusive interview with i ts new MD 16

TESTED

Toyota Yaris Cross Rugged, high-rise supermini 20 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate Rated on UK roads 23 Revology Mustang GT Looks 1968, drives l ike 2021 24 VW Golf GTI Clubsport 45 Is this special special? 25 Audi Q4 E-tron Sportback 50 Two motors, 294bhp 25 Jeep Renegade 4xe Trailhawk ROAD TEST 26

FEATURES Lone ranger Niels van Roij, designer of bespoke cars 34 Thierry Bolloré JLR chief on his Jaguar rescue plan 38 V for victory Skoda vRS drive fest to mark its 20th 44 Pre-emptive strike A safer way to run an old Ferrari 50 Part work UK f i rm that makes parts for f ive F 1 teams 57

OUR CARS BMW 4 Series Coupé Last word on M440i and 420d 62 Skoda Octavia vRS Estate No room lef t in the boot 64 Volvo XC60 Added safety tech on subscription deal 65 Mazda MX-30 Don’t you dare touch that button! 65

EVERY WEEK Jesse Crosse Using hydrogen in combustion engines 15 Jim Holder The inexorable progress of Hyundai-Kia 17 Steve Cropley Ariel, flat-twin BMW, square wheels 19 Subscribe Save money and get exclusive benefits 43 Damien Smith Gravett name on cusp of BTCC return 52 Motorsport round-up F1, Indycar, Formula E, WRC 53 Your Views Ferrari F 1 f lat 12 , Tesla, Aston, Kubica 60 Matt Prior Sounding off about shrinking luxury cars 82

DEALS

James Ruppert Tempted by 1 Series, 3008, Astra 66 As good as new How to f ind a cheaper Tesla Model X 69 Spied in the classifieds Five very different cabrios 70 Used buying guide Ford Probe: 1990s chic for £2k 72 New cars A-Z Key car stats , from Abarth to Zenos 74 Road test index Track down that road test here 81

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DETAILS OF THE ALL NEW VAUXHALL ASTRA 10

THE MAN WITH THE PLAN TO SAVE JAGUAR 38

FIRST, LATEST AND STRANGEST vRS SKODAS 44

COVER STORY

❝THE VW ID 3 IS VERY UNPLEASANT IN ITS PROPORTIONS. IT DOESN’T LOOK SUBSTANTIAL❞

COACHBUILDER NIELS VAN ROIJ IS FAR FROM IMPRESSED BY TODAY’S DESIGN TRENDS 34

WHY FERRARI’S 296 GTB IS A GAME CHANGER 6

COMMENT

TOUGH AT THE TOP BUT TOUGHER IN THE MIDDLE

A DECADE AGO, it was predicted that the growth of premium brands at one end of the market and budget brands at the other would leave the mid-market brands, such as Ford, Vauxhall and Renault, gasping for air. Cast your eye over the UK’s sales chart for May and that day seems to have arrived. Audi outsold Ford, BMW outsold Vauxhall and Land Rover outsold Nissan. Hyundai-Kia outsold the combined efforts of Fiat, Citroën, Honda, Mazda and Renault.

Premium brands have branched into more and more segments – and they’ve done so with rock-solid residual values that allow monthly finance payments to be kept within reach of those ‘stepping up’ from brands below. On top of all that, we Brits have become as brand-conscious and arguably as materialistic as they come. That squeeze on the middle market has culminated right at the cusp of the mass roll-out of electrification, which not only allows for a reinvention of ‘mainstream’ cars but also a reset, repackaging or even a spinning off of the traditional brands that make them.

It’s a challenge for marketing teams as much as designers and engineers, one that pits them against premium rivals that are bigger and wealthier than ever. More desirable and innovative cars will emerge – just perhaps not all of the brands as we know them today.

Mark Tisshaw Editor mark.tisshaw@haymarket.com

@mtisshaw

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30 JUNE 2021 AUTOCAR.CO.UK 5