It’s widely recognised that new car sales have slumped over the past year, the reasons attributed to the economy, Brexit uncertainty and, not surprisingly, concerns over ditching petrol and diesel cars for fully electric vehicles. The changeover to electric power isn’t coming overnight: there’s much to be achieved in way of building the infrastructure for such cars, and in the meantime we’ll continue to buy hybrid and conventional motors, two of the latest models I’ve recently evaluated.

There’s no sign of a diminishing demand for small or modest size SUVs, and certainly the most agile with almost unlimited grip is Suzuki’s Jimny (main picture). This diminutive four-by-four has amassed for itself a huge reputation since being introduced in Japan in 1970, there having been some 2.8 million produced over the intervening decades. The latest Jimny has up-to-date technology and has been given a substantial styling makeover without, happily, camouflaging either the identity of the car or its go-anywhere capability. Whereas the previous Jimny was upright with some curves in the right places, the new model is decidedly chunky looking and thus enhances its personality in respect of conquering mud, water, snow, sand and rocks - indeed every type of surface it’s ever likely to encounter.

The new edition Jimny is comfortable and WWW.COCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK

has a much improved ride quality than before, but it still demonstrates that ruggedness its devotees require. When behind the wheel, this petite all-terrain vehicles oozes confidence, and going off-road merely instils a sense of adventure that one gets when driving something like a Jeep Wrangler, an original Land Rover or its Defender successor. A criticism often aimed at the Jimny is that while there’s little to rival it over rough surfaces, it’s not the best when travelling along A roads. With its update, the car makes for a much improved ride quality over main roads and motorways without losing anything in way of

off-road tenacity and practicality. It is priced from £14,960.

A real and pleasant surprise is the new Alfa Romeo in the shape of the Giulia saloon (below centre) which rivals BMW’s 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Not only does it rekindle a famous name, it goes back to its roots as a true piece of Italian motoring legend in way of performance. The first thing you discover is a near perfect driving position, truly comfortable and supportive seats and a remarkably compliant ride. This is the car that makes you feel you could drive all day without tiring.

The Giulia’s handling is precise along with excellent roadholding and balance. The test car’s 2.0 litre petrol engine gives as much performance as will ever be needed, although for those wanting total power there’s a Ferrari-derived 2.0 litre V6. Combine the 2.0 litre power unit with 16- inch wheels for the most relaxed ride, but for more spirited driving an output uprated from 197bhp to 277bhp, plus 17 or 18inch wheels, adds to the fun but compromises the ride with much firmer suspension. Prices start at £38, 649 rising to £80,000.

Malcolm Bobbitt Photographs by MB and Alfa Romeo Press

ISSUE 437 | 21 NOVEMBER 2019 | 35

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48