“I am green” Ford famously said at the time, “and searching for answers.”
And it wasn’t just externally where things had changed. Sure, underneath was basically the same front-wheel-drive chassis as the Mk2, but the heavily revised suspension, we quipped, gave it "a far more compliant and comfortable ride at speed". What's more, "the Cavalier is a car you know is going to be a joy to drive almost as soon as the wheels start to turn", due to its "stability" and "crisp" turn-in.
It’s easier to drive with your thumbs tucked in, but you will have to use the handbrake, which is a stretch when also navigating the regular brakes, gas and turning inputs. I don’t know if there’s a better way, except maybe a Ken Block-style stick jutting off the side of the pedals. At any rate, the Thrustmaster Sparco P310 is by far the best -- and most expensive (checking in at 700 smackers) -- wheel we’ve ever tested.
To differentiate the 575 (575 denoting the car’s power output in PS) from other XJs, the design team has incorporated a number of tailor-made design details for this low-production model. These include a more aggressive front bumper, curvaceous side sills and a subtle rear spoiler. Twin bonnet louvres and 20in gloss black alloy wheels complete the understated yet menacing look.
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.
Even despite our gearbox woes, which saw the Micra refuse to select or release third gear. There is little to find fault with here either, with the action is both smooth and positive allowing you to change quickly and make the most of the narrow power band. And while most rivals offer more boot space and better legroom for rear passengers, we found the Micra ideal for carrying four adults over short distances.
Elon Musk promised the upgrade back in August, after responding to a driver’s tweet requesting easier entry and exit in and out of his Tesla.
Step inside, press the bright red starter button and the supercharged V8 bursts into life with an intensity that is often missing from modern-day turbocharged engines. It’s a real brute of an engine that is absolutely brimming with character; at low speeds, you’re treated to a lovely V8 warble that's soon joined by a delicious, high-pitched wail from the supercharger as the revs climb. It’s an intoxicating soundtrack that is backed up by prodigious levels of performance.
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.