I’ve wanted to buy an S197 Ford Mustang for the longest time, particularly the 2005 to 2009 version. I always thought that the S197 Mustang looked good, but it wasn’t until the release of the 2008 Shelby GT500 KR that I decided I’d have to buy one. The problem with the KR is that it was – and still is – a bit pricey for me. But the great thing about Mustangs is that you can get a regular GT and pretty much turn it into the car you want it to be, thanks to an endless supply of affordable aftermarket parts that you can add over the course of time. Basically the Mustang GT’s potential for customization is one of the reasons I decided to buy one. I also got one because Mustangs have always been special cars (safe maybe for the second generation one), being truly desirable yet attainable by the masses. It has been eight months since I bought this 2005 Mustang GT but it still remains unmodified, which means it’s the perfect candidate for a review of a used stock 2005 Mustang GT.
I find myself yet again in Toronto, and this time I’ve decided not to get anything fancy and just get a cheap rental for the week. I ended up getting a 2016 Hyundai Elantra, and if there’s a list of top inconspicuous cars, the Hyundai Elantra would probably be right up there with other cheap compact sedans and hatchbacks. So why did I even bother to include it on a website called Standout Cars? Well, the truth is the Hyundai Elantra isn’t a standout car in the attention-grabbing sense. But as far as buying a cheap, value for money type of car that promises decent fuel economy, low maintenance cost, and reasonable levels of equipment, the Elantra is a strong contender.
Something became immediately apparent when I recently took a look at Lexus’s current model line-up, and that is they’re trying very hard to add some excitement to their brand. After Lexus released the fantastic LF-A supercar its image changed forever, the only problem is that the LF-A was made in limited numbers and was very expensive. But armed with a new design language and some newfound mojo, Lexus have tried to include some of that magic to some of their more affordable models, and one of them happens to include this new IS 200t Sport.
1. BMW M2
Even though it’s set to be the cheapest M car in the BMW range, it wont come as any surprise if it ends up being the most popular. Continuing where the brilliant 1-Series M Coupe left off, it too comes with a turbocharged straight-six engine, although with a single twin-scroll turbocharger rather than a twin-turbo setup. It has 370hp (30hp more than the 1M), and a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox is now optional. Examples of starting prices for the M2 are CHF 69,900 in Switzerland, £44,070 in the UK, or €56,700 in Germany.
It’s hard to believe that it has already been two years since I reviewed the last Kia Sorento, but the new one is here now and is promising to be better than the car it replaces. It looks like it’s off to a good start – it definitely looks good from the front, and its new grille is aggressive-yet-subtle, something even premium-brand SUVs have a hard time pulling off. Its side profile is not bad either, with the roof sloping downwards at the rear to give a sportier look. The rear lights did leave me scratching my head though, to my eyes they strongly resemble those of the 2011-2013 Dodge Durango. It’s got less of a butch look than the previous Sorento but it’s still a well-executed design.
There was a time in Europe when sedans used to be the default choice when it came to choosing an everyday car. But with crossover SUVs and hatchbacks being as popular as they are today, affordable-brand sedans are often overlooked. But that hasn’t stopped Kia from putting the Optima on sale, giving a much-needed extra choice to the segment. But while having an extra choice is a good thing, the question is whether the Optima has what it takes to sway buyers away from the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508, Toyota Avensis or Mazda 6.
The new Transit Courier is not so much a van, but a small two-seat vehicle that has a very big boot in the back. When I say this, I mean it with the highest regards possible, as it feels nothing like a commercial vehicle when you’re on the road. In fact, in terms of the driving experience, it’s not much different to a standard Fiesta, which shouldn’t be a surprise really because they share the same platform. But apart from being car-like, does the new Transit Courier have anything else to offer that would make it a standout car? I had two weeks to find out.
The Ford Transit is one of those vehicles that sell in huge numbers, but they never really catch your attention when you’re going about your day. Until, that is, you have one within an inch of your rear bumper on the highway. Apart from its ability to draft on other cars like a NASCAR racer, its versatility is what has made the Transit one of the most popular commercial vehicles in Europe for nearly 50 years, and having spent two weeks with the new one, it looks set to continue being just that.
I was never planning on writing anything about this rental car, and as such I didn’t pack my SLR camera as I left for vacation to North America. But such was the driving experience that I had to make do with my smartphone, and at least write a little something. Also, the fifth-generation Mustang recently went out of production after nearly ten years of service. So in short, this is my goodbye to the best generation of Mustangs yet.
The Kia Soul never struck me as a standout car when it came out in 2008, and after six years of being in the market it has received a facelift. On first impressions, the Kia Soul is meant to be a stylish alternative to a hatchback or small MPV, but to be honest I never was smitten by the looks of the previous Soul. The interior wasn’t that nice either, what with low-rent materials scattered throughout. However, going with Kia’s new-found mojo of designing good-looking cars, things look a lot better for the new Soul, which might just make my job of convincing you that it’s a good car that bit easier.