Engineering, value and practicality: those are the qualities Skoda believes to be behind its success. Successful it is too, with recent record sales driven by the launch of its pair of SUVs, the Kodiaq and smaller Karoq. A full electrification strategy is around the corner too, with four plug-in hybrid and six fully electric cars due to join the range between 2020 and 2025. However, none of that is to say Skoda has forgotten the role that’s to be played by its smaller, more conventional cars – which is precisely how we find ourselves behind the wheel of the freshly revised Fabia.
You could say the 2018 Paris Motor Show is as notable for what isn’t there as what is there. Absentees include Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Ford, McLaren, Rolls-Royce, Volkswagen and Volvo, among others.
Few cars strike the balance between aspiration and accessibility as expertly as the BMW 3 Series. Since the original appeared in 1975 the 3 Series has been the car of choice for those who want an upmarket image, superb build quality and sublime handling. In total more than 15 million have been sold – which makes the arrival of an all-new version somewhat important.
With its 30th anniversary looming, the Mazda MX-5 has never looked more appealing. Early models can be picked up for less than £1,000, and from here on there really is an MX-5 for every budget. For now, the options top out with the car tested here, the 2019 MX-5 complete with a revised engine for an even more exciting driving experience.
Initially it was as much Hyundai’s well-publicised five-year warranty and an aggressive scrappage scheme campaign in 2009 that helped it to gain market penetration and consumer respect. However, the way the Korean firm’s products have continued to improve since demonstrates that as far as ambition and execution go, it is among the best in the business. Where the Hyundai i30 N fits into that is what we are about to find out.
Just when you thought Lego couldn’t get any cooler, it goes and builds a life-size, fully working Bugatti Chiron. Consisting of more than 1 million Lego Technic pieces, the 1:1-scale Chiron has been completely assembled by hand, a process which took more than 13,000 hours.
Since becoming part of the VW Group empire in 1991, Skoda has been given enough leeway to forge its own path. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the Yeti, a car for which you’ll find no equivalent from Volkswagen, Seat, Audi et al.
If you were to draw up a list of the world’s most famous cars, it would almost certainly feature James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. First introduced in Goldfinger (1964) and later reappearing in other Bond films including GoldenEye (1995), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), the gadget-laden DB5 is synonymous with 007, as well as being the basis for one of the world’s coolest toys in the shape of Corgi’s 1:46-scale replica.