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Consumer Car Reviews

We just bought the Volvo V60 CC B5 after reviewing and test driving some of the German alternatives - BMW (X3), Audi (A4 Avant and Q5), Volkswagen (Tiguan) and Skoda (Kodiaq, Superb). Volvo's B5 engine is succeeding the T5 model, a 48 Volt mild hybrid has been added. In Europe we drive a BMW X-drive Touring (that's BMW's station wagon model), likewise equipped with a 48 Volt mild hybrid. We love the BMW for its quality perfection, driving pleasure, design, and versatility. Unfortunately, Singapore doesn't import the "Touring", neither 3 nor 5 series and the X3 is still the old model (no longer sold in Europe). Volkswagen stopped selling the Passat Variant here and the Tiguan feels outdated (no mild hybrid, even the top R-model has no ACC and lacks other safety features). While wagons are popular in Europe, they don't seem the preferred choice of Singaporeans. So, we had to find an alternative here. While SUVs also offer large boot space, they fall short in driving dynamics (due to higher centre of gravity, weight, and shorter wheelbase). SUVs also consume considerably more fuel. The Volvo CC sits "In between" A wagon and SUV by adding SUV features, such as a rugged off-road appearance, lifted by 2.5 inch (hence higher ground clearance and seating position), 4x4 AWD to a normal V60 model. We also find it more stylish than a SUV, we like the sleek look. What also makes this car stand out to its rivals is its modern drive train, a mild hybrid (48Volt electric motor supporting the petrol engine). While this is meanwhile standard for most cars of this class, we noticed that the German brands are still selling the outdated models in Singapore without MH. We just tested the car for a few days. I will add some more thoughts at a later stage but for now, this is our assessment:

The A3 is an attainable entrance to the lifestyle of Conti cars for most people, you even see older A3s available from car-sharing services as well as Private-Hire cars. While it might sound rather undesirable to purchase something that is positioned almost at the bottom of the category of car, the A3 actually provides rather good value. Starting with the looks, the A3 sure looks sharp and handsome, with a hint of sportiness. Audi has also lengthened the A3, so to be honest, there's enough space in this to fit most adults comfortably at the rear. While the interior, being an Audi, and an entry level one, sure isn't particularly fancy or luxurious, it is well built and practical. Driving impressions are decent as well, the 1.5-litre mild hybrid engine should be similar to the one in some of the recent Skodas, over here in the A3, it is sufficiently powerful, resulting in a zippy and swift drive.

When it comes to Korean family sedans of this price point, most will think of the Avante. But I'm one of those that really can't stand the design on those, especially that needless, angular crease on the door that looks like the car was involved in an accident... Okay, enough about the Avante, it's the Cerato's review. The Cerato's design isn't anything extremely polarising, it's deisgn isn't unnecessarily complicated just to make it stand out from the others. Instead, you get a simple and apt design for a value-for-money, economical family sedan. Sweet and unpretentious. The Cerato is also packed with all sorts of features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision avoidance and most importantly - ventilated seats! (YES! Avante isn't the only family sedan that has these lifesavers!) Now, with the same engine as before, the Cerato sure isn't particularly fast, but I don;T really see why you would need much more power from such a car. It does it's job just fine without massive power.
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October 2021

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