Drive time

| August 20, 2013 - 15.11UTC
4X4

Four new cars making a name for themselves in Nairobi…

Range Rover 2013
Engine: 3.0 litre
Fuel: Diesel
Doors: 5
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 8.8 secs
According to the official Range Rover website, the latest fourth-generation market leader offers “the pinnacle of refinement, thanks to its advanced all-aluminium body structure, state-of-the-art driving technologies, the finest craftsmanship, as well as an entirely fresh take on the distinctive Range Rover silhouette, floating roof, clamshell hood and split rear tailgate.”  That’s pretty accurate, too.  The lighter body helps acceleration feel even smoother than before. It’s lower and longer than its predecessors but the distinctive massive grille and signature LED headlights are still there – this is unmistakably a Range Rover. Driving Range Rovers has always been very satisfying, but the 2013 incarnation takes things to a higher level. It’s a high-performer off-road and looks so good it will turn heads around the city.  The interior is more functional than exciting, and there’s less boot space than before. However, the longer wheelbase means there’s plenty of legroom, and the foldaway rear seats are easy to operate. As ever with Range Rover, there is a multitude of tempting further options, colours and interior finishes available.

• They say: Driving the 2013 Range Rover is a pleasure, as it is quiet, smooth and comfortable. (autoblog.com)
• We say: Pricey, but a world-class SUV that’s every bit as good as its reputation.

Land Rover Discovery 4
Engine: 3.0 litre
Fuel: Diesel
Doors: 5
Acceleration: 0-60mph in  7.2 secs
Since making its world debut in 1989 the Discovery has rapidly climbed the ranks to become one of the ‘must-have’ SUVs. Originally a triumph of substance over style, the Discovery series has constantly improved its looks and performance, and the fourth generation is a seriously good car. The Discovery 4 was always designed to handle heavy loads and challenging environments with ease; now it is less ‘boxy’ and more elegant than before. The Discovery 4GS, for instance, has a wealth of fancy options as standard, including split rear tailgate, electric heated and adjustable mirrors and body-coloured front bumper. It feels good and it looks wonderful – this is by far the most attractive Discovery ever produced. Underneath, the impressive 3.0 litre diesel engine can handle anything, but for especially tough terrain it boasts a system boost that enables a greater amount of fuel to be injected for increased power output.  It’s a surprisingly quiet drive, and the high driving position offers some of the best visibility available in the SUV market.

• They say: Fantastic all-rounder that’s big, bold and brilliant to drive on- and off-road. (autoexpress.com)
• We say: Classic and contemporary, but expensive. Balances fun, luxury and safety in equal measure.

Nissan Qashqai
Engine: 1.6/2.0 litre
Fuel: Diesel/Unleaded
Doors: 5
Acceleration: From 0-60mph in 9.8 secs
When it first appeared in 2007 the Qashqai was lauded by many as the first true crossover SUV – tough enough to cope with some seriously rugged driving, while providing a family friendly city-smooth drive. Six years on, not much has changed. Today’s Qashqais come in a dazzling array of specifications, ranging from a 1.6- to 2.0-litre engines, and, in a nod to the environment, an unleaded fuel option. Across the board, the well built cabin, great reliability and competitive price are standard. The Qashqai’s wide shoulders and wheel arch offer good protection and give the car a really lovely flow, while the 17-inch alloy wheels complete the sophisticated look. Inside, the Qashqai’s leather interior feels luxurious. Driver controls are thoughtful, responsive and easy to use. Power steering and front and rear lateral parking radar make city driving a real pleasure. The foldable backseats offer a surprising amount of luggage space, making the Qashqai a real contender as an affordable ‘pack up and go’ adventurer.

• They say: Rock-solid build quality is a given and those engines are strong and reliable. (topgear.com)
• We say: A practical and competitively priced SUV that doesn’t cost the earth and is easy to drive.

Subaru Forester 2013
Engine:  2.0 litre
Fuel: Diesel
Doors: 5
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 10.2 secs
Subaru’s deserved good reputation for quality and performance means it has a very loyal customer base. So it’s no surprise that the new Forester is safe, reliable and hard working.  The Forester has always been a comfortable drive, and Subaru are rightly proud to promote their stylish SUV as the ultimate lifestyle partner. It’s well made – so popular with families looking for extra space, but sporty enough to appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. New for 2013 are some exciting features designed to give the Forester that little bit more of a cutting edge in the competitive SUV market. Revisions have been made to the exterior and interior and the engine range has had a complete overhaul.  Acceleration is good, cornering is very smooth and the Forester feels ‘grippy’ and sticks to the road nicely. The 2.0-litre engine can sometimes feel sluggish when stuck in the really heavy stuff. However, it’s powerful enough to cope with busy urban streets and longer, more demanding drives.

• They say: The Forester’s suspension and body are both stiffer than in the outgoing cars, and this gives surprisingly good body control. (whatcar.com)
• We say: Not the best-looking SUV, but a satisfying driving experience at a competitive price.

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