Our top ten UAE test drives of 2019
We had the pleasure of reviewing some fine vehicles this year!
WHILE 2020 MAY prove to be a record-breaking year for new releases, 2019 gave us a few good drives to remember. Here we look back at some of the most memorable vehicles we had the pleasure of taking for a spin around the UAE over the past 12 months. Is your favourite on the list?
One of our greatest drives this year was a relatively recent sojourn in the California's replacement, the Ferrari Portofino. We're such fans of the brand, we could never truly be disappointed in any of their output, but we had no idea what to expect from a newcomer in the segment traditionally most difficult to crack. Thankfully, the Portofino is a step up. It's superb. This ultimate grand tourer produces 600hp and can go 0-100km/h in 3.5secs. With a top speed of 320km/h it ticked all our boxes.
Lamborghini Huracan EVO
This car is mad and that's just what we require from our Lamborghinis. Bonkers and beautiful to look at, an engine sound that can melt the coldest of hearts and an interior so razor sharp it could double as a Swedish architect's office; our time with the Huracan EVO was far too brief. Complete with its 640hp V10 motor, the supercar can do 0-100km/h in 2.9secs and a top speed of 325km/h. And it wants to! At low speeds you can almost feel the vehicle's temper beginning to fray, willing you to put your foot down.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifolglio
Taking the title for the most surprisingly fun ride of the year, this sprightly supped-up Giulia exudes everything an Alfa should. Compact without being small, gorgeous, and putting a smile on your face every time you get behind the wheel - the Quadrifoglio upgrades elevate this saloon from great to astounding. A 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo engine creates a whopping 505hp, a 0-100km/h time of just under four seconds and a top speed of a smidge over 300km/h.
Never does a car create such mass discussion around the UAE than when a new Patrol is released, not to mention (in this year's case) queues at the dealerships. In what can only be described as a resounding triumph, the latest Nissan Patrol has achieved high ratings across the board and it's clear to see why. The Patrol retains its adventure machine status while catering to a segment of car buyers increasingly demanding luxury interiors and all the mod cons when out dune bashing. Off-road compatibilities are second to none, inside it is bigger and more comfortable than your house and the base four-litre V6 produces 275hp and 394Nm of torque. In its class: brilliant.
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
It was a toss-up between this and the Giulia Quadrifoglio given they scratch much the same itch, but in the end both were simply too good to ignore. The Challenger Hellcat has to make the list based on its numbers alone. A 6.2-litre V8 engine with a 2.7-litre supercharger creates an insane 797hp and a 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds. It gurgles, it roars, it looks beefy - it fulfills all your muscle car dreams and more.
Ducati Panigale V4 R
Regular readers will attest, there's only one brand of motorbike which can tempt us out on the road during the summer. This June we braved the almost 50 degree heat because passing up the opportunity to test a Ducati Panigale V4 R was non-negotiable. Essentially it's a road-legal track bike and no amount of UV rays were going to dissuade us from having a go. We'll just leave you with the stats and you can make up your own mind whether we had a good time or not: a short-stroke 998cc engine, 221hp at 15,250rpm combined with 112Nm of torque and a dry weight of only 172kg. Phew.
Porsche Cayenne Coupe
The only mid-size SUV on this list must make the Porsche Cayenne Coupe special given we've never been huge champions of the segment and, considering their popularity, we had an enormous number from which to choose. Above all, we just love the way this Cayenne looks. And the best part is the design doesn't change across the tiers, meaning you can go for the base model and still drive away with an excellent vehicle. The base Coupe has a six-cylinder turbo-charged engine providing 340hp and will do 0-100km/h in six seconds flat with a top speed of 243km/h.
Mazda 3 (hatchback)
There aren't enough hatchbacks on the UAE's roads. There we said it. This European staple is the backbone of many a motoring society and we want more over here. This is why the Mazda 3 is absolutely delightful. Look at it. It's one of the most attractive hatchbacks we've seen for ages. A two-litre, four cylinder SkyActiv engine creates 153hp, which means it also has that hatchback essential ingredient: nippiness.
Indian FTR 1200
We already had the Indian FTR 1200 earmarked for its easy cornering, stability at low speeds and style, which make it a wonderful everyday bike. Then the clouds burst in November and Dubai's back roads more resembled Olympic pools than ribbons of tarmac. Did this trooper falter? Not for one second. It ploughed through water, kept its course on greasy roads and got us home safe and sound. The reassuring 120hp created by the 1200cc engine is all you will ever need on days like that and provide enjoyable motoring for the rest of the year.
When you're asked to try a vehicle making a comeback, expectations are always high. Especially when it's a sports car surround by drifting/ racing mythology like the Toyota Supra. The new Toyota GR Supra was released with much fanfare at a Yas Marina Circuit track day in the autumn looking to pick up where it left off when the model ceased to be 17 years ago. In that respect it has delivered. The two-seater every-person sportster has a turbocharged three-litre six-cylinder front-end engine creating 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h, not to mention 335hp. Since its market entry much has been made of the Supra's BMW Z4 spliced DNA like that's somehow a negative! We could only find positives.