Life and Style Toyota Verso Excel

'The ideal family car if you want peace and quiet'

Coming soon to a forecourt near you

Gavin Green on the new models for the new year

Volkswagen Sharan 2.0GL

road test

Six of the best family resorts

There's no such thing as a good resort for families - or a bad one, for that matter. Any resort is worth considering. How old are the kids? Do you or do you not plan to use the resort's childcare facilities? Which tour operators go there? Do you or do you not want the the children to be able to venture out into the village on their own? How good are they at skiing? How happy to go into ski school? What are they likely to want to do when they're not skiing?

Launch costs hurt Chrysler

RUSSELL HOTTEN

Road test / PEUGEOT 806

Call it what you will - MPV, people carrier, monocab or glazed van - the new Peugeot 806 is a clever vehicle. It has sliding rear doors, bags of room, opulent furnishings and up to eight seats that can be twisted round, folded up, or simply removed. All this with car-like dynamics and a road "footprint" no bigger than an ordinary saloon's. Given such versatility, why is Peugeot forecasting modest first-year sales? Because the square- backed, bluff-fronted 806 has an image problem that only time and familiarity will overcome.

road test Toyota RAV4

Rather than concede defeat in the burgeoning market for MPVs (multi- purpose vehicles), Honda has distanced its new Shuttle from the mainstream opposition. With its pounds 23,000 price tag and take-it-or-leave-it specification, it sits at the top end of the market where sales are low and profit margins high.

road test: Ford Galaxy

Between them, Ford's Galaxy and Volkswagen's Sharan represent the latest interpretation of the MPV, or multi-purpose vehicle. They are built in Portugal at a factory jointly owned by the two companies, and each one manages to look convincingly Ford-like or VW-like thanks to clever use of company-specific embellishment.

It's the same difference

When is a Ford not a Ford? Answer: when it's a Probe or a Maverick. Despite the blue oval badges on the cars and on the dealers selling them, and despite what the ads imply and the image conveys (Ford: sensible, reliable and ritzy in an Essex sort of way), this coup and offroader are not really Fords at all. They are Mazdas and Nissans respectively - Japanese cars rebadged by Britain's most successful car maker to cash in on its brand name.

Diversion stuns Chrysler

The $22bn bid for the car-maker may prove hard to finance and be badly timed. William Kay in London and David Usborne in New York explain why

Auto Biography: The Toyota Previa in 0-60 seconds

WHEN students enter competitions to design 'Cars of The Future', they often make them look like the Toyota Previa. It's a concept that brilliantly marries two contradictory notions: a) a very large box you can stuff a lot of things into, and b) a winged chariot that, Hermes-like, looks as if it's making short work of a stiff headwind.

Snooze cruiser

Land Rover is planning to launch a new 5-door 4x4 in 1997. Smaller than a Discovery, it will be a cross between a sports utility and a minivan, and will include a seating arrangement

Four-wheels on thin ice: Competition and the cost of fuel could put a brake on sales boom

LAND ROVER announced last week it was spending pounds 68m expanding production of its Discovery offroader. This is the ninth production increase since it was launched in 1989, making Discovery the most successful British vehicle for many years.

Neon right

American car maker Chrysler has confirmed that its Escort-sized Neon saloon will be offered in the UK in right-hand drive. It will go on sale in spring 1996 and be followed a year later by the Voyager, a seven-seat people carrier.

MOTORING / Auto Biography: The Renault Espace V6 in 0-60 seconds

ASK the seven passengers accommodated in a Renault Espace what they think of it, and six will say more or less the same thing. First they'll comment that you need an HGV licence to drive it, then they'll mention the flat surface the size of Salisbury Plain between the dashboard and the windscreen. When your rearmost passenger seems so far away as to be invisible and inaudible, it's true that the Espace feels like a bus to drive. But, in the end, a car is still all it is. The rectangle it occupies on the road is the same size as any family saloon, and once you have shaken off the illusion that you're handling something unwieldy, its high driving position is very reassuring.

Jessica leaves to start life with parents: Trauma as childless couple fight to last minute to keep the toddler they have raised from birth

JESSICA, the two and a half-year-old toddler at the centre of an adoption wrangle that has anguished the United States, has left home. Under orders of the courts, the couple who have raised her almost since birth tearfully bade her farewell and surrendered her to a couple she barely knows but who conceived her.
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