The 9-3 is old. It has a nasty engine. And, while I acknowledge the standard fitment of both an adjustable heater and a clock, it is also quite expensive. But it does have one feature that sets it aside from almost every other car on the market. It’s comfortable.. However, because there is so much claptrap floating about in the ether, a company such as Land Rover must feel like it’s under siege. And that’s before we get to the rather more important question of fuel consumption. I had a supercharged Range Rover on loan recently and in one week of normal motoring it gulped down ?250 worth of fuel. That is catastrophic.. Then there’s the wind noise. The fact is that, back in the Seventies, cars had rain gutters and ‘that’ll do’ was the guiding principle of all West Midlands panel beaters. So at 70 mph on the motorway, even in the new car, it sounds like you’re wing-walking.. I must be similarly kind about the quality. The interior does appear to be well screwed together, but then the Jetta is made in Mexico – and Mexico, as I have recently learnt, is a byword for industrious attention to detail. On a personal note, I’d far rather have a VW built by Pablo in Central America than a VW built by some sloppy German who just wants to spend the day sleeping and being kidnapped.. I say, chaps, who needs a fourth wheel?. Every year, the European Union erects a set of ecological fuel-saving goalposts through which it demands car makers must pass if they want to continue doing business. And every year the motor manufacturers squeal and whimper and claim it can’t be done. Then they do it. And then the EU responds by moving the goalposts further away.. Nine years ago, when the Phantom first slithered out of the factory in Goodwood, West Sussex, Rolls-Royce was at great pains to point out that, although the company was owned by BMW, the car shared only 15 per cent of its components with a 7-series. Never mind that one of the components was‘the engine’; the manufacturer made a good point: the Phantom didn’t feel, look or drive anything like a Beemer.. It’s simply a good-looking collection of what’s been learnt over the past 110 or so years. It’s plain. If it were a loaf of bread, it would not be sliced. It would not be covered in bits. There’d be no ears of corn in every mouthful. And there’s nothing wrong with that.. Apparently, the best drivers in Europe are the Finns. How can we be sure? I’m the only person I’ve ever met who’s been to Finland. The Brits come eighth, and there can be only one reason for such a poor showing: the sheer number of Audis you see whizzing about these days.. Then there was the problem of its tailgate. In a proper Range Rover it splits, and you can use the bottom half as a seat when you are at a point-to-point. The Sport didn’t have this feature. It just had a normal hatchback, like a Volkswagen Golf.. All of this brings me on to the Cayman, which, in essence, is a Boxster coup?. The first effort looked, as you may have guessed, like a Boxster with a roof. It looked as though I’d designed it. And anyone who bought it was saying one thing very clearly, ‘Hey. I can’t afford a 911.’. No car in the world has better steering. It’s very light, which suggests there’s no feel. But in fact there is so much that when you run over a wasp, you can tell whether it was a male or a female. This means you can feel the precise moment when grip is about to be lost. Which means you always feel completely in control.. Which brings me on to the new Mercedes S-class. Over the years this flagship has been the pad from which most of the important motoring innovations have been launched. Crumple zones. Collapsible steering columns. Airbags. That sort of stuff. If it matters, we saw it first on an S-class.. Today, though, things are very different. The Kia Sportage SUV is charismatic. The latest Kia Cee’d is verging on excellent, as is the coup? version, the Pro_Cee’d, and then there’s the hot version of that. A hot Kia. A vehicle to rival the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Ford Focus ST. Who’d have thought it?. Aston Martin Vanquish Volante.