SUV, News, Hatchback

Renault Clio and Captur upgraded

Renault has revealed free upgrades for its Clio and Captur models.

DAB radio is now standard equipment on both, fitted with either the MediaNav or R-Link infotainment systems meaning that all, apart from entry level versions, now come with DAB as standard. The newly-redesigned MediaNav gains Bluetooth streaming, TMC traffic information and SIRI "Eyes-Free" for compatible iPhones. The updated R-Link system now has a new, clearer and more sensitive screen, allowing multi-touch gestures such as 'pinch to zoom'.

The Clio Expression+ trim level has been renamed as Clio 'Play' to bring the B-segment supermini into line with its smaller city car sibling, Twingo. Meanwhile, the Dynamique S Nav model gets a new-look leather steering wheel and grey upholstery.

The Clio is available in five trim levels and with a range of two petrol and one diesel efficient engines and is priced from £11,145. The Clio is still available with personalisation options such as the GT Line look pack, coloured 16" and 17" alloy wheels, exterior and interior coloured touch packs. Accessory packs such as the carbon-look Styling Pack, a sporty Spoiler Pack, a Protection Pack to include parking sensors and a Touring Pack with quick-release tow bar are all also still available.

The Captur is available in four trim levels and with a range of two petrol and two diesel engines and is priced from £14,295.

Crossover, SUV, News

Volvo adds XC90 performance upgrades

Volvo is enhancing the performance of the XC90 with a series of Polestar-developed upgrades.

This is the first time that Polestar, Volvo's performance brand, has focused its attention on the new seven-seat SUV. Known as ''Polestar Performance Optimisation', the upgrades improve the power and torque figures of both the D5 diesel and T6 petrol Drive-E engines, particularly at medium revs where it's most effective.

They also make the accelerator responses even quicker, according to Volvo, and alter the settings of the automatic gearbox to provide faster gear changes and prevent gearshifts during rapid cornering, which could unsettle the car. These quicker and more precise responses to driver commands not only make the driving experience more dynamic, they ensure the car responds predictably during high-speed driving.

The maximum output of the D5 Drive-E engine is increased to 233 hp and 500 Nm of torque (up from 225 hp and 470 Nm), while the T6 Drive-E is boosted to 334 hp and 440 Nm (from 320 hp and 400 Nm).

With the Polestar Performance Optimisation, the D4 Drive-E offers 200 hp and 440 Nm (up from 190 hp and 400 Nm), while the output of the T5 Drive-E is raised to 253 hp and 400 Nm (from 245 hp and 350 Nm).

The D4 Drive-E upgrades are available in the S60, V40, V40 Cross Country, V60 and XC60, and the T5 Drive-E enhancements are offered in the V40 and V40 Cross Country.

The price of the D4, D5 (release timing and availability may vary), T5 and T6 Polestar upgrades is £835, including VAT and fitting. The work can be carried out now at any authorised Volvo dealer, and should take about 30 minutes to complete.

Nick Connor, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK, said: "These new Polestar Performance Optimisations make our cars and Drive-E engines even more dynamic and desirable. The combination of increased power and torque - especially at medium revs - and the changes to make the entire drivetrain more responsive ensure that owners will really feel the difference these optimisations make."

Finally, until the end of December 2015, all model-year 2005 to model-year 2015 all-wheel-drive Volvos can be upgraded with the Polestar Performance Optimisation at the discounted price of £620, saving £215.

The Polestar upgrades do not affect the certified emissions and fuel consumption figures, service intervals or Volvo warranty cover.

News, SUV

Mercedes unveils new GLS SUV

Mercedes has revealed its revised GL-Class - with the newly named GLS.

Described as 'the only full-fledged seven-seater' in the European premium SUV segment, the new model features 'ample spaciousness and combines luxury with impressive levels of comfort, agile dynamics and also best-in-class safety'.

Mercedes says the facelift focused on redesigning the front end, while the rear has also been modernised primarily in the area of the bumper and tail lights. Chrome-look details such as the roof rails, underguard, shoulderline trim strips, luggage compartment handle and side skirt trim are joined by front and rear aprons and side running boards on the AMG model.

Highlights on the inside includes the newly designed instrument panel with semi-integrated Media Display, a new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel, a modified centre console with touchpad and also the new appointment colours and trim elements.

Compared with its predecessor, the new generation features improved efficiency, extended DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes, the air suspension system AIRMATIC with enhanced damping system ADS, 'state-of-the-art' assistance systems as well as internet access.

All of the engines provide better performance, says Mercedes with reduced consumption values in some cases. The GLS 500 4MATIC with V8 biturbo engine featuring direct injection now generates 455 hp - 20 hp more than the preceding model, and at a maximum torque of 700 Nm combines 'outstanding performance with the high level of motoring comfort of these engines'. The V6 biturbo engine, also featuring direct injection, is used in the GLS 400 4MATIC, producing an output of 333 hp and 480 Nm of torque from 1600 rpm.

The top-of-the-range Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC now has over 28 hp more output, at 585 hp, than its predecessor. The peak torque of 760 Nm is now available from 1750 rpm. Despite a 'significant increase' in performance, the consumption remains unchanged.

Alongside the petrol engines, in the GLS 350 d 4MATIC there is the choice of the V6 diesel engine while, from launch, all versions will feature the nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission as standard (except the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63), optionally in combination with low-range gearbox and centre differential lock.

More power, more dynamism and more equipment are also offered by the new Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC. With a peak output of 585 hp, independent suspension and the revised AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC transmission, it also includes the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes, which provide optimum flexibility, and the rear-biased AMG Performance all-wheel drive. The GLS 63 4MATIC has an updated design, featuring the AMG brand look and a high-quality interior, and runs on 21-inch AMG light-alloy wheels.

The GLS will be available to order in Europe from November 2015 with deliveries starting from March 2016. UK pricing has yet to be confirmed.