The week in one story
1 December 2006

Everyone's been looking to the future this week, but they seem to have been looking in different places.

First Jaguar announced that it will call the radical replacement for the S-type the XF, then upstart electric-car firm Tesla revealed that it's planning an 'electric 5-series' by 2010. So far, so good.

Then we headed across the Pond to the Los Angeles motor show. It was a reassuringly celebratory show, but there was no denying that everyone was thinking about the environment.

Volkswagen and Mercedes announced their collaboration on the new cleaner Bluetec diesels – the new VW Tiguan 4x4 concept using just such a device. Ford showed its green credentials with the hybrid Escape SUV, while GM launched a barrage of hybrids, the technology from which will be coming over to Europe.

Mazda wanted to show us a whole new direction with its Nagare concept car, but our eyes were also diverted by Hyundai's slightly mad Hellion concept and the curvy Honda Remix. It could be the new CR-X.

Back in Europe, John McIlroy was driving the storming new Renault Megane 230 R26. It's much more than just a Megane 225 with a limited-slip diff, reckoned John, as he called it "An awesome B-road weapon that sets new standards for grip and tenacity."

Steve Cropley was similarly impressed by the much more mundane, though perhaps more significant Kia Cee'd. "Oddball name apart, the Cee’d is the first Kia completely to eliminate the peculiarities of styling and specification that have previously put Korean cars beyond the pale for many buyers," said Steve. And he reckoned it was pretty fine to drive, too.

It was a pretty good week, then, until on Friday a Government-commissioned report into transport made it pretty clear that we'll be paying to drive by the mile in the future. And until we start paying, there won’t be a viable alternative.

Let's hope that some of the thinking behind cars like the Tesla makes its way into the corridors of Whitehall. In the meantime, we suggest that this weekend you get up early, fire up your car and head for your favourite road. That's what we'll be doing.

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