The week in one story
13 October 2006

As the year draws to a close, it’s the silly season for manufacturers. The big releases were announced at Paris last month, so there’s a bit of a launch hiatus with few major debuts until the next major shows in America later in the year.

This might explain some of the madder news items this week. Volkswagen unveiled the Atacama – a crazy name for a crazy van. Think Tonka toy meets Pimp My Ride, and you’ll get the idea.

Speaking of Tonka toys, GM this week started building the Hummer H3 in South Africa – and it’s coming to the UK in right-hand drive next year. It might be the smallest Hummer yet, but take it from us, it’s pretty darn huge.

Land Rover, meanwhile, released details of a new gadget which stops absent-minded motorists putting petrol in its new V8 diesel Range Rover. The £54k TDV8 has a special nozzle that clamps shut if it detects the wrong pump being used. Should save expensive headaches on the forecourt.

We also discovered the contenders for the European Car of the Year award. Judges, including our very own Steve Cropley, will pick from the following shortlist: Citroen C4 Picasso, Fiat Grande Punto, Ford S-Max, Honda Civic, Peugeot 207, Skoda Roomster, Vauxhall Corsa and Volvo C30. Results will be announced on 13 November.

Red faces over at Audi, whose gargantuan Q7 fared (relatively) badly in the independent Euro NCAP tests. Judges criticised ‘poor welding’ which ruptured the footwell, before giving it a four-star rating. Big isn’t necessarily better in an accident.

Still, big is good when it comes to legroom, as rear-seat passengers of both the new Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB and the Seat Altea XL will appreciate.

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If you missed our video news, don’t forget to watch our first footage of the gorgeous new Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and exclusive film of Vauxhall’s new hot hatch, the Corsa VXR.

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