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Booking.com stopped work in the Crimea

Booking.com stopped work in the Crimea

Booking.com stopped work in the Crimea

The management of the website Booking.com turned off the Crimean Peninsula from the reservation system of hotels because of anti-Russian sanctions. When you try to reserve a room, you receive the following message: “sorry, currently our website is not possible to book accommodation in Crimea to rest.”

According to the owners of the hotels in Peninsula, they got a message that said that booking.com is a Dutch website, and the user is obliged to comply with European laws, and to support sanctions against Russia, for this reason, work with the Crimean hotels will be suspended.

Moreover, currently the website has already stopped collecting reviews and testimonials from guests. At the same time, those who go to the Crimea on a business trip, you can still reserve rooms through this portal.

Booking.com is a large Internet resource where you can zarezervirovat Villa, house and room in a hotel or hostel in 227 countries around the world. The site was established in 1996 in Amsterdam. Currently, it is available for booking nearly 2 million objects.

Media reported earlier that the head of the group of companies “travel service” Sergey Voitovich has addressed the Russian Ministry of culture with the request to include the portal booking.com in the package counter.

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Volkswagen GTI drag race: Polo v Golf – video

Volkswagen GTI drag race: Polo v Golf – video

New Polo GTI takes on the Golf GTI

How do you prove one car is faster than another? You drag race them – duh!

The new Volkswagen Polo GTI isn’t far off its Golf GTI stablemate these days in terms of power, but how does that translate in straight-line speed?

In this video, Car Mania aims to answer that question. The Polo GTI is smaller and lighter, though the Golf GTI has more grunt.

Power in both cars come from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, making 147kW and 320Nm in the Polo GTI while the Golf GTI’s unit makes a slightly meatier 169kW and 350Nm.

Claimed 0-100km/h times are 6.7 seconds for the Polo and 6.2 seconds for the Golf – as you can see, the gap between the two hot hatches has narrowed in recent years.

We won’t keep you any longer. Have a watch of the video above to see which Volkswagen GTI hatchback is the quickest!

MORE: Volkswagen Golf news, reviews, comparisons and video

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2018 Range Rover Sport SVR – Video first look

Before it touches down in local showrooms later this year, we’ve had the chance to drive the new 2018 Range Rover Sport SVR in its home of the UK.

Featuring a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, the Range Rover Sport SVR develops a meaty 423kW of power and 700Nm of torque, sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

2018 Range Rover Sport SVR – Video first look

With all that grunt, the 2.3-tonne SUV can dash from 0-100km/h in just 4.5 seconds. The price? A cool $238,200 before on-road costs.

Check out the video above to see our very own Trent Nikolic put the new SVR through its paces on its international launch drive.

DRIVEN: 2018 Range Rover Sport SVR review
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2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review

The 2018 Peugeot 308 Touring presents as an attractive and viable alternative to a flood of SUVs on the roads.

This was originally going to be a review on the Peugeot 308 GTi, the French brand’s halo hot hatch launched late last year. But, due to a sudden unavailability of that car (for reasons unexplained), we instead found ourselves faced with this, the 2018 Peugeot 308 Touring. Oh well, any port in a storm, as the saying goes…

First launched locally in 2014, this second-generation 308 has been updated each model year to bring it into line with current trends. The MY18 Peugeot 308 is no different, benefitting from styling updates and upgraded levels of specification.

On test we have the Peugeot 308 Touring Allure, which, aside from the previously mentioned GTi hot hatch, represents the top of the range in the not-hot-hatch 308 line-up. Priced at $37,990 plus on-road costs, our test car was fitted with the $2700 optional Nappa leather interior and 18-inch alloys (17s are standard), as well as the classy and glassy panoramic roof ($1000), bringing the as-tested price to $41,690. That’s on par with arguably its nearest rival, the Volkswagen Golf 110TDI Highline wagon that gets underway at $38,990 before options and on-road costs.

Pug power comes courtesy of a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with reasonably healthy outputs of 110kW and 370Nm. Power is sent to the front wheels via an Aisin-sourced six-speed auto transmission and the family lugger can, according to Peugeot, hustle from 0–100km/h in 10 seconds flat with a top speed of the quaintly specific 209km/h. Peugeot also reckons the 308 Touring can cover a standing kilometre, i.e. 0–1000m, in 31.1 seconds. Is that even a thing? Typically different then, from the French.

Also typical is the long list of standard inclusions, in line with Peugeot’s continued marketing of itself as a premium brand in Australia. Befitting a range-topper, the 308 Touring Allure comes equipped with a 9.7-inch touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel, driver attention alert, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, USB input, and Peugeot’s signature ‘three claw’ LED tail-lights.

2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review
2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review
2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review

Additional kit includes keyless entry and start, active blind spot monitoring, active lane-keep assist, full-LED headlights with high beam assist, speed limit recognition, an electric parking brake, city park assist, electric folding door mirrors with welcome light, Alcantara trim with sports front seats as standard (although our tester was fitted with optional Nappa leather, as already outlined), and silver roof rails.

There’s also new-for-2018 autonomous emergency braking, bundled with adaptive cruise control included as standard, not just in this high grade, but across the range (excluding the manual-only GTi).

The cabin of the 308 is a masterclass in minimalism. Understated, and with a premium feel. Some won’t like the lack of tactile switchgear, and I’ll admit I was one of those people, but after spending a week in the 308, it grew on me. I love the uncluttered look of the dash and surrounds. And navigating the touchscreen for just about all functions becomes a cinch with a few uses. Functions are simply laid out and intuitive to use.

Peugeot’s obligatory small steering wheel remains and in this context, in this car, it works. Again, we’ve criticised the tiller in some applications (namely, in Peugeot’s 5008 SUV where it looks out of place), but in a car of this size, the steering wheel is perfectly at home. The leather-trimmed wheel feels nice in the hand too, and that flat-bottom shape lends the 308 a sporty air. Adjustable too, both tilt and reach.

Second-row passengers won’t be uncomfortable, but neither will they be basking in spacious and luxurious splendour. The rear pews are comfortable – for two… Three across would be a tad tight – and there are a couple of cupholders in the fold-down armrest. No USB point, though, the sole example reserved for the front row.

2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review
2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review
2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review

Of course, the reason buyers might plump for a wagon over, say, a hatch, or even a small to medium-sized SUV, is for space. In that regard, the 308 Touring doesn’t disappoint. Lift the tailgate and you’ll be met by a cavernous space measuring 625 litres with the back row in play. Fold that second row down (60:40, with a ski port, too) and that area expands to 1740 litres, substantially larger than its nearest rivals from Holden and Volkswagen. There’s a space-saver spare hiding under the floor, while generously sized pockets offer extra storage.

Of course, despite the numerology of its hot-hatch sibling, this iteration of the 308 is no performance car. And that’s okay. Because this is still a fun little wagon to drive around town. That 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is punchy enough. It’s also very refined, with next to none of that signature ‘clatter’ so often found in diesel-engined cars. It’s quiet and smooth with linear power delivery.

The six-speed transmission works well in this application, which is actually a constant source of frustration. I’ve driven – and reviewed – other cars with the same transmission from the PSA stable and have found it wanting in terms of driveability. Yet, in this iteration, it works just fine. It’s a pretty perky application in manual mode too, although using the gear lever for shifts (up for down, down for up) doesn’t feel as slick as, say, paddle-shifters. Still, the 308 revs out nicely and mojos along with a hint of roartiness and a fair bit of fun. It’s no GTi, of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun, right?

On the road, the Touring is a comfortable cruiser. There’s a lovely composure to the ride, quiet and refined. Minor bumps and imperfections are barely felt in the cabin while bigger obstacles, such as speed humps, are no match for the 308, which refuses to unsettle over those annoyances so common to our modern roads. There are more expensive cars and SUVs with less manners on the road, so kudos to Peugeot.

2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review
2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review
2018 Peugeot 308 Touring review

Of course, one of the benefits of diesel propulsion is fuel economy. Peugeot claims a miserly 4.4L/100km on the combined cycle, blowing out to 5.2L/100km in pure city driving. Our week in the Touring, spent predominantly in the inner city, saw an indicated 6.9L/100km. Not great against Peugeot’s claim, but when has a claim ever meant anything in the real world? A few longer highway runs would no doubt see that number come down pretty significantly.

Peugeot confirmed in February it was upping its warranty offering to five years/unlimited kilometres with five years’ roadside assist. Peugeot also offers a capped-price servicing plan for the 308 Touring with scheduled maintenance required every 12 months or 20,000km – quite reasonable interludes. Total cost over five years is $3150.

There’s really not a lot to dislike about this car. It’s a well-executed premium offering from the French lion with plenty of pep, a lovely and balanced ride, and practicality in box loads. It also represents decent value for money in the segment, while at the same time eschewing current trends that favour small to mid-sized SUVs.

And now with a five-year warranty (a common complaint of the French brand has been its lack of surety), the Peugeot 308 Touring is a worthwhile addition to any prospective buyer’s shortlist when looking for that little bit of extra load-lugging ability.

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7.1

Performance

8.2

Ride Quality

7.8

Handling Dynamics

7.8

Driver Technology

8.5

Interior Comfort Packaging

8.3

Infotainment Connectivity

7.5

Fuel Efficiency

8.0

Safety

7.0

Value for Money

8.5

Fit for Purpose

VW Group boss steps down, Herbert Diess steps up as new chairman

VW Group boss steps down, Herbert Diess steps up as new chairman

The boss of the VW Group, Matthias Muller, has stepped down from his role as Chairman of the Group’s Board of Management, the company has confirmed. Herbert Diess, current brand boss of Volkswagen, has been announced as his successor.

The move is the biggest shake up of the German car giant since the Dieselgate scandal back in 2015. The move to replace Muller is also part of wider business restructure that will see the company and its brands – VW, SEAT, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Audi, Bentley and Porsche – split into three pillars: Volume, Premium and Super Premium.

SEAT, Skoda and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) will sit in the Volume segment, while VW and Audi become the Premium brands. Porsche will lead the Super Premium category, which also includes Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley.

Bundling the brands together is a move aimed at speeding up decision-making processes within the company. As well as his role as the Chairman of the Board of Management, Diess will also be responsible for Group Development and Research, Rupert Stadler, current Audi CEO, will oversee Group Sales, while Oliver Blume, Porsche CEO, will take responsibility for Group Production.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hans Dieter Pötsch, said: “We’ve already accomplished a great many things since Autumn 2015; we managed the greatest corporate crisis in its corporate history. The group has fundamentally realigned and repositioned itself for it 2025 strategy.”

Read all our latest VW car reviews here…

PSA Group spins off electric vehicle operation

PSA Group, parent of Peugeot, Citroen, DS and Opel, has created a new standalone electric-vehicle divisionas it seeks to catch the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in the burgeoning e-mobility space.

The company wants the spinoff ‘business unit’ to “respond to the challenges of the energy transition and to build an efficient and coherent offering of electric mobility solutions” for the ever-changing automotive landscape.

“The energy transition is an opportunity that our company has seized by launching an unprecedented technological offensive made possible by our multi-energy platforms,” said Linda Jackson, Citroen CEO.

PSA Group spins off electric vehicle operation

“The challenge for this Business Unit, which benefits from an experience built up over several years within the Group, will be to provide the best vehicles at the best time to satisfy our customers and thereby ensure the best economic conditions for launching Groupe PSA’s electric vehicles into the market.”

It’s not the first time PSA has dipped into the world of electric vehicles, but it’s the group’s most serious commitment to e-mobility. Along with the fun, fanciful E-Mehari special and DS E-Tense concept, we’ve seen an electric Citroen Berlingo.

It’s also worth bearing in mind, Peugeot and Mitsubishi teamed up on the now-defunct i-Miev.

Last year, Citroen promised 80 per cent of its vehicles would be electrified by 2023, driven by a new ‘e-CMP’ platform. The first vehicles on that platform are expected to arrive in 2019.

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Ford Ranger Raptor pricing announced

Ford Australia has announced pricing for the hotly-anticipated Ranger Raptor, with proceedings to kick off at $74,990 before on-road costs when it arrives in showrooms later this year.

That means the range-topping Ranger comes in at $13,200 more expensive than the current Wildtrak, and $6500 more than the Volkswagen Amarok V6 Ultimate.

Of course, the Raptor is a very different proposition to both those cars. Power comes from a bi-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine making 157kW and 500Nm, put to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Drivers can tailor the powertrain and four-wheel drive system using a six-mode Terrain Management System, which includes low-range and a locking rear differential. There’s also a new Baja Mode, borrowed from the better-known members of the Raptor family line offered overseas.

Ford Ranger Raptor pricing announced

Under the skin, all that electro-trickery is backed by some serious off-roading hardware. Ground clearance is a whopping 283mm, up from 237mm on the Wildtrak, while approach (32.5 degrees), ramp-over (24 degrees) and departure angles (24 degrees) are all improved compared to the current range-topper.

Ford says the ute’s chassis frame is tailored for high-speed off-road use, working in tandem with new coil-over rear suspension and stiffened side rails. There’s also a new, reinforced spare-tyre mounting brace to handle the Raptor’s larger rolling stock.

A set of 17-inch wheels wrapped in 285/70 BF Goodrich all-terrain rubber is standard, complete with thicker sidewalls for the rough-and-tumble of serious off-roading. There are 332mm brake discs at both ends, with twin-piston calipers at the front and single-piston units down back.

Behind the wheel, you’ll be able to tell the Raptor from its more mundane brethren by its Ford Performance seats, a unique steering wheel and a smattering of Raptor emblems. As is the case on all high-grade Rangers, an 8.0-inch touchscreen and Ford Sync 3 is standard, along with satellite navigation and a rear-view camera.

Ford Ranger Raptor pricing announced

“This is a fully warranted, factory performance vehicle,” Ranger Raptor chief program engineer, Damien Ross, said.

“While Raptor DNA calls for extreme performance, the vehicle must meet the regulations, demands and expectations in terms of ownership experience that all of our products are measured by. That’s no mean feat.”

The Ranger Raptor will be here in Q4, 2018.

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