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A question was asked to me recently on what makes a person a qualified reviewer? Believe it or not, I’ve asked around among reviewers who’ve been doing this for donkey years and not a single person gave me the same answer. A simple enough question – and probably as simple to answer as asking for the definite answer for Pi (that’s 22 divided by 7, in case you didn’t know) . I don’t think there is a clear, conclusive “right” answer but I believe one thing holds true to any writer; we write in a flavour that caters to our own group of audience and as long as we remain consistent in producing quality articles that’s in line with what readers have come to believe in our opinions, we’d be fine. And not do something loony like talking about Thermomix recipes in an automotive blog. Or claiming a Peugeot rides softer and handles better than a Volkswagen. Or comparing two completely different segment vehicles like a Range Rover Evoque SUV against a Peugeot 508GT sedan.

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Or is it?

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Since its introduction in 2011, the Range Rover Evoque has been instrumental in changing the fortunes of Land Rover and where the flagship Range Rover represents the company’s technological and design hallmark, not all may find the dimensions of the most complete SUV on the Earth manageable nor affordable. Enter the Evoque, the luxury SUV that aims to propel the company’s appeal to a younger audience – and has done spectacularly well in that purpose since its first unveiling in the Detroit Motor Show in 2008. As of 2011, the Evoque has brought more than 160,000 owners new to the Land Rover marque and has won more awards than it could possibly stuff into its considerable boot. Recently, Land Rover updated the specifications of the Evoque and it now features a 9-speed ZF sourced transmission, the first vehicle sold here in Malaysia with that many gears (bar buses and trucks, of course)

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The Peugeot 508 GT meanwhile remains as one of the rarer Peugeot on the roads, largely because of its (higher) price tag as opposed to its petrol engine variants which has been around. While both the 508 and the Evoque has been launched in the same year, the Peugeot lacks the visual appeal of the SUV. It’s a quiet and unassuming car that many other road users would pass and forget – until you see one trailing you and no matter how fast you go, it’ll always be there. It’s one of those rare ‘sleeper’ cars that makes you underestimate its abilities. Inside, the sheer opulence and specification sheet makes it a more than worthy to be compared to luxury makes, even if it costs less than half of the Evoque’s asking price.

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But you know what they say – a cent spent is a step (up) in quality. What may appear as completely different makes, both vehicles have more in common than you think. Both aims at a target audience that appreciates the finer things in life, the sophistication of design both inside and out as well as a high regard for power and all the joy it brings when driving. Oh, and did we mention they both offer variants that shares the same diesel engine?

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Design

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In terms of outlook, the updated Evoque looks no different from its 6-speed predecessor (read HERE if you’ve missed the earlier article); it’s an amalgam of the contemporary and modern mixed with ruggedness and utilitarian without looking over-designed. A true testament of it is how it still manages to attract lots of attention despite being in the market for quite some time. Up front, the same unique owl-like LED Daytime Running Lights is featured prominently between the stretched hexagonal grille and a pair of fog lights below it. All in all, it’s the exact same script as before.

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The 508 GT meanwhile is pretty much like any 508 except for a subtle ‘GT’ badge on the front grille, 19″ design rims and twin exhaust pipes. Seven LED Daytime Running Lights are found on each side of the front bi-xenon lamps with the Peugeot ‘floating’ grille sitting in between. The entire layout, though clean doesn’t exactly spell “racy”; it has an elegant look that one doesn’t get bored quickly (unless you were already bored with it to begin with). The fact that the GT costing significantly more than a regular 508 yet not having the exterior look to show for the extra moolah may be a deal breaker to some but for those who wish to appear sheep when hunting wolves, it’s perfect.

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Performance

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Both the Evoque and 508 range comes with petrol and diesel engines and the similarity between these two is the engine; they both share the same 2.2litre engine but at different states of tuning. The Peugeot’s HDi FAP is capable of churning out 204hp @ 3,500rpm with 450Nm of torque from 2,000rpm whereas the Evoque’s offers 190PS with 420Nm of torque. Aside from the obvious point that this isn’t an apple-to-apple comparison with unequal power-to weight ratio, the difference in acceleration is obvious.

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Zero to hundred for the 508 GT is done in 8.4 seconds while top speed is capped at 235km/h.

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The Evoque tested here is the petrol version which comes in the form of a 2.0litre Si4 engine. Power is rated at 240PS @ 5,500rpm with 340Nm of torque from 1,750rpm onwards. Zero to hundred is faster than its diesel sibling at 7.6 seconds and goes all the way to 217kph.

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Both models deliver power in a linear fashion, which is to say full power in an instant but Evoque runs out of breath at north of 180kph (yes, insane speeds, I know) whereas the GT just keeps going till over 210kph without missing a beat. In a straight line, there was no way the SUV could keep up with the sedan, despite the higher power. The 508 GT just keeps going, as unstoppable as a runaway train … or a depressed woman reaching for her chocolate bar.

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Then again, if the terrain was different, whether it’s excessive water or sand, the Evoque would definitely have the upper hand.

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Ride and Handling

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If this was a review that compares which vehicle handles better, then we might as well just pack up and go home for tea. On tarmac, the lower center of gravity offered by the 508 GT felt a little more assuring; which isn’t saying that the Evoque lacks any composure when flying at high speeds. Compared to regular 1.6l turbocharged 508s, the GT’s diesel engine is heavier and any quick lane changes would remind you how substantial the nose is. The Evoque on the other hand felt a little more agile, particularly on wet roads since it channels it’s power onto four-wheels instead of only the two front in the 508.

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The number of gears has gone from six to nine in the new Evoque and the additional three cogs is said to offer smoother driving, better fuel economy and enhanced all-round performance. I can attest to the better fuel economy (Land Rover claims 7.8litres/100km) and on the go, the gearbox is almost as smooth as a dual clutch system. However, it has a tendency to jump gears, particularly when throttle inputs are erratic and you’ll have no idea what gear you’re in since there is no indication of the gear you’re in on the Multi Function Display. Some might argue about in today’s driving environment, being aware of what gear you’re currently on is as relevant as knowing a crocodile can’t stick it’s tongue out (it’s true, by the way); personally, I think it’s useful so as to better understand the characteristics of the vehicle’s behavior and how to eek more from it. With the Evoque, it’s pretty much a guessing game all the time.

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The Aisin-sourced 6-speed gearbox on the 508 GT on the other hand fulfills it’s function well enough. Shift shocks do occur occasionally but as long as you throttle inputs are steady, it’s a fine cruiser.

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Those having difficulty in modulating the gas pedal will experience jerkiness when moving quickly from standstill and this is largely attributed to the maximum torque being shoved at you almost instantaneously from the moment you floor the pedal. Both can also minimize this effect by engaging snow/gravel/grass modes.

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Cabin Convenience

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Both vehicles caters towards owners who appreciate the finer things in life and this results in beautifully designed interiors that makes getting stuck in traffic jams more a luxury rather than chore. Of course, being on an elevated platform like the Evoque, you’d have a much greater vantage point compared to the 508 GT so the SUV would be the better vehicle to be in if you’re ever caught in a 10-hour crawl outstation back to your home town.

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The new 9-speed Evoque’s interior is the same as the 6-speeder. Clean, tidy, neat with the quality of fit and finish on par with what is expected of a vehicle in this price scale. A fine suede-like material lines the dashboard and the aluminium inserts livens the interior. The red/black theme you see here is what you’ll get with the petrol version.

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The interior of the 508 GT is not too shabby either. It has more than twice the number of buttons of the Evoque and this might be confusing to some but for button-happy freaks like me, it works just fine. Just needs a little bit more time to discover all the functions but hey, this more or less sums up the difference between dating a British lass and a French madamoiselle. Different degrees of sophistication but no less classy.

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But first, let’s talk about the Evoque …

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The helm is meaty and reassuring to hold while the steering mounted buttons are easy to use. The left set of buttons are controls for ear-related functions such as audio and Bluetooth whereas the right side is for the multi function display and cruise control. Behind the wheel are steering mounted paddle shifters.

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No chance in the meters compared to the previous 6-speed model and it’s easy to read. The only problem I had with the MFD display is, as I have mentioned before, the gear you’re engaged in when driving is not shown. Fiddle as much as you want with the paddle shifters, all you’ll see is a plain ‘D’ (where the ‘P’ is in the picture above) and while this is fine with most drivers, I would prefer to have more information so that I can understand its characteristics better and exploit its abilities further.

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Front seats are electric with lumbar adjust.

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The 8″ touchscreen with hard disk drive navigation system is carried over and it is through here that users can control audio settings, cabin ambience lighting and sat nav.

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How does a 380 Watt Meridian audio system with 12 channels, 11 speakers and a dual-channel subwoofer sound? Brilliant! The UK audio specialist have done a fantastic job at getting the sound clarity, staging and imaging perfect in suiting the interior space of the Evoque. There has been many moments when I am reluctant to leave the vehicle despite long arriving at my destination, something you’d probably be doing too when you have it.

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The air conditioning controls are plain and simple to operate and throughput is acceptable. Being a continental where temperatures in the home country can be frigid at times, Asian made cars usually have an edge. As you may also notice, most of the audio control buttons are missing; the benefit of having a touchscreen that can customise functionalities.

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The good news is, an Iphone 6+ might just fit in that little space behind the center console.

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The compartment beneath the center armrest is pretty shallow and suitable only for small items. The AUX-In, USB as well as a 12V port is found here.

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Fortunately, the glove compartment has more than sufficient space for your other items

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Rear legroom is great but it’s achieved by compromising the thigh support which is a little short for tall passengers. Also, the inclination of the backrest is too little; passengers have to sit more upright and may be uncomfortable for long journeys. The bench width is good and three adults can sit comfortable abreast, so long as the center passenger don’t mind the transmission hump.

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Rear air conditioning vents is a must have for a vehicle this segment.

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Boot space is amazing. As you can see in the picture above, the 575litres of space is enough for your whole week’s outstation trip and if that’s not enough, you can fold the rear seats until it’s almost completely flat.

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Impressed with the Evoque? Now let’s see if the 508 GT’s interior is comparable.

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Regardless if it’s the lowest spec 508 S or the diesel-powered GT, you get the same leather wrapped steering wheel. What I do not particularly enjoy with Peugeot’s steering leather is that it gets greasy after a while, unlike the Evoque’s. It could very well be that the GT sampled here is an older model and was used as a daily commute by one of the higher-ups of Nasim Malaysia but I’ve owned a 308T before and I noticed the same condition on mine. Testimony that a different grade of leather is used and you-get-what-you-pay.

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Similar to the Evoque, you’d find paddle shifters behind the steering wheel but unlike the SUV, these are column mounted, not steering mounted which means when you turn the wheel, the paddles don’t follow.

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I do love the dials. The numerics are tad bit tiny and you may squint a little when trying to read them but the colored multi function display is crisp and clear.

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Exclusive to the diesel-powered GT range are Cohiba Nappa leathers which feels so good to slide into. The front seats are well bolstered and does a commendable job at keeping you in place when chugging the car around, though not as good as some sports variants but let’s face it, this isn’t really a sports car.

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Similar to the Evoque, you’d find electric seats (8-way) for the front seats (with memory for the driver’s) but the 508 GT has one advantage here; it has a massage function which pulsates the lumbar support in a forward and back movement, gradually up and down as well so your spine gets some movement when driving long distance. However, don’t expect OSIM-like massages; the movement isn’t that intrusive and does little to an already sore back. Besides, it’s not meant to make you so comfortable to the point where you’d fall asleep and crash.

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Like all 508s, the right side of the driver’s dash does have a compartment; instead, you’ll find the controls for ESP, proximity alarms and the Head-up Display.

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The HUD is clear and colored but unfortunately in the test unit here, it was jammed so I couldn’t retract it fully. To be fair, this is the third 508 I’ve tested (albeit the first diesel variant) and this is the first time I encountered this HUD issue so it could well be an isolated case.

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A 7″ high definition color screen adorns the center piece between the center air conditioning vents and the display is excellent. The usage of the GPS however isn’t particularly user friendly since it uses the same interface as the newly launched Peugeot 3008 which means you need to know the exact street name as per the programming in the system so if you don’t know if the road you’re looking for is labeled Jalan or Lorong or Lebuhraya or just the plain English name, you’d  probably be better off using Waze.

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Also, do note that this is just a display, unlike the Evoque which is both a display AND a touchscreen so all that pressing you do to this screen does nothing more than decorate it with more finger prints.

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Buttons, buttons and more buttons! Yes, it does require a bit of getting used to and the buttons are small so chances of you missing and pressing some other function is often. Still, once you get used to it, you can manage using the audio and air conditioning functions without moving your eyes off the road. Touchscreens on the other hand are a lot trickier.

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All 508 have their cupholders intergrated to the dashboard and the GT is no exception. If you can convince yourself that the McDonald’s coffee cup isn’t going to spill with that kind of holder, the air conditioning vents can be lowered to blow it cold. But that would mean you’d be getting hot air on the other side of the cup, of course.

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Since the display isn’t a touchscreen, all controls on the displays are done with this control knob in the center. The use is similar to BMW’s and intuitive to use. I spent hours playing with this and still could not be bored with it. Too bad the TRAFfic updates don’t work here so in that sense, Waze is better.

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It’s the reverse in terms of compartment space. The center arm rest compartment space for the 508 GT is better than the Evoque.

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The same can’t be said with the glove compartment. Like all Peugeots, the left hand drive fuse box position compromises the space here and it’s a little frustrating when you need to keep larger items.

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The rear legroom of the 508 GT is poorer compared to the Evoque but at least the thigh support is better and the rear bench inclination is more comfort oriented. It’s snug and cozy back here.

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Boot space is measured at 545litres, just 30 litres less compared to the SUV and when you lower the rear seats, you’d increase the cargo capacity to 1,244litres.

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The secret to better boot space: Space saver tires. Would even be better if changed to tire repair kit.

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Safety

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Befitting the target market segment, safety remains as a high priority and both the Evoque and 508 GT doesn’t skim here.

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Among some of the features found in the Evoque are:-

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  • Keyless entry and push start
  • Adaptive Xenon headlamps
  • Front fog lights
  • Airbags – driver, passenger front and rear
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
  • Electronic Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Hill Descent Control (HDC)
  • Electronic Traction Control (ETC)
  • Enhanced Understeer Control (EUC)
  • Perimetric & Volumetric Protection
  • Hill Start Assist

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There are four cameras for a surround view of the car. This is not a 360 degree camera system like the one found in the Volkswagen Touareg; instead you’ll find the camera displays split up instead of it being seamless.

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Additionally, the Park Assist autonomous parking system has been updated to include Perpendicular Parking, Exit Parking and of course, Parallel Parking. All you need to do is press the button below the HOME MENU button on the display and follow the instructions laid out.

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The plethora of safety features in the 508 GT meanwhile consists of:-

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  • Keyless entry and push start
  • 5-star Euro NCAP Safety Rating
  • Driver’s & Front passenger airbags
  • Driver’s & front passenger side airbags
  • Two curtain airbags (total 6 airbags)
  • Hill Start Assist
  • ESP
  • ABS
  • EBD
  • EBA
  • ASR
  • DSC
  • Electric child safety locks for rear doors
  • Two ISOFIX anchoring points
  • Auto illumination of rear hazard lights
  • Perimetric and volumetric alarm
  • Peugeot rolling code transponder immobiliser security

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The 508 GT also has a more sophisticated parking aid system compared to reverse sensors and Peugeot calls it Available Space Measurement (ASM).

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You activate the function, indicate whether you’re parallel parking left or right to activate the side sensor of the corresponding side and it measures based on detecting the gap in between two solid objects (but don’t try this if one or both objects are light poles since they’re not very wide)

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Once ASM does its thing, you’d have to maneuver the steering, gearing and brakes yourself to yourself into the spot. In this respect, the responsibility of not scraping your car falls almost entirely on the driver instead of it being partially allotted to the autonomous system found in the Evoque.

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Ownership and Maintenance

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Both the Evoque and 508 GT comes with a 5-years warranty although the Land Rover has a mileage cap of 300,000km (whichever comes first) whereas the Pug lets you drive to your heart’s content with unlimited mileage. The SUV is being retailed “from” RM399,888 (excluding insurance) depending on options while the 508 GT is being sold for less than half the price at RM199,888 (OTR with insurance).

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If affordability is the used to determine the winner, there’s really no need for any comparison. The 508 GT not only carries the lower price tag, it is one of those vehicles that returns more than 1,000km per tank full if driven sensibly. Heck, even when driven insensibly, it still has an impressive range and in the long run, the savings in fuel will add up. The only inconvenience, like any diesel-powered vehicle is to queue up with lorry drivers and visiting petrol stations with no diesel quota at the end of the month. For me, with more than a thousand kilometer range per tank, I wouldn’t mind this at all. In terms of driving dynamics, the only other car that can compete against it is the Ford Mondeo. I’ve heard much about how much finesse it has on the roads (not to mention power) but since I’ve not tested one, I’ll have to take the words of other testers for it (like the one from Autoworld written by Kon HERE).

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If this shootout is based on style, road presence, practicality and survivability on our flash-flood prone roads, the Evoque certainly wins hands-down. It’s styling may not have change over the years (and probably won’t in the years to come) but it’s still one extraordinary handsome vehicle, commanding your attention whenever you see one drive by. For me, I find the Evoque is a car suitable for both sexes and increases the appeal of both male or female drivers a great deal and to be seen in one marks the owner as one with good taste and probably very British. However, the compact luxury scene has changed with the introduction of the Porsche Macan which isn’t priced too far from the Evoque. Time will tell how much of a dint it’s going to make on Land Rover.

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At the end of the day, it really depends on what you want, how distinctly obvious you want to be among your peers and to a large extent, how big is the bank account you have. Both cars are leaders in their own respective way and won’t disappoint their respective owners. So, yeah …. why did this particular reviewer chose two completely different segment cars to compare again?

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Must be loony.

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kensomuse

Though working in a field completely unrelated to the automotive industry, kenso has always had an interest in dabbling into the automotive industry, particularly business related aspects such as sales, marketing, strategic planning, blah blah blah. You can probably find better sources of technical specifications elsewhere if you dig long enough in the internet as this blog talks about the real life ramifications of who, what, where, when and why of the automotive world and focuses on relevant information to potential buyers.

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1 Comment

  1. fdffdf
    July 27, 2017 at 4:17 am — Reply

    not the same class comparison but peugeot is far away in a good appreciation sense than this rover Chinese bunch product

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