In the first Car.co.uk news of 2023 we look at the concepts and technology of the future at the Consumer Electronics Show, Dacia jogs into the hybrid market and Honda is set for a busy year.
2023 is well underway and between looking at sales figures for new and used cars in 2022, driving some new models and heading to the US to look into the future, it’s been a busy start to the year. It is going to be another year with a focus on electrification of course, with sales of battery-electric vehicles proving strong in December, but it’s likely we could see a lower percentage of EV sales this year. That’s mainly due to supply issues, although the recent crop of headlines around charging costs and queues could also have an impact in the minds of many looking to make the switch in 2023.
The introduction of even more low emission zones in cities is going to have an effect on many people too, not to mention the proposed extension of London’s ULEZ. This could see continued changes in the used car market as people are forced to get rid of their non-ULEZ compliant models, not great news for those trying to shift their car, but good news if you live out of town and want a bargain.
We will also see lots of new cars being launched and it’s already started with the arrival of the new Honda Civic Type R. First up though, we take a look into the future.
Automakers show their cards in Las Vegas
As cars become mobile technology platforms, automakers have started to use the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to show not just their tech, but complete concept cars and new models. It’s rapidly becoming the biggest motor show on the calendar.
The headline act was definitely the BMW I-Vision Dee concept, a glimpse into the brand’s next generation of electric vehicles that it calls Neue Klasse (New Class) and which will go on sale from 2025. Chatting to design director at BMW, Adrian van Hooydonk, it’s clear there will a few changes from the concept, but essentially what you see here is what BMW regards as the replacement for its important 3 Series. That’s even more evident in some of the design features that hark back to the original E21 3 Series of the 1970s.
However it’s the tech that grabbed the attention, from the colour changing exterior paintwork, to the minimalist interior trim. In stark contrast are the laser projectors, which can place moving images on passenger windows for those outside to see. Then there’s the head-up display which can be a narrow band across the base of the windscreen or a full-on mixed reality screen which shows the road you are driving on overlaid with a virtual world. Gimmicky maybe, but it’s a glimpse into what could be.
Also giving us a glimpse of its future was Peugeot, which revealed its Inception concept. Look closely and you will see some familiar elements like the signature claw daytime running lights, but Inception has been designed to show a new design direction for the French brand. It’s unclear how the concept will translate into actual models in the years to come, but from its dramatic exterior to the interior with its game-inspired Hypersquare steering wheel, it’s definitely going to be interesting.
Volkswagen hinted at its new ID 7 when it showed the ID Aero in China in 2022 and it gave us a bit more at CES. Actually it didn’t, because it wrapped up the concept in colour-changing camouflage and put on a show. What we do know though is that it’s a four-door saloon that will have a 77kWh battery and should go into production towards the end of this year.
Sony recently teamed up with Honda to create a new car company which it called Sony Honda Mobility. At CES it announced the name of its car line-up, Afeela and revealed its first prototype. The four-door fastback saloon looks clean and elegant while it’s interior is all about space and of course, tech. The production model is due to go on sale in 2025.
Not surprisingly, being first and foremost a tech show, there was loads of automotive tech at CES, everything from autonomous vehicle and safety sensors through to the latest in audio, holograms and complete ride-sharing shuttle pods.
It’s very likely that you have something from Harman in your car now, whether its your touchscreen or your audio system and at CES they had big news when it comes to screens. Owned by Samsung, Harman finally has an in-car screen that shows the same vivd colours as your TV. Until now black has always looked a bit grey but soon we will have true black thanks to their Ready Display which will be in some new cars this year. Harman also showed new augmented reality navigation and a load of other things to get tech boffins really excited.
Continental was also there and showed us not just the invisible bonnet tech which Land Rover uses for off-roading but a completely invisible car. With just four wheels and an outline on your screen, you can perfectly position your car over something, if you need to. They had big news too if you hate the fact that objects always look warped on your surround cameras. Finally they have a clever way to make everything look a bit more normal.
Then there were the shuttles, quite a few of them. US autonomous ride-hailing service Waymo has been using the Jaguar I-Pace, but now it has teamed up with Chinese automaker Zeekr to create its second generation shuttle, which looks far less SUV and more like a robotaxi MPV. Italian styling house ItalDesign showed its ClimbE which has a capsule that fits onto an electric skateboard platform, while the company you might know more for gearboxes, ZF also had a shuttle on display. So too did German automotive supplier Benteler which launched its Holon Mover. Yes, just when you expected one shuttle, three or four arrived at once.
Honda is going to have a busy year in 2023 with a bunch of new and updated models, starting with the launch in the UK this week of the latest generation of its Civic Type R. We headed to the Thruxton race track to drive it and while its £46,995 price tag might put many off, its performance, handling and looks are impressive. Keep an eye out for our first drive review. At the same time, Also this week, Honda has announced it has updated its popular Jazz with a more powerful and efficient hybrid powertrain. All models get revised bumpers and interior trim plus there’s a new model, the Advance Sport.
Dacia is riding the crest of the affordability wave and its seven-seater Jogger is about to get a hybrid version. Priced from £22,595 it arrive in the UK in the second quarter and will use a 90hp 1.6-litre engine mated to twin electric motors and a little 1.2kWh battery to provide a combined output of 140hp. Dacia is claiming it can spend 80% of its time on urban roads in full-electric mode, which we think might be optimistic but as soon as we get to test that claim out, we’ll let you know.
Mazda seems to have accepted that its MX-30 EV isn’t quite up to scratch with its high price tag and low driving range. Its solution though is to bring back the rotary engine and attach it to an electric motor to create a new plug-in hybrid version. The 17.8kWh battery provides a claimed electric only driving range of 53 miles while the 830cc rotary engine acts as a generator for the electric motor in the same way as models like the BMW i3 range extender and new Nissan Qashqai E-Power. The new MX-30 R-EV will be in the UK in the summer.
Finally, Suzuki has revealed its first electric model, the EVX. It hasn’t provided much detail on it yet, except to say it will use a 60kWh battery and have a driving range of approximately 342 miles. As always, when we know, you will know so do stay connected to Car.co.uk in 2023 as we bring you more insight, more advice and more news.
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