Volvo has revealed its new flagship electric SUV, the Volkswagen ID Buzz is now buzzing through the streets of the UK and Morgan has updated its iconic Plus models.
We’ve got a right mix of news this week, including a new electric flagship SUV from Volvo, an expensive but stylish Italian electric SUV and the arrival of the Volkswagen ID Buzz. It’s not just about electric though, with the return of the Extreme name to the Dacia Duster and some cool updates to the famous Morgan Plus models. It’s all about the cool kids this week so read on because we’ve got some exciting stuff to tell you about.
Volvo goes big on pure Scandinavian design with EX90
Volvo is continuing its pledge of an electric future with the reveal of its new flagship SUV, the EX90. Due on sale in the UK in 2024 it ushers in a whole new design that will filter through to other models in the years ahead. We had a chat with the head of Volvo’s exterior design, T.Jon Mayer and he describes the EX90 has showcasing purity and honesty. What it also shows is tech, lots of it. The signature Thor’s hammer daytime running lights now open up to reveal the headlights at night, there’s a neatly integrated Lidar in the roof for safety and future self-driving systems and the largest infotainment screen in the company’s history.
It has less presence than the XC90 but it’s also more aerodynamic, with flush door handles and windows, a clean grille that Mayer calls a shield and then there’s the interior. It’s a case study in Scandinavian design and elegance with plenty of sustainable materials, premium finishes and clever stuff like lights that shine through the wood in the dash. It’s all more upmarket, more refined and more electric. Beneath the floor sits a 107kWh usable battery pack, matched to twin motors in the range topping model. Range is claimed at around 360 miles and the EX90 can charge at up to 250kW meaning it can potentially do the 10-80% charge in half an hour.
It is a bit on the expensive side though, with prices expected to start at about £96,000, a whopping twenty-five grand over the price of the current range topping XC90 Recharge. That’s not even the price for the top model either, for that you’ll be counting out over a hundred grand.
That’s not the most expensive electric SUV revealed this week though, that goes to the Aehra, a new electric vehicle brand in Italy. The Aehra SUV has been designed by former Lamborghini designer, Filippo Perini and the company says it rewrites the automotive design rulebook. It definitely looks less SUV, more fastback saloon on stilts and who doesn’t love the drama of butterfly doors. It will of course be electric with around 800hp and a range of up to 500 miles and when it hits the market in 2025 will be joined by a saloon, with both likely to cost well over £150,000.
Even that price pales in comparison to what independent importer Clive Sutton will charge you for a Hummer EV. It’s brought in an Edition 1 pick-up that could be yours for £320,000. For that you get a behemoth of a pick-up, measuring 5.5m in lengths and weighing in at over four tonnes, but with 1000hp on tap and the ability to launch to 62mph in just 3.3 seconds. We’ve drove the electric Hummer in the US recently and it’s simply bonkers, which is probably what you’d have to be to pay that price for it, especially as General Motors is planning to return to the UK next year and could well make the Hummer EV available here directly. Still, we all know someone will buy it. As Nicholas Cage famously said in Gone in 60 Seconds: “there’s too many self-indulgent wieners in this city with too much bloody money!”
Back to reality and Alfa Romeo has updated its Giulia saloon and Stelvio SUV models. They both get a mild facelift with new adaptive LED headlights, changes to the famous Trilobo grille, a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and the addition of top of the range Competizione versions. The facelifted models will arrive in the UK early next year.
The Audi E-tron electric SUV was a bit of a first attempt at going electric for the German automaker. It was good, but looked like an existing model with electric stuff thrown in and it drove like it too. Since then Audi has launched more EVs and now it has renamed the E-Tron as the Q8 E-tron and it will be available in both SUV and Sportback guises. Each features a driving range of up to 330 miles and 343 miles respectively and benefit from big design changes front and rear, although they still look very much part of the Audi SUV family. There will be three drivetrain options, including a range-topping SQ8 which has three electric motors to deliver 503hp and 973Nm of torque, although all that power does mean you’ll be lucky to reach the claimed 284 miles on the SQ8 SUV. There are changes inside too with more tech, sustainable materials and the level of quality you expect in an Audi. Expect the first models in the UK in April.
Alternatively, if you want something that looks nothing like anything else on the road, then Volkswagen has now launch the ID Buzz in the UK. The closest you’ll get to a similar design is of course the original VW Bulli. Available in both five-seater passenger and van derivatives, prices start at £57,115 and it has a driving range of up to 258 miles. Forget the stats though, it just looks so incredibly cool and we can’t wait to get our hands on one.
What we think also looks cool is the new Dacia Duster Extreme SE which sees the Extreme name return with the new face of Dacia. It’s got attitude, ability thanks to two or all-wheel drive and raised ride height and it’s available in both Euro 6 diesel or petrol as well as the bi-fuel option. Mostly we like it though because while prices have risen in recent years, a starting price of £18,295 still seems good value to us.
We also continue to be enamoured with Morgan and let’s face it who isn’t. The historic Worcestershire company still makes cars by hand including its famous three-wheeler which was recently relaunched as the new Super 3. It’s a marvellous thing but if you want a few more creature comforts and four wheels, then Morgan has updated its Plus Four and Plus Six models. They get a new interior with improved materials and you can have an upmarket Sennheiser audio system. There’s a new electronic stability control, new brakes, suspension dampers and the ZF automatic gearbox has been reconfigured. You can also have motorsport and trialling decals including strikethrough numbers, stripes and the option of having pilot and co-pilot stickers on each side. In many other brands this would be cheesy but on a Morgan, it’s just super cool.
Finally we go back to electric because one of the biggest bugbears of switching to EV is the issue with public charging infrastructure. Zap-Map will be familiar to most EV owners for providing national charge point maps and information and now the company has released details of the best and worst public charging operators according to its users. It’s great news for Fastned and MFG EV Power which come out jointly on top. They are followed by Instavolt, Connected Kerb and Osprey. Not such good news for GeniePoint, BP Pulse and Charge Your Car which make up the bottom three in the results. Given that public charging costs are rising significantly at the moment and competition is increasing, some companies definitely have a lot of work to do.
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