Weekly News - June 7 2022

Polestar 3

Plenty of new and updated SUVs in this week’s news but there’s also a new Cat in town, we’re up for a bit of adventure camping with Isuzu and Polestar has shown a bit more of its third model.

Big, bigger, biggest as new SUVs debut

BMW has revealed its new X1 which has grown in size and gained various electrification options, including the first fully electric version in the form of the iX1. Its smallest crossover SUV now measures in at 4.5m long  with prices set to start at £35,130 when it arrives in the UK in a couple of months time. 

The X1 gets a complete redesign and you’ll be pleased to see that while its kidney grille is a bit squarer than before, it’s not likely to offend anyone, which makes a change for the latest crop of BMW models. The rest of the styling is much sharper than before to give it a more premium and sporty overall look that we rather like. Instead it’s all different too with inspiration from the larger iX including the latest screens that make up the BMW Curved Display. There’s also loads of other new tech including additional driver assistance and safety systems.

The big news though is in the powertrains, with petrol and diesel versions joined by two plug-in hybrids and the electric iX1. A motor on each axle provides all-wheel drive, combined power of 313hp, 494Nm of torque and BMW is claiming a range of up to 272 miles on a charge. It’ll take up to 130kW of DC charging which means a potential 10-80% charge time of 29 minutes or you can add 75 miles of range in just ten minutes. All models will be available in a wide range of trims with plenty of options available to tick off too.

Mercedes has also been busy updating its GLC SUV with a whole new look inside and out, plus it’s also grown in size. The exterior changes give it a slightly more dynamic look but it’s the interior that gets the biggest changes. The new GLC adopts the look of larger models like the S-Class with a massive touchscreen on the centre console and new digital instrumentation, all contained within what Merc calls a “wing-like” upper dashboard. So not only is Mercedes giving the new GLC more tech and more luxury, it gives you wings too.

It will only be available as a plug-in hybrid with all models offering electric-only running for up to 62 miles. If you are into towing then you’ll be fascinated by the inclusion of something called the Towing Route Planner. This takes into account the type of vehicle you are pulling and then plots your route based on road widths, bridge heights and so on. It all sounds rather clever. 

The BMW X1 is larger, the Merc GLC too, but then in weighs Land Rover with its massive new Defender 130, a full eight-seater version of the Defender that looks like it’s ready to carry a bunch of Secret Service personnel. Priced from £73,895 it features a third row of seats for three which ensures space for up to eight people and eclipses the seven seats of the Discovery. Crucially, it still has the boot space of a hatchback at 389 litres when all the seats are in place, but fold both rows down and you can fit in a small country. It goes without saying that Land Rover is promising that the 130 still has the go-anywhere ability of other Defender models too.


Cat purrs into town

Great Wall Motors new Ora electric car brand has announced that its first model, the Cat will go on sale in the UK in the autumn. It will debut with a special first edition that will be called the Funky Cat, but with it’s price tag of £30,495 after the plug-in car grant is a little disappointing. We were expecting this Chinese newcomer to be in the low to mid 20s but of course, more models will be coming along. Providing the Funky Cat’s swagger will be a 48kWh battery that delivers a claimed range of 198 miles and can utilise 80kW DC fast charging that can boost it from 15-80% charge in around 40 minutes. 

Smart gets smarter

Smart is back and if you’re expecting another model that can fit in a motorbike parking space then think again, because it’s first model under the join ownership of Mercedes and Geely is bigger. The Smart #1 is all-electric, packed with more premium luxury than ever before and with space in the back seats that could shame many an Uber. It will go on sale in the UK towards the end of the year with deliveries in mid-2023 and you can read more in our first look at the car in the UK elsewhere in our news pages.

Go camping Arctic Trucks style

We had a wander around the Commercial Vehicle Show recently and while we had to be pulled away from the fantastic Ford Transit MS-RT, it was the Isuzu stand that had us yearning for the summer holidays. Isuzu UK teamed up with Arctic Trucks to make a D-Max AT35 camper, which they called Basecamp. It features an iKamper rooftop tent, modular drawer system with slide out kitchen unit and of course, massive 35-inch all-terrain tyres. Sadly it was just a show vehicle, but who wouldn’t want to go on an adventurous camping trip in it, we certainly would.

Another Polestar on the way

Finally this week, there’s another Polestar on the way and it’s the Swedish electric vehicle maker’s first SUV. First there was the Polestar 1, then the 2 and so not surprisingly it’s the Polestar 3. We’ve talked about it before but now the company has given us our first look at the car undisguised. It’s still not a full reveal though, that will only happen in October but we do know it will have dual motors and a range of up to 372 miles. Judging by the number of Polestar 2s we’ve seen around lately, we expect this one to be very popular.


Written by Mark Smyth