Weekly News - April 16 2021

Hyundai Pony

Mark Smyth provides the weekly news round-up!

Welcome to the first weekly round-up of the main news in the automotive world, by which we mean mostly new models, not that someone is upset about the noise of traffic on the main road next to the house they’ve just bought or that Elon Musk has built a tunnel that looks like any other, but with disco lights.

The thing about the Geneva Motor Show being cancelled once again is that rather than flying into the land of watches, chocolate and penknives for a day to see all the new models, interview the people behind them and then spend a week writing everything up, is that instead the car companies are launching everything virtually, every day for weeks. 

So it’s been another busy week in the virtual automotive world, with a bunch of online reveals that make sure we don’t actually touch anything and have to wash our hands while singing happy birthday for the gazillionth time. 

The week started with the reveal of the new Citroën C5 X, which will arrive in the UK in July. It’s touted as a saloon meets estate meets SUV, so something slightly different, as is the Citroen way. Available in petrol or plug-in hybrid, it promises huge interior space and clever suspension, because it’s Citroen.

Mini revealed its new John Cooper Works hatch on Tuesday. We used to get really excited about a new JCW but these days it’s just another Mini. Then it was the turn of Skoda, which according to its chief designer, Oliver Stefani, had to be as cautious as a plastic surgeon in updating its top-selling SUV, the Kodiaq. Due in the UK in July, it’s very much a facelift with new details and new tech, plus the performance vRS ditches diesel and switches to petrol.

Wednesday saw Audi reveal the next in its line of electric vehicles after the E-tron and the E-tron GT. Now the Q4 E-tron and Q4 E-tronSport back have arrived with deliveries of the former from June and the latter from September with pricing starting at £40,750. Power outputs are 52kWh or 77 kWh with a claimed range up to 316 miles.

We took a seat on Thursday for the reveal of the new Seat Ibiza and Arona. The popular little Ibiza gets a subtle exterior makeover with bigger changes inside, while the Arona gets a revised front including the option of high-mounted foglights that will seem familiar to fans of the much-missed Skoda Yeti.

Then the big one, the new EQS from Mercedes-Benz finally threw off its camo on Thursday. Understandably, many expected it to be an electric S-Class, but no, it’s more than that, it’s not even on the platform of the S-Class. The EQS is the first ground-up electric car from Merc, featuring a brand new platform and a unique four-door coupe style design. But it’s not a CLS, that’s something else. Up to now, Stuttgart has been bolting electric motors and batteries into existing platforms, with the EQC and EQA coming across as interim solutions. 

With the EQS, Mercedes’ move into electric vehicles begins in earnest. It’s a bit of an odd-looking thinking, especially the models with the Maybach style two tone paintwork. It’s spacious and luxurious but also a tour de force of tech, which is in stark contrast to the S-Class of not so long ago which was carefully designed not to put off older buyers. Most obvious is the series of screens which appear to be seamlessly integrated across the entire dash, plus of course there are loads of interior ambient lighting choices.

What really grabbed out attention this week though were two models from China and South Korea. Do you remember the Hyundai Pony? Of course you do. Well Hyundai’s design team have taken its original hatchback and brought it into the 21st century with cool LED headlights and tail lights and an interior that is as retro as they come. It’s unlikely to be built but we’ll be lining up to buy it if they do. We’ll also be lining up for the 001, the first model from Geely Group company, Zeekr. It’s an electric estate shooting brake type thing that looks more than a bit like the new Porsche Taycan CrossTurismo with a claimed range of up to 435 miles and in China costs just £30,000. Still want to laugh at Chinese cars?


Written by Mark Smyth