Weekly News - February 7 2022

Skoda Enyaq Coupe

Changes coming for motorists, SUVs of all sorts and a big revamp for Rolls-Royce’s famous figurine this week.

Before we get into the shiny new stuff this week, quite a bit has been happening when it comes to how our motoring lives could be impacted in the weeks, months and years ahead. Changes to the Highway Code have definitely created some debate, especially the one that says motorists now need to give way to pedestrians crossing at any junction. Could this lead to pedestrian road rage? Could we see more rear-end shunts as drivers turning suddenly stop to let a pedestrian cross the road? And what happens to genuine pedestrian crossings? It’s all a bit of a grey area really and one that will no doubt need some refinement in the months to come. At the end of the day, we hope that motorists and pedestrians will exercise their common sense in any of the situations, but we all know that’s not always going to be the case. 

Then as the cost of living continues to rise, we face the prospect of road charging. The UK government has finally decided to talk about the hot potato that is the loss of revenue by trying to move everyone to electric cars. There’s the potential for government to lose over £34-billion a year from loss of fuel levies, VED and so on. Increasing taxation on electricity would mean a double tax for those who have a car with an internal combustion engine, so the government is looking instead at per-mile road pricing, where a little black box in your car will say how far you have driven and you will be charged accordingly. It seems fair, the same rate then for whether you have a petrol car, an electric car or even a hydrogen-powered car, but there are concerns. Would the black box allow authorities to monitor our average speed, would they know when you have committed other infringements? Could it be the end of a bit of fun in the mountain passes? It’s early days, but we’ll be keeping an eye on it all for you.

Now for the shiny new stuff

Seeing as we mentioned mountain passes, we were up in Scotland recently to put the new Mazda CX-5 through its paces in the Highlands. It’s very much a facelift but the CX-5 was already a brilliant SUV. There are new trims, the suspension has been made more comfortable and it’s even quieter than ever inside. It’s a great family choice which is why it is Mazda’s best selling model worldwide and our pick of the range might surprise you. You can read our first drive impression shortly.

While we were driving the CX-5, Kia was launching its new Sportage in the UK. It’s an all-new version and it looks it too, with much more dramatic styling outside and a more premium look and feel inside. We’re looking forward to getting behind the wheel for a few days next month but from what we hear, it is very good and already seems to be popular, with the Sportage topping the sales charts in January. Kia even topped the charts as a brand for the first time ever. 

If you like your SUV to be electric but have wanted something that looks a little more sporty than the Skoda Enyaq iV then the Czech automaker has a solution - the Enyaq Coupe iV. Initially it will only be available in the top-spec vRS version with 265hp and all-wheel drive, but milder models will be here before the end of the year. Driving range is up to 339 miles and despite that loping roofline, Skoda says the boot space is only 15 litres less than the regular version. It remains to be seen how the design impacts on the space for rear seat passengers though. 

At the other end of the scale is the world’s most powerful production SUV, so says Aston Martin, maker of the new DBX707. Its name comes from the fact it’s twin-turbo V8 develops 707hp as well as 900Nm to launch it to 62mph in just 3.3 seconds. Do you need the world’s most powerful SUV?

Some might question the need for another supercar too, but when it comes to the new Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) T33, we’re all in. Okay at £1.37-million we aren’t that all in, but we’d like to be and besides, all 100 sold out in less than a week. Production starts in 2024 and the T33 will feature a reconfigured version of the Cosworth V12 that’s also going into the GMA T50. While it will have 615hp and rev to 11,100rpm, for us it’s less about the actual performance and more about the fact that Murray has again come up with a car that is just beautiful, even more so we’d say than the T50. 

MG Zsev

In other news

MG has added what it calls a ‘standard range’ version to its popular ZS EV line-up. Priced at £27,495 after the plug-in car grant, it promises a range of 198 miles and the ability to charge from 10% to 80% in just 36 minutes on a 100kW rapid charger. 

Jaguar Land Rover has introduced Amazon’s Alexa into all its models. Not much more to say about that really, except “Alexa….”.

Something very different but still electric is the Polestar 2 Arctic Circle, a one-off model that shows the passion for rallying of the Swedish automaker’s head of chassis engineering, Joakim Rydholm. A rally driver himself, he raised the height of the car 30mm, boosted the power and added custom-made studded winter tyres and LED rally lights before getting out on the snow and ice and chucking it around with a big smile on his face. We’d love to have a go in this one. 

After saying you can’t have a new Ford Bronco Raptor in the UK, specialist car dealer Clive Sutton has announced it is bringing the Bronco in from the US. It still won’t be the Raptor though, at least not yet, but those who really want one can have a left hand drive Bronco from £45,000 with a two-year warranty from the dealer. 

Finally, big news out of Goodwood. The Spirit of Ecstasy that adorns the grille of every Rolls-Royce has only been changes significantly once in its 111 year life, to be kneeling on the front of the Silver Cloud in the 1930s. Now the famous lady is changing again, this time for a new era of electrification for which she needed to be more aerodynamic. She now has one leg forward, her face is more focused and her robes are more flowing. The new mascot will debut on Spectre, Rolls’ first electric vehicle before appearing on all future models. It really is a new era.


Written by Mark Smyth