Car.co.uk Weekly News - October 19 2021

Morgan CXT

In this week’s Car news we look at the stylish new Kia EV6, Ford reveals its new Focus and we drive the adventurous Morgan CX-T

Kia launches its stylish electric EV6

Kia has launched its first dedicated electric vehicle in the UK, the EV6 and we’re rather taken with its design which has dynamic, sporty crossover look to it with the rear of an Aston Martin DBX making it look like a strong rival to models like the Polestar 2 and the just launched Tesla Model Y. Kia UK has decided to only bring the larger 77.4kWh version for now, which offers a range of up to 328 miles and thanks to its 800v charging capability can can charge from 10 to 80% in 18 minutes, if you’re fortunate enough to find a 350kW charger. There’s a 229hp rear-wheel drive or a 325hp all-wheel drive and a number of trim choices. If you want a bit more electric oomph then a GT model will come late in 2022 with 585hp and a 0-62mph time of 3.5 seconds. Pricing starts from £40,945 which puts it on par with the its twin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 as well as other major rivals like the Volkswagen ID 4.

Seeing as we are talking electric, how’s this for unusual? Remember the Mini Moke, Britain’s answer to the beach buggy? Well they are still being made and now the company that manufactures them has produced an electric version. It’s not cheap mind with prices starting from £29,150 plus taxes and for that you don’t even get luxuries like doors or windows. You do get to strap your surf board on and cruise silently and emissions-free along the beachfront for up to 90 miles on a charge though. Admittedly you could do that with the Kia too, but is it as cool? Actually, yes. 

Ford focuses on new models

It’s been a busy week for Ford. As we speak the company is launching a sporty version of its Mach-E over in Croatia that’s heading to the UK soon. It’s also announced it’s turning its Halewood engine plant into facility to manufacturer electric vehicle motors and it’s launched new generations of two of its models, the Focus and the Tourney Connect.

The Focus is obviously a big one and its design cues follow some of those we saw on the recently revealed new Fiesta. This includes the badge being moved to the grille, which it seems is a big deal for some, but more importantly there are new 48-volt hybrid powertrains, the introduction of the Sync 4 infotainment system with a 13.2-inch touchscreen and more loadspace in the estates, including the new Active crossover-type thing. There’s a new ST-Line and you can now have more luxury courtesy of a Vignale pack across some trim lines. 

If you need more space for people and stuff then the new Tourneo Connect has arrived as the first jointly developed model between Ford and Volkswagen. It’s available in standard and long wheelbase versions with space for up to seven people. For the first time there’s the option of all-wheel drive and there are multiple trim choices from standard to Sport and an adventurous-looking Active model. All versions get lots of driver assistance tech as well as an infotainment system and a range of connected services. 
 

Land Rover Defend

New Land Rover Defender gets more new stuff

It might seem like Land Rover only launched the new Defender yesterday, but it’s already introducing some updates. These include a larger 11.4-inch infotainment screen across the range, more equipment on the Hard Top models and the introduction of a mild-hybrid diesel to the 90 Hard Top. At the same time, the Discovery gets a new top of the range version in the Metropolitan Edition. It’s all just cosmetic stuff really but if you’re planning on buying a Disco, you might want to look at it. 

Go off-road - in a Morgan

Finally this week, we headed to the Silverstone Rally School but not to drive a Subaru Impreza or a Toyota GR Yaris, but a Morgan, the new CX-T. When it was first announced we baulked at the £170,000 price tag but now we’ve looked at what’s gone into it and hurled it around the rally tracks, it’s brilliant. It’s not a rally car of course, at least not in the modern sense. It harks back to the days of trials rallies in the last century when people traversed Alpine passes or headed into northern Africa either against the clock or simply in search of adventure. It’s billed as an overland adventure car in fact, which is why it has competition spec suspension, a rack on the rear containing spare wheels, waterproof Pelican cases and sand tracks made from the same material the army uses to get tanks out of the sand. 

It has a BMW petrol engine, a six-speed manual gearbox, an electronic rear diff-lock, mounting brackets for navigation clocks and other accessories and leather seats, because you want to be comfortable while crossing the Sahara. You can remove the side windows and bolt them to the roof behind those awesome Cibie spotlights and there are special pouches for things like paper maps and snacks. We couldn’t find a hip flask holder though, but given that each of the eight buyers can sit down with the design and engineering team and customise their CX-T, we’re sure it could be made easily enough if anyone wants it. 

On the track, the CX-T was immense fun, the rear sliding controllably and the underfloor protection allowing it to slide over muddy crests on a small off-road section. The clutch is slightly heavy but easy to get used to and the torque is readily available at low revs making it easy to push the power to the rear wheels and have some fun when the mood takes you. 

Impressively none of the cars are going to car collections with most owners having big adventure plans. Two have even been bought by two brothers who are planning a round the world trip with them. Yes, we are a bit jealous.