Britains most popular car, the Ford Fiesta, gets a major upgrade and Genesis shows rivals how it’s done.
Travel restrictions are easing, the mince pies are already in the shops and we’ve just had Goodwood Revival - it’s beginning to feel like a normal September, which is nice. And what is more normal than a Ford Fiesta, Britains favourite car since it was launched here in 1977. Over four million have been sold and now there’s a new one which includes electrified versions with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech.
Exterior changes include the badge moving to the grille, LED headlights front and rear and each model line now gets its own design at the front to differentiate it, just like Ford did with its models in the 1980s. Inside there are more changes with a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and the latest Sync 3 infotainment system. Fiesta now also gets more tech with Wrong Way Alert adaptive cruise control, park assist and a host of connectivity things.
A new Fiesta also means a new Fiesta ST and fans will be looking forward to this one. Power is still 200hp but torque increases to 290Nm and Ford is promising a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds. Plus it gets a Track mode for a bit of circuit fun.
We’re all used to the Fiesta, what we’re not so used to is Genesis. Hyundai’s luxury brand didn’t impress us that well with its flagship G80 saloon and GV80 SUV when it launched here a few months ago, but now the G70 saloon and GV70 SUV have come along and rivals should be scared.
In the case of the G70, those rivals not only include the Jaguar XE and Volvo S60, but the German trio of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Factor in everything from design to value for money with great handling and comfort in-between and Genesis has a winner here. However, the GV70 is the real stand-out model, an SUV that looks great, drives brilliantly with handling and performance to match and even beats rivals (we drove the 2.5T) with a price (from £39,450) that will make them wonder how they do it and still make any money. It’s a complete break from the norm when it comes to the interior with great design features, tech that is actually useful and comfort levels that seem to come from the upper end of the luxury market. Yes, we’re impressed with the GV70.
It’s difficult for any SUV to follow that but Mazda is upgrading its popular CX-5 and it will be on sale in the UK early in 2022. It moves to a new platform and gains Mazda Intelligent Drive to switch between drive modes as well as new safety and driver assistance systems including the ability to accelerate, brake and steer itself in traffic jams. The interior has been upgraded too with wireless phone charging and all the other tech we expect these days and Mazda is promising better comfort and dynamics.
We’ve talked about the Mercedes-Benz EQS before, the brand’s latest luxury electric vehicle. It’s a four-door coupe-like thing with lots of interior space and a range of up to 453 miles from a 107.8kWh battery. Now Merc has released pricing for the EQS which will start at £99,995 for the EQS 450+ AMG Line. It should arrive in the UK before the end of the year and if you’re keen on one, be prepared to pay a lot more because the options list is extensive and expensive.
We have no idea how much the new Fering Pioneer will cost. The what you ask? Yes, we’d never heard of them either, but a team of automotive engineers have grouped together in the UK to create an extreme expedition vehicle called the Pioneer. It’s currently undergoing testing ahead of going on sale in the first half of 2022, or at least that's what the company says. It’s an intriguing thing, featuring a range extender combination of an electric motor and a bio-diesel engine which when combined with removable long-range tanks is claimed to provide a range between refills of 4,350 miles. No we haven’t written that wrong - 4,350 miles. That sounds like a challenge to us. It’s also fitted with 21.5-inch wheels so it can take truck tyres to cope with different terrain around the world. Fering says this is not a toy for parking outside cafes in Chelsea, it’s a full adventure or expedition vehicle, perfect for explorers, emergency services organisations and NGOs. It is definitely an interesting thing on paper.
Finally as we move further into Autumn and wonder when we will be switching on the central heating again, it’s time to discuss tyres. Many will have a set of winter tyres in the garage ready to go, but in recent years we’ve seen growth in the market for all-season tyres. I have Continental All-Seasons fitted to one of my cars, a front-wheel drive Saab and they’ve proven to be really grippy in both wet weather and snowy conditions. Granted they do tend to wear down a bit quicker than regular tyres but that extra confidence in inclement weather provides lots of peace of mind when it comes to safety. The latest to hit the market is the new Cross Climate 2 from Michelin. We don’t generally talk products here, but all-seasons are a big talking point and if they improve safety then that’s even better. Michelin says its new Cross Climates meet winter tyre regs which is great if you are planning a trip to the Alps in the winter or if you live in areas of the UK where snow is an issue. They’re also said to have lower rolling resistance making them more economical and environmentally friendly, which is a bonus really.
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