Nissan Ariya review

Nissan Ariya

We road test the distinctive Nissan Ariya mid-sized electric SUV…

It’s taken Nissan more than 10 years to follow-up the game-changing Leaf with a brand new EV model. So, is the Ariya as good as it looks?

Let’s start by going back to basics. The Ariya (we think it’s pronounced ‘Arr-Ee-Yah’) is a mid-sized five-door SUV, so its rivals include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Skoda Enyaq, Volkswagen ID.4 and Tesla Model Y.

First impressions count and two things stand out. Its futuristic looks are like nothing else on the road, while its plush interior is a real step-up for Nissan.

Nissan Ariya

There’s a choice of two battery sizes- a standard 63kWh unit or the ‘extended range’ 87kWh, which Nissan claims can travel 250 miles and 329 miles respectively from a full charge.

Starting at £46,145, entry-level models use a single electric motor to power the front wheels, producing 214bhp (63kWh) and 239bhp (87kWh).

All-wheel drive versions (marketed as ‘e-4ORCE’) get the larger 87kWh battery and an extra electric motor, delivering a total of 302bhp. However, range takes a hit, resulting in a claimed 285 miles.

Nissan Ariya

The front-wheel drive 63kWh is capable of a 0-62mph sprint in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 100mph, while the all-wheel-drive 87kWh has a 5.7-second 0-62mph time and can go on to 124mph.

Standard equipment is generous and there are just two trim levels to choose from – Advance and Evolve.

Entry-level Advance is fitted with full LED lighting, a heated windscreen, climate control, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, a navigation system, 360-degree cameras and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Nissan Ariya

Evolve adds a panoramic sunroof, a video-based rear-view mirror, ventilated seats, heated rear seats and a Bose sound system, among other features.

The extensive list of safety and driver assistance aids standard on all grades includes Intelligent Driver Alertness, Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Jam Pilot, Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Full Auto Park and a 360-degree Around View Monitor. Extra goodies on the Evolve spec include Pro-Pilot Park and a Head-up Display.

The Ariya can be charged at speeds of up to 130kW (slower than some rivals such as the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5), meaning you can top up from 10-80% in around 30 minutes, while an overnight charge from a 7.4kW wallbox will take 10 hours.

Nissan Ariya

Our 63kWh Advance test car looked stunning in Akatsuki Copper with a pearl-black roof. Somewhere between a traditional and coupe-styled SUV, it’s no shrinking violet and is on the tall side.

Up front, the large closed-off grille is flanked by sharp LED daytime running lights and headlights, while the swooping roofline leads to a full-width LED light bar at the rear of the car.

Inside, it’s smart and minimalist. Stylish wood-grained trim spans the width of the dashboard and it has a premium feel.

Nissan Ariya

Touch-sensitive controls with haptic feedback are hidden within the trim, illuminating when the car is switched on. More of these ‘buttons’ are conveniently placed on the sliding centre armrest, which can be moved via the press of a button to provide additional foot space in the front or the rear.

The Ariya’s infotainment system consists of two 12.3-inch screens, mounted side-by-side – a driver’s digital instrument cluster, plus a main infotainment interface complete with sat nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

The cabin is spacious and light with plenty of room in the back for rear passengers to travel in comfort.

Nissan Ariya

Single motor models get a decent 466-litre boot capacity (1,348 litres with the back seats down), reducing to 408 litres if all-wheel drive is chosen.

The overwhelming sensation on the road is of a relaxing driving experience. Not only is it comfortable and well insulted inside the cabin, it’s been well put together and the delivery of all that instant torque is smooth and quiet.

There are three driving modes (Eco, Sport and Normal), though we found the latter will do just fine. As you’d expect from Nissan, there’s also an e-pedal option, which winds up the regenerative braking and can bring the car to a halt simply by lifting off the accelerator.

It feels planted at high speed and on flowing country roads, but try to hustle in more challenging corners and its weight and height become more obvious. There’s a bit of body lean and 2.2 tonnes to slow down, which tends to blunt the driving engagement.

Nissan Ariya

That said, grip levels are good, though as we found with our front-wheel drive test car, it is possible to spin the front wheels when setting off on loose surfaces and in the wet if you’re too heavy on the accelerator.

Otherwise, the steering feels nicely judged, and the commanding driving position offers good visibility (plus there’s a rear wiper, unlike some rivals!).

We haven’t tried the 87kWh all-wheel drive e-4ORCE model yet, but we suspect the increased grip, power and range (we’d estimate the real-world range in our 63kWh test car is closer to 200 miles) might be worth the extra expense.

Verdict: Safe, spacious and surprisingly classy, the Nissan Ariya family SUV boasts serious kerb appeal. Easy to drive and comfortable, it’s at its best cruising along stylishly and smoothly.

Nissan UK

Nissan Ariya

Electrified Genesis GV70 review

Electrified Genesis GV70

We road test the new electric version of one of the stars of the Genesis range – the GV70 medium-sized SUV…

Before we start, if you’re unfamiliar with the Genesis brand, then here’s a quick recap.

Genesis is the luxury arm of the Hyundai Motor Group, which also includes Kia. So, think Lexus/Toyota or Infiniti/Nissan.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Genesis was launched in the UK in the summer of 2021 and the GV70 was one of the first models, though at the time it was only available with petrol and diesel engines.

Fast forward to 2022 and an all-electric variant of the GV70 has been added to the range, though it’s marketed as the ‘Electrified GV70’, which is a term more often associated with hybrids.

Starting at £64,405, it is on the pricey side and its main competitors include the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Tesla Model Y.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Currently only available with all-wheel drive, the Electrified GV70 combines a 77.4kWh battery with two electric motors, delivering 700Nm of torque and a range of up to 283 miles.

Most of the time it pushes out 436hp and can accelerate from standstill to 62mph in 4.8 seconds.

However, if you hit the ‘Boost’ button on the steering wheel you get access to the full power (483bhp), for about 10 seconds, which is enough to reduce the 0-62mph time to just 4.2 seconds.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Apart from the instant torque and the refined, whisper quiet driving experience, the EV version of the GV70 is much the same as its ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) siblings – which is no bad thing.

The GV70’s classy interior has comfortable leather seats and it oozes quality. There’s a huge 14.5-inch central infotainment screen which can be operated by touch or via the rotary dial down by the gear selector.

Thankfully, it’s not too minimalist either. Instead, there are some accessible buttons and switches – and most importantly of all – physical climate controls.

Electrified Genesis GV70

There’s plenty of space for rear passengers, while the luggage capacity is a little smaller than the non-electric versions, but it’s still a decent 503 litres with the seats in place. Flip them down and there’s a useful 1,678-litre load space with good access.

For  substantial 2.3-tonne SUV that wasn’t designed as a pure electric vehicle from the ground up, the GV70 handles surprisingly well.

The suspension is on the firm side, but the overall driving experience is a relaxing one. Unlike some competitors, it can be hustled on more challenging roads and it’s good fun – especially in Sport mode.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Naturally there’s a bit of body roll in faster corners, but it’s not excessive and the Electrified GV70 remains composed.

Add precise steering, good visibility and plenty of traction to the well soundproofed cabin (there are double-glazed windows and an acoustic laminated windscreen to help minimise tyre and wind noise), and it just keeps ticking the right boxes.

There are Eco, Comfort and Sport driving modes, plus a one-pedal driving option which can bring the car to a halt without having to touch the brake pedal.

Electrified Genesis GV70

It also features an e-Terrain mode, but we didn’t get to test it in anger. Let’s just say that it’s probably more than enough to get you out of a muddy field at a festival site.

Living with the Electrified GV70 is easier than some rivals too, because it comes with an ultra-fast charging capability, which can take the battery from 10-80% in 18 minutes when hooked up to a super rapid 350kW charger.

There is also a vehicle-to-load feature (V2L) for plugging in external devices, such as camping equipment, laptops or tools, for example.

Electrified Genesis GV70

It’s also worth noting that Genesis has a deal with the IONITY charging network which means five years’ of discount rates.

If safety is a priority then it won’t disappoint either. The Genesis GV70 range enjoys a five-star score from Euro NCAP, with high ratings in the occupant and safety tech categories.

The long list of standard safety and driver assistance kit includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assist, automatic high beams, rear-cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and a reversing camera.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Finally, don’t forget that Genesis offers a completely different VIP ownership experience.

There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout the ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

What’s more, Genesis’s 5-Year Care Plan includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: Handsome, generously equipped, safe, spacious, comfortable, packed with tech and a joy to drive, the Electrified GV70 is one of the best big zero emissions SUVs on the market. If that hasn’t convinced you, then add the VIP ownership experience and five-year warranty/care plan to the list.

Genesis UK

Electrified Genesis GV70

Honda Civic review

Honda Civic e:HEV

We’ve been road testing the all-new Honda Civic, and it’s no surprise to us that it’s been winning awards…

The first Honda Civic was launched 50 years ago and it’s become a legendary model in the automotive world. Now it’s the turn of the 11th generation Civic, which is only available as a full hybrid, so there’s no need to plug it in.

Officially marketed as the ‘Civic e:HEV’, it’s an old school, family-friendly hatchback. Refreshing, when the market is awash with SUVs.

At 4,551mm long, 1,802mm wide and 1,408mm high, the substantial new Civic is the longest, widest and lowest hatchback in its class.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The advantage of the increased wheelbase over the outgoing model is that it creates extra cabin space.

So, there’s plenty of room up front, while rear passengers have space to stretch their legs, and only very tall people will struggle for headroom.

The boot is a generous 410 litres, rising to 1,220 litres with the back seats flipped down, while the load space is long and wide.

The interior represents a real step up in terms of quality and functionality. There’s a solid feel overall, the seats are comfortable and there are plenty of soft-touch surfaces.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The infotainment system isn’t the slickest, but does the job nicely. Most of all, the dashboard is not too minimalist – there are still dials and buttons for essentials such as climate control, radio volume, heated seats and drive mode selection.

At the heart of the latest Civic is Honda’s clever e:hev hybrid powertrain, which is a scaled up version of the system also used in the smaller Jazz and HR-V.

Unlike hybrid systems from most other car makers, the 2.0-litre engine acts as a generator to power the battery rather than the wheels for much of the time, so it runs in EV mode as much as possible.

However, at higher speeds or under heavy loads, it can send drive straight to the front wheels. What’s more, the e-CVT transmission isn’t a conventional gearbox either, but I’ll come to that later.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine (141bhp) is paired with two electric motors and a small 1.05kWh battery, giving a combined output of 181bhp.

Official figures tell much of the story, with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds and a 111mph top speed. CO2 emissions are as low as 108g/km, while fuel economy is up to 60.1mpg.

Until the new Civic Type R hits showrooms, buyers will have to make do with just the one hybrid powertrain.

Priced from £29,595, the Civic e:HEV is offered in one of three specs – Elegance, Sport and Advance.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

Entry-level Elegance gets 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a 7.0 digital instrument cluster, plus a 9.0-inch central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Safety and driver assistance features include lane-keep assist and traffic jam assist.

Sport models boast 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels, as well as black door mirrors and window frames. Inside, there’s faux leather upholstery and sportier pedals.

The range-topping Advance is treated to 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, full leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a larger 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.

Once inside, it’s immediately clear that you’re driving a rakish, fairly wide hatchback. If you’re used to the raised seating and commanding driving position of an SUV, it may take a while to acclimatise to the new Civic.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

I love a low seating position. In fact, I would have preferred a little more downward adjustment, but overall, it’s a relaxed and comfortable place to be.

There’s plenty of poke, thanks to that electrical assistance, but the biggest surprise is the e-CVT gearbox.

The boffins at Honda have done their best to eradicate the sudden rise in revs you generally get when you put your foot down in a car with a conventional CVT box.

Instead, there are ‘steps’, giving the feel of conventional transmission ratios. It’s still not perfect, but it is a huge improvement.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

There are three drive modes (Econ, Normal and Sport). Go for Econ on motorway journeys and 50 mpg is easily achieved, Normal is just fine for everyday driving, while Sport is fun for blasts on more challenging roads. The e-CVT works best in Normal and Sport modes.

The hybrid system is efficient and smooth, while the regenerative braking can be adjusted. At its strongest setting, it’s almost at one-pedal level, slowing the car down virtually to a halt whilst charging up the battery.

The ride is on the firm side, but not uncomfortably so, but generally it’s a great all-rounder – happy cruising motorways and stretching its legs on more engaging roads.

In fact, the new Civic offers a surprisingly agile drive. When pushed, it stays flat in more challenging corners, there’s good grip and the steering is nicely weighted, which all bodes well for the upcoming Type R.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

Awarded a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing, the Civic is fitted with Honda Sensing (a suite of safety and driver assistance features) which includes goodies such as Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collison Mitigation Brake System, Intelligent Speed Limiter and Auto High-Beam Headlights as standard.

Rivals include the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Kia Ceed, Ford Focus, Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra, Mercedes A-Class, BMW 1 Series or Audi A3 Sportback.

Verdict: The Honda Civic is a fantastic all-rounder. A family-focused hatchback that’s sleek, safe, practical, well built and economical, it’s rewarding to drive and packed with the latest tech. Add Honda’s reputation for reliability and it’s right up there with the best in its class.

Honda UK

Kia XCeed review

Kia XCeed

It’s time to get back behind the wheel of Kia’s popular XCeed compact crossover, which has just been treated to a facelift…

The XCeed is an important car for Kia in the UK, accounting for 10% of the South Korean company’s sales in the country during 2021, and more than half of all Ceed family sales over the same timeframe.

Just to recap, the XCeed is longer and taller than a standard Ceed hatch, and features a higher ground clearance and driving position, bigger wheels and a more rugged look.

The makeover brings a fresher exterior design, more kit and a new ‘GT-Line S’ trim level.

Kia XCeed

The design tweaks are subtle. Outside, there are updated LED head and taillights, a revised front grille and bumpers, plus new colours such as Sprint Green.

Interior upgrades are harder to spot, but apparently the lower portion of the instrument panel has been redesigned, with touch-sensitive buttons, dials and switches that control the audio volume, heating, and ventilation systems.

Meanwhile, the choice of engines is now between a 1.5-litre turbo petrol and a plug-in hybrid.

Priced from £23,395 to £32,995 for the PHEV, the XCeed line-up now consists of ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘GT-Line S’ trim levels with GT-Line S replacing the old range-topping ‘4’ model.

Kia XCeed

Entry-level 2 grade comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and 4.2-inch driver instrument cluster. There’s also a reversing camera system, cruise control, speed limiter, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, plus safety systems such as collision avoidance assist and pedestrian/cyclist recognition.

The 3 adds 18-inch wheels, privacy glass and LED indicator lights on the door mirrors. Inside, there’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, along with front seats that are heated and have electrical lumbar adjustment.

The range-topping GT-Line S gets a 12.3-inch driver’s digital display, plus a 10.25-inch central touchscreen. Other goodies include special 18-inch wheels, a bespoke body kit, a panoramic sunroof, black leather and suede seats that are heated front and rear, a powered tailgate, an upgraded JBL sound system and a wireless phone charger.

The interior is perfectly decent, but compared to newer Kia models, such as the Niro, Sportage and EV6, it looks dated up front where there’s a curvy instrument binnacle and separate centre touchscreen instead of the merged panoramic, dual 12.3-inch screens.

Kia XCeed

That said, the XCeed’s infotainment system is a perfectly good and intuitively laid out display, while the interior itself is well put together with plenty of soft-touch surfaces.

The driving position is comfortable and there are no complaints in the visibility department.

There’s ample space in the cabin for adults front and rear. Boot capacity is 426 litres with the seats up and 1,378 litres with them folded down, though the PHEV’s boot is smaller at only 291 litres (1,243 litres in total).

We tested the plug-in hybrid and petrol versions of the new XCeed.

Kia XCeed

The entry-level 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engined car (badged T-GDI) develops 158bhp and can sprint from 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds (top speed 129mph).

Economy is up to 44.8mpg, while CO2 emissions are 143g/km. Drive sensibly and 45-48mpg is quite possible.

The engine itself is punchy, but vocal when pushed. That said, it settles down nicely on the motorway, while the six-speed manual shifts well.

The steering is light and accurate, body lean is well controlled and overall the XCeed is agile and delivers a decent drive.

Kia XCeed

Some may find the suspension a little on the stiff side and it’s not the most sophisticated of rides on poorer surfaces, but it feels planted and it’s more dynamic than you might think.

The PHEV combines a 1.6-litre petrol with a 8.9kWh battery and electric motor (producing a combined 139bhp) mated with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

With a top speed of 99mph, it takes 10.6 seconds to sprint to 60mph and offers up to 30 miles in electric-only mode.

In theory it can return as much as 200mpg. The reality is that your economy will depend on your journey lengths and whether you keep the battery charged up.

Kia XCeed

Drive with the battery depleted on longer journeys and you’re looking at closer to 40mpg.

Crucially, especially for business users who get tax benefits, tailpipe CO2 emissions are just 32g/km.

The XCeed PHEV is generally more refined than its ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) sibling. The hybrid system itself is smooth and switches between petrol and electric, and vice versa, almost seamlessly.

It feels planted on the road and zips along surprisingly swiftly in Sport mode, while the six-speed auto box is particularly slick.

Kia XCeed

Yes, you heard right, the XCeed PHEV isn’t afflicted with a CVT gearbox like most plug-in hybrids, so no high-revving din under heavy acceleration.

More comfortable than sporty, spirited drivers will find body lean well controlled in more challenging corners.

It’s also worth noting that the XCeed PHEV can (unusually for a car of its size and type) tow a braked trailer of up to 1,300kg.

Verdict: The refreshed Kia XCeed is better than ever. Whether you go for a straight petrol or the plug-in hybrid version, it’s more comfortable than engaging, but still a great all-round package. Add the affordable price and generous seven-year warranty and it’s no wonder it’s been selling so well.

Kia UK

MG5 EV review

MG5 EV

We road test the facelifted MG5 – currently the only fully electric estate car on sale in the UK…

Cards on table time – I’m a big fan of the MG5 EV. When I reviewed the original version in 2021, I concluded that it “may not be the sexiest estate car on the market today, but it does offer honest, practical, electric motoring at an affordable price”.

I stand by that, and I’m pleased to say that MG has worked wonders with the new version, so it’s better than ever.

The ‘5’ has been a big success, helping to deliver record-breaking sales for the “UK’s fastest-growing mainstream car brand”. It’s also won several prestigious awards.

MG5 EV

So, what’s new about the 2022 MG5? Well, an extensive exterior makeover has transformed the car from dowdy to attractive.

It now has a sleeker appearance and features an updated interior complete with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system, capable of supporting iSMART connected car functionality through MG’s dedicated smartphone app.

The new MG5 EV can now tow up to 500Kg and is also equipped with Vehicle-To-Load (V2L) capability, meaning it can power other electric devices such as camping equipment using the energy stored in the battery.

MG5 EV

Priced from £30,995, it’s offered in two specs – SE Long Range or Trophy Long Range.

Both are identical mechanically – the latter simply comes with more goodies, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and rear privacy glass.

That’s not to say the that the SE isn’t well equipped – a 10.25-inch centre touchscreen, 7.0-inch digital driver’s display, MG Pilot (an extensive suite of safety and driver assistance features), plus automatic LED headlights and tail-lights, roof rails, rear parking camera and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are all standard.

MG5 EV

And if safety is a priority, then you’re in for a treat. The MG Pilot suite includes AEB (autonomous emergency braking), adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and automatic headlights.

Featuring a 61.1kWh battery which powers a 154bhp electric motor on the front axle, it has an official range of 250 miles. Top speed is 115mph and it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 7.7 seconds.

More importantly for some, it’s incredibly practical. There’s plenty of room inside for up to five passengers, with two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points in the back.

MG5 EV

The large boot, accessed via a wide tailgate opening, delivers a maximum 578 litres of capacity (loaded to the roof), rising to 1,367 litres with the 60:40 rear seats folded down.

Compared to the outgoing model, the cabin now feels more modern, and it’s well put together, but there is still a fair amount of hard black plastic up high.

Slip inside and it’s immediately obvious that the MG5 sits much lower than most EVs, which tend to be SUVs or taller hatchbacks.

MG5 EV

It’s also a doddle to drive with an intuitively laid out dashboard and controls. Just select ‘D’ on the dial in the centre console and you’re off.

Light steering and good visibility help in town, while longer journeys are effortless, relaxing and refined.

There’s a choice of Eco, Normal and Sport, but I found that Eco was just fine for everyday driving. There are also three levels of regenerative braking to choose from, so adding the odd mile when coasting, braking or on downhill stretches is very possible.

Feeling faster than the official acceleration figure suggests, it’s more than capable of surprising other drivers off the line.

MG5 EV

However, it’s no match for a conventionally powered estate like a Ford Focus in the handling department. Thanks to its soft suspension, there’s some body lean in faster corners, and it can become a little unsettled if pushed hard on more challenging roads.

But then, the MG5 isn’t meant to compete with established performance estates – it’s all about value for money and zero emissions.

The MG5 can be fully charged overnight at home or to 80% at a 50kW fast charger in 50 minutes (or in 40 minutes via a 100kW rapid charger).

MG5 EV

As with all EVs, real world range drops by around 20%, so I’d say close on 200 miles is realistic, which is more than enough for most drivers.

And like all MG models, there’s peace of mind too because it comes with a seven-year/80,000-mile warranty.

Verdict: The new, improved MG5 electric estate is better than ever. A stylish, facelifted exterior and new infotainment system inside make it even more appealing than before. Add practicality, comfort, a decent range and a generous warranty, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be on everyone’s affordable family car shortlist.

MG Motor UK