Record number of vehicles on UK roads

Motorway traffic

The number of vehicles on our roads reached a record 41.4 million in 2023, according to the latest SMMT figures.

The new Motorparc data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that car ownership was up 1.6% to 35,694,845.

There were also record numbers of commercial vehicles, with 625,873 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and 5,012,632 vans in operation, up by 1.7% and 2.6% respectively.

Despite the rise, average car CO2 dropped 2.1%. In fact, one in 40 of all vehicles on UK roads is now zero emission, including 960,896 cars, 61,161 vans, 2,383 HGVs and 1,922 buses.

Kia EV9 review

Almost half a million new battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles were registered during 2023.

BEV van volumes rose by 43.5% on 2022 to 61,161, meaning 1.2% of vans on UK roads is now zero emission, while electric HGVs rose 146.4% in 2023.

Elsewhere in the SMMT data, the five most popular cars on UK roads in 2023 were the Ford Fiesta (1,487,925), Vauxhall Corsa (1,050,579), Ford Focus (1,049,818), Volkswagen Golf (1,004,152) and Vauxhall Astra (715,647 ).

Continuing their domination, superminis remain the most popular car type on roads, with one in three drivers choosing these more compact vehicles to get around.

And despite the fact that the UK is the fifth rainiest country in Europe, convertibles account for almost one in 35 cars on the road, with 1,022,849 in use.

Best Michelin Green Star restaurants for EV drivers

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

PEUGEOT E-308 and the Michelin Green Star winner

Peugeot UK has revealed the Top 10 Michelin Green Star restaurants for electric vehicle drivers.

The winners of the prestigious Michelin Green Star Award have been ranked according to the quality of the nearby charging infrastructure, and the number of cities within the 257-mile range of the Peugeot E-308.

First introduced in 2021, the Michelin Green Star is an annual award that highlights restaurants within the Michelin Guide that are at the forefront of sustainable practices in the kitchen.

All the winners offer dining experiences that combine culinary excellence with outstanding eco-friendly commitments.

Apricity in London’s Mayfair topped the list. It can be reached from 12 of the 15 major cities of the UK using the full range of the E-308. Drivers of the model can also benefit from 100kW DC rapid charging, which will power the battery from 20-80% in less than 25 minutes.

Drivers heading to the capital can also enjoy an extensive EV charging network. Apricity has an impressive 650 charging points within just a mile of the award-winning restaurant. The contemporary British restaurant is praised by the guide for its low-waste cooking and sustainable food sourcing.

London locations took the top four spots of the rankings. In second place came St Barts in the City of London, in third is Silo in Hackney Wick, and fourth place went to Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond-upon-Thames.

Wilsons in Bristol placed fifth in the Peugeot rankings and was the highest ranking of the Michelin Green Star list outside of London.

Check Also


Ford Puma

Revealed: UK’s Top 10 best-selling new cars

New car registrations rose 14.0% to 84,886 during February – the best performance for the …

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

We get behind the wheel of the much-anticipated 100% electric version of the Vauxhall Astra…

The family favourite that is the Vauxhall Astra was originally launched way back in 1980.

Available as a hatchback or rakish Sports Tourer (estate), the eighth-generation model was introduced in 2022.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Initially offered as a petrol or plug-in hybrid (PHEV), it’s arguably the new pure electric version that’s the most intriguing.

One thing is for sure, it has to be good because it’s up against some stiff EV opposition from the likes of the MG4, Volkswagen ID.4, Renault Megane E-Tech Electric, Cupra Born and quirky Ora Funky Cat (GWM Ora 03).

Low-slung and sleek, it features Vauxhall’s modern new ‘Vizor’ front end which houses LED headlights, sensors for the driver aids and safety technologies, plus the bold new Griffin logo.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Based on the same platform as its Stellantis cousin (the Peugeot e-308), it’s the best-looking Astra ever.

I particularly approve of the long bonnet complete with crease running down the middle – a nod to classic Vauxhalls.

The Astra Electric has a 54kWh battery paired with a 154bhp electric motor powering the front wheels. It can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and has a claimed range of 258 miles (256 miles for the Sports Tourer).

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Frankly, it feels quicker off the mark than the official figures suggest. Either way, it’s more than enough performance for everyday driving.

There are three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport). Eco dulls the throttle response which helps to maximise range, Sport ramps up the power, while Normal offers the best of both worlds.

Vauxhall says the Astra Electric’s heat pump means the electric motor can operate at maximum efficiency in hot or cold weather, and I got pretty close to the claimed 4.2 miles per kWh during my spell behind the wheel.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

I’d have to spend a week or so with the car to work out how efficient it really is, but I’d estimate the Astra Electric has a real-world range of around 200 miles – more in city driving.

If you have a home wallbox, the battery will charge to 100% overnight. Hook it up to a 100kW public rapid charger and it will boost the battery from 20-80% in just 26 minutes.

Sadly there are no paddles on the steering wheel to adjust brake regeneration, but you can flick the gear selector to B-mode for more aggressive brake regen.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Priced from £37,445, there are three trim levels – Design, GS and Ultimate.

The cabin of the Astra Electric has a more conventional look than many of its EV-only competitors, but it’s attractive, if a little dark.

It’s also well put together, but there are very few soft-touch surfaces and the materials used are by no means plush.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

That said, it’s comfortable, uncluttered and space is OK, while the slick new infotainment set-up, with its 10-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch central display, is intuitive and works well.

It’s fairly minimalist, but thankfully there are some short-cut buttons below the centre touchscreen, so accessing the heating, for instance, doesn’t involve tapping the touchscreen.

Additionally, there’s ‘Hey Vauxhall’ voice recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus an impressive list of safety and driver assistance features.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

If I had one quibble, it would be that I’d prefer a lower seating position – a common problem in EVs.

It’s also tighter for space in the back for adult-sized passengers, while boot capacity is an average 352 litres in the hatch (516 litres for the Sports Tourer), expanding to 1,268 litres (1,553 litres) with the rear seats folded.

The Astra Electric is easy to drive and handles well, offering a composed, if slightly firm ride.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

There’s a little bit of road and wind noise on motorways, but for the most part it’s refined and comfortable on all but the poorest surfaces. Naturally, the Sports Tourer feels more substantial than the hatch, but it’s still agile and nicely balanced – despite weighing nearly 50kg more.

There’s some fun to be had in the Astra Electric, but it would be an exaggeration to call it dynamic and engaging. When pushed in Sport mode on more challenging roads, body roll is kept in check and there’s good grip, partly down to the balanced weight distribution and the positioning of the battery in the vehicle’s underbody.

Additionally, the steering is light, making it a doddle in town, but just like the Corsa Electric, the brakes aren’t very progressive.

Ultimately, the Astra Electric is a sensible family-sized introduction to electric motoring.

Verdict: The Vauxhall Astra Electric is stylish, straightforward, practical and easy to drive. However, some rivals offer a longer range for less money.

Vauxhall UK

New drivers plan to spend £4,000 on their first car

Gareth Herincx

17 hours ago
Auto News

Young-Driver-driving-lesson

Newly qualified drivers plan on spending £4,124 on their first car, according to new research.

Pre-17 driving experts at Young Driver surveyed 500 of its customers, who will soon turn 17, to find out what their plans are when they pass their driving test.

Almost two thirds of the respondents (64%) said the new driver would have their own car when they passed their test – with 8% already having one lined up. One in three (29%) said the new driver would solely have use of their parent’s car to begin with. Only 3% would have no access to a vehicle.

When asked how much they were likely to spend on a new car, only 4% said they planned on forking out more than £10,000. Seven per cent were looking at cars under £1,000, with the average amount, from all the responses, being £4,124.

In 60% of cases the car would be bought by a parent or other family member, and for 40% it would be the driver themselves.

A car dealership was the most popular way of securing a new car, with 36% saying that is how they would purchase a vehicle, closely followed by 35% looking online. One in 10 (11%) plan to get a car from friends or family.

Of the new drivers who will be getting a car, the Young Driver research revealed that:

  • 98% will get a used vehicle
  • 84% will get a petrol
  • 12% will get a diesel
  • 4% will get an electric
  • 92% will get a manual

Young Driver launched in 2009 and specialises in teaching 10-17 year olds how to drive, with the aim of creating a safer next generation of drivers.

Check Also



Five most common driving offences revealed

Speeding remains the most common offence on British roads with almost 200,000 people caught between …

Smart #1 review

Smart #1 review

We get up to speed with the first of a new generation of Smart cars – the awkwardly-titled #1…

The Smart #1 compact SUV is the first fruit of a new joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Chinese giant Geely, which also owns Volvo, Polestar and Lotus.

Sharing a platform with the upcoming Volvo EX30, the #1 (pronounced ‘hashtag one’) is a class act and about the same size as a MINI Countryman, Volkswagen ID.3 or Peugeot 2008.

Smart #1 review

Clearly a departure from the iconic city car, the Fortwo, the #1 is likely to transform Smart into a serious player in the EV sector.

Of course, it’s no stranger to electric vehicles. An EV version of the Fortwo was first introduced way back in 2008 and the Smart range has been 100% electric since 2019.

Already crowned Best Small SUV at 2023 What Car? EV Awards, the boldly styled #1 is distinctive, though its rear has a hint of a scaled down Mercedes-Benz EQB.

Smart #1 review

There’s also plenty of scope for personalisation with a wide range of colour and ‘floating’ roof colour combinations.

The clever design continues inside the surprisingly spacious cabin where there’s a quality, slightly quirky feel, and it’s loaded with tech.

As is the trend (unfortunately), the Smart #1 is minimalist up front with just about everything controlled via the 12.8-inch central infotainment screen (Apple CarPlay is integrated, but Android Auto is yet to come).

Smart #1 review

Additionally, all Smart #1s also get a slim 9.2-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster for info such as speed, plus a head-up display is also available on more expensive models.

Thankfully, there are useful shortcuts along the bottom of the main touchscreen, for essentials such as climate control, but you can’t even adjust the wing mirrors without having to access the touchscreen.

On the plus side, the menu structure is intuitive and the screen is responsive. What’s more, the system will save your profile, so it will remember your individual settings every time you drive the car.

Smart #1 review

Personalising settings takes a while, but once you switched off irritating things like Driver Exhaustion Alert, Steering Wheel Re-Centring and Lane Assist, you’re well on your way.

Oh, and there’s also an animated fox lurking on the infotainment screen. It’s a fun face for the voice assistant, and you’ll either find it cute or annoying.

Awarded a maximum five stars in crash testing by Euro NCAP, the #1 is packed with the latest safety and driver assistance systems.

Smart says the #1 has the same interior space as a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and I don’t doubt it for a moment. There’s plenty of head and leg room throughout and the 60:40 split rear seats recline and slide backwards and forwards.

Smart #1 review

Boot capacity is not best-in-class, ranging between 273 – 411 litres (up to 986 litres with the rear seats flipped), though there is a tiny 15-litre ‘frunk’ under the bonnet.

Competitively priced from £35,950, there are two Smart #1 specs (Pro and Premium) and both get a 66kWh battery pack and a 268bhp motor that drives the rear wheels with 253lb-ft of torque.

Pro models get a reasonable 260-mile range, while Premium is capable of up to 273 miles thanks to the addition of a heat pump and other tech tweaks.

Smart #1 review

Both accelerate from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds, while 150kW charging speed means a 10-80% top-up takes as little as 30 minutes.

The Smart #1 is rapid enough as it is, but if you want serious performance, then opt for the range-topping Brabus #1.

Starting at £43,450, this hot all-wheel drive version gets an extra electric motor, develops a huge 422bhp and is capable of 0-62mph in a savagely fast 3.9 seconds. The downside is that the range in the heavier Brabus #1 drops to 248 miles.

Smart #1 review

We tested the Smart #1 Premium and it’s swift, smooth and refined with some of the best road manners in its class. The ride is on the firm side, but it still manages to iron out all but the poorest of surfaces, while wind and road noise are well contained.

Staying surprisingly flat in faster corners, it hides its 1,800kg weight well. Grip levels are impressive too, though it could get a little playful if you floor it in the wet.

It feels especially agile in town, and thanks to a tight turning circle of 11 metres and good visibility, it’s easy to manoeuvre.

Smart #1 review

The Smart #1 is fun on faster, twisty roads, but at its best cruising smoothly.

You can choose between three driving modes – Eco, Comfort and Sport. As ever, Comfort is best for everyday driving. In fact, only throttle response, steering weight and the regenerative brake level are altered anyway.

Like many EVs, the brakes aren’t the most progressive, and the brake regen was a tad fierce for my liking.

Talking of gripes, the driving position is on the high side, but then that’s generally the case with SUVs – particularly electric ones with a battery pack underneath.

Smart #1 review

It’s hard to assess the Smart #1’s real-world range based on a day of driving, but it held its charge well and at least 200 miles would be a reasonable expectation – maybe closer to 240-250 miles in the city.

So, while it may not have a 300-mile range, it’s quick to charge, which means that longer journeys are still a realistic proposition. That said, I suspect the majority of #1s will spend most of their time in urban environments anyway.

Finally, the Smart #1 comes with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty, plus an Integrated Service Package which includes maintenance and MOT, and vehicle wear and tear items for three years/30,000 miles.

Verdict: The Smart #1 small SUV is one of our favourite EVs in the £35-£40,000 price bracket. Swift, spacious and safe, it has a classy, funky feel and delivers an engaging drive.

Smart UK