British-built Nissan Qashqai was UK’s bestselling car in 2022

Gareth Herincx

13 hours ago
Auto News

Gold-wrapped Nissan Qashqai

The Nissan Qashqai was the UK’s most popular new car of 2022, and the first British-built model to top the annual sales charts for 24 years.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) confirm that the home-grown Qashqai – which was designed in Paddington, engineered in Cranfield and is built in Sunderland – was the nation’s best-selling car of the last 12 months.

A total of 42,704 new Qashqais were driven off dealership forecourts across the UK in 2022, reported the SMMT.

To celebrate the achievement, an exclusive gold-wrapped Qashqai was created in honour of the 7,000 Nissan employees from around the UK that have contributed to its success.

  1. Nissan Qashqai – 42,704
  2. Vauxhall Corsa – 35,910
  3. Tesla Model Y – 35,551
  4. Ford Puma – 35,088
  5. Mini – 32, 387
  6. Kia Sportage – 29,655
  7. Hyundai Tucson – 27,839
  8. Volkswagen Golf – 26,588
  9. Ford Kuga – 26,549
  10. Ford Fiesta – 25,070

Overall, 1.61 million new cars were registered in the UK in 2022 – the lowest level since 1992.

Although demand for new vehicles remained high, manufacturers struggled to get hold of parts. There were particularly serious problems obtaining semiconductors, which are used in a vast array of electronic systems, from infotainment systems to engine management.

Meanwhile, demand for electric vehicles continued to grow and they accounted for almost a fifth of new car sales.

Registrations rose from 190,700 to 267,000 – with the EV market share climbing from 11.6% to 16.6%.

The Tesla Model Y was the biggest-selling electric vehicle by far, nothing up 35,551 registrations, followed by the Tesla Model 3 (19,071) and Kia Niro (11,197).

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2022 Ford Focus review

Ford Focus review

We road test the new, improved version of the popular Ford Focus – now with mild hybrid assistance available…

The current fourth generation of the Ford Focus five-door family hatchback and estate was launched in 2018 and has just been treated to a mid-life makeover.

Gaining bolder looks, an updated infotainment system and more advanced driver assistance technology, a mild hybrid system is also on offer for the first time.

The update couldn’t have come sooner because the Focus has been slipping down the sales charts as buyers switch to crossovers and fully electric/hybrid cars.

Ford Focus review

It’s also facing serious competition from newer rivals such as the Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 308, Seat Leon, Mazda 3, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf.

As before, the freshly facelifted Focus is also available as a sporty ST variant or a rufty-tufty Active version which bridges the gap between conventional family cars and SUVs. 

Priced from £22,965, there’s now a choice of three engines – two petrol and one diesel. The three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol unit, so familiar to Fiesta and Puma owners, is available with outputs of 123bhp or 153bhp. 

Ford Focus review

Mild-hybrid tech is offered as an option on the less powerful version, and included as standard on the higher-output version, helping to boost both performance and efficiency. A choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic are available on both too. 

Accelerating to 60mph takes 10.2 seconds in the 123bhp car, or just 8.2 seconds on the more powerful mild hybrid model. The latter is the most efficient, returning a decent 54.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of 116g/km. 

If performance is more important to you, then go for the Focus ST hot hatch, which benefits from a 2.3-litre petrol engine delivering 276bhp and a 0-60mph time of just 5.7 seconds.

Ford Focus review

High-mileage drivers still have the option of a diesel – a 118bhp 1.5-litre unit that comes with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. 

A 9.6-second 0-60mph sprint time is possible, while Ford claims an impressive 61.4mpg fuel economy figure (CO2 emissions as low as 120g/km).

My test car came in high spec ST-Line Vignale trim and was fitted with the 153bhp version of Ford’s punchy 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine, paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Ford Focus review

The refreshed front end adds kerb appeal to the Focus, while overall it has a more athletic stance. The sporty ST-Line models look especially good with a body kit that includes a rear diffuser and spoiler. 

The interior has been smartened up too with all trim levels getting the much improved SYNC 4 13.2-inch landscape-oriented touchscreen infotainment system.

Even though it now incorporates the car’s heating and ventilation controls, it’s slick, colourful and easy to use. Every Focus also now comes with digital dials.

Advanced driver assistance technologies include Blind Spot Assist which can help prevent a driver switching lanes if a potential collision is detected.

Ford Focus review

Before I proceed, let’s just be clear that the 48-volt mild hybrid system used in the Focus is pretty basic. Unlike plug-in and full hybrids, it cannot drive the car alone. 

Instead, it boosts engine acceleration and aids fuel economy (though that’s marginal), and it drives just like an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car, so no plugging in to charge the small battery.

However, when rivals such as the all-new Vauxhall Astra and Peugeot 308 are available as plug-in hybrids (with all-electric versions to follow in 2023), the Focus is barely keeping up and will lose out in the all-important business sector where lower CO2 levels means big tax benefits.

Ford Focus review

That said, there are plenty of drivers who are not ready (or can’t) make the switch to plug-in and electric vehicles, or simply prefer conventional cars for now, so there is still a place for the Focus.

And here’s the thing – I’ve driven dozens of full hybrid, plug-in hybrid, 100% electric vehicles (EVs) and SUVs with indifferent dynamics, so the Focus’s blend of driver engagement and practicality is a real treat.

Not only does it look the part, but there’s plenty of space inside for five adults, plus the boot is a competitively sized 375 litres (rising to 1,354 litres with the rear seats folded). There’s also a lovely low driving position should you want it – an impossibility in most EVs and SUVs.

Ford Focus review

Then there’s the famed handling characteristics of the Ford Focus. It’s fun to drive, feeling agile and planted with sharp steering and loads of grip.

Push it in faster corners and where some rivals will become unsettled, the Focus takes it in its stride.

That’s not all, the lively little engine punches way above its weight, providing ample power, the slick six-speed manual gearbox is an absolute joy to use and the brakes are reassuringly reactive.

Ford Focus review

The ride is on the firm side, but not uncomfortably so, while the build quality is hard to fault and cabin refinement is excellent.

Three selectable drive modes – normal, sport and eco – add to the overall driving experience.

Verdict: The Ford Focus is a fantastically well sorted car. Fun to drive, stylish, practical, comfortable, economical, and now featuring a  bang up to date infotainment system, it’s still one of the best family hatchbacks on the market.

Ford UK

Vauxhall Corsa leading the charge

Gareth Herincx

23 hours ago
Auto News

Vauxhall-Corsa-e

The Vauxhall Corsa was the best-selling car in the UK during May, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The supermini, which is available with petrol and diesel engines, plus an all-electric powertrain, is also the most popular car this year so far with a total of 17,198 registrations, closely followed by the Ford Puma (15,426).

However, May represented yet another month of decline for new car registrations, falling by 20.6% to 124,394 units, thanks mainly to the shortage of computer chips which is affecting vehicle production globally.

On the plus side, sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs or EVs) rose by 17.7%, representing one in eight new cars joining the road last month.

Top 10 best-selling cars (May 2022)

Vauxhall Corsa – 4,399
Ford Puma – 3,580
Ford Kuga – 3,379
Volkswagen Golf – 2,623
Mini – 2,538
Nissan Qashqai – 2,261
Kia Sportage – 2,260
Kia Niro – 2,258
Volkswagen Polo – 2,118
Hyundai Tucson – 2,094

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Hyundai Bayon review

Hyundai Bayon review

We road test the newest addition to Hyundai’s growing family – the Bayon baby SUV…

I feel a bit sorry for the Hyundai Bayon. Not only has it been saddled with a name* which means nothing to most UK buyers, but it was introduced at around the same time as Hyundai’s acclaimed Ioniq 5 EV and Tucson SUV.

In other words, this worthy compact crossover – which will do battle with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Seat Arona, Ford Puma, Renault Captur and Skoda Kamiq – missed out on the launch limelight.

First impressions are mixed. Let’s be charitable and describe the design as bold. A huge grille sits below thin headlights, there are sharp creases down the side and it has an angular rear end with tall tail-lights and a thin horizontal light bar.

Hyundai Bayon review

Inside, it’s much the same as the i20 hatchback, the car on which the Bayon is based. The dashboard is attractive enough and sensibly laid out with top versions getting a pair of clear and crisp 10.25-inch digital screens – a digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel and a central touchscreen which takes care of media, navigation and car settings.

Naturally, it’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible, while Hyundai’s BlueLink smartphone app allows owners to connect with the car remotely, checking its location, status and sending routes to the sat nav for their next journey.

The Bayon range is priced from £20,530 and there are three trim levels offered: SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate.

Hyundai Bayon review

There’s only one engine available – a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol (99bhp or 118bhp) with the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.

The engine has 48-volt mild hybrid assistance and the more powerful version paired with the auto gearbox is capable of a 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds and a top speed of 115mph. Fuel consumption is as high as 53.3mpg, while CO2 emissions are as low as 119g/km.

My 118bhp test car in Ultimate spec came with a six-speed manual transmission and a ticket price of £24,780.

Hyundai Bayon review

Top trim means there’s plenty of kit, including black gloss door mirrors, two-tone black roof, keyless entry and a Bose sound system, on top of the rear view camera, privacy glass, heated front seats and steering wheel found on entry-level models.

There’s lots of safety and driver assistance equipment too including AEB (autonomous emergency braking), Blind Spot Collison Warning and Lane Follow Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and automatic high beams. Ford the record, it achieved a creditable four out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.

The Bayon is surprisingly spacious inside with room for two adults in the back, though space for your feet below the front seats is limited. The boot is a reasonable 334 litres, expanding to 1,205 litres with the rear seats flipped down, and there are smaller storage spaces dotted around the cabin.

Hyundai Bayon review

My only gripe is that there’s too much scratchy, hard plastic used around the cabin.

I’m glad I was able to try the clever manual gearbox, which is marketed as an intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT).

Apparently, there’s no physical link between the clutch pedal and the clutch and it allows the engine to switch off temporarily while coasting, reducing emissions and saving fuel.

The system seems to work well enough on the move, though sometimes there is a hesitation with the stop-start when engaging first gear in slow moving traffic.

That said, the clutch is light, and the gear lever has a pleasant short throw, even if it is a bit notchy at times.

Hyundai Bayon review

The engine is more punchy than the performance figures suggest, and more importantly for many, it’s smooth and refined when up to speed.

You can choose between three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport). Eco is fine for motorway runs on cruise control (50mpg is achievable), but Normal is the best all-rounder and will do just fine, because Sport simply adds weight to the steering.

With its light controls and raised driving position, the Bayon makes sense as an urban crossover choice.

It would be wrong to call its firm ride sophisticated, but it’s comfortable enough.

Hyundai Bayon review

It’s light up front, so grip level is moderate in the wet or on a loose surface, but overall it handles well and body control is decent. So, while it’s not as engaging to drive as some rivals, it ticks plenty of boxes for most buyers.

Verdict: The Hyundai Bayon is an honest, competitively priced, boldly-styled new entrant in the busy compact crossover segment. Well equipped, easy to drive, practical and economical, it comes with an appealing five-year unlimited mileage warranty.

*Just so you know, the Bayon name is inspired by Bayonne, the capital of the French Basque country in the south-west of France.

Hyundai UK

Britain’s bestselling cars of 2021

Home / Auto News / Britain’s bestselling cars of 2021

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

The final figures are in and the Vauxhall Corsa was the the UK’s most popular car in 2021, deposing the Ford Fiesta after 12 consecutive years at the top of the charts.

Not only is the Corsa available with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, but there’s also an affordable pure electric version (badged Corsa-e) with a range of up to 209 miles.

Latest data from the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) showed that 305,000 plug-in vehicles (electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids) were sold last year, accounting for 18.6% of overall market share.

Electric vehicles accounted for 11.6% of the market, or 190,727 cars, meaning that more EVs were registered last year than over the previous five years combined, with the Tesla Model 3 leading the charge.

The overall UK car market only improved fractionally, thanks to the global semiconductor shortage and COVID. In 2020, 1.63 million cars were sold, while in 2021 it was 1.65 million.

  1. Vauxhall Corsa
    2021 registrations: 40,914
    2020 ranking: 2nd (up 1 place)
  2. Tesla Model 3
    2021 registrations: 34,783
    2020 ranking: 14th (up 12 places)
  3. MINI Hatch
    2021 registrations: 31,792
    2020 ranking: 7th (up 4 places)
  4. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
    2021 registrations: 30,710
    2020 ranking: 5th (up 1 place)
  5. Volkswagen Polo
    2021 registrations: 30,634
    2020 ranking: 8th (up 3 places)
  6. Volkswagen Golf
    2021 registrations: 30,240
    2020 ranking: 3rd (down 3 places)
  7. Nissan Qashqai
    2021 registrations: 29,992
    2020 ranking: 6th (down 1 place)
  8. Ford Puma
    2021 registrations: 28,697
    2020 ranking: 9th (up 1 place)
  9. Kia Sportage
    2021 registrations: 27,611
    2020 ranking: 16th (up 7 places)
  10. Toyota Yaris
    2021 registrations: 27,415
    2020 ranking: 15th (up 5 places)

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Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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