Renault opens pop-up store at London’s Westfield Shopping Centre

Gareth Herincx

32 mins ago
Auto News

Renault pop-up store Westfield Shopping Centre

Visitors to the Renault store at Europe’s largest indoor shopping mall will be able to test drive a trio of electrified E-Tech models.

The ‘Car of the Year 2024’ – the Scenic E-Tech 100% electric – the Megane E-Tech 100% electric and Austral E-Tech full hybrid will all be available until July 28.

New Renault 5

As well as the model display, there will be one of the first public outings of the much-anticipated pure electric Renault 5, a dedicated games and activity area, merchandise and a French patisserie.

Those interested in taking a test drive can book their slot in advance. Once they have completed their test drive, they will then receive up to six hours of free parking at the venue.

“Renault Scenic E-Tech 100% electric and our wider electrified E-Tech range are designed for modern living, combining optimum space and usability with style, high levels of connectivity and a fun driving experience,” said David Isherwood, Marketing Director, Renault UK.

“Making them conveniently available during people’s visits to Westfield Shopping Centre demonstrates just how easily they can fit into their lifestyle and allows all the family to enjoy the experience of electrified driving.”

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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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Toyota Corolla reports for duty with UK police

Gareth Herincx

55 mins ago
Auto News

Toyota Corolla police patrol car

The Toyota Corolla is a proud new recruit to the UK’s police – tailor-made and ready for duty as a reliable and durable patrol car that also offers the fuel and emissions efficiency benefits of hybrid power.

A dedicated team at Toyota’s Special Vehicle Operations Division in Burnaston, Derbyshire carried out the conversion work on the Touring Sports hybrid model.

To ensure the finished vehicle is fit for the job, the Police Authority Specification Corolla was subjected to extensive testing, including the Metropolitan Police’s own rigorous test programme, which it passed with flying colours.

The British-built vehicle is now available to police forces across the UK and two versions are offered – the 1.8-litre Active and the 2.0-litre Icon.

Toyota Corolla police patrol car

Key features of the police-specification vehicle include: –

  • Enhanced safety: built-in satellite navigation, parking sensors and a dog guard for the load compartment
  • Roof-mounted lightbar, exterior and interior illumination
  • Secondary battery equipment and control systems built to withstand impact forces
  • Additional features include siren, radio system support and livery options

Richard Kenworthy, TMUK Managing Director, said: “We have worked with all divisions of Toyota in the UK and various constabularies, which has enabled us to build on their feedback and requirements.

“Ensuring that we applied standard Toyota practices for the work means we have been able to deliver a vehicle that meets the police forces’ stringent requirements.

“The adoption of Corolla by the police is testament to the efforts our employees invest in every vehicle that comes off our production line. We are proud that our Corolla is now one of the vehicles of choice for the police.”

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Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

We road test the first plug-in hybrid from Honda – the all-new CR-V e:PHEV…

 The Honda CR-V started off life as a pioneering family-friendly SUV way back in 1995. The Comfortable Runabout Vehicle’ is now in its sixth generation, and as a sign of the times, it’s now only available as a full hybrid (badged e:HEV) or plug-in hybrid (e:PHEV).

Such is the popularity of crossovers, the list of rivals for the CR-V is enormous these days, and includes the Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage, Ford Kuga, Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Tucson.

Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

Wider, longer and taller than the previous generation car, we reckon the latest Honda CR-V is the best proportioned model yet with its chiselled lines and sporty stance.

It feels roomy and light as soon as you step into the cabin, while the driving position provides a commanding view of the road.

It’s comfortable too, with standard eight-way electrically adjustable leather seats, plus a useful memory function.

Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

The rear seats slide and recline, and offer excellent legroom, though taller adults may struggle for headroom, and there is no seven-seat option.

There is also a generous boot capacity of 617 litres, expanding to 1,710 litres with the 60/40 rear seats folded down.

The CR-V gets the same clear and responsive 9.0-inch central infotainment touchscreen as the latest Civic, which sits alongside a 10.2-inch digital driver’s display on the dashboard. Physical buttons and dials for items such as climate control are welcome too, and there’s also a head-up display for essential driving information.

Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

Other goodies include a multi-view camera system, Honda Parking Pilot, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, front cooling seats, premium Bose sound system and My Honda app connectivity.

The CR-V is also the first European model to get Honda’s latest safety and driver assist system which removes blind spots around the vehicle.

Overall, the cabin is well put together and it’s a step-up in terms of quality, but there are still a few too many plastics and hard surfaces.

Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

The Honda CR-V e:PHEV pairs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with a 17.7kWh battery and single electric motor, producing 181bhp.

It can travel in pure electric mode for up to 50 miles on a single charge, plus there’s a tow drive mode, which means it’s capable of pulling a decent 1.5 tonnes.

The 0-62mph sprint in the CR-V e:PHEV takes 9.4 seconds, while top speed is 121mph. In theory, it’s capable of 353mpg. The reality is that fuel economy will dip to a claimed 45.6mpg when the battery charge has been used up and it’s functioning more as a full hybrid.

Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

CO2 emissions are as low as 18g/km, which means lower VED, plus a tax benefit for company car drivers.

As with any plug-in hybrid, it’s most efficient when the battery is kept charged up. On shorter trips, impressive fuel economy is possible because the petrol engine is getting electric assistance from the battery, or its running in pure EV mode. However, on longer motorway journeys we found that it can dip below 40mpg.

That said, the 50-mile EV range is longer than most rivals, and driven sensibly diesel-equivalent economy overall is quite possible.

Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

There’s a choice of five drive modes: Sport, Normal, Econ, Snow and Tow.

Frankly, it’s just fine in Normal mode, but worth flicking into Econ when cruising or on motorways. We didn’t get the opportunity to try it in snow or tow mode, not did we take it off-road.

However, unlike the full hybrid CRV the e:PHEV is only available with front-wheel drive, so it will always have its limitations.

Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

There’s no shortage of power from the hybrid system and it’s smooth for the most part, with the petrol engine only becoming vocal when it kicks in under heavier acceleration.

The switch from electric to engine power (and vice versa) is seamless, and it’s particularly satisfying to see the EV light illuminate on the dashboard so often – sometimes when just cruising along.

With a maximum charging rate of 6.8kW, plugging the CR-V into a 7kW home charger will get you from 0-100% in around 2.5 hours.

The biggest different between this and the outgoing model is the new two-stage automatic gearbox, so no more high revs on acceleration like the old CVT transmission. It’s still not perfect, but a huge improvement.

On the road, the two-tonne CR-V feels substantial, so while it’s quick off the line, composed and refined, it’s not particularly nimble.

Honda CR-V e:PHEV review

Hustle it on more challenging roads and there’s a little body lean, but it’s manageable. Sport mode delivers a little extra performance and a firmer suspension for improved handling, but we’re not great fans of the accompanying fake exhaust note pumped through the cabin.

Oh, and if you’re heavy with your right foot it’s all too easy to spin the front wheels in wet or slippery conditions.

Ultimately, the CR-V Is easy to drive and more about comfort than driving dynamics.

It’s also a doddle to manoeuvre around town too, thanks to the numerous cameras and sensors.

Starting at £53,995, the plug-in hybrid CR-V is more expensive than the full hybrid (from £45,895), and whereas the latter is available in Elegance, Advance and Advance Tech trims, you can currently only order the e:PHEV in the top grade.

Verdict: The Honda CR-V e:PHEV is an impressive plug-in hybrid and a real step-up from the previous generation model. Spacious, safe, comfortable, practical and with a good EV range and hybrid economy, it ticks plenty of SUV boxes for families and business drivers.

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Revealed: The world’s most popular new car of 2023

Gareth Herincx

4 days ago
Auto News

Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y is on course to take the crown as the world’s best-selling vehicle of last year.

While a small number of countries are yet to release their sales figures for 2023, preliminary data collected by automotive analyst JATO Dynamics indicates that the Model Y is in an unassailable position with 1.23 million cars sold – a 64% increase year-on-year.

“The increase in global sales of the Model Y is unprecedented, particularly for a vehicle in the top ten best-sellers,” said Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics. “What Tesla has been able to achieve with the Model Y in such a short space of time is simply remarkable.”

Crucially, it topped sales in both Europe and China, the world’s two largest EV markets. According to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), more than 456,000 were registered in China alone – an increase of 45% from 2022.

All this means that 2023 will mark the end of Toyota’s recent dominance with the RAV4 and Corolla leading the way. However, both models lack pure electric options, with only hybrid alternatives on offer.

Despite this, the second best-selling vehicle in 2023 is set to be the Toyota RAV4, with 1.07 million registrations, pipping the Corolla in third place (1.01 million).

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Lexus LBX crowned ‘Car of the Year’

Home / Auto News / Lexus LBX crowned ‘Car of the Year’

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

Lexus LBX

The all-new Lexus LBX has been named What Car? Car of the Year for 2024. The stylish hybrid crossover also took home the Best Small SUV category award.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford, said: “The title of What Car? Car of the Year is reserved for the model that has moved things on the farthest in the past 12 months, and this year, that’s the Lexus LBX.

“Despite competing in the hugely competitive small SUV market, it’s a better all-rounder than every rival, not least because it’s the first car in the class to combine hybrid efficiency with big-car luxury.”

What Car? Car of the Year Winners 2024

  • Car of the Year: Lexus LBX
  • Small Car, sponsored by MotorEasy: Renault Clio 1.0 TCe 90 Techno
  • Family Car: Toyota Corolla 1.8 Hybrid Icon
  • Hot Hatch: Mercedes-AMG A45 S Plus
  • Small SUV, sponsored by Solera Cap HPI: Lexus LBX 1.5 Premium Plus
  • Family SUV, sponsored by Quotezone: Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi 3
  • Plug-in Hybrid: Mazda MX-30 R-EV Prime-Line
  • Small Electric Car, sponsored by Myenergi: MG4 EV SE
  • Executive Car: Tesla Model 3 RWD
  • Estate Car: Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 1.8 Hybrid Icon
  • Seven-seater: Land Rover Defender 110 D300 X-Dynamic S
  • Luxury Car: BMW X7 40d M Sport (Ultimate Pack)
  • Small Electric SUV, sponsored by Blackhorse Finance: Smart #1 Premium
  • Family Electric SUV, sponsored by Blackhorse Finance: Kia EV6
  • Reliability Award, in association with MotorEasy: Lexus
  • Safety Award, sponsored by Thatcham Research: Volkswagen ID 7
  • Technology Award, sponsored by Goodwood: Tesla Superchargers V4
  • Tow Car Award, in association with The Camping and Caravanning Club: Kia
  • Readers’ Choice Award: Renault 5

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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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