Kia has released new pictures of its 100% electric EV9 SUV undergoing rigorous testing ahead of its debut at the start of next year.
The EV9 will become the brand’s flagship model and Kia claims it will “revolutionise the large electric SUV segment”.
Developed over a period of 44 months at the Namyang research and development centre in South Korea, Kia says it will “set new standards in design, performance, range, driving dynamics, technology and comfort”.
First previewed in 2021 as the distinctive Concept EV9, it appears the show car’s imposing, boxy design, wraparound headlights and large glass area will make it over into the production vehicle.
The photos show the EV9 tackling various test tracks, including a cobbled surface that rigorously assesses ride comfort and build quality, a high-speed bowl and various off-road exercises.
In addition to the test programme at Namyang, like every Kia model, the EV9 has also been subjected to a punishing testing programme in locations all over the globe.
Nissan has scooped the prestigious Auto Express Car of the Year 2022 with its all-new pure electric Ariya.
British engineers at Nissan’s European technical team in Cranfield have played a big role in the development of the new Ariya, resulting in what judges describe as “a comfortable ride and superb refinement with impressive agility for a big car”.
The Ariya is Nissan’s second mass-market EV following its pioneering Leaf, arguably the EV that first made electric driving affordable.
The annual Auto Express Awards are “the most customer-focused car awards in the UK”, recommending models across categories that are set, like the judging criteria, following research into the wants and needs of real UK buyers.
As well as specific EV category wins, there was success for electric cars in traditional car categories, too. The new all-electric Fiat 500 scooped the best City Car trophy and the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric was named Best Company Car.
“The new Nissan Ariya is quite simply a fantastic new car – it just so happens to be an EV, too,” said Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief of Auto Express.
“It’s so cleverly thought through, buyers will find it really easy and enjoyable to live with, while it drives superbly, looks great and is the most premium-feeling Nissan we’ve ever seen.”
Auto Express Car of the Year 2022 winners
City Car of the Year – Fiat 500
Supermini of the Year – Renault Clio
Family Car of the Year – Dacia Jogger
Estate Car of the Year – Skoda Octavia Estate
Small Company Car of the Year – Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric
Mid-size Company Car of the Year – Nissan Ariya
Large Company Car of the Year – BMW 5 Series
Small SUV of the Year – Kia Niro
Mid-size SUV of the Year – Hyundai Tucson
Large SUV of the Year – Skoda Kodiaq
Small Premium SUV of the Year – Mercedes-Benz GLA
Mid-size Premium SUV of the Year – Lexus NX
Large Premium SUV of the Year – Land Rover Defender
Luxury Car of the Year – Range Rover
Hot Hatch of the Year – Hyundai i20 N
Coupé of the Year – BMW 2 Series
Convertible of the Year – MINI Convertible
Performance Car of the Year – Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
Affordable Electric Car of the Year – MG ZS EV
Premium Electric Car of the Year – BMW i4
Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year – Toyota Yaris
Premium Hybrid Car of the Year – Mercedes-Benz C 300 e
Red Bull F1 racing driver Max Verstappen has taken an all-new special edition Honda e for a test drive.
The reigning World Drivers’ Champion was impressed with the car’s zero emissions performance and eye-catching style as he manoeuvred through the tight and twisty streets of the medieval village of Dozza, just south of Bologna.
“The Honda e Limited Edition is simply lovely,” said Max. “It has funky looks, a compact design and is fun to drive. It’s a great electric urban vehicle.”
On sale from £38,120, the Honda e Limited Edition is based on the top spec ‘Advance’ grade. Restricted to only 50 cars across Europe, it is exclusively finished in Premium Crystal Red and unique 17-inch black alloys.
Honda’s 100% electric city car has received critical acclaim worldwide and has been praised for its innovative design and progressive technology.
It has won numerous awards, including World Urban Car of The Year and the Red Dot Design Awards.
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.
It’s safe to say that the all-new, all-electric Fiat 500 is one of the cutest and charming EVs on the market.
Fighting it out with the likes of the Honda E and MINI Electric in the zero emissions city car category, it’s available as a hatchback or convertible and is competitively priced from £20,995 to £30,995 (after the £2,500 UK Government grant).
The entry-level model comes with a small 24kW battery and a “city range” of up to 115 miles, while other versions get the bigger 42kW “long range” battery pack, capable of up to 199 miles.
Just as importantly, the 42kW Fiat 500 has significantly more range than its top rivals, yet is very comparable in price (from £25,995).
The 500’s grown up in more ways than one too, because not only is it packed with the latest tech, it’s also slightly bigger, while its retro cool design stays true to the first two generations of this iconic people’s car.
The electric motor paired with the 42kWh battery generates 118hp (95hp for the smaller 24kW) and acceleration is 0-62mph in nine seconds (9.5sec for the 24kW).
The new 500 isn’t as dinky as it was, growing in every direction, but it’s still unmistakeably a ‘cinquecento’ with some clever modern touches inside and out.
Perhaps the biggest change is inside the cabin where it’s more spacious up front, along with a minimalist look. There a large digital display ahead of the driver, while the centre console is dominated by a 10.25-inch touchscreen.
There’s a little more space in the back, but it’s still only really adequate for small people, while the boot remains at 185 litres (expanding to 550 litres with the rear seats folded).
Safety also takes a leap forward, with autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping and traffic sign recognition all standard, with goodies such as blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control available higher up the range.
The 500’s cabin is a comfy place to be with a fairly high driving position. Personally, I’d prefer a lower option, but I guess there’s a battery pack below which scuppers that notion. My only other gripe was the lack of a place to comfortably rest my largely redundant left foot.
On the road, it’s smooth and refined, like most electric cars, and you can easily choose the level of braking regeneration (charging on the move) you prefer.
Accelerating from a standing start is brisk rather than supercar fast, but still enough to win the traffic light grand prix with ease.
The Fiat 500 EV is perfect for urban driving and holds up well on faster, twisty roads too, but it hasn’t got the go-kart handling of a MINI Electric, for instance.
That extra height means it not quite as composed in more challenging corners, but it’s still a fun and easy car to drive overall.
As you’d expect in a city car, the steering is light and there’s a tight turning circle, though visibility isn’t best in class. Thankfully, rear parking sensors are standard, while top trims get a rear-view camera and offer a bird’s eye view of the car manoeuvring.
You can try various drive modes, but ultimately your choice will depend on the strength of your inner Scrooge and whether squeezing out as many miles as possible is more important than driving dynamics. At the end of the day, there is a happy medium.
Finally, the Fiat 500 EV can be charged from 0-80% in a very respectable 45 minutes using a 50kW fast charger, or overnight at home.
Verdict: The iconic Fiat 500 has been reimagined for the zero emissions age. Not only does it ooze kerb appeal, but it delivers a fun, comfortable and safe driving experience at an affordable price.
We test the affordable electric estate that’s proving to be a surprise sales success
MG may not be the iconic British sports car maker that it once was, but it’s thriving as a bargain brand under Chinese ownership.
In September 2021 MG Motor UK achieved its highest ever monthly sales in the UK, passing 5,000 registrations for the first time ever with sales up 61.2% year-on-year.
Much of the success was driven by MG’s pure electric models, the ZS and MG5. And even though it was only launched in late 2020, the MG5 was the seventh best-selling pure EV in the UK in September.
As an all-electric estate, the MG5 currently occupies a unique niche in the zero emissions market.
It may not be the most handsome load-lugger on the market, but just like its crossover-styled sibling, the ZS, it’s a spacious, seriously affordable family car.
Priced from £25,095 (after the Government’s £2,500 plug-in grant) it’s available with two battery sizes (52.5kWh and 61.1kWh), giving a claimed range of 214 and 250 miles respectively. Both have a 115kW (154bhp) electric motor.
And while the MG5’s range isn’t nudging the 300-mile range mark, it’s way ahead of many similarly priced cars, some of which are unable to reach 150 miles on a single charge (eg MINI Electric, Honda E and Mazda MX-30).
The MG5 sits much lower than most EVs, with the water-cooled battery pack integrated into the car’s chassis, giving it a surprisingly sleek profile..
Some may find it slightly nondescript from the front, but plenty of buyers have no problem with its styling judging by the amount I’ve seen on the roads in and around London.
It’s perfectly acceptable inside too, if slightly dated, but there’s no debate over the space on offer. The large boot, accessed via a wide tailgate opening, delivers 464 litres of capacity with the rear seats up and load cover in place, expanding to an impressive 578 litres with the load cover retracted. Fold the 60:40 rear seat and the load capacity increases to a mighty 1,456 litres.
Additionally, there’s also plenty of room inside for up to five passengers, with two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points in the back.
The interior design isn’t flash and there’s no shortage of hard plastic surfaces, but it’s well equipped with an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen (inc Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) as standard, plus automatic headlights, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels and air-conditioning. Move up a grade and you get leather-style upholstery, heated front seats, keyless entry, navigation and electrically folding and heated door mirrors.
The flagship ‘long range’ version (starting at just £26,495) gets MG Pilot as standard, featuring a selection of safety and driver assistance goodies, including Active Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Jam Assist, Intelligent High Beam Assist and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist.
I tested the entry-level 214-mile range MG5 EV. And with a 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds, it’s no slouch, so you’ll surprise many a hot hatch driver on the road.
It 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.
Needless to say, there’s no engine noise, and the MG5 does a good job of keeping the outside world outside with little tyre, traffic and wind noise penetrating the cabin.
However, it’s no match for a conventionally-powered estate like a Ford Focus in the handling department. Thanks to its soft suspension, it will lean in fast corners and even become a little unsettled if pushed hard on challenging country roads.
But then, it isn’t meant to compete with the Tourings and Avants of this world – the MG5 is all about value for money.
It’s also easy to drive and comfortable – just select ‘D’ on the dinky dial in the centre console and away you go. The steering is light too, making town driving a doddle, while long journeys are effortless and relaxing.
There’s a choice of Eco, Normal and Sport, but I found that Eco was just fine. 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.
I didn’t quite manage the claimed range, but I’d say 180-190 is realistic, which is more than enough for most drivers.
As with all MG models, there’s peace of mind too because it comes with a generous seven-year/80,000-mile warranty.
Verdict: The MG5 EV may not be the sexiest estate car on the market today, but it does offer honest, practical, electric motoring at an affordable price.