Driving home for Christmas? Survey reveals your travel plans

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

2022 Honda Civic e.HEV

More than three quarters of Brits will be relying on their car over the festive period, according to new research from Honda UK.

The survey of 2,000 people also revealed that the most common number of trips we’re planning on making is between four and six (35%), covering a distance of less than 50 miles (29%).

People in Northern Ireland will be most reliant on a car over the Christmas and New Year (94%), followed by folk in the East Midlands, the South West, and Yorkshire and the Humber (each 85%). Those in London are set to be the least reliant on a car, with just 28% hitting the road over the festive period.

The research suggests that people prefer to travel with company as more than two thirds (70%) are joined in the car by a partner, friend and or child/children, while just 11% of those surveyed will be travelling alone over the festive period.

Christmas and the New Year are a time for families to come together and celebrate, with presents, food and beverages. But first, you have to get it all in the car. The below table reveals the most popular things to travel with.

Travelling With: Percentage Of Surveyed Brits
Presents 64%
Food 47%
Shopping 47%
Alcohol 37%
Pets 24%

In keeping with the festive season, more than a quarter of people will be listening to a Christmas playlist (26%) while on the road. Gen Z is most likely to enjoy a festive soundtrack for their car journeys, with more than half of 18-24s (52%) listening to a Christmas playlist.

A surprising number of survey respondents (14%) admitted to arguing with family whilst travelling at Christmas time.

The top five passenger activities are as follows:

Passenger Activities Percentage Of Surveyed Brits
Listening to the radio 60%
Listening to a Christmas playlist 26%
Listening to a streaming service 24%
Arguing with the family 14%
Playing car games 9%

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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

Mercedes-AMG One sets new Nurburgring lap record

Home / Auto Video / Mercedes-AMG One sets new Nurburgring lap record

Gareth Herincx

1 day ago
Auto Video

Mercedes-AMG One

The F1-inspired Mercedes-AMG One has become the fastest production car to lap the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife.

The new hypercar clocked 6:35.183 minutes, beating the previous record (set by a Porsche 911 GT2 RS) by a remarkable eight seconds.

Despite less-than-ideal track conditions, DTM racing driver Maro Engel waited until his final attempt to set his hottest lap of the 13-mile “Green Hell”.

“That was really an unforgettable experience,” said Maro, after completing the lap. “I didn’t expect that we would be able to set such a lap time with these track conditions.

“In some crucial areas of the track, it hadn’t dried completely yet and was therefore tricky. That was a special challenge.”

The Mercedes-AMG One is powered by a hybrid setup which combines one combustion engine with four electric motors, delivering 1,049bhp in the process. It has a claimed top speed of 218.7mph, active aerodynamics (including a DRS function) and all-wheel-drive.

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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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Nissan X-Trail review

Nissan X-Trail review

We get to grips with the impressive all-new Nissan X-Trail SUV – now an electrified seven-seater…

The Nissan X-Trail is a global success story. Originally launched in 2001, more than seven million have been sold globally, making it one of the world’s most popular SUVs. In the UK alone, some 138,599 have found homes.

Now it’s the turn of the fourth-generation X-Trail, marketed as “the only electrified seven-seater SUV”.

However, there’s more to the new X-Trail than the optional extra seats. It’s everything you’d expect from a vehicle with such well-established DNA, but it also delivers state-of-the-art hybrid technology, versatile packaging, comfort and genuine off-road capability.

Nissan X-Trail

Priced from £32,030 to £47,155 and available as either a mild-hybrid or with Nissan’s unique ‘e-Power’ hybrid powertrain, the X-Trail is more than a match for its rivals which include the Skoda Kodiaq, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorrento and latest Toyota RAV4 (though it only has five seats).

The X-Trail takes design cues from its smaller sibling, the Qashqai, including the brand’s signature ‘V-Motion’ trapezoidal grille.

Wider and taller than the outgoing model, it’s well-proportioned with a chunky, more muscular design. The extra cladding around the wheel arches and bumpers, slim headlights and big wheels (20 inches on our test car) give it real road presence.

Nissan X-Trail review

The interior of the new X-Trail is a big step-up too. Modern, spacious and bathed in light, it has a near-premium feel with classy materials and great build quality.

There’s a commanding view of the road from the comfy seats, and if you do have any qualms about manoeuvring into tight spaces, there’s ample tech on board to help you, whether it’s sensors or a 360-degree camera with Moving Object Detection.

Your choice of grade (from entry-level Visia to top-of-the-range Tekna ) will determine which goodies you get with your car, but we’d say the mid-range N-Connecta which gets the twin 12.3-inch displays up front, roof rails and privacy glass is a good choice.

Nissan X-Trail review

However, if you splash out on the next grade up (Tekna) you get a panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate, head-up display, wireless phone charger and ProPilot Assist with Navi-Link – an impressive suite of safety and driver assistance tech.

The top-of-the-range Tekna comes with 20-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, a premium Bose sound system with 10 speakers and quilted leather seats.

Equipment and tech is one thing, but the big decision you have to make with the new Nissan X-Trail is which electrified powertrain to choose.

The entry-level option is a 161bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol with mild hybrid assistance, which is only available with front-wheel drive.

Next up is the X-Trail e-POWER, which is Nissan’s take on a full hybrid (no need to plug it in). The drivetrain combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine of 201bhp with a 150kW electric motor on the front axle.

Nissan X-Trail review

Unusually, the petrol engine doesn’t drive the wheels at all – it simply acts as a generator to charge the 2.1kWh battery and power the electric motor, which is responsible for driving the wheels at all times.

The top-spec all-wheel drive (e-4ORCE) powertrain option uses the same e-POWER configuration, but adds a 100kW electric motor to the rear axle, increasing the X-Trail’s power output to 211bhp.

The stats for the three powertrains are predictable. Fuel economy on the mild hybrid is up to 39.9mpg, CO2 emissions start at 161g/km, while the 0-62mph sprint takes 9.6 seconds.

Nissan X-Trail review

The two-wheel drive e-POWER takes eight seconds to reach 62mph and can manage as much as 48.6mpg, while CO2 is as low as 132g/km.

Finally, the e-POWER with e-4ORCE is the fastest accelerating (7 secs), has CO2 emissions starting at 143g/km and fuel economy tops out at 44.7mpg.

Unless you need all-wheel drive, on paper the mid-range X-trail with e-POWER looks like it offers the best blend of performance and economy.

Perhaps what’s most surprising is that Nissan’s hybrid system produces economy figures which are not dissimilar to a conventional hybrid where a battery provides electrical assistance to a petrol motor which drives the wheels.

We tested the flagship e-POWER with e-4ORCE on a mixed driving route, which included some gentle off-roading and controlled automotive gymnastics – and it’s an impressive piece of kit.

Gareth Herincx Nissan X-Trail Slovenia

As you glide off, it’s immediately clear that the new Nissan X-Trail is no ordinary 4×4. The ride is smooth (even with the 20-inch wheels), the cabin is a comfortable and refined place to be, and it feels substantial.

Despite its large dimensions, it’s easy to drive with light and responsive steering. Hustle it a little and it remains remarkably composed.

Body lean is surprisingly well controlled in more challenging corners and there’s superb grip and traction – even on the rough stuff. In fact, it’s very capable off-road, demonstrating a surprising amount of agility in a serious of tests.

Gareth Herincx Nissan X-Trail Slovenia

It takes a while to get used to the sensation of the engine revving away in the background as it charges up the battery. The only time it makes its presence known is when you’re heavy with your right foot, especially on uphill stretches.

Though it’s reasonably vocal, frankly it’s nowhere near as intrusive as full hybrids using CVT transmission from other manufacturers.

Nissan says the X-Trail has a 10,000 times faster rear torque response than a mechanical 4WD system, adding that the constant torque redistribution also contributes to handling and ride comfort, enabling a powerful yet smooth, driving experience.

I’ll go along with that, because the X-Trail is an excellent all-rounder – just as content cruising on a motorway as it is soaking up the worst poor surfaces have to offer.

Nissan X-Trail

What’s more, the X-Trail has always been a favourite with caravanners, so the braked towing capacity of up to 2,000kg will be welcome.

Finally, let’s deal with one of the X-Trail’s USPs – that optional third row of seats. I’m a fraction under six-foot and I could squeeze into seats six and seven, but in order to travel any distance the second row would have to slide forward, which may in turn require some compliance from the driver and front passenger too.

So, I’d say the third row of seats is there for occasional use, preferably children and small adults.

With the third row of seats in use, the X-Trail’s boot has a capacity of 485 litres. In five-seat formation (where there’s ample space for three passengers) this increases to 585 litres, and with both sets of rear seats down there’s a cavernous 1,424 litres of space.

A quick mention too for the rear doors which open at an impressive 85-degree angle (just like a Qashqai) for easy access – useful for lifting small children into car seats, for instance.

Verdict: Smooth, refined, robust and easy to drive, the hybrid Nissan X-Trail is a class act. Offering a unique proposition in the SUV sector, it’s also surprisingly capable off-road and delivers big bang for your bucks.

Nissan UK

All-new Kia Niro named 2023 ‘Car of the Year’

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Kia Niro Hybrid (

The latest version of the Kia Niro has been named the best new car on sale by leading car buying advice website Carbuyer.co.uk.

The Niro, which is available with a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric powertrains, scooped no fewer than three of the 18 categories on offer.

Carbuyer’s judges could hardly believe the transformation Kia has made with this second-generation Niro. Editor, Richard Ingram, said: “Our favourite small family car, our top hybrid, and of course our overall Car of the Year, the fabulous new Niro builds on everything we loved about the old one, but with sharper styling, and a cutting-edge interior.

“It remains a practical, efficient and easy to drive family car – with a powertrain to suit all buyers. The Kia Niro is a most deserving winner of our 2023 Car of the Year award.”

Kia wasn’t the only Korean manufacturer to make a splash at this year’s Carbuyer Best Car Awards. The Hyundai Tucson – Carbuyer’s overall Car of the Year just 12 months ago – was awarded Best Family Car, while the Hyundai i20 N scooped Best Hot Hatchback for the second year in a row. Finally, the SsangYong Musso was awarded the Best Pickup prize thanks to its strong value, practicality, and generous kit list.

Carbuyer Car of the Year 2023 winners 

Carbuyer Car Of The Year Kia Niro
Best Small Car Skoda Fabia
Best Small Family Car Kia Niro
Best Family Car Hyundai Tucson
Best Large Family Car Skoda Kodiaq
Best Estate Car Skoda Octavia Estate
Best Small Company Car Cupra Born
Best Company Car BMW i4
Best Sports Car BMW 2 Series Coupe
Best Convertible Car MINI Convertible
Best Hot Hatchback Hyundai i20 N
Best Hot SUV Cupra Formentor
Best Pickup SsangYong Musso
Best Small Electric Car Fiat 500
Best Family Electric Car MG ZS EV
Best Large Electric Car Nissan Ariya
Best Hybrid Kia Niro
Best Plug-in Hybrid Mercedes C 300 e
Best Large Plug-in Hybrid Lexus NX 450h

For m

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