Nissan Ariya review

Nissan Ariya

We road test the distinctive Nissan Ariya mid-sized electric SUV…

It’s taken Nissan more than 10 years to follow-up the game-changing Leaf with a brand new EV model. So, is the Ariya as good as it looks?

Let’s start by going back to basics. The Ariya (we think it’s pronounced ‘Arr-Ee-Yah’) is a mid-sized five-door SUV, so its rivals include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Skoda Enyaq, Volkswagen ID.4 and Tesla Model Y.

First impressions count and two things stand out. Its futuristic looks are like nothing else on the road, while its plush interior is a real step-up for Nissan.

Nissan Ariya

There’s a choice of two battery sizes- a standard 63kWh unit or the ‘extended range’ 87kWh, which Nissan claims can travel 250 miles and 329 miles respectively from a full charge.

Starting at £46,145, entry-level models use a single electric motor to power the front wheels, producing 214bhp (63kWh) and 239bhp (87kWh).

All-wheel drive versions (marketed as ‘e-4ORCE’) get the larger 87kWh battery and an extra electric motor, delivering a total of 302bhp. However, range takes a hit, resulting in a claimed 285 miles.

Nissan Ariya

The front-wheel drive 63kWh is capable of a 0-62mph sprint in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 100mph, while the all-wheel-drive 87kWh has a 5.7-second 0-62mph time and can go on to 124mph.

Standard equipment is generous and there are just two trim levels to choose from – Advance and Evolve.

Entry-level Advance is fitted with full LED lighting, a heated windscreen, climate control, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, a navigation system, 360-degree cameras and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Nissan Ariya

Evolve adds a panoramic sunroof, a video-based rear-view mirror, ventilated seats, heated rear seats and a Bose sound system, among other features.

The extensive list of safety and driver assistance aids standard on all grades includes Intelligent Driver Alertness, Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Jam Pilot, Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Full Auto Park and a 360-degree Around View Monitor. Extra goodies on the Evolve spec include Pro-Pilot Park and a Head-up Display.

The Ariya can be charged at speeds of up to 130kW (slower than some rivals such as the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5), meaning you can top up from 10-80% in around 30 minutes, while an overnight charge from a 7.4kW wallbox will take 10 hours.

Nissan Ariya

Our 63kWh Advance test car looked stunning in Akatsuki Copper with a pearl-black roof. Somewhere between a traditional and coupe-styled SUV, it’s no shrinking violet and is on the tall side.

Up front, the large closed-off grille is flanked by sharp LED daytime running lights and headlights, while the swooping roofline leads to a full-width LED light bar at the rear of the car.

Inside, it’s smart and minimalist. Stylish wood-grained trim spans the width of the dashboard and it has a premium feel.

Nissan Ariya

Touch-sensitive controls with haptic feedback are hidden within the trim, illuminating when the car is switched on. More of these ‘buttons’ are conveniently placed on the sliding centre armrest, which can be moved via the press of a button to provide additional foot space in the front or the rear.

The Ariya’s infotainment system consists of two 12.3-inch screens, mounted side-by-side – a driver’s digital instrument cluster, plus a main infotainment interface complete with sat nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

The cabin is spacious and light with plenty of room in the back for rear passengers to travel in comfort.

Nissan Ariya

Single motor models get a decent 466-litre boot capacity (1,348 litres with the back seats down), reducing to 408 litres if all-wheel drive is chosen.

The overwhelming sensation on the road is of a relaxing driving experience. Not only is it comfortable and well insulted inside the cabin, it’s been well put together and the delivery of all that instant torque is smooth and quiet.

There are three driving modes (Eco, Sport and Normal), though we found the latter will do just fine. As you’d expect from Nissan, there’s also an e-pedal option, which winds up the regenerative braking and can bring the car to a halt simply by lifting off the accelerator.

It feels planted at high speed and on flowing country roads, but try to hustle in more challenging corners and its weight and height become more obvious. There’s a bit of body lean and 2.2 tonnes to slow down, which tends to blunt the driving engagement.

Nissan Ariya

That said, grip levels are good, though as we found with our front-wheel drive test car, it is possible to spin the front wheels when setting off on loose surfaces and in the wet if you’re too heavy on the accelerator.

Otherwise, the steering feels nicely judged, and the commanding driving position offers good visibility (plus there’s a rear wiper, unlike some rivals!).

We haven’t tried the 87kWh all-wheel drive e-4ORCE model yet, but we suspect the increased grip, power and range (we’d estimate the real-world range in our 63kWh test car is closer to 200 miles) might be worth the extra expense.

Verdict: Safe, spacious and surprisingly classy, the Nissan Ariya family SUV boasts serious kerb appeal. Easy to drive and comfortable, it’s at its best cruising along stylishly and smoothly.

Nissan UK

Nissan Ariya

Electrified Genesis GV70 review

Electrified Genesis GV70

We road test the new electric version of one of the stars of the Genesis range – the GV70 medium-sized SUV…

Before we start, if you’re unfamiliar with the Genesis brand, then here’s a quick recap.

Genesis is the luxury arm of the Hyundai Motor Group, which also includes Kia. So, think Lexus/Toyota or Infiniti/Nissan.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Genesis was launched in the UK in the summer of 2021 and the GV70 was one of the first models, though at the time it was only available with petrol and diesel engines.

Fast forward to 2022 and an all-electric variant of the GV70 has been added to the range, though it’s marketed as the ‘Electrified GV70’, which is a term more often associated with hybrids.

Starting at £64,405, it is on the pricey side and its main competitors include the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Tesla Model Y.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Currently only available with all-wheel drive, the Electrified GV70 combines a 77.4kWh battery with two electric motors, delivering 700Nm of torque and a range of up to 283 miles.

Most of the time it pushes out 436hp and can accelerate from standstill to 62mph in 4.8 seconds.

However, if you hit the ‘Boost’ button on the steering wheel you get access to the full power (483bhp), for about 10 seconds, which is enough to reduce the 0-62mph time to just 4.2 seconds.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Apart from the instant torque and the refined, whisper quiet driving experience, the EV version of the GV70 is much the same as its ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) siblings – which is no bad thing.

The GV70’s classy interior has comfortable leather seats and it oozes quality. There’s a huge 14.5-inch central infotainment screen which can be operated by touch or via the rotary dial down by the gear selector.

Thankfully, it’s not too minimalist either. Instead, there are some accessible buttons and switches – and most importantly of all – physical climate controls.

Electrified Genesis GV70

There’s plenty of space for rear passengers, while the luggage capacity is a little smaller than the non-electric versions, but it’s still a decent 503 litres with the seats in place. Flip them down and there’s a useful 1,678-litre load space with good access.

For  substantial 2.3-tonne SUV that wasn’t designed as a pure electric vehicle from the ground up, the GV70 handles surprisingly well.

The suspension is on the firm side, but the overall driving experience is a relaxing one. Unlike some competitors, it can be hustled on more challenging roads and it’s good fun – especially in Sport mode.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Naturally there’s a bit of body roll in faster corners, but it’s not excessive and the Electrified GV70 remains composed.

Add precise steering, good visibility and plenty of traction to the well soundproofed cabin (there are double-glazed windows and an acoustic laminated windscreen to help minimise tyre and wind noise), and it just keeps ticking the right boxes.

There are Eco, Comfort and Sport driving modes, plus a one-pedal driving option which can bring the car to a halt without having to touch the brake pedal.

Electrified Genesis GV70

It also features an e-Terrain mode, but we didn’t get to test it in anger. Let’s just say that it’s probably more than enough to get you out of a muddy field at a festival site.

Living with the Electrified GV70 is easier than some rivals too, because it comes with an ultra-fast charging capability, which can take the battery from 10-80% in 18 minutes when hooked up to a super rapid 350kW charger.

There is also a vehicle-to-load feature (V2L) for plugging in external devices, such as camping equipment, laptops or tools, for example.

Electrified Genesis GV70

It’s also worth noting that Genesis has a deal with the IONITY charging network which means five years’ of discount rates.

If safety is a priority then it won’t disappoint either. The Genesis GV70 range enjoys a five-star score from Euro NCAP, with high ratings in the occupant and safety tech categories.

The long list of standard safety and driver assistance kit includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assist, automatic high beams, rear-cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and a reversing camera.

Electrified Genesis GV70

Finally, don’t forget that Genesis offers a completely different VIP ownership experience.

There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout the ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

What’s more, Genesis’s 5-Year Care Plan includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: Handsome, generously equipped, safe, spacious, comfortable, packed with tech and a joy to drive, the Electrified GV70 is one of the best big zero emissions SUVs on the market. If that hasn’t convinced you, then add the VIP ownership experience and five-year warranty/care plan to the list.

Genesis UK

Electrified Genesis GV70

BMW X1 review

BMW X1

We road test the all-new BMW X1 – the ‘baby’ of the brand’s SUV family is bigger than before, and much better for it…

More than 119,999 BMW X1s have found homes in the UK since the model was launched way back in 2009.

Now it’s time for the third generation, and it’s a much improved proposition in every department.

Size is everything in the modern world and the new X1 is slightly bigger than its popular predecessor (53mm longer, 24mm wider, 44mm higher and 22mm in wheelbase), crucially delivering more space for passengers and their luggage.

BMW X1

So, just as the latest Volkswagen Polo is about the same size as the original Golf, the new X1 isn’t far off the Mk 1 BMW X3.

Sharing the same platform as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer MPV, the overall shape of the Mk 3 X1 is chunkier with a greater road presence.

Up front, the large kidney grille is flanked by slim LED headlights. The side profile sports meaty wheel arches and fared-in door handles, while the rear boasts a pert tailgate, three-dimensional LED lights and underride protection.

Inside, the X1 features BMW’s impressive eighth generation iDrive operating system, which includes a 10.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 10.25-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster.

BMW X1

The curved screen infotainment system is mainly operated via the touchscreen, voice commands and flush buttons on the steering wheel. There’s no longer a rotary controller next to the gear selector, which may annoy some, along with the general minimalisation of switches, buttons and dials.

Priced from £33,775, the new X1 is available with a range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines (with an EV range of up to 57 miles), while a flagship all-electric iX1 variant joins the family in early 2023.

BMW expects 66% of UK sales to be pure electric, 14% PHEV and the final 20% split between petrol and diesel.

We had a brief test drive in a prototype iX1, but spent most of our time in the xDrive23i, which features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 48V mild hybrid tech that makes 215bhp and is mated to BMW’s seven-speed Steptronic dual clutch transmission.

BMW iX1

Taking just 7.1 seconds to cover the 0-62mph dash, it delivers a claimed 42.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 151g/km.

The top-of-the range iX1 EV costs substantially more, has a 64.7kWh battery producing 308bhp, a claimed range of up to 272 miles, and it can polish off the 0-62mph sprint in a swift 5.6 seconds.

We tested the AWD xDrive23i in xLine and M Sport trim levels (there’s an entry-level Sport too), and a posh piece of kit it is too, with BMW’s usual top build quality and classy materials.

There’s a commanding view of the road from up front (I would prefer the option of a lower seating position), visibility is good, though the reversing camera (standard on all models, along with front and rear sensors) comes in handy when manoeuvring thanks to the slim tailgate window.

BMW X1

A special mention for the infotainment system, which is slick and sharp, along with the clear head-up display and augmented satellite navigation system which overlays upcoming directions on the touchscreen via big chevron graphics.

Refinement levels in the cabin are impressive, there’s plenty of grunt from the petrol engine, which is only vocal under heavy acceleration, while the sweet-shifting gearbox cracks on effortlessly.

The M Sport comes with adaptive suspension, and frankly the difference is marginal. Overall, the set-up is on the firm side, which is noticeable on bumpier surfaces, but not uncomfortable.

BMW X1

The pay-off is that the X1 delivers a more dynamic driving experience. With an agile feel, body control and grip levels are good in more challenging corners – whether you’re in Personal, Sport or Efficient drive modes. Meanwhile, the steering is light and direct, making town driving a doddle.

It’s worth noting that the M Sport gets shift paddles and the left one activates the Sport Boost, which delivers an extra 19bhp of power (useful for overtakes).

Of course, the iX1 is the one to go for if you can stretch to £52,255 and you have a home charger. It looks just like its petrol, diesel and PHEV siblings, but BMW’s entry-level electric car is a real smoothie.

BMW X1

Faster than it really needs to be (there’s a Sport Boost function too), it’s whisper quiet (once you switch off the irritating Hans Zimmer ‘IconicSounds’ digital soundtrack) and easy to drive.

Despite the fact that it weighs around 400kg more than its ICE stablemates, the boffins at BMW have done a great job hiding it, because the iX1 is nimble and fun.

The iX1 we tested has two electric motors, one driving the front wheels and one the rears. Needless to say, there’s excellent traction and it feels nicely composed.

Whether you go electric or not, BMW’s baby SUV is a practical proposition with plenty of space inside the cabin and superb leg and headroom in the back.

BMW X1

Boot space varies according to the degree of electrification, but peaks at 540 litres for the petrols and diesels (1,600 litres with the 40/20/40-split seats folded).

Finally, the X1 is safe too. Awarded a maximum five stars by  Euro NCAP, it’s packed with safety and driver assistance goodies as standard, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning and speed limit assist, plus an additional centre airbag between the driver and front passenger seats.

Premium rivals include the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Lexus UX and Volvo XC40.

Verdict: The latest-gen BMW X1 goes straight to the top of the class with its winning blend of space, technology, driving engagement and quality. If you’re looking for a classy, compact family SUV, the X1 should head your shortlist.

BMW UK

BMW X1

Meet the shocking pink Maserati Grecale Barbie Edition

Gareth Herincx

4 days ago
Auto News

Maserati Grecale Barbie Edition

Maserati has teamed up with Mattel Inc’s Barbie to unleash an ultra limited edition Maserati Grecale SUV.

Unveiled as one of the 2022 Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts at the luxury retailer’s holiday launch event in Los Angeles, the special Grecale is a work of art designed under the Trident’s Fuoriserie customisation program, which allows car lovers to express their passion and creativity in the creation of their ultimate Italian luxury car.

Maserati Grecale Barbie Edition

Just two Barbie-inspired Maserati Grecale cars will be created and they will be based on the Trofeo spec, complete with powerful 530hp V6 Nettuno engine.

The SUV’s exteriors, adorned with the Barbie logo, are sealed with an iridescent topcoat that reveals an incredible rainbow effect on a beautiful sunny day.

Its sleek black interior features full-leather seats, dashboards, carpets, and doors – accented with pink stitching – as well as branded headrests with the unique “B” badge.

Maserati Grecale Barbie Edition

Apparently 10% of the sales price, said to be around $330,000 (US), will be donated to the Barbie Dream Gap Project – a global initiative that partners with charities to help provide equal opportunities and remove barriers for girls.

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Genesis GV60 review

Genesis GV60

We road test the first pure electric car from the new, upmarket Genesis brand…

Before we begin, let’s start with a quick refresh. Genesis is the luxury arm of the Hyundai Motor Group, which also includes Kia. So, think Lexus/Toyota and DS/Citroen. Only launched in the UK in the summer of 2021, its impressive stable of prestige cars includes saloons, SUVs and an estate.

Up until now, the range hasn’t quite matched up to the equivalents from BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

The good news for Genesis is that we think the fully electric GV60 will go down as the brand’s breakthrough model.

Genesis GV60

Developed alongside its award-winning cousins, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, the GV60 is arguably the most successful of the trio in the looks department.

Slightly shorter than the Ioniq 5 and EV6, it’s nicely proportioned with a curvaceously muscular stance and short overhangs. There are flush-fitting door handles along its flowing profile, plus the option of rear-facing cameras instead of conventional door mirrors. Slim, stacked headlights and a broad black grille are highlights up front, while its sexy derrière is a candidate for Rear of the Year.

Priced from £47,005, the new Genesis GV60 is available in three trims (Premium, Sport and Sport Plus) and all versions come with a 77.4kWh battery, but different choices of electric motor.

Genesis GV60

It’s not worth listing the differences between the grades when it comes to goodies. Let’s just say, the GV60 is generously equipped, though obviously you should compare. Perhaps more importantly, it’s the technical differences that matter.

The GV60 Premium gets a single 225bhp electric motor that drives the rear wheels, giving up to 321 miles of range.

Sport versions come with dual motors producing a total of 314hp. These cars are four-wheel drive, but range is down to 292 miles.

Genesis GV60

The top-spec GV60 Sport Plus we tested gets a more powerful dual-motor setup that produces an impressive 483bhp in total, though range is down again to a still decent 289 miles on a single charge.

It’s worth noting that there’s a boost button on the Sport Plus which unlocks a 10-second blast of gut-wrenching power. Oh, and those 0-62mph times range from 7.8 seconds for the Premium down to 4.0 seconds for the Sport Plus.

The Genesis GV60 also comes with a state-of-the-art 800-volt electrical system that lets you charge it using ultra rapid 350kw chargers from 10-80% full in just 18 minutes.

Genesis GV60

Alternatively, a 10-80% charge via a more common 50kW connection will take 73 minutes, while a 10-100% boost from an 11kw home wallbox takes seven hours 20 minutes.

The cabin is spacious and faultlessly finished, though it’s worth test-driving the GV60 is you regularly carry taller than average rear passengers because of the sloping roofline.

Two wide 12.3-inch digital screens take care of infotainment duties, but thankfully there’s also a good balance of traditional buttons and dials to easily access commonly used functions.

Genesis GV60

The interior’s party trick is the gorgeous crystal ball in the middle of the centre console (Genesis calls it a ‘Crystal Sphere’) which revolves to reveal a rotating dial with Drive, Reverse, Park etc when the GV60 is ready to go.

The boot has a useful 432-litre capacity to the parcel shelf, expanding to 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded down. There’s also space under the bonnet – the perfect spot to store your charging cables.

My only criticisms of the cabin are that the brushed metal effect used extensively has a plastic feel to it – not unlike a much cheaper Hyundai. Also, visibility through the small rear window isn’t the best, and there’s no wiper.

Genesis GV60

The GV60’s driving position is comfortable, if fairly high, and the car itself certainly feels substantial.

Obviously it’s quiet, refined and very fast. The Sport Plus we tested had adaptive predictive suspension, which uses information from the front camera and navigation system to adjust damping in advance, delivering an impressively comfortable ride.

There’s good body control in corners, but ultimately the GV60’s agility will always be compromised by its width and two-tonne weight. In other words, you’d need some track time to have the confidence to take it close to the limit.

Genesis GV60

That said there’s a serious amount of grip and traction from those epic 21-inch Michelin-shod wheels, so you can still have fun and a play with the various drive modes.

We found Comfort mode does just fine and the GV60 is at its best cruising effortlessly along at the legal limit. Oh, and a special mention for the steering wheel paddles which let you vary the amount of brake regeneration through five levels, from frictionless coasting to one-pedal driving.

Finally, the steering is light and accurate, but there’s not much in the way of feedback, while the brakes are progressive, unlike many EVs.

Genesis GV60

Before we sign off, it’s worth remembering that Genesis is no ordinary brand, offering a completely different VIP ownership experience.

There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout your ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

What’s more, Genesis’s 5-Year Care Plan includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: The all-new Genesis GV60 is a class act. Big, practical, comfortable, safe and a joy to drive, it’s one of the best electric crossovers on the market with serious kerb appeal. Add the unique sales and aftercare package and it’s sure to appeal to buyers who prefer the finer things in life.

Genesis