Grab a chance to see Tesla’s Cybertruck in the metal

Gareth Herincx

1 day ago
Auto News

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla’s futuristic Cybertruck is going on a European “Cyber Odyssey” where the public will be able to get up close and personal with the vehicle for the first time.

The Cybertruck will be displayed in more than 100 locations in 20 countries, and attendees will also have the opportunity to book test drives with the award-winning Model Y and upgraded Model 3.

Tesla Cybertruck tour

The all-electric pickup truck will make its first UK appearance on 4th May at Tesla Centre Park Royal (London) where it’ll be on display for the weekend.

  • Tesla Centre Park Royal – 4th to 5th May
  • Tesla Centre Westfield Shopping– 6th to 10th May
  • Kings Cross – 11th of May
  • Tesla Centre Solihull – 13th to 17th May
  • Birmingham Bullring – 18th to 19th May
  • Spinningfields Square – 20th to 21st May
  • Tesla Central Manchester– 22nd to 31st May
  • Edinburgh City Centre – 1st of June
  • Tesla Centre Glasgow – 2nd to 6th of June
  • Tesla Centre Belfast– 7th to 9th June

Marketed as “better utility than a truck, more performance than a sportscar, Cyberpunk sensibility”, the Cybertruck’s revolutionary design draws inspiration from cyberpunk aesthetics, notably showcased in movies such as Blade Runner.

Its exterior shell is made from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel which helps protect against dents and dings and long-term corrosion, providing protection beyond industry standards.

Cybertruck’s performance variant named Cyberbeast goes from 0-60mph in just 2.6 seconds, while maintaining high-speed stability.

Standard Adaptive Air Suspension delivers millisecond adjustments to optimize both ride and handling. With steer-by-wire and rear steering, Cyberbeast offers the handling of a sportscar and a better turning circle than most sedans.

Inside the cargo bed, there are two 120V power outlets and one 240V outlet, to plug in wherever you go. For the first time, Tesla Powershare technology enables bidirectional power transfer to charge any device, other electric vehicles, and even power a home via the charger port.

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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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Revealed: UK’s Top 10 best-selling cars

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

Ford Puma

The official data for car sales has been released and it’s clear that 2023 was a year of recovery after the pandemic and the computer chip shortage.

In all, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures show that more than 1.9 million new cars were registered in the UK in 2023 – the best year since 2019, but still 17.7% down on the 2.3 million sold that year.

And despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, 2023 was still a record year for electric vehicle sales, with more than 300,000 new EVs registered – an increase of almost 50,000 compared with 2022.

So, what were the most popular new cars of 2023? Here’s the Top 10 best-sellers…

1. Ford Puma: 49,591

2. Nissan Qashqai: 43,321

3. Vauxhall Corsa: 40,816

4. Kia Sportage: 36,135

5. Tesla Model Y: 35,899

6. Hyundai Tucson – 34,469

7. Mini Hatch: 33,385

8. Nissan Juke – 31,745

9. Audi A3: 30,159

10. Vauxhall Mokka: 29,984

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Audi Q4 e-tron review

Audi Q4 e-tron review

We get behind the wheel of the Q4 e-tron – Audi’s entry-level, all-electric car…

Launched in 2021, the Audi Q4 e-tron battles it out in the hugely competitive mid-sized SUV sector.

Its many rivals include the Tesla Model Y, Kia EV6, BMW iX1, Mercedes-Benz EQB, Volvo XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Priced from £51,325, it also competes with its Volkswagen Group cousins (they share the same platform) – the Skoda Enyaq and VW ID.5.

Available in both SUV and sleeker Sportback versions, the Q4 e-tron comes with a 76.6kWh battery and two power levels – the ’40’ (rear-wheel drive single electric motor) or the top-spec ’50’ quattro (two electric motors driving all four wheels).

The ’40’ delivers 201bhp and accelerates from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, while the ’50’ has 295bhp on tap and can hit 62mph in 6.2 seconds.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Both versions have a 135kW charge capacity, which can get you from 5% to 80% in as little 29 minutes. Like all EVs, it will also charge up overnight if you have a home wallbox.

Depending on body style and power output, the Q4 e-tron has a claimed range of 292 – 328 miles.

Naturally, the Q4 e-tron is generously equipped, but as ever with Audi, there’s still a lengthy list of options, plus three packs (Technology, Technology Pro and Safety Package Plus) in addition to the basic three trim levels (Sport, S Line and Black Edition).

Audi Q4 e-tron review

We road tested the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro in S Line trim. Our car was a Sportback, which is mechanically identical to the more conventional SUV version, except for the sharply raked roofline for extra kerb appeal. Perhaps more importantly, its slippery body also delivers a slightly longer range.

Inside it’s very Audi. In other words, it’s a combination of top build quality, state-of-the-art tech, comfort and space.

As with all SUVs, there’s a high driving position, while the dashboard layout is refreshingly conventional with a user-friendly blend of 10.25-inch digital driver’s display, a 11.6-inch central touchscreen, separate (physical) climate controls and a multifunction steering wheel.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Audi’s infotainment system is as slick as ever. What’s more, it uses ‘haptic feedback’ (there’s a slight clicking sensation when you touch it), which is much better than the frustrating touch-sensitive system used by other VW Group brands such as Volkswagen and Seat.

Visibility is good and where there are deficiencies, the multitude of cameras and sensors make up for it. Oh, and kudos to Audi for sticking with a rear wiper, an essential missing from competitors such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

On the road, the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro may not be as blisteringly fast in a straight line as some rivals, but it’s still swift enough for everyday driving.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

The ride is a tad stiff, but even so, it manages to stay comfortable and refined with very little wind and road noise making it into the cabin.

In fact, our test car – which was fitted with 20-inch wheels and optional adaptive suspension – only got caught out on poorer surfaces.

The Q4 disguises its weight well, for a fairly heavy car (more than two tonnes), thanks to a low centre of gravity, but also light and accurate steering with a reasonably tight turning circle. It’s only when stopping from speed that you sense how hard the brakes are working.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Push it on more challenging roads and it would be a stretch to call it the most engaging of drives, but at least it manages to remain relatively flat in faster corners, plus it grips well and traction is excellent.

There are various drive modes (Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual) and selecting Dynamic does make it feel slightly sharper and more responsive, but that’s as far as it goes.

We also like the way you can also adjust the level of brake regeneration via the paddles on the steering wheel, plus there’s a B-mode on the gear selector, for maximising energy recuperation.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Based on a week of mixed driving, we’d estimate our Q4 e-tron has a real-world range of around 270 miles. However, if you opt for the entry level model, your range is likely to be closer to 230 miles.

The Q4 e-tron’s interior is spacious and there’s enough room for six-footers to sit comfortably in the rear which isn’t always the case with sportier SUVs.

Add 535 litres of luggage space in the boot (15 litres more than the SUV version) and 1,460 litres with the rear seats folded, and it’s a very practical proposition.

Finally, and as with most modern EVs, the Q4 e-tron is loaded with the latest technology and solidly built, achieving a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s crash tests.

Verdict: Handsome, comfortable, practical and easy to drive, the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron oozes badge appeal and is one of the best 100% electric SUVs in its sector.

Audi UK

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Subaru Solterra review

Subaru Solterra review

We get behind the wheel of the Solterra mid-sized SUV – the first pure electric car from Subaru…

The Subaru brand has a relatively low profile here in the UK. Elsewhere, in countries such as the US and Australia, the Japanese company’s cars are more appreciated and sell in much bigger numbers.

Subaru’s very capable 4x4s are renowned for their durability, and traditionally, owners are intensively loyal, holding onto their cars for longer than any rivals.

Quite what they will make of the all-new Solterra is another matter because it’s sayonara to Subaru’s signature boxer engines and effective ‘symmetrical’ four-wheel drive system.

Subaru Solterra review

Before we begin, let’s deal with the elephant in the room, because the Solterra has been co-developed with the Toyota bZ4X and Lexus RZ.

In fact, it’s manufactured alongside its cousins in the same plant at Motomachi, Japan, and they all share the same e-TNGA platform.

It also bears more than a passing resemblance to the Toyota and Lexus. However, there are some key differences.

The most important is that Subaru has kept things simple with the Solterra, which is only available in twin-motor four-wheel-drive form. That also means it has a higher starting price than some single-motor rivals.

Subaru Solterra review

There are just two trim choices too – entry-level Limited (£49,995) and top-spec Touring (£52,995). Both seem to be almost identical mechanically, which means they share a 71.4kWh battery pack and two electric motors, producing a combined total of 215bhp and 249lb ft of torque – enough for 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds.

Significantly, Limited has a claimed range of 289 miles, while Touring tops out at 257 miles. The only obvious difference between the two is that the latter has 20-inch wheels (Limited has 18s) and Touring weighs 25kg more.

In other words, on paper it’s hard to justify the extra few thousand quid for a shorter range and a few spec upgrades such as an electric passenger seat, (synthetic) leather and a passenger door mirror that tilts when reversing.

As Subaru customers would expect, the 4×4 system is permanent, plus there’s an X-Mode button which helps you navigate tougher terrain such as deep mud, snow and steep, slippery slopes — all in a controlled, calm way.

Subaru Solterra review

We tried some light off-roading and the Downhill Assist Control, the speed of which can be adjusted via a simple switch on the steering wheel, is particularly effective.

What’s more, with a minimum ground clearance of 210mm, it can tackle trips some EV competitors can’t and it has a water-fording wading depth. It’s also worth noting that the Solterra has a towing capacity of just 750kg.

Inside, it’s not unlike Subarus of old in that it has a feel of functionality and durability, but it is a tad dark and drab.

Like its Japanese cousins, there’s the same unconventional layout for the driver. In other words, they share the same Peugeot-esque low steering wheel position and high instrument binnacle, plus centrally mounted 12.4-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Subaru Solterra review

That said, it is easy to get used to the driving position and the infotainment system works well.

There’s plenty of room for adults to sit comfortably in the rear, while the boot capacity is a useful 452 litres (441 litres in the Touring version). On the minus side, there’s no ‘frunk’ under the bonnet to store charging cables and no glovebox inside.

It’s well equipped too and, as Subaru owners will like the fact that it boasts the latest safety equipment, achieving a maximum five-star rating from Euro NCAP.

All-round visibility is good, and if you need extra assurance, there’s a reversing camera and 360-degree surround-view monitor. Our only gripe is that there’s no rear wiper, which is OK in light rain, but a nuisance on filthy motorway journeys.

Subaru Solterra review

On the road the Subaru Solterra feels solid, composed and surprisingly agile for a relatively large, heavy car.

Push it on more challenging roads and body roll is kept to a minimum, there’s also plenty of grip and the steering turns in keenly.

There are three driving modes (Eco, Normal and Power). As ever, Eco dulls the driving experience, so it’s fine on motorway runs, but Normal is best for everyday tootling along, while Power is fun for overtaking.

Subaru Solterra review

Even though the 71.4kWh battery and two motors are on the modest side compared to some competitors, the Solterra seems to have plenty of poke.

Unlike some EVs, the brakes are fairly progressive, while brake regeneration can be adjusted via paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

One final thought. If you test drive a Solterra, choose a smooth stretch of road and listen out for noise. Our Touring spec test car wasn’t quite the whisper-quiet experience we’d hoped for. Harsh, when even a bit of wind noise is noticeable in an EV, but we’ve come to expect no more than a distant wine from those electric motors.

Subaru Solterra review

As for charging, it’s capable of delivering an 80% boost in as little as 30 minutes via its (average) 150kW fast-charging system. The same charge at home will take 7-8 hours. Our charging experience wasn’t ideal because the weather was cold, so we couldn’t match the 30-minute target time or get close to the advertised charge rate.

Perhaps more importantly, our Touring spec Solterra only gets a 257-mile range, which in real-world driving is closer to 200 miles, so not ideal. What’s more, if you switch on the heating, for example, the range takes another hit. As we said before, stick with entry-level Limited spec for those extra miles of range.

Looking in the small print, the Solterra is covered by a three-year/60,000-mile warranty (whichever is sooner). However, the bZ4X benefits from Toyota’s warranty which covers your vehicle for 10 years (up to 100,000 miles), provided your car is serviced by a Toyota dealer.

Subaru Solterra review

The Solterra’s electric SUV rivals include everything from the Tesla Model Y, Skoda Enyaq iV and Nissan Ariya to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

So, the Solterra isn’t perfect, but don’t be put off. We like it, and in fact, we’d say it just edges the bZ4X.

Verdict: The handsome Subaru Solterra SUV is a confident EV debut. It’s not without a few gripes, but overall it delivers an assured drive, it’s easy to live with, well equipped, safe and spacious.

Subaru UK

Subaru Solterra review