Staying up to date with the latest new cars that are being launched in the UK market is essential as a Forecast Editor. This involves a lot of time and effort travelling to see and discuss new cars at very early stages. It is then vital to re-visit them for test drives once they are available.
I have put together a summary of the main events that I have attended recently, together with an overview of the models that I have had the pleasure of test driving.
1. Jaguar i-Pace Drive - UK
Towards the end of 2017 I joined Jaguar at their Gaydon Site for my second test drive of their exciting, soon to be launched first fully electric vehicle. The car won’t be for the masses, as starting prices for the vehicle will be similar to those of the Tesla Model S. So we are still looking at quite a niche area of the market, but it certainly will attract those who can afford it due to its range of almost 300 miles and zero tailpipe CO2 figures. Therefore, it will benefit from very low BIK costs. It will be interesting to see how the introduction of a car such as the Jaguar i-Pace, from a true car manufacturer affects the sales of Tesla, who arguably are a technology company first and a car manufacturer second.
One drawback in the near future for the i-Pace compared to the Tesla is the fact that Tesla have their 120 kW Superchargers points which can be used by their customers. These dramatically speed up the time it takes to get an 80% charge into their vehicles. Jaguar drivers on the other hand will have to rely on the availability of non-Tesla chargers and although there are some higher powered chargers on the horizon in the UK, they will still be few and far between. The 50kW chargers that are much more common, will result in a probable charging time of nearer 2 hours from empty to 80%.
2. New Toyota Event - Belgium
Over to Brussels to see the upcoming new version of one of Toyotas biggest selling vehicles. I can’t say any more than that I’m afraid.
3. New Dacia Duster Event - France
Over to Nice to drive the new Dacia Duster. The car is a major improvement over the outgoing model in every way. It looks a lot better and the quality of fit, finish and the materials used are better also, it is also quite capable off road as well. It was good to hear that the brand will keep sticking to their core values with the vehicle. Although the improvements are vast over the outgoing model they want to keep to the same basic principle of excellent value for money, and they will not be having a massive price increase as has been seen in the past with some brands that have been perceived as budget previously.
4. Seat Arona UK Launch event - UK
Down in Cambridge for the UK launch of Seat’s excellent addition to their ever improving range, the new small SUV the Arona. The car follows on from their larger SUV the Ateca, which has proved to be a huge success for the brand, they have high expectations when it comes to the Arona also. They have made the selection much simpler with 4 trim levels and almost no optional extras whatsoever. They have also made metallic paint and a bi-tone roof standard, which is a great move for the consumer and keeps it all very simple when it comes to vehicle selection and the price paid.
5. Volvo New Model Preview Event - Sweden
Over to Gothenburg and then onto the Hallered testing ground to preview and drive the next new model to come from Volvo. The new model that I previewed is still secret so all that can be said is that it is a really good car, as you would expect if Volvo’s recent new cars launched are anything to go by.