Welcome to The Steer’s first edition of 2019, where we’ve rounded up January’s motoring news and also picked out a few highlights of the coming year.
What Car? Car of the Year awards 2019
In late January, online car magazine What Car? announced its latest batch of award winners. The Kia e-Niro First Edition claimed overall winner, receiving praise for its real-world practicality and interior quality.
What Car? judge the e-Niro’s realistic range at 253 miles, impressive for a fully-electric car that comes in under £33k with the Plug-in Car Grant.
Kia’s new electric vehicle went head-to-head with the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Cupra Ateca – that both took away awards of their own, with ‘Best Executive car’ and ‘Best Sports SUV’, respectively.
Skoda’s first performance-badged SUV lands
The Kodiaq vRS, the first SUV to bear the manufacturer’s performance badge, has arrived in the UK with demonstrator models available for test drive.
It’s powered by a 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine producing 237bhp and holds the Nurburgring lap record for a seven-seater SUV.
The vRS also features an extended list of standard kit, including Skoda’s excellent 9.2-inch touchscreen, Alcantara sports seats and the Virtual Cockpit customisable display.
Orders are open now, with deliveries expected in Spring – although you’ll need to be quick as there are only 300 models making their way to the UK!
Watch our video review of the Kodiaq vRS above, in the latest episode of The Shortcut, or read the written review for more.
UK car production down
Uncertainties over Brexit and diesel policy uncertainty have been highlighted as reasons for a 9.1% fall in car production last year.
The figures, revealed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, also show that UK car plants produced 1.52 million cars in 2018, which is the lowest in five years.
Meanwhile, cars made and sold in the UK fell by 16.3% on a year-on-year basis, while exports declined by 7.3%. Eight out of every ten cars made in the UK are exported.
Despite the doom and gloom, it’s worth noting that the automotive sector adds £82 billion to the UK economy.
Vauxhall’s all-electric eCorsa on the way
Vauxhall has confirmed that it is planning to launch an all-electric version of its next-generation Corsa.
Photo credit: Autocar
Parent company PSA has revealed that its plant in Zaragoza, Spain, will begin production of the model from 2020 onwards.
The soon to be released 2019 Corsa will be based on PSA’s CMP platform – a set of chassis parts that will also underpin the likes of the next Peugeot 208 and DS’s new DS Crossback.
The long-term plan is to reduce the number of platforms used by Vauxhall and Opel from the current nine to just two.
Goodwood Festival announces theme for 2019
Organisers at the Goodwood Festival of Speed have announced this year’s theme: ‘Speed Kings – Motorsport’s Record Breakers’.
Photo credit: Goodwood Festival of Speed
Goodwood will celebrate the people and machinery that have set the benchmark or raised the bar for the world of motorsport.
The focus will not just be on the Land Speed Record, but on every area of record breaking in motorsport, from most consecutive wins, to most championships, fastest laps and much, much more.
The festival takes place at the Goodwood Estate, West Sussex, between July 4th and 7th.
And at Lookers…
Volkswagen Battersea reopens at state-of-the-art new site
Lookers Volkswagen Battersea has started 2019 by opening a brand new £10-million showroom.
Situated on York Road, the new showroom forms part of a partnership with Linden Homes, which has seen £100m invested in a mixed-use housing and commercial scheme.
The 90,000 sq ft fully internal dealership represents £10m of the joint investment and displays 90 used cars and 17 new cars, as well as an increased choice of accessories.
The servicing department has also received a revamp and comprises 14 service and repair bays, along with two dedicated MOT bays.
Its already making an impact, with the new site helping to increase the location’s customer satisfaction ratings above the national average since opening.
Duncan McPhee, Lookers Volkswagen Franchise Director, said: “Our new dealership in Battersea is a huge step up in terms of the look and feel of the customer experience.
“Volkswagen is a key brand for Lookers and we are proud to be able to represent it so magnificently at the new site.”
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