‘There’s palpable relief that Citroen has kept its sense of fun’: Erin Baker takes a spin in the new C5 Aircross

‘There’s palpable relief that Citroen has kept its sense of fun’: Erin Baker takes a spin in the new C5 Aircross


Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader, gives us an exclusive look into Citroen’s freshest offering, the C5 Aircross

C5 Aircross
Citroën

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader

French car brand Citroen has an admirable history of making quirky cars with left-field design married to little luxuries like sumptuous hydraulic suspension. The company’s latest family SUV, the C5 Aircross, aims to keep a sense of weirdness, while putting comfort at the heart of the driving experience.

Style

From the outside, there’s palpable relief that Citroen has kept its sense of fun. Our test car had bright red roof rails and splashes of red round the side bumpers, as well as crazy front lights that split option as strongly as Marmite.

The C5 Aircross sits high off the ground; it’s chunky with plenty of room for the wheels to move across rugged ground.

Inside, aside from some red stitching, the C5 Aircross is disappointingly… well, normal. There’s none of the whacky storage solutions you get on the Citroen C4 Picasso, which is an MPV and also a very decent family car, like storage above your head, or hidden in the dash. There’s an absolutely massive central cubby hole under the central arm rest, but that’s about it.

Tech

Boy, does Citroen play its trump card here. For a car costing about £30k, you get a really impressive set-up. The digital read-out behind the steering wheel is very funky, with the speed going horizontally across the top of the screen like a tickertape. Flick a switch on the steering wheel to change what you see on the screen: you can have the satnav map filling your view, or nothing but a massive speedo when you select “minimal”. There’s Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, plus USB ports.

We had the “Flair Plus” version, which gives you a special bit of tech called ConnectedCAM Citroen – an inbuilt camera fitted behind the rear-view mirror. It will take photos or record a video for up to 20 seconds, so you can capture your superb driving (or film dangerous driving in front of you). You download the footage via an app into your phone.

Flair Plus also gets you voice recognition for the DAB radio, satnav and phone, as well as wireless smartphone charging.

Comfort

While the tech on the car is superb, Citroen is pushing “comfort” as the selling point. The C5 Aircross has “hydraulic cushions” which basically means liquid chambers in the suspension that soak up the bumps before they reach you. For families on long journeys, believe me, this is a huge tick.

The car is also quiet on the motorway, which should never be underestimated when your six-year-old is desperate to explain at length why “Cloud” is the answer to “something beginning with S” in a game of I-Spy. It saves a lot of tension, believe me.

We took the car to Legoland for an overnight stay (I know, never again) and there was plenty of space in the boot for overnight bags for two adults and two children, plus good leg and head room for four. The panoramic sunroof is a welcome addition, and the electric button to open and close the boot comes in handy with armfuls of Lego.

Power

Don’t expect much – we tested the 1.5 diesel engine with 130 horsepower which is enough to boot you past a slower car, but not enough to whang it uphill at motorway speeds. What you do get, though, in return for moving more slowly, is better fuel consumption – we got 48mpg and we haven’t seen that for a very long time.

There are proper off-roading buttons in the car but only the front wheels have power sent to them, so you’re limited to grassy fields rather than desert sand dunes…. buy a camel if that’s your bag.

Price

A very fair £30,825 will get you into a C5 Aircross with the 8-speed automatic gearbox and the full Flair Plus spec. We also had metallic paint (£545, don’t bother) and Grip Control in case you want to go charging through sand and snow (£395, don’t bother). You also get a three-year/60,000-mile warranty.

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Test driving the new XE: ‘Jaguar’s baby saloon has had a facelift’

Test driving the new XE: ‘Jaguar’s baby saloon has had a facelift’


Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader, lets us in on the secrets behind Jaguar’s new XE, one of the most handsome estates to hit the market.

XE

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader

Jaguar’s baby saloon, the XE, has had a facelift. While it may not look very different, inside it’s all new, with a load of tech that’s standard at entry level. There’s a simplified choice of engines and equipment, making decisions easier in the dealership.

Style

The new XE looks very similar to the old XE: only new bumpers and lights distinguish it. We tested a bright blue model with tan leather interior, which was a pretty swish combo. The XE is in fact one of the most handsome estates on the market: in our opinion it’s better looking than the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class which it competes against.

Inside is where all the changes lie, however, and here it looks like a very different car.

Tech

This is where all the improvements are. Although the new XE is pricier (by about £2,000) than the previous version, you get a load of new kit as standard, including Apple CarPlay, front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera.

If you order the Touch Pro Duo set-up, you get the swanky two touchscreens that are in the new electric I-Pace SUV; they control satnav, ventilation, music, phone, driving modes and more.

You can also order ClearSight, which for a few hundred pounds transforms the reflection in your rear-view mirror into a live feed from the rear-mounted camera, giving a wider, clearer view.

Comfort

The important question here is: is a saloon the right choice for you? Few people other than those choosing a company car buy a saloon the days, preferring SUVs, hatchbacks or estates. But saloons often look better, and always handle better, than SUVs, with big boots and plenty of room for four adults inside. If you don’t have kids, or at least don’t require a big tailgate for a pram system any more, it’s worth trying out a saloon.

The XE has electrically adjusting leather seats as standard, and an enormous boot for suitcases or a month’s shop. It’s also incredibly quiet inside on the motorway.

Power

You have the choice of a diesel engine (the D180) or one of two petrols (P250 and P300). There’s only one gearbox: an eight-speed automatic, but you can choose rear-wheel drive, for more sporty handling, or all-wheel drive for extra grip on slippery surfaces like wet grass.

We’d suggest the P250 as the pick of the bunch – it’s fast (0-60mph in 6.2 seconds), smooth, quiet and more economical than the P300; the diesel sounds gruff and has little appeal. The numbers, by the way, denote the power output of each engine.

Price

The XE starts at £33,915, which puts it up there with the BMW 3-Series, a well specified Land Rover Evoque, the Volvo S60… it’s worth trying a few different makes, models and body shapes. For example, compare an XE with a top-spec Volvo XC40: one’s a saloon and one’s a baby SUV, but a small, active family who like their creature comforts would be happy in either. The choice is yours.

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Why sexism in the car industry is finally starting to change

Why sexism in the car industry is finally starting to change


Finally, the car industry is beginning to wise up to the army of female consumers who refuse to be patronised and want to buy cars made for them, says motoring journalist 
Erin Baker

cars

‘I’m sorry?’, asked my mother, as we both stared in disbelief at the salesman. ‘You’ll be wanting to check with your husband before you buy the car,’ he repeated. My mum’s been single for 40 years; I’ve been a senior motoring journalist for 15 years, including a stint as The Daily Telegraph’s motoring editor, and recently as editorial director of Auto Trader. If only this example was rare. Sadly, we know the entire car industry 
– from the cars themselves, to marketing, dealerships, magazines and motor shows – is still a male-biased environment, where women and unconfident buyers are given little support and guidance.

One might, at a stretch, understand this approach if only men bought and drove cars. But there are 11.8 million female licence holders in the UK, a number that’s growing faster than that of our male counterparts. Women have always been the influencer behind the majority of car purchases in this country (around 80 per cent), but increasingly, we are now the primary customer, buying our own cars with our own money, for our own pleasure. We have more disposable income than ever: in the US, women now own 60 per cent of private wealth, and you can bet your bottom dollar a similar stat is heading here.

So, why do women still find the car-buying experience such a negative one? According to a recent survey by Auto Trader, 94 per cent of women don’t trust dealerships, 83 per cent don’t trust manufacturers, and 40 per cent ‘dread’ the buying process. Thankfully, all is not lost. The cars themselves are forcing changes. Petrol and diesel-powered sports models are disappearing, replaced by hybrid and pure electric vehicles. The days of adverts that show women splayed across the bonnet of a V8 sports car are fading. Instead, we are embracing electric cars, which are more focused on lifestyle than performance. The emphasis is not on horsepower any more, but sustainability. Also, the conversation is shifting from engineering to interiors, as the car evolves into ‘the third space’, after the office and home, in which to hold our conference calls, or help the kids with their homework.

 

‘We want to be respected and recognised for our spending power, not patronised’

 

The car industry knows it must respond to the female consumer, who, right now, feels utterly disenfranchised. If it doesn’t, women will take their hard-earned cash away from dealers and buy online. They’ll be swayed by social platforms, too, where the likes of Google and Uber, who are both trialling their own autonomous cars, will reach them first.

So, is the industry doing anything right for us? Companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Honda, Fiat and Aston Martin employ a decent number of women across different positions. Lamborghini has launched a Female Advisory Board, which I sit on, alongside women from the creative, health and finance industries. Citroen has a female CEO, Linda Jackson, who recently sat in a car and pointed out that there was nowhere for her handbag to rest.

In reality, our wish list is not dissimilar to men’s. Cost, space, practicality and safety all feature high on the demands of both genders, but we want to be respected and recognised for our spending power, not patronised. We want to see car reviews done by women, by people like us, and we want to buy from companies that share our values and take diversity seriously themselves. We’d also like to see the stories that are told around cars brought in line with how we live, rather than in the dry way they’ve always been told in car mags aimed at men.
I hope that in five years’ time, women will talk about cars as they do about fashion, health or anything else. And no dealer will say ‘I expect you’ll want to check with your husband’ ever again.

Watch Erin Baker test cars in the all-female REV Test at Auto Trader: youtube.com/watch?v=YpqpsSB7wkM)

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Hit the road in the latest electric cars on the market

Hit the road in the latest electric cars on the market


Fancy saving money and the planet? Formula E presenter Nicki Shields explains why electric cars have finally become a serious option

electric cars

As the face of Channel 5’s FIA Formula E Championship, TV presenter Nicki Shields is a woman who’s passionate about cars. Holding her own International Category B racing driver licence, Shields was the first female journalist to drive the Formula E race car. And, as an electric car owner herself, is on a mission to convert the masses to the wonders of electric cars.

‘I got into cars when I was young,’ she says. ‘My dad was a petrol head and we spent loads of time watching motor racing and going to track days. My route into the industry came via Formula E (electric Formula 1) because the environment has always interested me. I studied biological and zoological sciences at university.’

Shields admits there have been huge developments in electric cars since she first started reporting on them five years ago, when they were slow and difficult to charge. ‘Today, having one is a no-brainer,’ she says. ‘They’re cheaper to run and maintain and they’re better for the environment. They’re also fun to drive because they boast instant acceleration, so you can go very fast very quickly. Whereas it normally takes a few seconds for gas to move from the tank to a regular engine, with an electric car, it’s immediate.’

So, why are we still so hesitant? ‘We’re creatures of habit,’ says Shields. ‘People also suffer from “range anxiety” – worrying about getting from A to B with enough charge or where they’ll charge up en route – but the range is incredible now. You can go for 
250 miles at a time and once you’ve adapted, it’s easy.’

It’s not just the cars that are changing, either. ‘The automotive industry, specifically the racing and motorsports side, tends to be seen as male-dominated because front-facing roles like racing drivers and team principles are mostly men. But behind the scenes are plenty of awesome women. I’m definitely noticing more females in the industry, 
and research shows it’s women making decisions on 80 per cent of car purchases in households across the country – that’s an exciting thing.’

 

Charged up


If you’re after a more eco-friendly ride, Nicki Shields picks the best one for you

Best electric cars for… city driving

BMW i3 (from £31,680, including government grant*)
‘This luxurious four-seater feels really spacious and is perfect for city driving under 30mph. It uses sustainable materials inside, too – the dashboard is made from reclaimed wood.’

Best electric cars for… luxury

Jaguar I-Pace (from £60,995, including government grant)
‘If you’re looking for a high-end electric SUV, this has a driving range of 292 miles, and all of the fixtures and fittings you’d expect from a Jag (and the price tag, too – sorry!).’

Best electric cars for… value

Nissan Leaf e+ 3.Zero (from £26,690, including government grant)
‘The Nissan Leaf is the bestselling electric car in Europe and the perfect entry-level choice. It’s reliable, good value for money and is a really great option if you’re making the transition to electric.’

Best electric cars for… range

Kia e-Niro (from £32,995, including government grant)
‘This was the first electric car to win What Car? Car of the Year, and with good reason. This small SUV has an incredible range of 282 miles – that’s London to Paris! – but feels luxurious and comfortable, plus it boasts an impressive finish.’

*The government currently provides up to £3,500 off brand new electric cars

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Behind the wheels of the Ferrari Portofino – this is what it’s like to drive a £248,000 sports car

Behind the wheels of the Ferrari Portofino – this is what it’s like to drive a £248,000 sports car


‘It’s like having Pavarotti in your ear the whole time, as the revs rise, sing, blip, burble and fall away’

Ferrari Portofino review
© Ferrari S.p.A.

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader

After driving the Range Rover Evoque, it’s time to review the Ferrari Portofino. The newest model by the Italian sports car manufacturer might just the perfect Ferrari, replacing entry-level model California due to its more lifestyle-focused nature as a grand tourer rather than a hardcore sports car. And while the Portofino retains a focus on comfort, it’s a sharper, sportier offering, and ticks all the boxes.

Style

Wow, this car is astonishingly better looking than the California; it’s hard to believe they belong to the same family. There’s a slimmer derriere, sharper lines and sleek headlights. Our test car came in a matt Champagne paintwork that was subtle and beguiling. With the roof up, it looks like a hardcore supercar; with the folding metal roof curled up in the boot, it screams to be taken on a gentle turn from St Tropez to Nice or, indeed, along the Portofino coastline.

Inside, there’s room for a couple of children in the two small rear seats (I drove my 8 year old and six year old sons 50 miles in it and they were fine; adults will struggle to find leg room). The folding roof takes up much of the boot space, but there’s room for a weekend case and a large bunch of flowers for your host.

Tech

It’s all there, but it’ll cost you. Even Apple CarPlay, a standard feature in sub-£10k cars, will set you back £2,400 here. But Ferraris have moved on since it was all about the engine, and you can now specify a rear parking camera, decent audio systems and more.

© Ferrari S.p.A.

The best bit, however, is the entire secondary digital touchscreen for the front passenger who can see the speed, the revs and change music stations and more. Might make some control-freak drivers feel a bit twitchy though…

Comfort

The front seats are thinner than in the California, to create more leg room for the rear occupants. There’s Isofix in the back but any child on a booster will have their legs jutting out too far.

However, this is as comfy as Ferraris get – the suspension is set up for a softer ride so you can travel further without tiring – even in Sport mode, selected via a traditional F1-style “manettino” switch on the carbon-fibre steering wheel, it’s not too jarring.

With the roof down, you could easily drive the whole day and arrive utterly relaxed (albeit with dreadful hair).

Power

This is, of course, the point of this car, even if you never explore the limits: the styling oozes power, and the whole car screams speed. You don’t have to be a petrolhead to sense that something special is happening under the bonnet: Ferrari makes engines like no one else. And even though there are plenty of Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and other Ferraris that are way faster, the 600 horsepower the V8 engine puts out feels like double that amount. It’s like having Pavarotti in your ear the whole time, as the revs rise, sing, blip, burble and fall away, and the road disappears at a rapid rate in your rear-view mirror. It’s a very special, very emotional experience, even for “us women”.

Price

No one really pays base price (£166,000) for a Ferrari: if you’ve got that much money to spend on something as frivolous as a supercar, you’ll be wanting a few creature comforts, like the aforementioned Apple CarPlay. In fact, our test car rang the tills at £248,000. Ooops. You probably don’t need the £10,000 special wheels we had, but you might fancy the embroidered Prancing Horse Ferrari emblem on the headrests (£720) and floor mats with embroidered logo (£768)… the list is endless.

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‘I took the new Range Rover Evoque for a test drive’

‘I took the new Range Rover Evoque for a test drive’


Land Rover’s baby SUV, the Evoque, has been a huge success, attracting new customers to the brand, including more women and town dwellers. But it looks and feels dated now, so has the new version done enough to bring even more drivers on board?

Range Rover Evoque

Words by Erin Baker

Style

Sad news first: there will be no convertible or three-door version of the Evoque. Both were quirky and fun designs but neither sold in big numbers. So here we are, with just the five-door model. There’s a new palette of more grown-up colours – out go bright paints and in come muted blues, grey whites, putty browns and metallic options.

Inside, you can have leather, but for those interested in a more sustainable approach, you can choose from plant-based vegan textiles or the expensive kvadrat wool blend, both of which look smarter. The interior design is far more pared-back, with a lounge ambience: surfaces are expansive with clean lines, and there are fewer buttons, with most functions contained on two massive touchscreens.

Tech

At last, Land Rover has introduced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to its cars: whoop. But the most impressive piece of tech is Land Rover’s new Clearsight system which transforms the rear view mirror into a video feed from a rear camera, so you can see more of what’s behind you, relayed in extraordinary high definition. If you regularly load the boot to the ceiling with stuff, this £450 option is worth it.

At the front, there’s a similar system, Ground View, which uses cameras to relay what’s directly in front of, and underneath, the bonnet. Good for missing high kerbs and bollards around town, which is where 70 per cent of Evoque owners do their driving. Land Rover’s Meridian sound system has brilliant bass levels, and you can also specify a head-up display to project speed onto the windscreen, a Wi-fi hotspot, and adaptive cruise control, which takes care of accelerating and braking when you set the speed.

Comfort

There’s plenty of leg room for four adults (three in the back is a slight squish) and the boot is marginally bigger, with a stowage net mounted to the floor to stop stuff slipping around, and room for a folded pram, or golf clubs. You can specify the boot with an electric button to open and close it, which is handier than you think when your arms are full of kids and shopping. It feels like a relaxed space on the move, with plenty of sound deadening, and the optional panoramic glass roof lets in welcome light.

Power

There’s a range of diesel and petrol engines but, given government and local authority plans to penalise diesel drivers, you’d have to go petrol. Better still, get an order in for the plug-in hybrid version. We’d choose the middle of the range P250 (250 horsepower). The 30mpg fuel economy isn’t great, but it does 0-60mph in 7 seconds, and to see 40mpg you’d have to go diesel… All versions apart from the entry-level diesel are four-wheel drive and come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Price

The Evoque is a winner here. Because the model holds its value so well (i.e. strong residuals), the monthly finance payments are pretty good. For example, with a £7,000 deposit, you’d pay about £400 a month, depending on which version you chose. If you’re one of the very few who pay the price up front, the Evoque starts at £31,600, although expect to cough up £37,000 for a decent petrol Evoque.

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These are the top ten cars unveiled at the Geneva motor show 2019

These are the top ten cars unveiled at the Geneva motor show 2019


geneva motor show

Words by Erin Baker

Geneva hosts the biggest and best motor show in the world every March, showcasing everything from the latest electric cars to the ultimate new luxury supercars, to whacky concepts that will never see the light of day, but give us a tantalising glimpse of the future. As has become the norm, most of the cars unveiled this week are either electric or an SUV, or both.

Here’s motoring journalist Erin Baker’s round-up of the best in show this week.

Ferrari F8 Tributo

This stunning new supercar from the famous Prancing Horse badge has its work cut out, because it’s the replacement for the incredibly sexy 488 GTB, possibly the best-looking Ferrari ever made. It ticks all the traditional Italian-supercar boxes: 0-62mph in just 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 211mph. Oh, and it looks amazing too, especially in red (of course). If you’ve got £200,000 in your piggy bank, get your order in.

Skoda Vision iV

At the other end of the scale, but no less significant, is Skoda’s new electric car. OK, so this is still in “concept” form, ie it’s an example of how the car might look if it was built, but this concept is pretty close to what you’ll get when the production-ready electric SUV goes on sale in 2021. Skoda says you’ll get up to 310 miles between charges of the battery, which sounds pretty good to us, and we love the more sporty styling. If you can’t wait until 2021, Skoda also unveiled their Kamiq, a small SUV, and yet another Skoda starting with a “K” – it’s getting might confusing out there – which is on sale right now.

Peugeot e-208

The gorgeous new 208 has lifted Peugeot out of the design doldrums, and means the brand is once again selling desirable cars. Who knew? But the best on offer is the electric version, the e-208, which is Peugeot’s first all-electric car. It goes on sale this summer, and looks like it will steal Mini sales as the perfect car for short journeys and easy parking round town.

Bentley Bentayga Speed

Just to prove that there are still bonkers high-performance cars out there for petrolheads, Bentley has unveiled a steroids-injected version of its Bentayga SUV, which wasn’t exactly a slouch to start with. It has a massive twin-turbocharged six-litre engine under the bonnet which means it has stolen the crown back off the Lamborghini Urus as the world’s fastest SUV, with a top speed of 190.1mph compared with the Lambo’s 189.5mph. These things matter to some people…

Alfa Romeo Tonale

Yes, it’s another SUV, but when it’s from Alfa Romeo, it doesn’t count, because Alfa simply doesn’t make boring mass-market cars. Instead, it turns out beautifully appointed works of automotive art, with smart fabrics, posh plastics and stitching that wouldn’t look out of place in an Ermenegildo Zegna suit. Sigh…. If you want some actual facts, it’s a compact version of the Stelvio, a bit like the Jeep Renegade, with whom it shares some parts.

Mazda CX-30

Umm, another compact SUV (what can we say? Personally we’d like a shedload of high-performance estates to be unveiled, but the SUV is all anyone is buying). It sits between the smaller CX-3 and larger CX-5 and will appeal to those customers also looking at the Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Karoq. Mazda says it’s for those looking for the urban-friendly size of the CX-3, but with the practicality of the bigger CX-5. We know it will drive nicely, because Mazdas always do.

Honda ePrototype

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#News – Au @gimsswiss 2019, @honda dévoilera son #ePrototype, qui préfigure à 95% la version de série. Ce concept mesure moins de 4 mètres. Le design définitif reste très proche de l’#UrbanEV hormis les 5 portes. On note aussi la présence de rétroviseurs-caméras. À bord, l’habitacle est original. Il est composé de 3 écrans de 12’’ et de 2 écrans qui retransmettent l’image des rétroviseurs. Le rétroviseur central peut également être numérique. Malgré ses 5 portes, seulement 4 personnes pourront prendre place à bord. Son autonomie sera de 200 km. Les batteries disposent d’une recharge rapide qui permet de récupérer 80% de l’autonomie en 30 minutes. Le #HondaEPrototype sera exposé sur le stand de la marque japonaise au #GIMSSwiss2019 et la version de série sera dévoilée au Salon de Francfort 2019 en septembre. #GIMSSwiss

A post shared by Auto-Actu (@automobileactus) on Feb 27, 2019 at 12:50am PST

Ignore the boring working name (it will be called something else when it goes on sale), and the fact that this is a concept car, because what you see is pretty much what you’ll get with the second iteration of this retro-styled small electric hatchback. It will have a range of 120 miles on one charge, which is plenty for the sort of urban motoring this dinky car is designed for. But it won’t be cheap – Honda don’t do cheap cars. Then again, as Honda said: “Look at the iPhone. They are not cheap products, but everyone still wants them.”

Polestar 2

The best glimpse of the future comes from Polestar, Volvo’s high-performance electric sub brand, and its Polestar 2 electric car, a rival to the Tesla Model 3. With a real-world range of about 300 miles, a starting price under £40,000 and a sleek design, it’s a very tempting proposition. Add to that a vegan interior (leather is so 20th century) and Google’s Android system for all your infotainment needs, and this could be our car of 2019.

Pininfarina Battista

We wouldn’t normally bother putting random electric supercar concepts in our top 10, but the Battista happens to be, at this moment in time, the most powerful Italian car ever made which, considering Ferrari and Lamborghini are Italian, is saying something. For those of you interested in numbers, it has 1,900 horsepower, which is like 10 Ford Focuses all pulling at the same time. Oh and it will cost you about £2m.

VW T-Roc R

The chunky, funky T-Roc, a small SUV from Volkswagen, went on sale last year; this is the sportier R version. We already love the Golf R, so based on the strong performance of that model, we have high hopes for the T-Roc R. It has four-wheel drive, plenty of power and a clever automatic gearbox that swaps gears so quickly you barely notice. VW reckons its sporty enough to race at a circuit: we prefer the thought of racing away from the traffic lights in one.

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Tatiana Calderón on Formula 1, Formula E and driving at 350km/h

Tatiana Calderón on Formula 1, Formula E and driving at 350km/h


A female driver hasn’t raced in a Formula 1 Grand Prix since 1976. Tatiana Calderón is determined to change that

Tatiana Calderón

Tatiana Calderón cannot stop setting motoring milestones. As a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 team, the first woman to stand on the F3 podium, and recently signed to Arden, making her the first woman to compete in Formula 2, she is a true motorsports pioneer.

Chatting to Tatiana prior to her race in Jerez, her passion, dedication and knowledge of driving and all things motoring shines through. Introduced to racing aged 9 by her now-manager sister Paula, who Calderón laughingly blames for ‘[getting] me into this mess!’, Tatiana worked her way up through the American and the European karting circuits before making the move to Spain to pursue her dream of racing in Formula 1. Despite her successes, Calderón is constantly striving for more, revealing, ‘I think that there are no limits… I love challenges and I love to even surprise myself with things I thought that I couldn’t do at first.’

Tell me about when you started racing?

‘I was 9 years old. I had always been a sports lover, and my sister took me to a go-kart track near our house. I bought a ticket for 5 minutes of racing, and loved it. It was around the time that Pablo Montoya was getting into Formula 1, and there wasn’t much [of a racing culture] in Colombia until he got there – I remember getting up really early to cheer him on!’

How did you balance your racing career with school commitments?

‘It wasn’t easy – I missed a lot of school and my parents always said that I had to achieve in school, otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to race. I was one of the best in school because of this, and it really helped me to manage my time well. I’m still a fan of lists, but they have to be on paper rather than on a phone – I like to tick things off!’

Driving a Formula 1 car is an incredibly physical experience – what kind of training do you need?

‘The races in Formula 1 are pretty long, and your heart-rate is always between 150 and 165bpm. There’s also the G-Force on your neck when you brake, which can be up to 6Gs. Every G is [the equivalent of] 7.5kg, so it’s like putting 30 kilos on your neck when you’re braking or cornering! There’s also a lot of mental preparation – someone is talking to you on the radio, you have to switch many things on the steering wheel, and if you miss your braking point, you’re in the wall!’

Tatiana Calderón

Tatiana in action (credit: Zak Mauger / GP3 Series Media Service)

The motoring world is fairly male-dominated – what have your experiences of that been?

‘I truly believe that this is one of the only sports in which [men and women] can compete on equal terms. People think that we can’t be as competitive as guys, but I think we need to just be given the chance – we do things differently, which doesn’t mean slower.

When I was appointed as a test driver for the first time, people definitely looked at me differently, because Formula 1 is the best of the best. People start to treat you differently and look at you as a racing driver, and not just as female racing driver.’

You drove in the Formula E test in Ad Diriyah – what attracted you to the series in the first place?

‘Formula E and Formula 1 or Formula 2 are like night and day. In Formula E, you don’t have a match grid because the power is instant, and because there is a lot of technology and electronics, the engineers need to give you a lot of information to make sure you go quickly.’

What was your reaction the first time you drove a Formula E car?

‘There’s no noise except for the tires, which are sort of screaming, and you’re close to the walls, so you can hear the plastic [scraping] if you brush against them. It was fun – it was challenging to go fast, and every time I get to drive, it’s what I love the most.’

How do you unwind after a race?

‘I find spending time with my family is the best way to cleanse the mind. I like Bikram yoga as well. You can lose up to 3kg in a Formula 1 race, because the car gets really, really hot, so it’s kind of similar. I prepare mentally also, which has helped me a lot with my self-confidence.’

What has been your best moment racing?

‘Driving a Formula 1 car for the first time, without a doubt. I had been dreaming of that moment since I was nine years old, and to drive that car in Mexico was incredible. It was the best day of my life.’

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‘A new era in mobility’ – introducing the Mercedes-Benz EQC

‘A new era in mobility’ – introducing the Mercedes-Benz EQC


With the EQC, a new all-electric model, Mercedes-Benz is flipping the switch and bringing progressive luxury to a road near you

EQC

What Car’s ‘Car of The Year’ was won by an electric car for the first time, and the Range Rover Evoque has destroyed stereotypes of what a sustainable car ‘should’ look like. Electric cars have officially taken over.

Our latest electric car-crush is the new Mercedes-Benz EQC. Through the ages, Mercedes-Benz has been a symbol of luxury and quality, and their upcoming 2019 release, the newest addition to Mercedes-Benz’s range of all-electric cars, does not disappoint.

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The future is here 🙌⚡ Introducing the fully electric Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC🌟 The first EQ (Electric Intelligence) family member is official (if we don’t count the Smart EQ 😉). The range will be 450km (preliminary NEDC figures) and it will be powered by two electro motors (one on the front axle and one on the rear axle) that produce 300kW (408hp) and 765Nm. It will run an EQ version of the brand new MBUX system comparable with the new A-class. These images show the AMG exterior and interior line. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 📷 by @mercedesbenz . . . . . . #eqc #mercedeseqc #mercedeseq #eq #electricintelligence #electric #electricvehicle #mercedesbenz #mbfanphoto #mbcar #thebestornothing #thefuture #benz #amg #mercedesamg #biemondvanwijk #suv #4matic #carlifestyle #carsofinstagram #instacar #carlovers #stutttgart #sustainability #benzlife #mercedes

A post shared by Biemond & van Wijk Mercedes (@biemondvanwijk) on Sep 4, 2018 at 11:47am PDT

Britta Seeger, a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz’s parent company) responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales, put it simply, ‘With the EQC, we are putting the first Mercedes‑Benz of our new product and technology brand EQ onto the roads.’

She went on to explain the reasoning behind the model’s name, ‘EQ stands for ‘Electric Intelligence’, and represents Mercedes-Benz in its most progressive way. We are systematically using human-centred innovation by incorporating intelligent services and networked charging solutions for our customers from the very start.’

Moving on to the car itself…a massive concern for most first-time electric vehicle buyers is how far they can drive without needing to charge the vehicle. Thanks to its electric range exceeding 450km (according to provisional figures), and the opportunity for drivers to find charging stations using the Mercedes me App, the EQC basically banishes range-anxiety to the history books.

Mercedes-Benz EQC

On top of this, with a predicted carbon emissions of 0 g/km and a combined output of 300 KW thanks to the two electric motors at the front and rear axels, the EQC basically delivers all of the power, with none of the pollution.

Combine this with the fact that the EQC is the first Mercedes-Benz model under the new product and technology brand EQ, it’s no surprise that the EQC’s interior looks as avant-garde and stylish as it does. Special shout-out to the rose-gold features, and the instrument-panel interpreted as a driver-oriented cockpit.

In even more exciting Mercedes-Benz electric car news, they are becoming part of the Formula E family. At the beginning of the 2019/2020 series, the brand is fielding two fully electric cars through the Mercedes EQ Formula E team, joining brands such as Audi and Jaguar.

We repeat: electric cars have taken over… and with the looks and performance of the EQC, we’re not surprised.

The post ‘A new era in mobility’ – introducing the Mercedes-Benz EQC appeared first on Marie Claire.



An electric car has won one of motoring’s most prestigious awards

An electric car has won one of motoring’s most prestigious awards


Last night, the Kia e-Niro electric vehicle was named What Car?’s 2019 Car of the Year

niro
Credit: What Car?

Electric cars are the future of how we travel. Thanks to What Car?, the UK’s biggest car buying brand, we now have even more confirmation of the exciting evolution taking place in the automotive industry.

Last night, at their annual Car of the Year Awards ceremony, the prestigious car publication named the Kia e-Niro as its car of the year. Beating 23 other category winners to take the overall title, the car is the first electric vehicle to win What Car?’s top prize, as well as the prize for the Electric Car of the Year.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford explained that it’s the way that the e-Niro has allayed usual fears of first-time electric car buyers that has led to much of its success. He said, ‘The e-Niro stood out because it addresses the key issues of cost and range [a Real Range of 253 miles] that have traditionally prevented many motorists from taking the plunge into EV ownership. Here is a spacious and practical family SUV that demands very few compromises.’

Paul Philpott, president and CEO of Kia Motors UK, was delighted with the win saying, ‘This marks an important milestone in the Awards as we approach the tipping point where every motorist will be seriously considering buying an electric car as their next car…The future is definitely electric and with this decision What Car? is pushing even harder on an opening door.”

Other winners on the night included Kia Pica for City Car of the Year, the Volvo XC90 T8 for Plug In Hybrid of the Year, the Mercedes Benz S-Class Cabriolet for Convertible of the Year and the BMW 3 Series fpr Executive Car of the Year.

Several major manufacturers, including Audi, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan, are all looking to launch new models of electric vehicles in the coming year, while the  Nissan Leaf dominated headlines in 2018, with a new model expected this year.  2019 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for those in the market for electric cars… the upcoming Audi etron has already raised industry eyebrows with the option of in-car VR integration demoed at CES 2019.

Choosing an electric vehicle over petrol and diesel alternatives is becoming an increasingly mainstream choice. For us? It’s a no-brainer, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

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