Boasting stylish retro looks inspired by the original 240Z of 1969 and 300ZX of the late ‘80s, the all-new Nissan Z employs a 400-hp twin-turbo V6, 6-speed manual transmission, superb handling and a price that shames the Toyota Supra. Starting at just $40,000 in the US for the base spec Z, purists will enjoy the heel and toe action and its pitch perfect rev-matching system. Incorporating a totally revamped interior, which may be a little tight for larger drivers, the Z is one of the very best affordable sports cars on sale right now, delivering power, performance and poise.
The Chinese car maker with British roots reckons it has embarked on a bold new direction with the MG4 EV. Initially, it’s available with battery capabilities from 51kWh to 64kWh, resulting in a range of between 218 and 281 miles, the firm claims. Significantly, this is more of a car for driving enthusiasts than recent MGs. Intriguingly, as the company prepares to see customers in Britain and elsewhere take delivery of their MG4 EVs in late summer 2022 it is talking about future “battery swap systems.” The new 4 starts at just £25,995 - about the same as a bog-standard VW Golf ICE.
Oxford, England: At the Newspress Awards 2022 - the ‘Oscars’ of the automotive journalism & broadcasting world - several members of the Best Cars of the Year (Best COTY) judging panel enjoyed success. Shortlisted for the Automotive Video prize was Shahzad Sheikh. Media & motor industry veteran Tom Johnston was nominated for two prestigious awards - Automotive News Journalist & Commercial Vehicle Writer. Steve Fowler of Auto Express saw the magazine he edits take the Automotive Consumer Publication gong. And Mike Rutherford, one of the founding fathers of Auto Express in '88 & still its Chief Columnist, was presented with the Newspress Lifetime Achievement Award.
They don’t yet know what its showroom price will be or what, exactly, it will be powered by. But consumers in America are in the unusual position of being invited to put down $1,000 refundable deposits on the all-new G90 from South Korean firm, Genesis. This despite the fact that the luxury model's spec is a mystery. As is its official sticker price! But expect the flagship sedan that boasts “athletic elegance” to weigh in at around $90,000 - and be handed over to so-called Priority One customers by upmarket concierge staff rather than mere sales men or women. If BMW and Mercedes aren’t worried by the imminent arrival of the Genesis G90, they should be because the Koreans mean business.
Co-developed by Toyota and Subaru, the bZ4X is Toyota’s first-ever, purpose-built, pure electric vehicle. Depending on the model chosen the claimed maximum range is 317 miles. Ignoring the silly name and its late arrival to the EV party, this stylish SUV comes in either front-wheel or 4WD versions powered by a 65.6kWh battery. Boasting a startling new interior and handling that’s nicer than a Volkswagen ID.4 or Tesla Model Y, the bZ4X’s focus on practicality and comfort makes the whole package feel more like an electric Toyota and less like an EV with a Toyota badge. It starts at $42,000 (US), £43,780 in the UK where a ten year warranty is offered, but with strict terms and conditions.
One of the most famous faces on car TV programmes across the world is Tim Shaw (seen here with Fuzz Townshend who's on the left). They present the National Geographic Channel's Car SOS which has a global audience of over 100 million. Tim has been on-board as a Best Cars of the Year judge from day one and is more than qualified for the job thanks to a strong engineering background plus his appreciation of and genuine enthusiasm for all vehicles - including factory fresh, just-launched models. Truth is, Tim's an addicted car nut...who really knows his automotive stuff. He'll be meeting guests, busily judging and appearing onstage at The British Motor Show, August 18-21, 2022.
Ford’s Bronco has the name, reputation, looks, credibility and off-road ability. But it’s also blessed with an equally important factor - a tempting starting price of just $31,300 in the USA. That said, the buyer of a top-end Bronco Raptor in America wont get much change out of $70k. It’s unclear what the price range will be in Europe from 2023 - or which European countries will officially receive Broncos in their showrooms. If yours doesn’t, you may wish to investigate the possibility of taking a holiday to Florida or California, buying a low or lower medium-spec version for say, $30k to $50k - before driving or shipping the vehicle back home as a personal import!
MG is one of Britain’s best known car marques. But it’s British no more. China owns/runs/builds MG these days. And the Chinese are doing a good job of bringing the brand back from the dead and returning it to the world’s automotive stage. The company has just launched a “new” version of its MG5 EV estate - with prices starting at £31,000 (UK) which is comparatively cheap for a proper, mid-sized - around 4.6m long - all-electric family car. Think of it as an EV for about the same price as a rival petrol or diesel model of similar dimensions. It doesn’t look bad. But quality isn’t great. And although a potential range of 249 miles has been mentioned, we’d be surprised if it will travel that far on just one charge.
VW has finally opened the order books for its five-seat, pure-electric ID. Buzz, priced at £57k-£63k. Ouch! The 77kWh battery in all variants helps deliver a range of 258 miles, claims the company. Officially, it’s described as “the first fully-electric vehicle from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.” Unofficially, the distinctive-looking ID. Buzz with obvious retro touches can’t really decide whether it’s a car, bus, van, mobile office, emergency motorhome, beach hut on wheels or light duty delivery truck. Arguably, it’s all seven. And If that’s the case when being used in everyday, real-world conditions, maybe its circa £60k price tag is more reasonable than it seems at first glance. Also, it should hold its value well.
Ukyo Katayama is a Formula 1 driver turned journalist and TV presenter. After winning the Japanese Formula 3000 Championship he competed in 97 races for the Larrousse, Tyrrell and Minardi F1 teams. He tackled the 24 Hours of Le Mans six times - with a best finish of 2nd in class. He’s a Dakar Rally veteran and, as the principal of Team UKYO, he won the GT300 class of Japan’s Super GT on three occasions. When he’s not writing or broadcasting about road and race cars, Ukyo is an avid mountain climber who’s bravely climbed six of the world’s seven summits.
Nissan Ariya’s futuristic, edgy coupe-SUV styling, premium feel and eye-opening tech help it stand out in a sea of electric crossovers flooding the market. Available with a front-drive 63kWh battery (claimed range 250 miles) or an 87kWh option with a 388 hp dual-motor 4WD e-4ORCE powertrain (up to 329 miles), its on-paper performance stacks up well. Ariya has two 12.3-inch touchscreens, loads of electrickery and Alexa integration. Price (UK): £43,845-£56,290. It has just been named Auto Express COTY. Time will tell if the Nissan is also voted Best COTY World Champ 2022/23.
Kia's EV6 is the sister car to Hyundai’s Ioniq 5. Both EVs boast great exterior designs and superb build quality. They're the most credible mainstream family hatchbacks ever built by the Hyundai-Kia-Genesis empire. EV6 and Ioniq 5 were named Best Cars of the Year Joint World Champs after a dead heat in the official judging process. The Kia costs £44,195-£56,095 (UK). Theoretical maximum range is 300-328 miles. Yet despite its heftier price it doesn’t look as distinctive unique or classy as the Ioniq 5 which also has a superior interior. Kia's constant price hikes are worrying.
Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 was one of the most popular exhibits on the Best Cars of the Year stand at The British Motor Show in 2021. The radically different exterior and class-leading cabin give the pure-electric family hatchback a premium look and feel. It could, should and deserves to be a tad more exciting to drive. That said, it’s the finest sub-£40k EV around. Mid-2021 prices (UK): £39,400-£52,900. Claimed EV range: 238-315 miles. Our hard-to-impress judges had no hesitation in declaring it Joint World Champion 21/22. Ioniq 5 KO’d the international opposition.