Weekly round-up: diesel tax deathblow, a self-healing hypercar and five-star fever from Euro NCAP

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Author: | Updated: 10 Nov 2017 14:19

If a week is a long time in politics, then Theresa May’s must have seemed like a lifetime. Scandals and resignations abound. Even Brexit has been knocked off the front pages. Priti embarrassing stuff really.

Anyway, back to the important stuff – the week has also brought with it a flurry of automotive news so, as ever, here’s our weekly bite-size round-up of the key car stories from the last seven days…

Top left clockwise: Seat Ibiza, Lamborghini concept, Volvo XC60 crash test, new DS 7 Crossback.

Provided he still has a job, it’s rumoured that chancellor Phillip Hammond will announce a tax rise for diesels in his Autumn Budget on 22 November, although we’re yet to learn what exactly that will mean.

As the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders October figures revealed, diesel continues to fall out of favour and, rather than reassure consumers as the SMMT has urged, it would appear that the government is doing the opposite.

While petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles increase their market share, diesel is in free fall.

So if the government does put another nail in diesel’s coffin, what other options are on the cards? Luckily for you, there’s a host of upcoming EVs and hybrids waiting in the wings, and it appears uptake is already very much on the up – registrations of hybrids and EVs grew by 36.9% year-on-year in October.

But what if you don’t want to wait? What are the best hybrids and EVs on the market right now? We’ve pulled together a variety that you can currently lease for £250 per month.

Hyundai Ioniq – one of the best hybrids on offer for less than £250 per month.

For all the talk of ditching diesel however, it remains the go-to choice if you do big miles. It’s true that car makers are making serious efforts to improve the usability of EVs thanks to charging networks such as Ionity announced this week, but another stumbling block to mass EV-uptake is much simpler: the weather.

Range anxiety is something that still puts many off opting for an all-electric vehicle, and this problem only gets worse in the winter months. It’s true that cold temperatures reduce batteries’ efficiency, but is it a deal breaker when it comes to choosing an EV? We investigate

The inconvenient truth: how do EVs really cope in cold temperatures?

Also this week: 2018 Jeep Wrangler is on its way

And now for an electric car that does away with batteries altogether. Lambo revealed its ludicrous-looking Terzo Millenio concept car this week. Literally translated, it means the third millennium. Self-driving, self-powering and even self-healing, it’s certainly come straight out of the future.

Featuring special carbon materials that can repair itself after a collision, this car really is fit for the year 3000. Ok, ok, we should probably point out that it won’t actually be built – not in its self-healing form anyway, and we’re not sure it ever will. But it’s a seriously cool concept nonetheless…

Self-driving, self-fuelling and even self-healing, this is the new Lamorghini Terzo Millenio concept.

Although the current crop of cars can’t heal themselves, they’re getting better and better at protecting their occupants in a collision – a point demonstrated by Euro NCAP’s latest batch of crash tests.

All the models tested received the full five-star rating and, while the new XC60 shows Volvo is still ahead of the pack when it comes to safety, it goes to show it’s not just premium cars that are impressive safety standards these days. You can find a full list of results here.

Top marks all round in latest set of Euro NCAP tests.

On the subject of safe cars, here’s one of 2017’s best performers – the Seat Ibiza. It’s now available in five-door only guise and we’ve been sampling it in 1.0-litre form. Sharper, edgier and more complete than it’s ever been, here’s five things you need to know about it

We've taken the latest Seat Ibiza for a spin to see what's what.

Also this week: an electric Corsa, Grandland X PHEV and nine new Vauxhalls due by 2020

In fact it’s been a busy week on the test driving front. In-keeping with this week’s EV announcements, our road tester Phil Huff has been out and about in the Smart ForFour Electric. Find out if it proves as practical as the petrol version here or, if that’s too small, how about a Kia Rio?

We still found some time to squeeze in some good old new car news this week too.  DS has revealed price and spec details for its new SUV – the DS7 Crossback. Due in the UK next year, it has premium aspirations and plans to take on Audi’s Q5. We’ll have to wait and see if it can match that famed German build quality though.

Can the DS 7 Crossback REALLY compete against the premium German marques?

We’ll leave you with news of an MG – no, it’s not the new ZS – but this retro Metro we spotted. Who says British cars aren’t built to last? This one looks to be from 1987 and is in particularly good condition. Check out those original wheel trims!

Would you take this MG Metro over the new ZS crossover?

As much as we like this 80s throwback, we can’t help but think one of the company’s new cars would be a better bet in 2017…

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