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Electric cars with the longest range in 2022

Here are the electric cars making range anxiety a thing of the past.

One of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle ownership is worrying about running out of charge.

While many people install chargers at home, this isn’t possible for everyone, so ‘range anxiety’ is a valid concern.

So, if you’re looking for an electric car but travelling long distances between charges is important, here are 10 cars to consider.

Photos: PA Media

1. Mercedes-Benz EQS – 453 miles

It’s often said that get what you pay for and when it comes to electric vehicle range that’s very true, as the Mercedes-Benz EQS is currently the car with the longest range on sale.

It’s essentially the electric version of the firm’s S-Class model, which is famous for being one of the most luxurious and tech-heavy cars money can buy. This continues with the EQS, which has all the best equipment and technology that won’t feature on other models for years.

2. Tesla Model S – 405 miles

When it comes to electric vehicles, few companies have badge appeal as high as Tesla. And while it’s the smaller, more affordable Model 3 that’s making headlines as the second-best-selling car in the UK last year, it’s the Model S you want if range is key.

If you’re after the longest range, you’ll have to go for the dual-motor all-wheel-drive model, which can go from 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds. However, impressively, the ludicrously fast triple-motor Plaid model can still go 396 miles to a charge, still some way ahead of the third-placed car in this list.

3. BMW iX – 380 miles

BMW might have been a little slow to really get its electric ‘i’ brand off the ground, but with the iX as its flagship it has really hit its stride. Its looks are challenging but one thing you can’t deny is that it has a fantastic interior and wonderful driving experience.

4. Ford Mustang Mach-E – 379 miles

The first of the more affordable models in this list, the Mustang Mach-E might not be the best to drive but it’s stylish with a fantastic interior and has one of the best value cash-to-range ratios around.

To get this maximum range you’ll need to opt for the less powerful rear-wheel drive model with the Extended Range battery.

5. BMW i4 – 365 miles

Another BMW, but this time it’s a saloon rather than an SUV. Loosely based on the popular 4-Series, the i4 has familiar styling but with a big battery beneath.

Like the iX it offers an excellent driving experience with one of the most comfortable suspension systems of any electric vehicle. It’s not quite as practical as the iX, but it’s much less expensive.

6. Tesla Model 3 – 360 miles

The Tesla Model 3 broke all sorts of records for electric vehicles in the UK last year, with only the hugely popular Vauxhall Corsa outselling it. It’s the most affordable Tesla yet and brings the firm’s minimalist cabin and exciting driving experience to a wider market.

There are a few variants available but it’s the dual-motor Long Range model that gets you furthest between charges.

7. Tesla Model X – 348 miles

The third and final Tesla is the Model X. It’s the firm’s only SUV and is great as a family car, having seven seats and a frankly massive cabin.

Like the Model S it’s not entirely clear when you’d get your Model X if you placed a deposit right now, but once your car arrives you’re looking at about 348 miles from the battery.

8. Volkswagen ID.3 – 340 miles

Volkswagen has made what is arguably the best all-round family car in the Golf, and the ID.3 is the firm’s attempt at doing the same for the EV market. Looking at sales figures, it’s doing a decent job, too.

There are appealing entry level options with a smaller battery, but to get maximum range you need the Tour specification.

9. Skoda Enyaq – 336 miles

Although the ID.3 is a great seller, the Skoda Enyaq might just be the more appealing version. With Skoda being part of the VW Group it shares many parts, with the Enyaq and ID.3 sharing a platform.

However, the Skoda is nicer inside in many ways with excellent build quality and a stylish exterior. Opt for the 80 model to get maximum range for an almost identical price to the Volkswagen – it’s definitely worth a look.

10. Polestar 2 – 335 miles

Polestar is a newcomer to the car market, having previously been the performance arm of Volvo. Now it makes stylish electric cars based loosely on the Swedish car maker’s underpinnings.

The Polestar 2 has a unique appearance so it really stands out on the road, while also getting the best of Volvo’s minimalist interiors. If you fancy something a bit different from the norm, this model should be high up your list.

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The Alpine A110 Legende GT might be the ultimate road-focused sports car

Alpine has put a faster engine in its comfort-focused A110 chassis. DARREN CASSEY finds out if it’s as fun as it sounds.

When the Alpine A110 burst onto the scene in 2017, it felt like a breath of fresh air. Here was a small sports car with the optimal mid-engined, rear-wheel drive layout, sporting quirky styling and a focus on simple driving pleasure.

It won many plaudits for its simply fun approach, and has evolved over the years with more power and more focused driving dynamics. In 2022 it will get a mid-life refresh, but before that happens the French firm has introduced the Legende GT – limited to just 300 units in Europe, it could be the most desirable A110 recipe yet.

The premise of the Legende GT is simple. It takes the high performance engine from the A110 S, but pairs it with the more comfort focused chassis from the regular A110. This is exciting because the regular car’s USP was the fact it handled brilliantly despite not being too stiff, while the S engine’s power hike is always welcome.

Photos: PA Media

As well as the engine, the Legende GT borrows the improved braking system from the S, as well as the sports exhaust to give it the soundtrack it deserves. It’s also available in two specifications, with one focused on technology and the other comfort and refinement, while a new matte silver paint job joins in addition to the signature Abyss Blue.

Mounted in the middle of the chassis sits a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine that makes 288bhp and 320Nm of torque. Sending power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, it’s good for a 4.2-second 0-60mph time and a top speed of 155mph.

You might have noticed that the overall power output is not hugely impressive – top hot hatches have more – but as you can see from the acceleration figures, the A110 is quick thanks to its lightweight construction. Because of this combination, we even managed a hugely respectable 40mpg on more casual runs.

The Alpine’s ethos is to provide a pure driving experience, and it’s fair to say it nails that brief. It’s small but visibility is surprisingly good all round, while the steering offers excellent feedback and the pedal weights are perfectly judged.

It’s easy to get into a rhythm on a country lane because the Legende GT is just so intuitive to drive. The boosty engine feels punchier than its power output suggests and it makes a great noise – not particularly refined but deep and gravelly.

Without the track-focused suspension from the S, it feels much more in tune with the road surface. It’s less likely to become unsettled by bumps, which gives you the confidence to enjoy its capabilities. It’s genuinely more fun than some cars twice the price.

The A110 has some awkward details but the overall combination works really well to provide a characterful style that’s genuinely interesting and like nothing else on the road. Up front you have the quad headlight design that’s a nod to the classic car of the same name.

The rear is slightly less coherent with the roofline and boot merging together into a subtle spoiler, beneath which slim rear lights sit and a single, central-exit exhaust system. Intricate alloy wheels complete the picture with its dinky frame giving off a smart, purposeful design.

One of the few downsides to the driver-focused approach is that interior quality is lower on the agenda. The driving position is great, but there’s not as much steering wheel adjustment as you get in rivals like the Porsche Cayman, meaning some compromise will be needed for taller drivers. That being said, the Sabelt sport seats are very comfortable and supportive.

Generally the materials used in the cabin are pleasant but not particularly premium, while the infotainment system feels ancient, struggling with smartphone connectivity. Fortunately, the facelifted version coming next year has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which will go a long way to address this.

The Legende GT is available in the trademark Abyss Blue as well as the matte Mercury SIlver that our test car was finished in – it looked fantastic. It gets 18-inch alloy wheels with gold brake callipers, which are matched to the gold Alpine monograms, while translucent LED rear lights further differentiate this from other A110 models.

Inside, you can specify the six-way adjustable Sabelt Comfort leather seats in either amber or black with matching leather door panels. There’s also a Dinamica headliner and glossy carbon-fibre elements within the dashboard. Beneath the centre console sits a plaque with the vehicle’s build number on it.

On paper, the Alpine A110 Legende GT should be a fantastic sports car, and in reality it absolutely delivers. It’s genuinely one of the purest sports car driving experiences on the market, and coupling the higher performance engine with the less aggressive chassis makes for a near-perfect road driving combination.

It might lack the cabin sparkle and badge appeal of some rivals, but if that sort of thing doesn’t bother you then this little French wonder should be top of your shopping list.

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The Volkswagen Taigo brings extra style to the German firm’s SUV range

You might think that with six SUVs already in Volkswagen’s range, it had every possible base already covered – varying from the affordable T-Cross right the way through to the upmarket Touareg.

But in the SUV world there always seems to be room for more and considering that these high-riding models now account for a significant percentage of Volkswagen’s sales, it’s easy to see why they’d want to expand the range further and this is the latest option – the Taigo. Bringing coupe-like styling to the lower end of the spectrum, is there more to it than just the way it looks?

While the Taigo is a brand-new model for Europe, it’s essentially a re-engineered version of a model already on sale, one designed and built in Brazil – called the Nivvus.

Photos: PA Media

The Taigo is based on the same MQB A0 platform that underpins VW’s own Polo and T-Cross, its smallest crossover. That said, this new model is 15cm longer than that car, while it also gets kitted out with plenty of the brand’s latest technology, including Matrix LED headlights and digital dials.

There’s plenty of familiarity when it comes to the choice of petrol engines on the Taigo, which are all widely used across the Volkswagen Group. There are no electrified options, and there likely won’t be in the future either.

The range kicks off with a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine, available with outputs of 94bhp or 108bhp – the latter expected to be the most popular. But our test car uses a punchier turbocharged 1.5-litre engine, which is available exclusively in combination with the R-Line trim level and a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. It produces 148bhp and 250Nm of torque, all sent to the front wheels.

It means the Taigo can accelerate to 60mph in 8.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 132mph, with Volkswagen claiming it can return 46.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of 138g/km.

While some rivals might be a sportier drive behind the wheel, when it comes to day-to-day comfort, the Taigo will impress. Even on our R-Line test car, which comes with the largest alloys possible, the ride was comfortable and compliant down your typical British B-roads. Though the harshest of ruts can unsettle it slightly, we reckon the Taigo is among one of the better riding cars in its class. Should you want to get your toe down a bit, switching to ‘Sport’ livens the steering up a touch, and with well-controlled body roll, means it doesn’t feel too different to a regular hatchback.

Despite the more rakish styling, the view out of the back is good, with one of our few complaints being that the relatively large door mirrors generate quite a bit of road noise – you’ll want to turn the radio up a bit to drown it out. This 1.5-litre petrol is also rather nippy, and it has no trouble getting up to speed quickly. For most, though, we suspect the 1.0-litre petrol will be more than enough.

There’s no nice way to say it, but the Taigo is a bit of an oddity when it comes to the way it looks, almost appearing more like a raised hatchback than it does a normal SUV – though in a way, we actually prefer that. It’s also not as obvious in its ‘coupe’ styling as rivals like the Toyota C-HR, with its roof only sloping away at the very last second.

Around the back, there’s also a smart LED light bar, which curves at the edges and meets in the middle with Volkswagen’s latest logo. Though full-width light bars aren’t rare these days, you don’t see many on cars priced as low as the Taigo.

If you’re up to speed with Volkswagen’s latest Polo, nothing will be familiar about the Taigo’s cabin. There’s plenty of technology on show too, including a large touchscreen that’s integrated neatly into the dashboard and a set of digital dials. There’s also a touch control panel for the climate settings, and though it looks modern, it’s a bit fiddly to use on the move. Though the interior is generally very pleasant, there are some rather cheap plastics on the door cards, particularly those in the rear of the car.

Rakish-looking SUVs are often a victim of their own styling, as a sloped roofline tends to eat into cabin space. No such issue affects the Taigo however, as there’s plenty of headroom for adults, and though rear legroom isn’t the most generous, it should be plenty for most. At 440 litres, the boot is also a generous size, and noticeably bigger than that of a standard Golf hatchback.

Mirroring other new Volkswagens, the Taigo will be offered in three trim levels – Life, Style and R-Line.

Reflecting how generous the standard equipment is, more than half of buyers are expected to go for the entry-level Life trim, which comes as standard with LED headlights, an eight-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The Style brings Matrix LED headlights, larger 17-inch alloy wheels, a larger 10.25-inch digital cockpit and satellite navigation. With the R-Line, you’re mainly paying for its style, as it gets a sportier bodykit, along with black design elements and part-microfibre seats.

There was the slight expectation that by adding an extra SUV its range, all the Taigo would do was clutter Volkswagen’s line-up. However, this new model is actually a rather welcome addition. It’s just as roomy as the smaller T-Cross, but more stylish to look at and rather good to drive as well, all for only a very slight price increase.

Though its interior is a bit no-frills in places and it’s a bit expensive in top-spec specifications, stay sensible with the standard engines and trims and the Taigo is a desirable choice.

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Can the updated Volkswagen Polo remain one of the superminis to beat?

TED WELFORD finds out what difference Volkswagen’s tweaks have made.

While buyers might be flocking to crossovers and SUVs at a ridiculous rate, there’s still a lot to be said for more sensible superminis. For years these were the bread and butter option and while the market may have changed, these models continue to top the car sales charts, including the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo.

It’s the latter car we’re interested in here, which is a massively important car for VW – what with 18 million versions being produced since 1975. With the sixth-generation Polo arriving in 2017, it was due a slight refresh to keep it up-to-date with newer rivals like the Renault Clio and Toyota Yaris. But is this new car good enough to compete with the best?

Volkswagen is better known for evolution than it is revolution, and this latest Polo is a rather subtle update, to say the least. Design changes include new standard-fit LED headlights, and tweaked styling at the front and rear to give the Polo a slightly more aggressive look, and bring it closer to that of the new Golf.

Photos: PA Media

Inside, there’s a new digital instrument cluster that is found on every Polo, regardless of trim, while additional safety kit is available – including a new predictive adaptive cruise control and Matrix LED headlights, which are particularly advanced for a car of this size. Finally, VW has chopped and changed all the trim levels in-line with all its latest models.

With the exception of the GTI hot hatch, all new Polos use a 1.0-litre petrol engine. It’s also yet to feature any kind of electrification, too. A naturally-aspirated entry-level 79bhp model is great for first drivers, but rather slow for anyone else. It’s followed by a turbocharged unit, which is available with outputs of 94bhp or 108bhp.

Our test car is the middle option, and gets a choice of a five-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic transmission – we’re trying the latter here. It’s able to accelerate to 60mph in 11.1 seconds, while flat out it would hit 116mph. In terms of running costs, all Polos should be cheap to keep going, with this version returning a claimed 51.2mpg, along with CO2 emissions of 125g/km.

The demands placed on small cars like the Polo these days are exceptional, and an average drive just won’t cut it. But the Polo is a superb all-rounder behind the wheel, with its stand-out factor being its brilliant refinement. Even at higher speeds, it’s exceptionally hushed, while standard-fit adaptive cruise control (with the exception of the 79bhp engine) makes it fantastic on longer motorway runs. Our test car’s relatively small alloy wheels also allowed for a particularly comfortable ride, while should you find yourself on a twisty stretch of tarmac, it feels nimble and agile.

This 94bhp engine is also a great match for the Polo. Its performance will never wow, but there’s plenty of punch there for safe overtakes. The DSG automatic is the only real weakness, having a real hesitancy at slower speeds, which isn’t great when trying to join a roundabout or get out of a junction. Flicking the gearbox into the ‘Sport’ setting does help to improve things, though.

Volkswagen hasn’t messed too much with the Polo’s design, but the subtle changes are welcome and keep it looking fresh. Old-fashioned halogen headlights are no more, and in place are new full LED units – and you get LEDs at the rear, too. In fact, looking at the lights at the back is one of the easiest ways to tell if the Polo is ‘new’, as they’re now wider, and run into the boot lid as well.

Meanwhile at the front, it gets a slightly more aggressive design thanks to new diagonal air inlets. You can take things up a further notch too by choosing the R-Line, or indeed the full-fat GTI if you want the performance to go with the racier looks.

Given the outgoing Polo already had one of the best interiors in its class, you can’t exactly blame Volkswagen for only making a few small alterations. The main change is the addition of digital dials – previously only available as a pricey option, they’re now fitted as standard across the range, and help to modernise the cabin. It’s generally a very smart interior, though there are some rather low-rent plastics on the door cards and the air-con controls look a bit old-fashioned by today’s standards.

One big plus point for the Polo, though, is its interior space. The boot measures a generous 351 litres (only 29 behind than the Golf), while a height-adjustable floor really improves everyday usability. There’s also a decent amount of space in the rear seats by class standards and more than enough for a small family.

Previously the Polo was available in trim levels called SE/Match and SEL, but these have now been swapped for Life and Style, mirroring Volkswagen’s latest naming structure.

Even as standard the Life gets a generous amount of kit, such as LED lights, a fantastic eight-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and electric folding mirrors. Jump up to the Style to get more advanced Matrix LED headlights, along with satellite navigation, 16-inch alloy wheels and front and rear parking sensors. Meanwhile at the top of the standard Polo range, the R-Line brings a sportier styling kit, part-microfibre sports seats and dual-zone climate control.

Volkswagen hasn’t made a huge range of tweaks on its Polo, but the ones that have been made are welcome as it now looks sharper, gets more technology and is far better equipped than before.

While the Polo is one of the priciest options in the supermini class, its combination of quality, refinement and space is one rarely found on a car as compact as this. It really makes you question the need to upgrade to the class above, as it feels more Golf-like than ever, which is most certainly a compliment.

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Can the Bentley Bentayga retain its luxury SUV crown?

Bentley has updated its Bentayga, but have some tweaks elevated the experience even further? JACK EVANS finds out.

The luxury SUV has become a mainstay of many car makers’ line-ups these days. Roll back a few years and it was practically unthinkable that companies like Bentley would introduce an SUV and yet, here we are, with the Bentayga residing as one of the firm’s most popular models. It’s now been updated, too, bringing a host of refinements to make it even more, well, refined.

But with a variety of new rivals on the scene, can the big, bad Bentayga stay at the top of the food chain? We’ve been finding out.

From the outside at least, you might not think an awful lot has changed. Sure, the rear lights are quite a bit different to the previous model, but the Bentayga’s large size and huge on-road presence continue undiminished – though it’s now a little wider and the bonnet is a touch higher up. It’s inside where the bulk of the changes lie, with a new screen replacing an older and less user-friendly display.

Photos: PA Media

Other changes courtesy of the update include USB-C charging ports and rear seats which have the option to be cooled as well as heated, boosting the Bentayga’s comfort levels even further.

There are a number of powertrain options available with the Bentayga – including a plug-in hybrid – but today we’re looking at the V8-powered version. It’s a petrol 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged unit kicking out a healthy 542bhp and 770Nm of torque, driven to all four wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. Bentley claims that it’ll power the Bentayga from 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds before motoring on to a top speed of 180mph.

There’s a large 85-litre fuel tank and you’ll need it, as with a claimed consumption of 21.2mpg on a good day, the Bentayga has a predictably voracious appetite for fuel.

Refinement reigns supreme in the Bentayga, just as it did in the previous version. At speed, it’s gloriously quiet; sitting in the cabin on the motorway you feel perfectly secluded from the outside world as it whisks past the window. There isn’t too much engine noise intrusion, either. That V8 engine remains largely muted at cruising speed and only makes its presence known when you accelerate hard.

But do just that and you’ll be rewarded with some fearsomely impressive performance. Given its size, the way the Bentayga shifts is quite remarkable, but it does so in a very composed, refined way. The well-weighted steering backs this up, too, while the smooth-shifting automatic gearbox matches the package perfectly. The ride quality is also excellent – it’s particularly amazing given that the car rides on huge 21-inch alloy wheels.

It’s fair to say that the classic Bentley styling has been successfully translated into an SUV shape with the Bentayga. It’s instantly recognisable as one of the brand’s cars, particularly thanks to the front-end design. This refresh has only helped things further, with the oval-shaped rear lights, in particular, giving the Bentayga a sleeker appearance.

It’s certainly not a car for shrinking violets, mind you, as its big, imposing styling is hard to miss wherever it goes. That said, in classier dark shades like green and red, the Bentayga can toe the line between over-the-top and understated nicely.

Sitting in the cabin of the Bentayga you’re able to appreciate the level of craftsmanship that Bentley offers. It feels like a noticeable improvement on the old Bentayga, too, with the new screen giving the Bentayga a far more futuristic feel inside. That said, the basics are covered off nicely; the seats are well-padded and comfortable while the seating position offers plenty of adjustability. Those in the rear of the car are well catered for in terms of leg and headroom, so you’re not going to feel short-changed by sitting in the back.

In terms of boot space, five-seater Bentayga models bring 484 litres of load area while four-seater versions bring a slightly smaller area of 392 litres.

As we’ve already alluded to, it’s the Bentayga’s on-board technology that has made a real jump. So we’ve now got a crystal-clear 10.9-inch touchscreen display in the middle which runs the latest software to make it quicker to function. There’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to make mirroring your smartphone on the display easier. The basic operation of the system is easy enough though not the most intuitive available today. That said, it’s quick and responsive.

This revised Bentayga succeeds in showing just why it’s proving so popular. The fundamentals remain unchanged; it’s still great to drive, effortless over long distances and supremely comfortable for both driver and passengers. The V8 engine continues to be a great fit for the Bentayga too – though we reckon many buyers will be tempted by the new plug-in hybrid.

With these small but important improvements, we can only see the Bentayga’s popularity being extended even further.

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Volkswagen’s ID.4 GTX aims to capture some of the GTI’s spirit

Making an electric car involving to drive has stumped quite a few manufacturers of late. Sure, we’ve had range-toppers like the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT, but nothing on the more ‘regular’ end of the spectrum. Cars like the Golf GTI have always delivered that delicate blend of usability and driver engagement, which is why Volkswagen is attempting to transfer some of that magic into its electric line-up, starting with this – the ID.4 GTX.

It’s the first car in a new series of GTX-badged cars and brings a host of revisions to the ID.4 as a way of making it more exciting and involving to drive, but no less practical on a day-to-day basis. We’ve been finding out what it’s like.

The ID.4 GTX gains more power than the regular car – but more on that later. Much like the GTI, the GTX has a host of other revisions to make it feel a little more special to drive than the standard car. So we’ve got a revised steering setup for a more involving experience, an electronic locking differential and sports suspension to give a little extra support Higher-spec versions also receive Dynamic Chassis Control with adjustable dampers, too.

Photos: PA Media

A range of styling tweaks have been made to differentiate this car from the standard ID.4 but, much like the GTI, they’re relatively subtle and certainly don’t scream too hard about this car’s added performance.

The ID.4 GTX is the first electric Volkswagen to boast a dual-motor setup, with one placed on each axle to give all-wheel-drive traction. With 295bhp and 310Nm of torque to access, the GTX will manage the 0-60mph sprint in six seconds – slightly quicker than a Golf GTI. Given enough space, it’ll crack 112mph flat-out, too. This setup means it’s also 93bhp more powerful than the previous range-topper, the ID.4 Pro Performance.

These motors are then linked to 77kWh battery, which should bring up to 301 miles between charges. And speaking of charging, the ability to accept a 125kW charge means that an 80 per cent charge could take as little as 38 minutes. Hooked up to a regular 7.2kW home wallbox, we’re looking at a full charge in 12 hours and 40 minutes.

Setting off and it’s immediately noticeable that this isn’t a regular ID.4. There’s some added firmness to the way it rides, while the steering’s weight is considerably more than the standard car’s. It feels sportier, in truth, which is predictably what Volkswagen had in mind.

Then you add a little speed – which isn’t hard to do given the ID.4’s considerably deep wells of torque and power – and it really does come together. The turn-in is good and the added security of the all-wheel-drive system means the car will keep gripping far longer than you might expect.

The car’s overall heft isn’t hard to miss, mind you. The brakes, when pushing hard, feel a little overburdened with bringing the ID.4’s distinct amount of mass to a halt and can come across as a bit squashy. You can lean on the regenerative braking to slow you down, however. Overall, the ID.4 GTX actually feels fun – something which has been lacking in quite a lot of EVs recently.

The regular ID.4’s design has only been marginally tweaked in its evolution to this GTX model. There’s a large gloss black badge at the rear of the car and some vertical daytime running lights, but save for these it’s largely business as usual.

The front end, to our eyes, is the strongest angle for the car, as from the rear-three quarter it can look a touch ungainly. It’s an impressive thing to see, mind you, while standard-fit Matrix LED headlights and dynamic turn signals at the rear help it to really stand out at night.

The interior of the GTX is largely business as usual for a Volkswagen product, with the combination of a button-free layout and a wide, spacious cabin both things we’ve come to expect from electric VW models. The forward part of the interior is roomy, with comfortable seats and a decent view of the road ahead. We’re still not fans of the complete absence of buttons for the main screen, as it makes accessing key functions far more hassle than it needs to be.

There’s a good amount of leg- and headroom for those sitting in the back too, while a 543-litre boot is more than enough for most occasions. You can extend it by folding the rear seats down, too, increasing this to 1,575 litres.

All GTX models come with a high level of standard equipment, including 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control and a 12-inch colour touchscreen incorporating all major media and navigation functions. You also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a heated leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel with GTX logo and a lot of ambient lighting.

There’s the option to upgrade to a GTX Max, too, which adds electric seats, three-zone climate control and a more extensive list of driver assistance systems. You also get a heat pump included as standard, which helps to boost the efficiency of the entire powertrain, and that aforementioned Dynamic Chassis Control.

The ID.4 GTX feels like a good step forward for the ID line-up of cars. It’s easily more involving and exciting to drive than the standard ID.4 and it manages this without incurring any penalty when it comes to usability or practicality – both features which will be extremely important to buyers.

Is it a worthy alternative to a Golf GTI? Not quite. It doesn’t bristle with excitement quite like Volkswagen’s famous hot hatch, nor does it reward the driver in nearly the same way. However, as a way of injecting a little more fun into the ID.4, the GTX hits the mark and for many people, that will be more than enough.

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Jeep’s Compass 4xe combines hybrid efficiency and off-road capability

As governments around the world move towards greener motoring, it is only natural that even the most traditional of manufacturers look to adapt their powertrains for a more sustainable future. The new Compass, which sits between the smaller Renegade and the larger Cherokee in the Jeep range, is the latest to follow that pattern.

Newly updated, the model sees the debut of Jeep’s 4xe plug-in hybrid system in the Compass. There is also a new facelifted interior and exterior alongside updated technology, but is that enough for it to beat off strong competition from the likes of Volkswagen’s Tiguan and the Hyundai Tucson? We got behind the wheel to find out.

The biggest change from the old Compass centres around the brand-new hybrid powertrain. However, the rest of the car has been freshened up too. The exterior gains new LED headlamps and a lower fascia while inside there is a bundle of the latest technology and a comfortable interior.

Photos: PA Media

Unlike several of its rivals, practicality has not taken too much of a hit with the fitment of a hybrid powertrain either. Inside there is more interior storage than the outgoing model, while boot space stands at 438 litres – slightly less than the 476 you get in the VW Tiguan eHybrid.

The entry-level Nighteagle model is powered by a conventional 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, generating 129bhp and linked to a six-speed manual gearbox. As you move up the range, the set up is also used by the slightly more luxurious Limited.

The more expensive Trailhawk and S models are both four-wheel-drive PHEVs with a more powerful 178bhp version of the same engine. It has been teamed with an electric motor, which is mounted in the rear axle and powered by an 11.4kWh battery for a total of 237bhp. The models have a claimed electric-only range of up to 30 miles. Both the Trailhawk and the S have the same six-speed automatic gearbox.

On the road, the Compass feels smooth and comfortable and the S model that we were driving gave a decent account of itself over the test route mapped out for us. It has a quoted 0-60mph time of 7.5 seconds but, in truth, the car never really feels particularly fast. One minor gripe is that when putting your foot down you are met by a lot of engine noise without a great deal of forward movement, which isn’t helped by a somewhat lethargic feeling gearbox. This is largely rectified by putting the car into sport mode when it feels a lot more responsive.

Off-road the Compass performs admirably and managed a relatively tough off-road course with ease. It also benefits from Jeep’s eAWD system which offers additional grip on loose surfaces.

The Compass has been given a facelift for this new model and it looks all the better for it. The front end has received full LED headlamps, a revised lower fascia and new wheels. Our S model was complete with 19-inch glossy alloys, two-tone paintwork painted lower bumpers and sills with a grey insert.

The upgrades give the car a much crisper look which is also helped in part by gloss black badging. At the front end, the Compass retains the instantly recognisable Jeep grille to round off what is a very good-looking SUV.

The interior of the Compass has a level of style and sophistication that was not seen on the outgoing model. Our test car had a full black leather interior which felt both spacious and comfortable. The driving position is high and offers good visibility of the road ahead. The technology was smartly presented and easy to use, especially the 10.1-inch screen in the centre of the dashboard.

The dash itself is surrounded by a brand-new chrome insert, which can also be customised in liquid chrome, brushed chrome, gloss black and metallic grey. The new Compass also boasts an impressive 7.2 litres of storage compartment space – a three-fold increase versus the 2.8-litres of the previous version. The cabin itself still feels spacious, despite boot space taking a hit compared to some of its rivals.

In terms of tech, the new Compass is a world away from the outgoing car. Drivers benefit from both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the Compass also offers wireless phone charging, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated seats, adapted cruise control and keyless entry as standard. Highlights include a full-HD digital 10.25-inch instrument cluster, DAB radio and a 10.1-inch touchscreen, moved to a higher position in the middle of the dashboard.

There is also a TomTom-powered sat-nav and advanced voice recognition which can be activated by saying the words ‘hey Jeep’ – although it did take a few different voices to spark it into life!

Overall the new Compass is a very welcome entrant into what is admittedly a rather crowded market space. Jeep goes out of its way to try and make it stand out and with its distinctive looks and quality interior, it has done a good job.

The model also offers a good level of equipment for the price. While there are a few drawbacks on the road, the ride is largely comfortable and it would easily conquer longer journeys. Off-road it excelled and has capabilities well beyond what most buyers will use it for. The 30-mile electric-only range is more than enough for most short journeys and will certainly appeal to city buyers.

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The Mini Electric Shadow Edition brings stealthy styling to this fun EV

Mini is introducing a new special edition version of its Electric hatch. TED WELFORD sees if it’s worth considering

There are some cars that are just meant to be EVs, and the Mini is one of those cars. As they’re mainly used around the city, the thought of being able to buzz about without contributing any emissions appeals, while the zippy nature of an electric motor makes it a perfect match for darting through narrow streets.

It’s no surprise Mini’s Electric is proving such a hit, then – and even though it was only updated earlier in the year, Mini is now introducing a new ‘Shadow Edition’ to expand its appeal further.

Mini initially just offered the Shadow Edition on its not-so-mini Clubman and Countryman, but has now extended it to its full range, including the Electric.

Photos: PA Media

There’s a clue in the Shadow Edition name as to what this version is about, and that’s darkened styling. So it’s why all versions come painted black, with fully blacked-out alloy wheels and the deletion of all chrome to enhance the stealthy appearance. Unlike the regular Hatch, though, the Electric doesn’t get the option for a contrasting roof.

This edition is all about cosmetic changes, so Mini hasn’t touched the powertrain of the Electric – certainly no bad thing.

It’s why the same zippy electric motor remains, kicking out 181bhp and 270Nm of torque, which means 0-60mph takes just 7.1 seconds. These are hot hatch-rivalling figures, so you can’t exactly blame Mini for slapping a ‘Cooper S’ badge on at the rear.

The same 32.6kWh battery remains – of which 28.9kWh is usable. That really is tiny compared to many other electric cars on the market (even an electric Corsa has a 50kWh battery), and limits this Mini’s range to a claimed 141 miles. On the plus side, it means you could get away with an overnight full charge with a three-pin plug, which can’t be said for many EVs. Top up at a 50kW rapid charger, the battery can go from 0 to 80 per cent in 36 minutes.

While rapid acceleration is a hallmark of most EVs – due to the immediate responsiveness of an electric motor – how this Mini can pick up speed is remarkable. Plant your foot on the accelerator from a standstill and you’ll leave most cars behind at a set of lights, while even in the tamest driving mode Eco (Mid and Sport are also available) it’s more than quick enough.

It also doesn’t lose the fun factor of its petrol siblings when you get to a corner, as there’s still the confidence to throw it into a bend in a fashion that you just wouldn’t feel comfortable in many of its competitors. You can feel it’s heavier (it weighs 145kg more than a petrol Cooper S), but it’s still impressively agile and nimble. The only slight downside to this is that the ride is firm, not helped by the larger 17-inch alloy wheels that come on the Shadow Edition.

If you like that stealthy look, or are the type of person that would pay to dechrome your car, you’ll absolutely love the Shadow Edition. With its metallic Midnight Black paint, black roof and black alloy wheels, a Mini has possibly never looked quite so menacing.

While it certainly gives it a different character to usual, we’re not fans of the cheap-looking graphics that emblazon the front wings and bonnet. They look like the result of a kid’s first effort after getting a 3D printer for Christmas, and are at odds with the otherwise premium image the Mini so perfectly conveys.

Inside, it’s typically Mini fare, and by that we mean it’s one of the best interiors of any small car on the market, providing you ignore the issue of space.

With a large 8.8-inch touchscreen wrapped neatly into the iconic central display and a small digital dial display, it’s got an especially modern feel to it, while both are still easy to use. The dials don’t have the sharpest graphics, though, and don’t have the same level of adjustability as a Peugeot e-208’s, for example.

It also lives up to its ‘mini’ name. Granted, you won’t buy one of these for its practicality, but if you aim to have people in the rear seats with any regularity, it’s worth looking elsewhere.

The Shadow Edition is based on the top Level 3 trim on the Mini Electric, so unsurprisingly gets all the bells and whistles.

It’s quite remarkable just how much kit has been crammed into less than four metres of metal, with highlights including Matrix LED headlights, a Harman Kardon sound system, a panoramic sunroof and a head-up display to name just a few features.

The Mini Electric is possibly the most charming EV on the market. It looks cool, has a great interior and is a huge amount of fun to drive – so much so we’d argue it’s better than the petrol hatch. Its range really is the only let-down.

Like any special edition, they typically don’t make a huge amount of financial sense, but if you want a high-spec, stealthily styled Mini, the Shadow Edition is worth considering. If that doesn’t necessarily appeal, there are less expensive trims that are still fantastically equipped.

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Should the Mercedes-Benz EQA be top of your electric family car shopping list?

The Mercedes-Benz EQA matches stylish looks with a decent electric range. DARREN CASSEY finds out if it’s a worthy contender in this bustling segment.

Electric vehicles are fast becoming the norm, and it seems there are two ways established manufacturers are going about electrifying their fleets. One way is to create electric vehicle platforms from scratch to be sold under new branding, while the other is to simply offer electric versions of existing products.

Mercedes-Benz, however, has done a little bit of both. It launched its EQ sub-brand for electric vehicles, but has largely been adapting existing models for electric powertrains, with the forthcoming EQS the first bespoke model.

The EQA is a hugely important car for Mercedes as it hopes to be the volume electric seller, and the German firm has brought it to market through adapting the popular GLA SUV. But with rivals offering cool, quirky, bespoke alternatives, does it have enough character and quality to stand out?

Photos: PA Media

Today we’re testing the EQA 300. It sits above the 250, which was introduced for the car’s launch, and below the 350, which went on sale around the same time as the 300.

Aside from a little more power, one of the key upgrades with this model was the introduction of all-wheel-drive and some improved equipment levels. Each trim gets impressive equipment levels and fast charging is also available, with access to public charging subscriptions included.

The dual electric motor system gives the EQA 300 its all-wheel-drive setup, with a motor on each axle. The combined output is 225bhp and 390Nm of torque, resulting in a 0-60mph time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 99mph – this is low, but fairly typical of EVs.

The 66.5kWh battery provides up to 264 miles of range, and although we didn’t get to put this fully to the test, in our mixed driving route our usage would lead us to believe a good 250 miles would be possible in optimal conditions. Fast charging is possible at speeds of up to 100kW, with a 10-80 per cent charge taking around 30 minutes.

Jump behind the wheel and anyone who’s driven a GLA will feel right at home – until you pull away, that is. The EQA silently cruises along with the hushed refinement we’ve come to love from premium EVs, and the light steering and slightly raised driving position make it ideal for city driving.

It’s comfortable, too, with the suspension soaking up all but the harshest bumps. It’s clearly been tuned with comfort in mind, because despite high torque and hot hatch-esque performance it doesn’t feel particularly sprightly.

It’s not the most cohesive package, though, with the pedal weights mismatched making smooth driving tricky, and any attempt at fun in corners is met with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. It’s a comfortable car for daily driving duties, but there’s little in the way of excitement.

Mercedes-Benz knows how to make a stylish, premium SUV, and the EQA is no different. From the side profile its GLA base is obvious, but up front it’s a whole lot more stylish and distinct. There’s no grille because there’s no hot engine that needs cooling, so instead you get a large grille-shaped plastic block that rolls into sleek headlights.

It’s one of those odd cars that looks a lot better in the metal than it does in pictures, too, with that front end having a refreshingly simple and elegant appearance. It’s a similar story at the back, where the designers have been restrained and added a simple full-width light bar and new brake lights.

The EQA’s cabin has a distinctly premium feel to it, with soft-touch materials in all the right places (though if you feel around there are some cheaper-feeling areas close to hand). As is typical of Mercedes’ interiors, it feels a little fussier than rivals from BMW and Volvo, but the design is bold and will appeal to a different type of buyer.

The large, double screens on the dashboard continue to be an excellent touch, bringing a sense of modernity to the cockpit. It uses Mercedes’ latest infotainment system, which includes a decent, if not quite class-leading voice control system. Otherwise it’s pretty spacious for both front and rear passengers thanks to wide, comfortable and adjustable seating.

The EQA’s job is to be Mercedes-Benz’s most mainstream EV (for the time being at least). As such its job is not to ruffle too many feathers, providing a stylish look and comfortable driving experience – and in that case it’s succeeded.

On paper it makes a lot of sense, being a pleasant car for daily driving duties with a decent range for longer journeys, and many buyers will be more than happy with that performance.

The key thing that lets it down, though, is the fact that it just feels a little safe and uninspiring when so many rivals have used the electric revolution to do something interesting and exciting…

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