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Fully electric delivery vans are nothing new. Nissan, Peugeot, Renault and Citroen will all sell you an emissions-free workhorse that’ll help to limit pollution in built-up areas. What those options can’t solve, though, are congestion issues at the same time. Step forward the EAVan. Yes, we know it looks remarkably odd, but stick with us here. Designed and built by Oxford-based startup EAV, it’s described as a bio-mechanical electrically-assisted super-lightweight delivery vehicle. In plain English – it’s a four-wheeled bicycle with an electric motor attached and a big boot for parcels. Seems like a worthy idea for city centres doesn’t it? And surely anything that gets a bit more traffic off the roads – or off less of the road at least – is a good thing for the rest of us. With its 250-watt motor, the EAVan can apparently cover a range of up to 60 miles at 15mph (although we reckon Chris Hoy might be able to eek out a bit more speed using the pedals). It can then be recharged in six hours by using a standard 13amp, 240v plug socket, or the battery can be swapped out for a fully-charged spare. The body is made from advanced composites; one of which is carbon fibre, another is made from hemp fibres that are bonded together with a resin based on the oil from cashew nut shells. Yeah, us neither. The EAVan can be had in multiple body styles. There’s a LWB version, a pod and trailer combo and plenty more possibilities. Plus, EAV says it comes under ebike legislation but includes a number of vehicle attributes such as lights, load ratings and wing mirrors. Delivery firm DPD has already placed orders, as have Norwegian and Danish/Swedish postal services, and EAV are now crowdfunding to take the EAVan further. The company reckons they could also be flatbed trucks, ambulances, security vehicles or taxis. So, what do you think Internet, will we be seeing these all over our city centres in the near future?
Motorbike names are just cool. Announcing you have a Monster or a Speed Triple just has a bit more edge to it than saying you arrived in a Z4 M40i or AMG GT 63, doesn’t it? And thus, meet the new Honda Fireblade. Fire, blade. What a meeting it must have been naming the original back in 1992. ‘Blazeknife? Infernodagger? Fireblade? Yes, we’ll call it Fireblade…’ It’s the cooler, more dangerous to know nametag of the CBR1000RR-R superbike. In order to keep pace in its class – one which BMW is widely considered leader of with its S 1000 RR – it’s taken heavy influence from Honda’s MotoGP race bike. The one Spaniard Marc Marquez simply can’t stop winning championships upon. The AMG One of bikes, then? Perhaps not that extreme. And certainly not as pricey. The new Fireblade will come in two trims, the standard RR-R and the more track-oriented SP, both of which produce 215bhp at a nicely high-pitched 14,500rpm. A five-figure redline certainly isn’t familiar from the performance car world, but Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension and a plethora of tech like launch control is. There’s a TFT display screen, newly aerodynamic farings and a keyless start system that slims down the yoke design to make the bike lighter and more streamlined. How light? A mere 201kg, giving this a power-to-weight ratio to embarrass just about any hypercar you care to name. Even a flipping Koenigsegg One:1, named because there was an individual horsepower to transport every one of its kilos. Yep, that badass name seems justified to us.
The third-gen Mini GP is coming. We’ve all seen the spy shots – of a squat little thing with tacked-on wheel arches and massive spoiler. 3,000 will be built, each with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine giving over 300bhp, automatic gearbox and front-wheel drive. It’s already clocked a sub-eight minute ‘Ring time, too, meaning it ought to be a fairly serious item. And now Mini has announced the price - £34,995 in the UK (which will get an as-yet unspecified share). That’s more than you’d pay for a Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai i30N, Renault Megane R.S. Trophy (not the insane Trophy R, obviously) or Ford Focus ST. It’s not that much less that something from the c.300bhp all-wheel drive brigade, consisting of the BMW M135i (with which the Mini shares an engine), Mercedes-AMG A35 and so-on. Old GPs, which were built in more limited numbers than the new one will be, are still worth good money. A low-miler could set you back over £20,000, but you can pick a decent one up for £15,000 or so. Click on these words to read everything we know about the new Mini GP so far. It’ll be properly revealed later this month at the Los Angeles Motor Show. [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" td_gallery_title_input="MINI JCW GP 2020" ids="15460,15462,15464,15466,15468,15470"]
Overview This is a nose-to-tail, top-to-toe overhaul of the Honda Civic. It’s much better to drive – close to class best in many ways – and sleeker with it. Yet the space of the old Civic has survived intact, if not perhaps its cabin versatility. Most noticeably, it’s far lower than before, which makes it feel more lithe to drive. Lowering it has also reclined the passengers, so it’s longer. The chassis now has a multi-link rear suspension so as to combine handling precision with better comfort. Adaptive dampers appear on upper-spec versions. You’ve a choice of three petrol engines and one diesel. Two new petrol engines comprise a 1.0 three-cylinder turbo, making a healthy 129bhp. Want zestier performance? Pick the 1.5 four-cylinder turbo of 182bhp. You can have either of them with a new six-speed manual transmission, or a CVT automatic. The diesel is a 118bhp/221lb ft option that adds about £1,300 to the 1.0 petrol, but compensates with a claimed 80mpg. You won’t reach that in the real world, but it’s a good base for reaching the 50s and 60s in more realistic conditions. The final engine? The Civic Type R and its 316bhp 2.0-litre VTEC turbo. Spoiler alert (no pun intended): it’s Top Gear’s 2017 car of the year and one of the greatest hot hatches in recent history. Exterior styling of all new Civics is busy with lines and angles. Huge pentagonal fake grilles dominate the front and rear corners. Sill and bumper extensions cling to the perimeter. Inside, you’re faced with a more logical and better-assembled dash than before. It’s still extrovertly styled compared with the German opposition though. The old Civic’s famous ‘magic seat’, an upward-folding rear bench, has gone. It depended on the fuel tank being below the front seats, which is why the previous car ended up so tall. Now it’s in the conventional place below the fixed rear cushion. So you can’t have a footwell-to ceiling load space. On the other hand, that forward fuel tank always robbed rear passengers of foot space, so we’ll accept the trade. It’s admirable that Honda fits a wide-ranging active safety suite to every single Civic model. That includes collision warning and auto city braking with pedestrian recognition, and active lane keeping. It uses the same cameras and radar for its cruise control, which doesn’t just adapt to the speed of the car in front, but also tries to predict when someone will cut in ahead of you and slows down more gently ahead of time. It’ll also change your speed as you pass limit signs. Blind-spot warning tech and a reversing camera come if you step up to the upper-middle trim. This Civic is engineered with Europe very much in mind. But for the first time in several generations, the Civic sold here also sells with little modification in the Americas and Asia (they used to get their own very different cars.) In fact Swindon is only the factory in Honda’s worldwide network building the five-door version. It’s exported worldwide too. Good for Wiltshire. Driving Sitting lower than in the old Civic, or indeed many rival hatches, makes you feel connected to the road. It’s not just an illusion; the Civic traces a precise and quick-witted path to follow your orders. The high-geared steering would feel nervous if the car’s actual reactions weren’t so progressive. It rolls less than most rival hatches, and just gets on with the job of steering round the arc you set. There’s not a lot of steering feel, but the general chassis confidence makes up for it. It copes well with mid-corner bumps too. No surprise then that the ride is relatively taut, but it never gets harsh over small bumps, and on big intrusions it usually finds something in reserve. The adaptive damper system is nice to have, but not transformative. The engines aren’t quite such a success. The 1.0 certainly has enough urge to get the car up hills, making a distinctive triple-cylinder chatter as it goes. But because it needs high boost to make its power and torque, there’s definite lag across the rev range, especially below 3,000rpm. Also the rev limit is just 5,600rpm, and we kept bouncing against it. Most unlike high-revving Honda engines of old. The 1.5 will rev higher, to 6,500rpm, and lags less. Even so, you can’t help the feeling Honda pulled back on the tech. How much more responsive would it have been with VTEC and a twin-scroll turbo? (The VTEC Turbo badge is a dummy – there’s no VTEC here.) Still, let’s not bicker - for a relatively mainstream hatch, this is impressively lively. On boost it does 0-62 mph in the low-8-second range, depending on transmission and tyres. The 1.6 diesel is good by small capacity diesel standards: smooth and quiet, if you keep it below 2,500rpm, but fairly loud and uncouth above that point. But its 221lb ft is so chunky that you can make perfectly brisk progress right at the bottom of the rev range, and it disappears into the background when you keep the revs low. It’s an easygoing engine, not an exciting one. For excitement, you want the Type R. Beneath its abundant styling is one of the sharpest, most focused hot hatches in recent memory, though its adaptive suspension and new exhaust system make it really refined and comfy when you just want to get somewhere calmly. It’s a better all-rounder than before yet acts like a tarmac rally car when you press the right buttons and you’re in the mood. It’s brilliant. The manual transmission in all Civics has a well-oiled notchy lever action and wisely chosen ratios. The optional CVT (on the sensible engines, obviously) is decently predictable in light driving. But if you press on, or take control using the paddles to choose between the seven virtual ratios, it slurs annoyingly. On the inside The main instrument cluster consists of a TFT screen with a half-moon tacho wrapping around a digital speedo and lots of selectable ancillary info. The graphics are clear enough if not especially beautiful. On either side are bar-graph fuel and temp gauges. The main central touch screen measures seven inches on upper spec versions, and five on the lowest. The bigger one features Honda Connect, linking you to web-based apps and traffic, and enabling Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Response time and touch smoothness of the screen are first rate. You can quickly adjust temperature with actual knobs on the dash, but if you want to redirect the air flow or change fan speed, you’re into the screen. Lying below all that, the central spine of the Civic is vastly accommodating. A two-level tray holds a phone or three. A conduit takes a USB cable from the low-mounted slot to the upper-level tray. That’s thoughtful. This upper tray can also act as a wireless charger if your phone takes it. Behind that is a big armrest-cubby-cupholder setup with dozens of possible arrangements. The back seat is fine for legroom, if tight for tall heads. Behind that, the boot is big anyway, and even deeper if you can live without the optional spare wheel. Instead of a rigid boot cover that’s a pain to store when you fold the seats, there’s a roller blind that brilliantly goes side to side. Rolled up, it’s little more than the size of a telescoping umbrella. Still some clever touches to admire then, even without those magic seats. Outward vision isn’t great. Much of the apparent glass area in the rear three-quarters and back window is just glossy black paint. You’ll want the reversing camera.
For a very specific and likely small audience, we have some bad news: the Mitsubishi Shogun will no longer be offered for sale in the UK. Mitsubishi has announced it will no longer sell new Shoguns in Britain, ending a near four-decade production run. We’re told Mitsubishi sold 114,164 Shoguns in total… over a 37-year production run. The last car in the UK is a SWB ‘Barbarian’ finished in white, which Mitsubishi is hanging onto for itself. Though the Shogun could never compete on road with the likes of more accomplished rivals, off-road it was a bit of a monster. Not least because it took 12 overall wins at the Paris-Dakar rally, which included a win on its very first attempt way back in 1983. “The Shogun was an incredibly important car for us,” explains Mitsubishi UK boss Rob Lindley. Sad to see the big lug go, or did you forget it was still a Thing? In any case, the original Shogun had one of the cooler badges in the motoring world… [gallery td_gallery_title_input="Mitsubishi Shogun" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="6384,6380,6382"]
An electric car with 1,000 miles of range per cycle and that you never need to plug in to recharge. How does that sound? Impossible? Yeah that was our first thought too, but Californian startup Aptera Motors is adamant that its solar-powered and handily-named Aptera can manage that. You can see renders of the aerodynamic, three-wheeled EV above. Getting a strong sense of déjà vu? If you are then we’re impressed with both your memory and your obscure car knowledge. That’s because Aptera was actually founded in 2005 and initially took deposits from customers for a 300mpg hybrid that looked curiously like the new EV. The company was liquidated in 2011, though. Now it’s back, not with a bang, but rather the almost-silent whisper of electric power. Thanks to that teardrop shape, some lightweight composite body-panels and an efficient regenerative braking system, Aptera claims that its new EV will manage the aforementioned 1,000 miles on a single charge. It also states that the solar panels on the roof will provide 11,000 miles of range per year – meaning you really wouldn’t ever need to plug it in. Also, if you don’t manage 11,000 miles per year, you’ll be able to use the excess power to run electricity in your home. Apparently the Aptera will cost somewhere between $36,000 - $59,000, which is quite a wide range to be aiming for. Although prices will be kept down by the fact that there are only 10 key structural parts. The Californian company says 10,000 cars will be produced by 2022 and that pre-orders will open soon. What do you reckon, Internet, is this the future? Or are you taking this news with a BFG-sized pinch of salt? [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" td_gallery_title_input="Aptera" ids="12865,12867,12869,12871,12873"]
Since 2016, Volvo and Uber have been in partnership, after the two companies signed an agreement that would see the carmaker supply the ride-hailing firm with “tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready cars” over the next few years. Well here is what we should expect to see some of those cars looking like. Volvo XC90s equipped with a load of sensors. All Uber has to do is install its own self-driving software and boom, one totally self-driving car. Or at least that's the plan. As well as the rooftop sensor setup, the XC90 features backup systems that, should any of the primary systems fail or go rogue, can instantaneously make the car stop. The companies explained that the new XC90 “base vehicle” paves the way for “possible future deployment of self-driving cars in Uber’s network as an autonomous ridesharing service”. In 2018, we all remember an older Uber XC90 test vehicle was involved in a fatal accident in Arizona. This is thought to be the first fatality involving an autonomous car. Volvo’s boss Håkan Samuelsson says by the mid-2020s, he expects “one third of all cars [Volvo] sells to be fully autonomous”. The company will use a “similar autonomous base vehicle” for other autonomous cars, which will be introduced in the “early 2020s” and should allow “unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads”. What are your thoughts on having a completely autonomous Uber? If this means the end of those awkward two-star ratings for the jerky drivers who use the brake pedal like they’re playing a Metallica drum solo, it’s progress, right? [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="1609,1610,1611,1612"]
This is the brand-new Volvo XC40 T5 Twin Engine, and it represents a pretty big moment for the Swedish brand. That’s because this particular XC40 is a plug-in hybrid – meaning Volvo is the first manufacturer to offer a PHEV powertrain in every one of its cars. Incidentally, Volvo is also claiming that this is the UK’s first plug-in hybrid premium compact SUV. It’s an important car then, so you’ll be wanting some details… Unlike the T8 Twin Engines in the rest of Volvo’s range, the T5 is front wheel drive only. The powertrain consists of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 180bhp, an 82bhp electric motor connected to a 10.7kWh battery pack, and a new seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox. All of that means headline figures of 262bhp, 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and fuel economy of up to 141.1mpg. Blimey. The lithium-ion battery will provide 28.6 miles of electric-only range, and will completely recharge in 2.5 hours with the optional fast charging cable. If you’re relying on the three-pin plug, it’ll take between 3.5 and 6 hours. Enough details for you? Wait, there’s one more to convey. Prices will start at £40,905 for the standard R-Design version. So, Volvo has gone plug-in crazy. What do you think, Internet? [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" td_gallery_title_input="Volvo XC40 T5 Plug-in Hybrid" ids="10148,10150,10152,10154,10156,10158"]
Modifying a car tends to make it more of an arse to use every day. Lower it and you’ll be scraping the chin on every multi-storey ramp. Firm up the suspension for better handling and the ride will crock your back. Fit a body kit and people will think you can’t let go of your late teenage years. It’s a minefield. But what if you want to modify your supercar so that it actually works in a field that has been blown to bits by mines? Well, the images above prove it can certainly be done. Yep, that’s an off-road ready Lamborghini Gallardo. Amazing. Now, it’s certainly not the first time we’ve seen a go-anywhere Lambo (we’re not including you here, Urus). In fact, earlier this year Lamborghini themselves gave us the Huracan Sterrato – a jacked-up, hardened version of the V10 supercar. They even let us have a go. The diligent among you may also remember the ItalDesign Parcour concept from a while back. That was based on the Gallardo’s 4WD chassis, but the grey bull above is far more Sterrato-like. Of course, the suspension has been lifted pretty significantly, but there are also some heavy-duty arch extensions and a roof rack. Roof racks on Lamborghinis – there’s a mini-series surely. Thankfully, the modifier (whomever they may be) also remembered to fit an LED lightbar – because everything is better with lightbars. But now we come to the best news of all. This exact Gallardo is currently for sale via Classic Youngtimers Consultancy in the Netherlands. The price? Roughly £102,000 accounting for exchange rates. Prepping for the apocalypse? Best get your offer in quickly… Images: Ansho Bijlmakers/Noël van Bilsen [gallery td_gallery_title_input="Off-road Lamborghini Gallardo" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="11675,11677,11679,11681,11683,11685,11687,11689"]