The big advantage of a rotary is that it is small and light (the MX-30's is of just 83occ), which in turn makes it very smooth. And as an electrical generator it really comes into its own – the principle is just the same as hydro-electric, nuclear, even wind turbines. The battery in the MX-30 R-EV is at just 188 kilos much smaller and lighter again than that in the standard all-electric version, and as such it offers a maximum range of just 53 miles. But the ability to automatically recharge adds another potential 350 miles removes any range anxiety a potential owner might have.
There appear to be several reasons for consumers being put off making the electric switch including the cost of living, the Government removing incentives to buy an EV, falling residual values, the cost of electricity and concern about the charging infrastructure and battery range of EVs.
One useful but not obvious aspect of the Atto is its over-the-air software updates, which means any electronic issues can quickly be resolved much as they are on smartphones. This could address for example one potential issue that has been reported but which we weren't able to explore during our brief test, poor smartphone integration. The car does accept both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but apparently not as intuitively as some.
According to BYD UK head of marketing Mark Blundell, who took up his post just four days before the brand's British launch, 2023 is about laying the foundations for growth including establishing a dealer network, allowing buyers to discover the brand and its products, and softly bringing BYD into public consciousness.
With the 2024 model Polestar claims to have made changes that its customers have been asking for. Visually there is not a great deal to differentiate the newcomer – there are new 20-inch forged alloy wheels which are created using patented laser-etching process rather than diamond cutting, and the adoption of the 'smart zone' front end that debuted on the Polestar 3 SUV which will launch towards the end of 2023.
Speaking to Business Car Manager at the launch of the 2024 version of the Polestar 2, UK head of sales Matt Hawkins put part of the brand's success down to its unique approach to the sales process. "We have a distinct advantage as a brand operating the way we do," he said.
The Suzuki Swace is not a car that will write many headlines – but that's likely because it does all that many owners will want without making any fuss about it. Like its Toyota source model, this is a very competent mid-sized estate, comfortable to drive, with plenty of space inside and very well put together.
Suzuki will launch its first full EV in the UK in 2024 and plans to add one a year up to 2030, as part of a £12.4 billion electric strategy that also encompasses motorcycles and even marine engines. But Wyatt emphasises that the expense of electric is a much larger challenge for value and mainstream automotive brands as it is for premium makers
The Soul retains its slightly quirky, different from the norm visuals but it is also a highly practical vehicle. The largest Soul yet, it still has a small car footprint but thanks to its boxy design lots of space within - the term crossover could have been invented for this car.
3.3-litre straight-six cylinder unit is the latest development in the brand’s long-established Skyactiv technology direction and is pitched as one of the cleanest diesel engines ever produced. It particularly scores with its levels of NOx emissions, the most serious pollutant of oil-burning engines – the Mazda unit produces NOx at one-third of the compliance level in the yet to be implemented and very stringent Euro 7 emissions regulations.
The major challenge for Mazda is making its much promoted view – that electrification is not the only answer and that further development of internal combustion engines have their place – heard in an environment where very loud voices are telling consumers that electric is good and diesel bad.
If your company car is typically chosen from the ranks of the German premium marques, should you be looking at the Mazda instead? Well yes, it's worth a look. Despite Mazda's best efforts it's not quite to the standards of an Audi or BMW, but it's not far behind and a long way ahead of typical mainstream SUV fare.
The arrival of the S-Cross takes Suzuki’s full-hybrid offerings to four, the newcomer sitting alongside the Vitara Full hybrid – launched earlier in 2022 and which has since become the best-selling version of Suzuki’s signature SUV – and two rebadged Toyota models in the Across SUV and Swace family car.