Monthly Review April 2023 - new car models
Stay up to speed with Fleet Europe’s Monthly Review featuring new car and van models that will hit your fleet shortlist soon. Last month, the Shanghai Motorshow unveiled some surprising newcomers, not only from Asian manufacturers. And Mercedes unveiled the new generation of one of its fleet favourites.
CUPRA - Tavascan
As Cupra is part of the VW Group, the bold-looking Tavascan uses the underpinnings from the ID.4 and can be intepreted as the spicier version. Though connectivity possibilities are comparable, the edgy and daunting design of the interior clearly sets its apart. From the battery pack of 77kWh, the cross-over can hold a range of between 520 and 550 kilometers, depending on the driveline (dual or single motor). The car enters the hugely competitive compact EV segment dominated by the Tesla Model Y and is set to grow some serious fleet appeal for Cupra.
FORD - E-Transit Courier
The E-Transit is based on the cross-over Puma. Though available in petrol and diesel, the all-electric version is the most interesting, certainly for last-mile companies that will appreciate the payload of 700kgs and 2900-litre cargo bay on the footprint of a compact city car. Keeping the on-road administration in mind, there’s a clever storage box for paperwork or tablets. As the electric version won’t arrive within a year, full specs remain disclosed (ICEs come as of Q3 2023). Ford only mentions fast charging of 10-80% in less than 35 minutes (100kW).
BYD will introduce the Seal in September 2023 to expand its European presence to compete with the Tesla Model 3. With a length of 4.8 metres, the Chinese sedan is 11 centimetres longer than its American rival. Two battery packs (61.4kWh and 80.0kWh) are on offer, both offering rear and all-wheel drive. A frugal heat pump is standard, while the car also features vehicle-to-load functionality (V2L to help charge appliances or other EVs) and a DC inverter with 150kW of peak power (recharging a range of circa 450 kilometres takes half an hour).
LEXUS - LM500h
The most surprising news from the Shanghai Auto Show (you can read the dedicated article here) was that Lexus is introducing the second generation of its MPV LM, previously China-only, in 60 countries. Including Europe, where few fleet managers are aware Lexus offers a people carrier. It seats six or seven people, which can access the luxurious and tech-savvy interior by two sliding doors. The driveline is hybridised but not with plug-in functionality.
MERCEDES - E-CLASS
Despite the SUV trend and the all-electric EQ range nibbling the fleet share of the famed E-Class, it remains a premium pillar for corporate drivers. Stylistically not too disruptive, the new executive saloon bets strongly on tech and electrification. Equipped with much bigger batteries than in the outgoing generation (from 13.5kWh to 25.4kWh), electric range forks between 95 to 118 km, enabling zero-emission commutes for many employees. The dashboard design is inspired by the EQE (Hyperscreen), and the level of semi-autonomous driving is outstanding.
POLESTAR - 4
Indeed, 4 comes after 3 - but not in size. The dimensions of this coupe-styled cross-over slots the newcomer between the 2 and the 3. Interestingly, the rear window has been blackened out and replaced by cameras and a digital mirror inside, which reportedly provides the driver with a wider angle. As typical for Polestar, over-the-air updates, advanced ADAS systems, a Google Android interface and circular interior materials are all part of the package. A promising contender for Tesla, with interesting USPs. Range, you say? 600 km in the RWD version, 516 km for the AWD.
Smart - #3
Moving away from micro-cars, the German-Chinese brand Smart showcased its second model at the Shanghai fair. With a length of 4.4 metres, this is the biggest car the brand made, with less boxy looks than the #1 it shares technology and platform with. The interior is very much a copy of its little brother. Though drivelines will be shared (272hp, RWD and AWD), Smart intends to confirm further details when the SUV debuts in Europe at the IAA Münich in September.
VW - ID.7
Volkswagen wanted to stun Asian crowds with its all-electric flagship ID.7 as it seeks to regain its crown as the best-selling brand in China - BYD surpassed the German car maker during the first quarter of this year. In Europe, this electric super Passat will be available with a bigger battery pack of 82kWh (next to 77kWh), capable of a range of 700 kilometres on a single charge, due to a very economical, in-house developed electric motor. There’s a strong accent on interior comfort with massaging seats, massive leg room and a big panoramic roof.
Want to read the review of last month? Click here.
Images: Ford, BYD, Cupra, Polestar, Lexus, Mercedes, Smart, Volkswagen