13 Dec 18
The Scottish Sun
EVERYONE likes to think they are ahead of the curve.
Who is the next big band. Who is the next big Premier League star.
The Vauxhall Mokka X will set you back £30,000
What is the next big Netflix hit. What designer label will we wear next.
Well, here’s one for you.
Here’s a car that won’t be seen for the next 18 months — but I can give you the lowdown now.
Officially, it’s called the Vauxhall GTX concept. Except it’s not. It’s the 2020 Mokka X.
It’s all-electric with a 50kWh battery and a 200-mile range, enough to keep most people going for a week between charges. Petrol versions will also be available.
We are loving seeing the cars of tomorrow hitting the streets today – almost
Bold design. Clever use of technology. Small. Jazzy wheels that create a yellow ring of light on the move. There’s a lot to love here.
The next-gen Mokka X features Vauxhall’s new family face, best described by Brit designer Mark Adams as a “visor”. Think motorcycle visor. The headlights, cameras and sensors — all the eyes, if you like — are housed behind one full-width panel.
Sadly, the illuminated Griffin badge is currently outlawed but the rules might change.
Here’s a bit more design-speak for you.
This beautifully-designed hi-tech electric motor won’t be seen for another 18 months, but it’s well worth talking about right now
That central bonnet crease, combined with the “wing-signature lights”, is called the “compass”. The line continues with the roof antenna and goes down to the vertical fog light in the rear bumper. I like it.
Hop inside and the minimalist design continues with the widescreen digital dash, head-up display and not much else.
Adams said: “We call it a visual detox. Take away all the stuff you don’t need on the outside as well as digitally inside. That means displaying information simply.
Big clear speedo. You don’t need to know whether the fuel gauge is full or empty. That’s BS. The most important thing is my range. How far can I go? The navigation is simple and logical.
Mark and Rob open the doors to take a look inside the hi-tech Mokka X
“The head-up display is fantastic because you don’t need to take your eyes off the road. We are trying to make things less cluttered, less complicated and less overpowering.”
The barn doors and floating seats (attached to the centre tunnel) are purely for show but the digital wing mirrors and Level 3 autonomy could easily make it on to the road car.
Adams added: “Technology moves very quickly. What seems exotic today rapidly becomes mainstream.
Rob Gill gets the lowdown on the Mokka X’s design from Vauxhall’s Mark Adams
I love this little car. At just over four metres long, it has the footprint of a Corsa but the overall character and personality is something much bigger.
“This is not overpromising. This is hitting on the high spots that we want to deliver for our future customers.
“And we’re not doing it in a way that’s ostentatious and over-done. We’re doing it in a way that’s high quality, stylish but also restrained.
“We want people to relate to it and say, ‘ooh that’s really nice’.”
[boxout headline=”KEY FACTS”]VAUXHALL MOKKA X
0-62mph: 9 seconds
Top speed: 99mph
Range: 200 miles
Charging: 80% in 30 mins
Sadly, the illuminated Griffin badge is currently outlawed
Just add door handles and build it.
NEXT YEAR FROM VAUXHALL: New Corsa and new electric Corsa, new Vivaro, new Vivaro Life, Grandland X plug-in hybrid, Astra facelift, Astra Tourer facelift, Movano facelift. OUT: Adam, Viva.
[boxout headline=”Q&A…”]…with Vauxhall design chief Mark Adams
Do you have a car collection?
“No. I’d love a Lamborghini Miura but I’d never have the time to play with something like that, even if I could afford one.”
So what is your daily driver?
“My Insignia company car.”
Has anyone ever said, “Nice car, mate” not knowing you designed it?
“A taxi driver dropped me off at home and he said, ‘Ooh, is that the new Insignia? I’m thinking of getting one of those.’ I didn’t tell him who I was but I walked him round it. I gave him the full sales pitch.”
Outside of your Vauxhall bubble, what cars do you most admire?
“The Miura and the Jaguar E-Type. Super-clean design and the proportions were so dramatic for the time.”
Good answers. But you’re not getting away with classic cars we can’t afford. Who else is doing a good job today?
“Volvo. They stand out at the moment. The XC40 is a good example of something that retains the brand values but at the same time is very stylish and contemporary.”
What cars are you most proud of?
“The Insignia, first generation, for its time, and I’m immensely proud of the new Insignia. If you take off all the badges it can really hold its head up with the premium brands. Market research confirms that.
“Then going back a little, the Astra GTC was also a stand-out car because it conveyed a strong emotional quality and played on our sportiness.
“And also the Adam. Even to this day people see it as a really cool car but unfortunately they didn’t relate it to the brand strongly enough.”
How is life under PSA (also the owner of Peugeot and Citroen)?
“Fantastic. It gave us the opportunity to redefine ourselves, to re-sharpen and refocus on what we want to be. We have applied that to the GTX.”
And finally, you’re a London boy. What’s your team?
“Spurs. It’s all good . . . as long as we don’t lose our manager in the summer.”
Tesla Model 3: First drive
When Elon Musk unveiled the “$35,000 people’s Tesla” two years ago, the firm took an incredible 325,000 orders in a week. Everyone was very pleased.
The “smaller, simpler, more affordable” Model 3 would ”accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”. So said the official spiel.
This is a beautiful motor but Brits will be paying through the nose for it
[bc_video video_id=”5573950722001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Inside the new Tesla Model 3 – the all-electric £30,000 saloon with a range of 310 miles”]
Except for one problem. No, two actually. The first was that Tesla couldn’t possibly make an electric car for $35,000. It still can’t. The hardware costs too much.
The second was that it didn’t have the factory capacity to mass produce cars. Late next year – more than three years after placing £1,000 deposits – Brits will finally start taking delivery of the first right-hand-drive versions.
But only if they ordered the top-end Model 3 Long Range starting at £53,000 or the £63,000 Model 3 Performance.
More affordable? I’ll let you answer that. There’s still no word on the standard battery Model 3 at $35,000. Hmmm.
You want buttons and dash lights? Look elsewhere – everything here is on the touchscreen
That’s not to say the Model 3 isn’t worth the wait. Because it is. It is a beautiful gem of a car with a turbo-powered touchscreen.
I surprised myself how much I liked it. Of course, it goes like stink. It’s a Tesla. It can outdrag a Porsche 911. But this is a car for tech-lovers who happen to like speed.
There’s NO key. You get a hotel-style door card to tap on the door frame. NO instrument panel. NO buttons (except for the hazard lights in the roof).
Not much of anything, really. It is super-minimalist. The speedo, satnav, Spotify, air con, everything you need, is on the 15in touchscreen.
The Tesla Model 3 is a car for tech lovers who also like a bit of speed
Actually, that’s a fib. The left scroll wheel on the steering wheel adjusts the wing mirrors and steering wheel position – once you’ve activated them via the touchscreen. The right scroll wheel adjusts cruise control speed.
Other things to note. There are 21 cameras and sensors on this car. Twenty-one. And I might have tried Autopilot, briefly. Decent load space front and back.
Minus points. Ride comfort. It needs more suspension travel and better damping. No head-up display.
Whether or not Tesla will ever make one of these motors for $35,000 is open for debate
Also, Model S and Model X owners can top up for free at Tesla Superchargers, Model 3 owners have to pay. That said, it is easily my favourite of the three. Especially when they build them at $35,000.
[boxout headline=”KEY FACTS”]TESLA MODEL 3 PERFORMANCE
0-62mph: 3.7 seconds
Top speed: 155mph Range: 330 miles
Out: Late 2019
Phoebe’s engineered a great career
Phoebe’s going from strength to strength at Bentley
Congratulations to Bentley worker Phoebe Jay, 22, who has just won a global “Best Apprentice” award from VW Group.
I met Phoebe at the Crewe factory three years ago and she stood out then.
She told me: “More girls should look at a career in engineering. We have that extra attention to detail that guys don’t have.”
Give her a nice Christmas bonus.
[bc_video video_id=”5745457586001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Take a look at the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid with Intelligent Satellite Navigation”]
Fiat falls flat
It’s a big fat zero in safety testing for the Fiat Panda
If you were considering a Fiat Panda as your next car, DON’T.
It got zero stars in Euro NCAP safety tests – with the lowest child protection score ever.
The only other zero is the Fiat Punto. Send them all back.
[bc_video video_id=”5975862104001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Fiat Panda is only second car ever to score ZERO on Euro NCAP crash test – and around 1,500 Brits are already at risk”]
Bloodhound on the trail
We’re now at the 11:59th hour for the 1,000mph Bloodhound project.
I know road cars are getting faster, but you won’t see anything like this in your local showroom any time soon
Administrators have ended a search for £25million funding and pilot Andy Green admitted: “We’re in the last ditch. But it also means the world’s fastest straight-line racing car is now on sale at a tenth of the price you’d have paid for it last week.”
Green was vying to beat his own 763mph land speed record.
[bc_video video_id=”5625699922001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Bloodhound SSC makes successful first 200mph public test run at Newquay Airport piloted by Andy Green”]
Ride of the Valkyrie’s mind-blowing
Some astonishing stats about Valkyrie, Aston’s £2.5million F1-inspired road car.
Yowza. If you buy one of these, please don’t call it Val
The naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 produces 1,000bhp and redlines at 11,100rpm. Dang.
The battery hybrid system should add another 150bhp, smashing the golden 1:1 power-to-weight ratio.
Bruce Wood, of engine partner Cosworth, said: “It’s way beyond anything seen in a road car.” Over to you, Merc-AMG One.
[bc_video video_id=”5571467781001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Aston Martin Valkyrie is the new official name of the AM-RB 001 hypercar”]
Put a socket in it
Everyone likes socks for Christmas, don’t they?
And torches. Socks and torches. And Quality Street? OK, socks, torches and Quality Street.
This socket set is one helluva Christmas gift from Halfords
But here’s an upgrade. Here’s your chance to win a 200-piece socket and ratchet spanner set worth £185 from Halfords.
And, as it’s nearly Christmas, here’s another gift to pop under the tree. Or keep for yourself. It’s a Nextbase 512GW Dash Cam worth £149. Thank you, Halfords.
To enter my free draw, simply follow me on Instagram @robgilluk and “like” your preferred prize by 6pm on December 16, 2018. Winners chosen at random.
[boxout headline=”ICING ON THE CAKE”]Burn off the Christmas lard with free ice skating at Motorpoint Castleford (M62, junction 32) from December 28-30.
The outdoor rink is open from 10am-4pm.
Free parking, free wifi. Well done, Motorpoint.