The essential 6 new cars October 2022

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Alfa romeo tonale hero

Have you come across SsangYong yet? Here’s a chance to test its latest model by proxy; it’s one of the cars Paul Horrell has taken for a spin

Your expert: Paul Horrell’s well deserving of this expert label, with 34 years of car testing and motoring journalism under his (seat)belt.

You wouldn’t sell your old laptop or phone without wiping personal data. If you sell a car, it’s wise to remember to do the same. Go into the screen settings and erase the phone book and call history, wipe the Bluetooth connection, and delete all old destinations from the satnav. 

I never enter my exact address as ‘home’ on a car’s satnav anyway, because if someone steals my keys when I’m away, they’d then be able to identify my house and go and burgle it, knowing that no one’s home. 

By the way, if you sell a car, you remain legally responsible for it until you notify the DVLA of its sale by sending in part of the V5C form (also known as the log book) or going online to Once that’s done, you can get any unused months of VED (vehicle excise duty) back. The new owner has to pay their own. 

1. Mid-size crossover – Alfa Romeo Tonale 

From around £38,000

alfa romeo tonale

Alfa is a great historic name that has made some regal luxury and sporty cars. But right now it needs to make some money, so it’s aiming at a huge buyer pool: those who want a conventional family crossover. Among such cars, the Tonale is pretty enough on the outside, and the design flourishes continue within. Not that it’s eccentric by any means; everything is easy to use and the tech is of the moment. 

On the road, the set-up feels sporty for this kind of car. The steering is quick-acting and the car doesn’t loll about in corners. The suspension is firm but not too turbulent, and it’s stable on motorways. The novel mild hybrid system can feel indecisive in town driving, so allow time to acclimatise. Then you’ll find the fuel savings.

Spec Veloce 1.5 160 MHEV DCT 
Price £42,495 
Engine 1469cc 4cyl petrol turbo, FWD, 7-speed auto 
Power & torque 160hp, 240Nm 
0–62mph 8.8 seconds 
Top speed 132mph 
Fuel economy 47.1mpg 
CO₂ 138g/km

2. People carrier – BMW 2-Series active tourer

From £30,265

BMW 2 series active tourer

A people carrier isn’t what you expect from BMW, but this feels like the BMW of people carriers. For a tall car, it also rides and corners well, although I reckon the steering is too light. The engine and transmission work smoothly and drink comparatively little fuel. 

It’s nicely made and advanced in its display and technology, provided you like touchscreens (BMW’s likeable click-wheel control has gone). You can opt, at a price, for lots more luxury-car amenities. The back seats have most of the expected multi-purpose functions. They recline and slide, so you can redistribute the space between luggage and passengers. Fashion has passed it by, though. Despite its versatility, most buyers will opt for the closely related but less roomy BMW X1 crossover.

Spec 220i Luxury 
Price £31,795 
Engine 1499cc 3cyl petrol turbo, FWD, 7-speed auto 
Power & torque 170hp, 280Nm 
0–62mph 8.1secs 
Top speed 137mph 
Fuel economy 47.9mpg 
CO₂ 133g/km

3. Supermini – Skoda Fabia

From £17,800

Skoda fabia

Here’s a car we can all understand: a five-door supermini with a petrol engine from a brand that concentrates on sense and value. The Fabia is roomy for a small car. The interior is no-nonsense practical, albeit with rather joyless decor. Seats are firm but comfy and the controls easy. The standard screen system covers the important bases and all the controls are mercifully self-explanatory. 

To drive, it feels equally trustworthy, responding solidly to your inputs. Suspension is supple over bumps. The test car’s 110bhp engine and automatic transmission let it swim with bigger, faster fish. That said, this spec ends up dearer than you’d expect. I’d go for a more basic powertrain and enjoy a car that’s an antidote to our nervous times.

Spec 110 TSI DSG Colour Edition 
Price £20,400 
Engine 999cc 4cyl petrol turbo, FWD, 7-speed auto 
Power & torque 110hp, 200Nm 
0–62mph 9.9 seconds 
Top speed 127mph 
Fuel economy 47.9mpg 
CO₂ 136g/km

4. Estate – Genesis G70 shooting brake

From £35,250

Genesis G70 shooting brake

It doesn’t look like a traditional bulky estate, and that’s part of the appeal. OK, that means the boot isn’t as boxy as it might be, but the sacrifice isn’t huge. The low-slung appearance doesn’t deceive, as this is a sweet machine to pilot through bends and roundabouts. The engine isn’t the most economical, but gets on with the job. Road coarseness is mostly smoothed away. 

Genesis is the new luxury-car arm of successful Korean maker Hyundai. The premium shows in the finely crafted interior, which has interesting materials and a bounty of equipment. To stand out among established rivals, Genesis has no dealers, instead bringing a demo car to you and using online ordering. At service time they collect your car and lend a substitute – all-inclusive, for five years

Spec 2.0 Petrol Luxury Line 
Price £40,700 
Engine 1998cc 4cyl petrol turbo, RWD, 8-speed auto 
Power & torque 241hp, 353Nm 
0–62mph 6.4 seconds 
Top speed 146mph 
Fuel economy 33.1mpg 
CO₂ 194g/km

5. Electric family crossover – SsangYong Korando E-Motion

From £31,995

SsangYong Korando E-Motion

It’s likely that you haven’t heard of SsangYong. It’s a crossover and 4x4 specialist from Korea, operating at the budget end of things. If you think electric cars are a nice idea but expensive, try this. It’s got family room, a decent-sized battery giving adequate range for most uses, and a seven-year warranty. 

Even the base model has a good lot of equipment, and you can link its screen to your phone for music and navigation. The version I tested has built-in navigation and plusher upholstery. But frankly the appeal here is the value – going higher up the range makes you more aware of the slightly cheap-and-tinselly dashboard. 

It’s not an engaging or sporty drive by any means, but at normal traffic speed it feels like a solidly engineered machine, with easygoing handling and ride.

Spec Ventura 55.3kwh 
Price £34,995 
Engine electric motor, FWD, single-speed 
Power & torque 190hp, 360Nm 
0–62mph 9.3 seconds 
Top speed 97mph 
Range 211 miles 
CO₂ 0g/km

6. Compact crossover – Volkswagen Taigo

From £23,155

Volkswagen Taigo

It’s not as innovative or stylish as VW says – just a fastback hatch in wellies, really. And front-wheel drive only. Never mind: the cabin technology is richer than in many hatchbacks, as reflected in the price. The sloping tail means you can’t cram tall stuff into the boot, but it doesn’t affect rear-seat headroom so it’s still a practical car. 

In some ways you notice it’s only a skin-deep makeover of a Polo. The tyres and suspension can get noisy on coarse roads. But otherwise it’s surprisingly engaging to drive and ride in, with confident cornering, well-damped suspension and a sense of stability at speed. VW’s 1.0 engine is available in two power ratings. I’d go for the upper one, or even the 1.5-litre if you tow a caravan or motorboat.

Spec Style TSI 110 Auto 
Price £28,255 
Engine 999cc 3cyl petrol turbo, FWD, 7-speed auto 
Power & torque 110hp, 200Nm 
0–62mph 10.9 seconds 
Top speed 119mph 
Fuel economy 48mpg 
CO₂ 134g/km

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