I drove the Dacia Duster again (so well judged and an honest-to-God bargain) plus the new Captur plug-in hybrid (Renault is brilliant at integrating petrol and electric motors). I just had to have a go in the Alpine A110 Légende GT (so refined, so discreetly quick). But that Mégane was most definitely the Renault I most look forward to. Formidable opposition for the Golf, Focus and friends just when they don’t need it (see below).
Speaking of the Golf and Focus, I see that cars in this class are well and truly on the back foot as a result of the chip crisis. The Autovista news service says Europe’s C-segment is now fourth for sales volume behind a couple of more profitable SUV sectors, instead of its traditional second place to the supermini cluster. Ford Focus sales are down a distinctly scary 49% for the year to date, which makes this stalwart the biggest loser by a mile. No wonder Ford is betting on electric models as we accelerate towards 2030, and making lots of noise about it.
Looking forward to the arrival next week of the newest and most basic Volkswagen ID 3 – a cheapo, sub-£30k Life model with the smallest battery yet, just 45kWh of usable power. In the ritziest ID 3 Tour, you get 77kWh, but this base model is earmarked for people who’ll use it for short-haul driving.Yet the journeys need not be all that short. A bit of figuring shows the benefit of the smaller battery’s lighter weight (it saves 200kg). On the basis of Volkswagen’s claim that the Tour’s 77kWh battery yields a WLTP range of 340 miles, you’d expect the 45kWh battery to give less than 200 miles. Instead, 217 miles is promised – a nice surprise.
And another thing…