Southern Group Happenings: January 2024

After successfully making it through the very long month known as January, the Southern Group membership has enjoyed a successful start to 2024. 

The new year kicked off with the reveal of the SGMW 2024 New Year Honours awards winners, with the Jeep Renegade EV scooping our coveted Car of The Year title. The SGMW also welcomed a new member, with Maxine Ashford joining the group, while long-standing member Tom Scanlon also announced his retirement. 

Southern Group News: 2023 SGMW Heritage Drive Day

Last month, the automotive industry also kicked off 2024 with an array of new car reveals. Among the highlights were Vauxhall teasing the return of the iconic Frontera name, a new model that will be an affordable EV. 

Other big news included the reveal of the new Volkswagen Golf Mk8.5, an updated model that sees the return of physical buttons, leaving us wondering why they ever took them away in the first place. The German theme of big January reveals continued with the arrival of the new Porsche Macan EV, a new all-electric model boasting up to 630bhp in its most powerful guise. 

Here are some of the highlights of what SGMW members got up to last month. 

SGMW Digital round up:

The full Monte: An amazing Porsche 911 road-trip – Tim Pitt

Last month, Tim Pitt left behind the newly formed frozen tundra formerly known as the United Kingdom to drive an array of the finest Porsche 911’s on sale today. All while taking in some of Europe’s greatest roads. Are we jealous? Maybe just a little bit.  

Read the Motoring Research article here

European EV Scepticism Could Derail Massive Sales Targets – Neil Winton

Audi Q6 e-tron Prototype

Is the demand for EVs faltering in European markets? Neil Winton runs through the potential issues that could see EV sales slowing down in Europe. 

Read the Forbes article here

The Forgotten bargain MPV – The Honda Shuttle Mk2 – Matt Richardson

For those of you who don’t remember the Honda Shuttle, Matt Richardson drives this somewhat forgotten Japanese MPV to find out if it’s a bargain worth considering.

Kia to Enter Van Market with Electric ‘Platform Beyond Vehicle’ Concept PV5 – Phil Huff

Kia is best known for producing SUVs, EVs, and hatchbacks, but now it’s bringing a van to the UK market. The new Kia PV5 Concept was teased at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where our international correspondent Phil Huff managed to get the full lowdown on the brand’s first foray in the van market sector. 

Read the Professional Van article here

Suzuki Swace test drive: Trinity Francis

The Suzuki Swace is nearly identical to the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, with the differences between the cars being a different badge, wheels, and equipment specs. But should buyers opt for the Suzuki over the Toyota? Trinity Francis puts the Swace to the test to find out. 

Read the Car Expert article here

SGMW magazine watch: 

Diesel & Eco Car Issue 447: February 2024

The cover star of the February 2024 edition of Diesel & Eco Car is the facelifted Ford Kuga, one of the UK’s biggest selling SUVs. The SUV theme continues with the reveal of the Nissan Ariya Nismo and a preview of the forthcoming Abarth 600e. There’s also a twin-test pitting the Audi Q5 Sportback against the brand-new Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé, and a used buyer’s guide for the Kia Stonic 1.6 CRDi. 

The February 2024 issue of Diesel & Eco Car is on sale here

SGMW social watch:

Tim Pitt gets behind the wheel of the Ferrari Purosangue, a car that you cannot call an SUV for legal reasons and one that costs as much as four terraced houses in the north of England. 

Trinity Francis delves into the past to find out if modern cars are too big by getting behind the wheel of a tiny Suzuki nicknamed the ‘Whizzkid.’

Chris Rees confirms the existence of a pair of Subaru models we’d not heard of, and a potential missed marketing opportunity for a special edition. 

While in Las Vegas, Phil Huff took time out from his busy international correspondent role to take a ride in Elon Musk’s tunnel. 

To find out more about the Southern Group’s recent activities last year, read our report on the SMMT Test Day South.