The Business Motoring Week October 26, 2018
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BMW X5 blasts inBoom! BMW blasts in with new X5

AND you had better make room. The new BMW is bigger all round – longer, wider, taller.

If you drive one down constricted streets, you’ll just need to breathe in…

Although the new BMW X5 goes on sale here in June, you can’t help thinking that this new supersized SUV hasn’t been designed for us Brits – but for BMW’s biggest markets in China and the US where space is less of a premium.

According to Jato’s Felipe Munoz, in the latest analysis of the sector for small SUVs, “global growth in SUV demand doesn’t show signs of deceleration. Sales have increased by 11% in the USA, 23% in Europe and 13% in China through April 2018.”

The new BMW X5 will add to that growing appeal – at the larger premium SUV end of the market. Read more about the exciting all-new BMW X5 here.

London ULEZ to extend boundaries to North and South circular roads in 2021
Credit: Brian Minkoff /

London ULEZ widens as clean air zones tighten

The tourniquet of clean air zones continues to tighten around the exhaust pipes of the automotive industry.

The Mayor of London announced that the Ultra Low Emission Zone – which doesn’t start until April 2019 in Central London – will expand to include the area between the North and South Circular roads within three years. From now.

That’s not a lot of time. But drivers of the latest petrol and Euro 6 diesel cars need not worry – at least for the time being.

But what I didn’t realise was that clean air zones are being introduced on a micro level.

Within London, Hackney and Islington boroughs are introducing clear air zones: petrol, diesel and older hybrid vehicles will not be allowed to enter nine streets during peak commuter periods.

And London is not the only Ultra Low Emission Zone: the likes of Oxford, Newcastle, Sheffield, Southampton, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds are in the planning stages, too.

Perhaps, then, PHEVs or electric are the answer – but  how soon do you make the switch? Certainly for van users, now may be the ideal moment. But for company cars and business motoring? That’s trickier. Baby steps for now – but I can’t help think it will be on us sooner than we anticipate.

Fiat Ducato SportivoNew Sportivo goes for small business operator

Smart upmarket vans are all the thing.

Trades people want their vans to reflect the professionalism of their business – would you choose a trades person with a rusting old Transit or one in a smart Transit Custom Sport van? Quite.

I still remember that plumber with the rusting white Transit and what he did to our plumbing…

Now Fiat Professional is the latest in on the act with the welcome addition of the new Sportivo range. Unveiled at the CV Show earlier this spring, the Sportivo is aimed at the owner/operator small business van driver – click the link to read more.

Skoda Octavia estateSkoda Octavia Estate defies all laws

Really? Is Skoda being entirely serious with us?

I mean, an Octavia Estate hauled along by a little 1.0-litre engine.

OK, with a little assistance from a turbocharger.


…But just get behind the wheel.

Flat-bottomed, so it gives you a hint of what’s to come. And press the accelerator. There’s a delicious three-cylinder growl from the engine that will make you smile. Revvy and willing, the Skoda defies all laws really. And happily beats them.

Read more in our long-term review.

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