Monday, 13 February 2012 2:47 PM
Time for the ‘12’ plate: new cars on sale this spring
Spring sees the arrival of a new number plate - and the launch of a wide variety of cars. Are you looking for a shiny new motor to wear that ‘12’ plate? Here is a rundown of the newcomers.
Small and economical
Audi’s smart little A1 is now available as a five-door hatchback, called the Sportback; check out the 1.6-litre diesel model, which returns 74.3mpg and qualifies both for exemption from the London congestion charge and for (free) Band A road tax, thanks to its carbon dioxide emissions of just 99g/km.
Peugeot is launching the 208 supermini, which features an all-new 1.0-litre petrol engine that also emits just 99g/km, and all the diesel models come in under 100g/km as well. The sleek 208, which replaces the 207, looks pretty stylish too.
New-generation versions of the popular Fiat Panda and Seat Ibiza superminis are available, and the good-value Hyundai i20 and the long-running Fiat Punto are also revised. The new Chevrolet Aveo, coming later in the summer, is set to be competitively-priced, too.
Three-door versions of Volkswagen’s all-new Up! city car will be delivered from March; five-door cars, plus the Up!’s sister models, the closely-related Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, arrive later in the summer. The Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 (all essentially the same car) get a lower-CO2 engine, styling tweaks and new equipment.
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class isn’t the cheapest small family-sized car, but it seats four adults easily and the new-for-2012 model is much sportier-looking than its predecessor. If you’re after a more conventional and less MPV-like hatchback, then updated and face-lifted versions of the Audi A3, Hyundai i30 and Kia Cee’d are all upcoming, and the BMW 1-Series is offered with several new engines. If rear legroom is less of a priority than retro looks and all-round cuteness, then UK deliveries of the latest-generation “less flower, more power” Volkswagen Beetle are starting.
Thinking about going green? The Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera, both range-extended electric vehicles (with a small engine which acts as a generator, in case you run out of battery charge) are now on sale, and the all-electric Renault Fluence saloon arrives in showrooms this March. If that’s too much of a leap into the unknown, the successful and well-proven Toyota Prius petrol-electric hybrid gets an update, and Peugeot is launching its super-economical 3008 Hybrid4.
Large and luxurious
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to high-riding crossovers and large luxury cars. Citroen’s handsome new DS5 could give more prestigious brand-names a run for their money, as could Peugeot’s 508 crossover, now available with a hybrid diesel-electric powertrain. Mazda’s completely re-engineered and more economical CX-5 arrives in the UK this spring, as does Subaru’s XV, and BMW is updating the X6.
Don’t forget the more traditional four-door saloons, however; Lexus brings its all-new GS (range to include the GS 450h hybrid) to Britain in June, and the order books are open for Volkswagen’s CC, a posh Passat. Or a more oddball option: the latest Chrysler 300C, not as all-American as it looks (it’s been co-developed with Lancia).
Kia’s Optima is a highly-credible contender for its price, but if you’re a little more label-conscious, then the BMW GranCoupé (a four-door 6-Series) comes later in the summer. As for 4x4s, the new-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class is on sale in April, and the smaller Citroen C4 Aircross also arrives this summer.
Convertibles and roadsters are ever-popular – even in the changeable British climate – and the latest Porsche 911 Cabriolet and new Boxster roadster arrives in the UK in time for summer. Alternatively, there’s the very different Mini Roadster, designed to rival the likes of the Mazda MX-5. Don’t want the wind in your hair? New hard-top coupés available include the rather weird Hyundai Veloster (which has an asymmetric layout with an extra rear door on the passenger side), plus the Subaru BRZ (deliveries from July) and its twin, the Toyota GT-86 (June).
Of course, if you’re not that bothered about having the very latest model or the new ‘12’ number plate, there are plenty of savings to be made: check out independent forecourts and trade outlets for pre-registered (but still brand new) cars with the old ‘51’ plate, or negotiate with franchised dealers over prices for last year’s models and ex-demo stock.
Whether you’re buying a shiny new sports car or a practical people-carrier, a personal loan or car loan may be a convenient way to pay.
Issued by Sainsbury’s Finance
Sainsbury’s Finance is a trading name of Sainsbury’s Bank plc. All information correct at time of publication, but may be subject to change. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any part of the Sainsbury’s Group of companies.