Fleet cars of 2012: The hot ones
Having taken a Germanic approach to established rivals with the C5, the DS5 introduces a welcome dose of French design flair into the D-segment. Part luxury estate and part coupe, it has the build quality to match upmarket German saloon cars, yet comes packaged in a stylish French body with a plush aviation-inspired cabin.
It’s also a welcome return to technological innovation for Citroen. Alongside tried and tested HDI units, DS5 will be the first in its range to feature the 200bhp diesel-electric HYbrid4 powertrain, with 99g/km CO2 emissions and an electric rear axle for extra traction and zero tailpipe emissions in urban driving.
WHEN? Q1 // 2012
Renault Scenic // Renault Megane
Although Renault is focusing its marketing on electric vehicles at the moment, there’s an overhaul bound for the rest of the range too. In 2012, its core models will be refreshed with new engines and updated family styling.
This begins with a facelift for the Twingo and Scenic in February, with the latter gaining a more efficient version of the 1.5 dCi 110 engine with CO2 emissions of 105g/km. A revised Megane hatch follows in April, which dips under 100g/km with the same engine. At the same time, Renault will launch its 1.2-litre TCe 115 turbocharged petrol engine in both cars, returning 25% better fuel efficiency than the 1.6 16v it replaces.
WHEN? February and April 2012
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
Priced above the conventional Zafira, the Zafira Tourer introduces a more stylish, luxurious MPV into the Vauxhall range. Designed by Mark Adams, who’s also responsible for the Ampera, it looks almost identical to the Geneva concept car from last year and features a longer wheelbase than its sibling with components from the Insignia, claimed to make it a more involving car to drive.
None of this has detracted from its practicality. The Zafira Tourer has a more spacious cabin and new version of the Flex7 adaptable seating.
WHEN? March 2012
Kia and parent company Hyundai are on a roll with their latest products, and the new Optima’s sharp styling and economical engine should help establish a Korean presence in the company car sector. So far, demand in Korea and North America has vastly outstripped production, to the extent that it’s now being manufactured in the United States to allow capacity for European cars.
At launch, the engine line-up will comprise a 1.7-litre diesel, similar to the unit found in the Sportage, and a 2.0-litre direct-injection petrol. Kia will also bring the Optima Hybrid to Europe, but with a 2.0-litre petrol rather than the 2.4 sold elsewhere.
WHEN? February 2012
Fiat Punto Evo // Alfa MiTo Twinair
Winner of the International Engine of the Year 2010, Fiat’s 900cc TwinAir engine remains the most efficient petrol unit on sale in the UK. Now the group is ready to extend its benefits beyond the A-segment, fitting it to the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Fiat Punto Evo from April.
Power outputs are identical in both cars, at 85bhp and 145Nm, with a switchable eco-driving mode that limits torque to maximise fuel economy. With the help of start/stop technology and the unit’s low weight, it will give Fiat and Alfa Romeo the lowest petrol CO2 emissions in the B-segment at 98g/km for each car.
WHEN? April 2012
Peugeot has had some noteworthy B segment cars in its history, and the 208 is the latest in a popular line. Kerb weights have fallen between 110 and 173kg compared to the 207, and with a new engine range it boasts an average 34% improvement in CO2 emissions across the board.
Peugeot claims a more involving drive and reduced running costs due to the reduced weight. All diesel engines emit less than 100g/km CO2 and even the entry-level petrol emits 99g/km. The 208 has also benefited from Peugeot’s Germanic interior build quality, while boot space and rear legroom are greater than the 207.
WHEN? Spring 2012
Set to roll out across the entire range over the coming years, Mazda’s Skyactiv Technology takes an enthusiast’s approach to saving fuel. Instead of hybrids, the carmaker has invested in lighter bodies, improved chassis technology and new drivetrains to improve efficiency without sapping driver appeal.
The CX-5, which debuts the brand’s new family design language, will be the first car with Skyactiv Technology, including an all-new diesel engine with CO2 emissions from 119g/km and Euro6 compliance without filters or additives. And the 2.0-litre petrol is just as impressive, returning better fuel economy than the outgoing 2.2-litre diesel.
WHEN? Q2 2012
Hybrid technology is now mainstream, and Toyota is readying an entire family of vehicles based on its tried and tested powertrain. By the end of 2012, it will have four hybrid models on sale in the UK, including the Yaris and Prius Plug-In Hybrid.
But the Prius+ will be the most revolutionary. Launched as the most efficient seven-seat vehicle on sale, its 99g/km CO2 emissions put it in the 5% benefit in kind tax band with VED and London Congestion Charge exemption. Toyota has been clever with the packaging, too, fitting the battery into the centre console to maximise cabin and boot space.
WHEN? Q2 2012
Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost // Ford Focus Electric
Ford will introduce two ground-breaking powerplants in the Focus next year, and as a core fleet car it has real potential to change mass-market attitudes. This starts with a 1.0 three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol, with performance similar to a conventional 1.6, but emissions close to a 1.6 diesel.
At the end of 2012, the Focus Electric will launch in the UK. Already on sale in the US, it returns equivalent to 120mpg with a 100-mile range, unique dash display and Microsoft-designed smart charging system. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Focus-derived C-Max are also due next year.
WHEN? Q2 2012 // Q4 2012
Renault Twizy // ZOE
Unlike the Fluence and Kangoo, the futuristic Twizy (main pic) and Zoe are the manufacturer’s first models to be designed from the ground up to run on electric power. And, because they’re sold with the carmaker’s unique battery leasing package, they have a screen price similar to conventionally powered compact cars.
At £6,690 after the £5,000 government subsidy, the 450kg two-seat Twizy city car offers a 60-mile electric range and customisation options. The Zoe hasn’t been unveiled in production form, but this will break cover next summer looking almost identical to the concept car pictured below, while offering Clio-sized practicality and a 100-mile range.
WHEN? April 2012 // Q3 2012
Vauxhall Ampera // Chevrolet Volt
General Motors is out to broaden the appeal of electromobility with its range-extending vehicles, offering up to 50 miles of pure electric motoring with the added flexibility of a 310-mile range and conventional refuelling times when needed.
Though always driven by an electric motor, its range-extenders have a 1.4-litre petrol engine that works as an on-board generator to top up the batteries when they fall under 33% charge. It means the Chevrolet Volt and mechanically identical Ampera (pictured below) emit 40g/km CO2, fall into the 5% Benefit in Kind tax band, which should help attract the 70% fleet sales GM is predicting.
WHEN? Spring 2012
Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid
Another unique proposition for fleets, this will be the first diesel-electric plug-in hybrid when it goes on sale next year. The new powertrain, badged D6, features a 215bhp diesel engine powering the front wheels and a 70bhp electric rear axle, giving a 31-mile range on its socket-charged battery and four-wheel drive traction on slippery roads.
Volvo sees this as a car with massive corporate appeal. The combined 285bhp allows it to pass 62mph in 6.2 seconds, the same as a T6 AWD model, while 40g/km CO2 emissions result in an £83 monthly benefit in kind tax charge – lower than the DRIVe version. Only 130 single spec models are coming to the UK in its first year, with full scale production scheduled for mid-2013.
WHEN? Q3 2012
What’s new in 2012… and when
• Citroen DS5 (Q1)
• Hyundai i30 (Q1)
• Mercedes-Benz SLK250 CDI (Q1)
• Toyota HiLux / Aygo / Prius facelift (Q1)
• Volkswagen CC (Q1)
• Chevrolet Aveo (Jan)
• Ford Focus Estate and Ranger (Jan)
• Honda Civic (Jan/Feb)
• Hyundai i40 Saloon (Jan)
• Mercedes-Benz SL (Jan)
• SEAT Ibiza facelift (Jan/Feb)
• Suzuki Kizashi (Jan)
• BMW 3 Series (Feb)
• Fiat Panda (Feb)
• Hyundai Veloster (Feb)
• Kia Optima (Feb)
• Renault Twingo / Scenic facelift (Feb)
• Vauxhall Combo (Feb)
• Chevrolet Volt (Mar)
• Peugeot 508 RXH (Mar)
• SEAT Toledo (Geneva?)
• Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
• Vauxhall Insignia BiTurbo (Mar)
• Volkswagen up! 3dr (Mar)
• Mazda CX-5 (Q2)
• MINI Roadster (Q2)
• Peugeot 208 (Q2)
• Toyota Prius Plug-In / Prius+ /
Yaris HSD (Q2)
• Alfa Romeo MiTo MultiAir (Q2)
• Fiat Punto TwinAir (April)
• Honda Insight and Mugen CR-Z (April)
• Renault Megane facelift // Twizy (April)
• Volkswagen Passat AllTrack (April)
• Chrysler 300C (May)
• Renault Fluence Z.E. (May)
• Vauxhall Ampera (May)
• Kia cee’d hatchback (June)
• SEAT Mii 3dr (June)
• Skoda CitiGo (June)
• BMW ActiveHybrid3 (Q3)
• Citroen C4 Aircross (Q3)
• Ford Focus ST and B-Max (Q3)
• Mercedes-Benz GL refresh (Q3)
• New Renault Clio (Q3 unveil)
• Volvo V60 PHEV (Q3)
• Subaru BRZ (July)
• BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe (July)
• SEAT Leon unveil (August)
• Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon (Sept)
• Kia Cee’d SW (Sept)
• Skoda compact saloon (Q3)
• Audi A8 Hybrid (Q4)
• BMW Z4 2.0-litre
• Ford Focus Electric and Kuga (Q4)
• Jaguar XF Sportbrake (Q4)
• Mercedes-Benz A-Class (Q4)
• MG6 diesel (Q4)
• Mitsubishi Outlander and Mirage (Q4)
• Peugeot 508 HYbrid4 (95g/km)
• Renault Zoe (Q4)
• Low CO2 SEAT Exeo
• Subaru XV
• Vauxhall A-Segment car
• Honda CR-V (Oct)
• SEAT Mii 5dr (Oct)