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A dozen for ‘13

By / 6 years ago / Features / No Comments

Citroën DS3 cabrio

Citroën has sold more than 200,000 DS3s globally since the supermini launched three years ago. It’s been an important part of reinventing the brand’s image, and popular with fleets thanks to its low-carbon engines and aesthetic appeal. A refreshed version is coming soon, but most of its styling updates will get a first outing on the DS3 Cabrio, which launches in early 2013 with the MINI Convertible and Fiat 500C in its crosshair.

The Cabrio retains five seats and most of the DS3’s side profile and boot space, adding a pearlescent fabric centre section to the roof and a menial 25kg to the weight. This can be optioned in three colours and retracts to the bottom of the rear window line in 16 seconds at up to 75mph. It’s also the first DS3 to get the new LED rear lights and PureTech downsized petrol engines destined for the rest of the range. Conquest sales beckon. WHEN? Early 2013

 

Peugeot 2008

Looking almost identical to the concept car shown at last year’s Paris Motor Show, save for the lack of a luminous yellow paint job, the 2008 is Peugeot’s entry into the growing B-segment crossover class. It’s a sector where most mainstream manufacturers will be launching products in the near future, and could help retain user-chooser customers the ageing 308 can’t tempt. Production begins alongside the 208 this summer, and the first UK cars will be delivered in the second half of the year.

The 2008 is roughly the same size as a Nissan Juke, and features the same floating trapezoidal grille and claw-shaped rear lights as the 208. Engines include e-HDI diesels and Peugeot’s first use of the new 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol, with CO2 emissions starting at 99g/km. The manufacturer has also hinted at a connected multimedia system, and buyers will be able to order the car with snow and mud tyres similar to the 3008. WHEN? Autumn 2013

 

Renault ZOE

The supermini sector is ideal for electric vehicles, as it tends to be one defined by short commutes and low average mileage where battery range isn’t much of an issue. Unfortunately high pricing tends to be a deal-breaker, which is a problem Renault hopes to solve with the ZOE. Thanks to the carmaker’s battery leasing scheme and a £5,000 government grant, this Clio-sized all-electric car will be priced from £13,650.

It’s also home to technology as advanced as the styling suggests. The ZOE features new EV-specific tyres, an energy-saving cabin heater pump and regenerative braking system aimed at boosting its range to a best-in-class 130 miles on the official combined cycle. It can be recharged at multiple speeds through a single charging port, and is fitted with Renault’s R-Link tablet-style multimedia system. This combines conventional navigation, telephony and audio functions with a high-speed data connection and additional functions for electric motoring. It could be ideal for low-mileage public sector fleets. WHEN? Early 2013

 

Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC

Honda is readying a line-up of efficient new engines under its Earth Dreams Technology banner, aiming to create a green sub-brand similar to BMW’s EfficientDynamics line. The 1.6 i-DTEC is the first to launch in the UK, debuted recently in the Civic and earmarked for the CR-V crossover from September onwards.

To date, the CR-V has only been offered with the 2.2 i-DTEC, which in turn has no two-wheel drive option and emits a minimum of 149g/km CO2. With the 1.6 i-DTEC, Honda will have its first two-wheel drive diesel crossover and is targeting best in class emissions, which would mean undercutting the smaller 119g/km Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai.

The CR-V is a popular model with buyers who use its off-roading ability, so the 1.6 i-DTEC won’t take over from the 2.2 as it has in the Civic. But this is expected to be the most popular choice for fleets, and in a growing segment it should open new doors for Honda. WHEN? Late 2013

 

Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion

Volkswagen will be able to claim the C-segment’s lowest CO2 emissions when it launches its third Golf BlueMotion next summer. Predicted to offer 88.3mpg and 85g/km, it’s more efficient than current class-leaders the Renault Megane and the revised Toyota Auris Hybrid, as well as undercutting the Polo Bluemotion. It also hints that the next Passat BlueMotion should emit less than 100g/km CO2.

Based on the 1.6 TDI, the engine has been retuned to offer an extra 5bhp, while the bodywork is lighter and 10% more aerodynamic than the rest of the Golf range. Longer gear ratios, lower rolling resistance tyres and reduced drivetrain weight all contribute to the lower fuel consumption. Similar to previous versions, the BlueMotion upgrades will add to the up-front price, but this should be balanced by slipping comfortably into the lowest of the new benefit-in-kind tax bands when these tighten from 99g/km to 76-94g/km next year. WHEN? Summer 2013

 

Toyota Auris Wagon Sports

Debuted at the Paris Motor Show in September, the Auris Wagon Sports is the first time Toyota has had a C-segment estate since 2006. It’s a vital model, too. Estates make up a quarter of the segment’s sales Europe-wide, and this could help retain space-conscious buyers who may otherwise move into a low-CO2 crossover, which the carmaker doesn’t have.

The Auris Wagon Sports shares its wheelbase with the hatchback, growing 285mm at the back end to improve the load space. It’s also confirmed for the hybrid drivetrain, which gives Toyota a unique model in this sector. The hybrid battery moved from under the boot to under the rear bench as part of the recent refresh, which means all Auris models have the same load space. Pricing and running costs haven’t been released yet, but the hybrid has the potential to be the segment’s most efficient estate, undercutting the 90g/km Megane dCI 110. WHEN? Summer 2013

 

Mazda6

With the striking new Mondeo delayed until 2014, Mazda has a real opportunity to increase its D-sector foothold with the new Mazda6. This is the second model to feature Mazda’s SKYACTIV Technology improvements, which means efficient and responsive new powertrains, lighter and stiffer bodyshells and revised chassis components. So not only is this car larger and more fun to drive than its predecessor, but it’s better looking and considerably more efficient too.

The range comprises two diesel and two petrol engines, six trim levels and estate or saloon body styles, with the 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D diesel engine in the lower of its two power outputs predicted to be the fleet favourite. This combines 148bhp with some of the sector’s best efficiency figures – 62.8mpg fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 108g/km – better than low-carbon Ford, Vauxhall or Volkswagen rivals. Improved residuals and a petrol with the lowest BiK in the range will really up Mazda’s appeal. WHEN? January 2013

 

Nissan LEAF

Localised production of a Europe-only LEAF will begin at Nissan’s Sunderland plant next April. While there are no official details at the time of writing, the Japanese market LEAF has recently been updated too, which could offers some clues about what’s coming to Europe.

Most of the upgrades are to the drivetrain. This now features a smaller, lighter high voltage unit which is relocated to the front of the car and a new motor with less rare earth metals used in its manufacture. These upgrades shed 80kg, improve the range by 14% and include a low-price entry-level trim costing around £25,500. If European pricing is similar, this could bring the LEAF entry price under £21,000 after the £5,000 UK government grant, much closer to conventionally powered C-segment rivals. Details of the Sunderland-built LEAF will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March. WHEN? April 2013

 

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The executive segment has become sportier and more youthful recently, and the refreshed E-Class brings Mercedes-Benz in line with fresher-looking competition. This substantial facelift introduces single-piece headlamps either side of a more prominent grille badge, in-keeping with the latest models, while the outgoing car’s muscular rear arches have been softened and the interior subtly revised.

Mercedes-Benz has chosen the E-Class to debut 11 new driver assistance systems, including accident avoidance technology and a simulated birds-eye view parking camera, before they are fitted to the next S-Class. All diesel engines have had small improvements in economy, including the hybrid which now emits 107g/km CO2 in the saloon. Also interesting for fleets, though, is a pair of new efficient 2.0-litre petrol engines. The E200 and E250 both return 48.7mpg and emit 135g/km in the saloon, with power outputs of 184 and 211bhp respectively. These could be a viable tax-efficient choice for low-mileage user-choosers. WHEN? Early 2013

 

Skoda Octavia

Skoda begins 2013 launching all-new Octavia, featuring the same upmarket styling as the Rapid and based on an extended version of the new Golf modular platform. It’s the longest wheelbase yet derived from the platform, offering improved rear occupant space and a marginal increase in boot capacity, while, at 102kg lighter than its predecessor, it’s also the most efficient Octavia yet.

From launch, the Octavia will use four petrol and four diesel engines, and all except the entry-level models will feature idle stop and energy recuperation as standard. The CO2 leader is the 89g/km Octavia GreenLine, based on the 1.6 TDI, which is the first time Skoda has offered a C-Segment car at under 100g/km. Luxury class features such as fatigue detection, automatic parking and high beams and the accident avoidance system from the Citigo all help make this a sophisticated, cost-conscious choice. WHEN? March 2013


Kia Carens

Kia’s large MPV is the last model in the range to receive the stylistic influence of design chief Peter Schreyer, and it can’t come soon enough. The result makes Carens one of the best looking MPVs on sale. Styled a lot like the new cee’d, it’s smaller than its predecessor but offers additional interior space while retaining its seven-seat capacity.

The new Carens will feature two versions of the 1.7-litre diesel engine with 133 and 134bhp, the former offering CO2 emissions as low as 118g/km, and two petrols with 133 and 174bhp. All cars get six-speed gearboxes and a front passenger seat which folds flat to extend the load area, and the new car is expected to achieve five Euro NCAP stars when it is tested next year, beating the four achieved by its predecessor. This should increase its company car appeal while retaining its Motability popularity. WHEN? Spring 2013

 

Vauxhall Cascada

The Cascada takes Vauxhall into its fourth new segment within 12 months when it arrives in UK showrooms next March, continuing a design-led move upmarket kick-started by the ADAM city car. Based on the current Astra platform and sharing the GTC’s front suspension setup, this is a four-seat convertible of 4.7 metres in length, a similar size to the new Astra saloon and longer than the Audi A5 Cabriolet.

Three engines will be available from launch, comprising the familiar 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol and 165bhp 2.0 CDTi as well as the first use of a new 168bhp 1.6 turbocharged petrol. Cascada won’t record massive fleet volumes, especially if Vauxhall restricts sales as it has with the ADAM, but it could be a helpful model for changing perceptions. WHEN? March 2013

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.

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