Six of the best for 2014
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Mitsubishi hasn’t announced prices for its first plug-in hybrid, but the target is total cost of ownership parity with a diesel. The drivetrain uses electric motors at each axle to offer four-wheel drive at up to 75mph and a range of 32 miles, but also features a petrol engine to boost power and provide a backup. It emits 44g/km and Mitsubishi is considering a commercial version.
Citroën C4 Cactus
A production version of the Cactus concept is due to be shown early in 2014, launching into the C-segment. It’s based on the same lightweight platform as the C4 Picasso and shares its sibling’s split headlamps and clean body lines. Citroën is also likely to equip it with PSA’s pneumatic Hybrid Air drivetrain, and the customisable shock-absorbing body panels will make showrooms too.
Looking like a downsized S-Class, the three-pointed star’s best-selling car will be replaced in June. It’s longer in wheelbase but lighter overall than its predecessor, with launch engines including a 103g/km 168bhp diesel. Class-leading CO2 emissions are claimed for the 1.6-litre Renault-Nissan sourced diesel due shortly afterwards, while air suspension and a diesel hybrid are C-Class firsts.
Demand and necessity in North America has delayed the next Mondeo, which is now due at the end of 2014. Styling follows the 2011 Evos concept, and powertrain options will be the broadest yet. These will include not only the core diesel choices, but Ford’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost with a rumoured 140bhp and petrol-electric hybrid targeting sub-99g/km CO2 emissions.
Raising the bar for the crossover segment redefined by the original in 2007, the second-generation Qashqai brings the formula up to date. The volume-selling 1.5-litre dCi 110 diesel now returns 74.3mpg and emits 99g/km, both of which are class-leading, and the newcomer is lighter and larger than the model it replaces. Those who need seven seats will have to wait for the X-Trail in July.
Sharing its platform with the Audi Q5, but with a bespoke chassis setup, the Macan gives Porsche an entry in the corporate-heavy compact SUV segment, positioned underneath the Cayenne. The volume engine will be a 3.0-litre V6 diesel with 258hp, which emits 164g/km CO2, and Porsche has no plans to blunt the car’s sportiness with a low-carbon two-wheel drive version.