Two days in Paris…
With pressure mounting on the supermini class, Vauxhall’s new Corsa comes loaded with an extensive list of technology, now including self-parking and accident avoidance systems, IntelliLink infotainment with Siri Eyes free and a new 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine.
Behind new styling and an upmarket Adam-like interior, the range has been simplified, prices have rolled back around £2,000 and CO2 has dropped to 85g/km for the most efficient model. Good news for fleets and drivers alike. AG
The outgoing XC90 has survived a turbulent 12 years in Volvo’s history, but its replacement is long overdue. The range flagship is a showcase for Volvo’s latest four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and scalable platforms, both will be shared with other models, and the new 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged D5 is likely to be the big seller with 152g/km CO2 emissions and 49mpg economy. Prices will start at around £45,000, and the first UK cars will arrive next May. AG
Jaguar’s heavily marketed re-entry into the compact executive set was shown in all five trim levels, including the sports-styled R-Design shown, giving a clearer indication of the versions most likely to end up on choice lists.
One of JLR’s glaring weaknesses has been its clunky infotainment system, which is about a decade out of date. The XE is the first car to get the new InControl system, which company car drivers should find a much cleaner, simpler, more pleasurable experience. SM
The EOLAB offers the closest indication yet of how Renault’s first plug-in hybrids could function, combining a 1.0-litre petrol engine with an electric drivetrain offering a 41-mile range. Renault says it shows 100 innovations due for production cars by 2020, including active aerodynamics which cut drag by 30% and advanced materials to bring kerb weight down to 955kg. The result is over 282mpg, with CO2 emissions of 22g/km. AG
The facelifted C-MAX gets the new Aston Martin-ish grille of the Mondeo, while it hosts new tech including a foot operating tailgate, City Stop anti-collision system and auto parking. The cabin has been spruced up too, with a much less cluttered dash and higher quality trim. It also has Ford’s clever new MyKey system, which allows owners (or fleet managers!) to pre-set speed limits, and the new 118bhp 1.5-litre TDCI diesel four-cylinder engine. SM
Land Rover Discovery Sport
The new Discovery Sport is effectively a replacement for the Freelander and ushers in a whole new range of Discovery models over the next few years. Clever packaging is its strength: although shorter than an Audi Q5, it can have seven seats fitted and, while much of the architecture comes from the Evoque, there is noticeably more space.
For CO2 conscious fleets, the eD4 version, due in the second half of 2015, should offer emissions of 2015 using the same Ingenium engine as the Jaguar XE. SM
DS is now operating independently from Citroën, and the Divine concept is said to embody how the brand sees itself launching French cars back into the premium sector. Shorter and wider than a DS 4, it features quickly interchangeable dashboard and door card coverings and a cockpit-style interior with a roof-mounted touchscreen. Expect that distinctive grille, possibly with the floating gemstones, to offer a hint of the next generation of DS front-ends. AG
Slotting in below the SX4 S-Cross, the Vitara will give Suzuki a foothold in the B-crossover segment as it grows its fleet presence. ALLGRIP four-wheel drive is optional for the first time, with engines including compact diesel and petrol units likely to come close to 100g/km CO2 emissions. AG
The Passat is Volkswagen’s biggest selling car globally, and this eighth generation model doesn’t risk upsetting those many millions of buyers. Higher quality and still conservatively styled, it is actually slightly smaller and lighter than the outgoing car, although there is more space inside thanks to the clever MQB platform now used across the Volkswagen Group. SM
While the Sportage is the big-seller, the larger Sorento has been a real opinion changer for Kia, with sales heavily weighted towards top-spec models. The newcomer is longer and lower than before, promising extra interior space and a sharper drive, and the 2.2-litre diesel has been upgraded for the new car too. AG
Volkswagen XL Sport
A surprise addition to the Volkswagen stand, the XL Sport takes the weight-saving, aerodynamic technology from the 313mpg XL-1 hybrid and turns it into a sports car. Sadly it’s essentially a showcase for the new 197bhp Ducati Superleggera superbike engine, which means even a small production run – like the XL-1 – is unlikely. SM
Audi TT Sportback
Though it looks almost showroom ready, Audi’s third TT-based concept isn’t confirmed for production. However, there’s an obvious niche as a user-chooser option to rival the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the rumoured BMW 2 Series GranCoupe, particularly with the 110g/km, 184bhp diesel used in the new TT Coupe. SM
The new Forfour is twinned with Renault’s Twingo, which means rear engine/rear-wheel drive, the ability to turn on a sixpence and three cylinder turbocharged, and naturally aspirated, engines. Although the Renault and the Smart were developed alongside each other, cosmetically they are very different, even if they share engines and underpinnings.
As always, funky personalisation options will be key to its appeal, although Proxy is an odd name for an equipment level. SM
A complementary styling update for the compact MPV, just as BMW enters the sector with a convincing rival. Engine options are almost unchanged, but the refresh introduces the Electric Drive sold in North America to European markets, featuring a 175hp drivetrain developed with Tesla. AG
Now very much up to European standards aesthetically, the second-generation i20 is the third of a 22-model product offensive due by 2017. This will also be the first car to feature Hyundai’s efficient new three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines from early next year. SM
Honda Jazz and HR-V
Honda will completely renew its small car presence in 2015, with a new Jazz and the return of the HR-V as a rival to the Nissan Juke. Sharing a platform, both feature Honda’s clever Magic Seats and a new 1.3-litre petrol, while the HR-V is likely to get the brand’s ultra-efficient 1.6-litre diesel too. AG
Lighter and sharper looking with it, the first all-new Fabia in 14 years features a choice of three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines with CO2 down to 88g/km at launch. There are two body styles, including an estate with 25% more load space and improved storage options over the outgoing car, and Skoda has equipped it with MirrorLink smartphone app control through the dashboard screen. An 82g/km GreenLine version will follow in 2015. SM