Cars yet to come in 2016: worth waiting for?

The rush for new cars has already begun, but it might be worth holding your fire until you’ve checked out what’s yet due to arrive…

 

Alfa Romeo Giulia

The Giulia has the potential to be one of the most significant new cars of the year. The banner-carrier for the relaunch of the Alfa Romeo brand itself (this is, what, the tenth or so go at that?) it’s chasing BMW, Audi and Mercedes customers who’ve become tired with their same-again German saloons. Do such people exist? If they do they’ll find a well-made, well-balanced car with sharp handling, a decent 2.2-litre diesel engine and some pretty gorgeous styling. Will it be enough to revive Alfa?

Arrives: November 2016

Audi Q2

Thought that Audi couldn’t find yet another crossover niche? Think again - here’s the new A1-sized Q2, a small 4x4 that will compete with the likes of the Nissan Juke and Mini Countryman. It’s slightly different to the Audi 4x4 norm, thanks to styling that’s slightly more striking than usual, and it’s bound to appeal to stylish folks-about-town. Are we reaching a point of posh 4x4 fatigue though?

Arrives: November 2016

Audi A5 Coupe.

Slightly sleeker than before, with hints of the A9 Prologue concept car about it, the A5 is still very much a two-door A4 (the interior is lifted directly from Audi’s mid-size saloon) but is hardly any less desirable because of that. It’s a little roomier and more practical than the old A5, and while it won’t out-handle a 4 Series, there will be an ultra-sport S5 with quattro and a turbo V6 engine. The rest of us will be perfectly happy with a front-drive 2.0 diesel, thanks.

Arrives: Autumn 2016

BMW X3

BMW has an all-new X3 on the way, but it won’t use the front-drive platform that’s under the new X1. Instead it will mark the debut of the new architecture which will go on to serve under the new 2017 5 Series and 2018’s new 3 Series. Not much in the way of details yet, but it will be lighter, roomier and more agile than the current model, and will come with both the familiar 2.0-litre diesels and the 330e’s plugin hybrid powertrain.

Arrives: Late 2016

Citroen C3 & C3 Picasso

Citroen’s new C3 could be something of a make-or-break car for the French brand. While the pleasantly oddball C4 Cactus and the posh C4 Picasso MPV have been doing well, Citroen’s more mainstream models have been stymied. The C3, which draws on the styling and light, simple nature of the Cactus could well change all that. Expect more distinctive styling inside and out and very frugal engines. The Picasso should be a little roomier than its predecessor, but may keep some of the same styling, as it was close in looks to the Cactus already.

Arrives: Summer 2016 (C3), Autumn 2016 (C3 Picasso)

Fiat Tipo.

Just as Alfa is seeking to break back into the sports saloon market with the Giulia, so Fiat wants to get back into the conventional family car market with the new Tipo hatchback and saloon. Cleaving away from the fun and funky styling of the 500, the Tipo is a simpler machine, designed to be roomy, comfy, reliable and cheap to buy and run. Fiat insiders suggest it will match a Skoda Octavia for space and equipment but be as much as €3,000 cheaper, model for model.

Arrives: Autumn 2016

Ford Ka +

Arriving very shortly, with a price tag starting at €13,050, the first ever five-door Ka is not just a new small Ford, it’s been designed to give Ford something to compete with the likes of Dacia, while also allowing the next-generation Fiesta (due next year) to move up a bit both in terms of size and sophistication (and, indeed, price). It gets an 85hp 1.2 engine and a decent 270-litre boot, and hopefully won’t feel as cheap as Ford’s last cut-price compact, the EcoSport.

Arrives: Late summer 2016

Ford Kuga Facelift.

Ford’s popular Kuga SUV was only launched as an all-new models three years ago, but it’s already in for a major mid-life update. You’ll spot the big new grille and the narrow lights first, but more significantly, under the skin, there’s a new 1.5 TDCI diesel engine which, for the first time, puts the Kuga into Band A for emissions. With the recent price cut to the outgoing version, Ford looks to be repositioning the Kuga as more of a Qashqai rival, at least until the new, purpose-built, crossover arrives in 2018.

Arrives: October 2016

Honda NSX.

We’ve been waiting long enough for it but at last, the fearsomely complex, mid-engined, 4WD, hybrid V6 NSX will go on sale late this year. It lack the simple purity and lightness of the original NSX supercar, but with a sub-three-second 0-100kmh time and a top whack touching 330kmh, it’s certainly not going to hang around.

Arrives: Late 2016.

Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai’s bringing out its first Euro-friendly hybrid this year, and it’s not doing things by halves. The new Ioniq will come as a regular Prius-style hybrid, a plugin hybrid with a limited electric-only range and as a full-electric car, a rival for the Nissan Leaf. The standard hybrid arrives first, and Hyundai is promising low emissions but also engaging driving, thanks in part to it using a dual-clutch gearbox instead of a Prius-style CVT.

Arrives: Late 2016.

Kia Niro.

The Niro is essentially Kia’s version of the Hyundai Ioniq (see supra) which won’t, for the moment, come as a plugin or a pure electric vehicle, but will come as a conventional hybrid. Unlike the Ioniq with its hatchback body, the Niro will be a crossover estate (a bit like an old Subaru Forester, in conceptual terms) and promises to be the most efficient and lowest-emissions crossover around, for the moment anyway.

Arrives: Autumn 2016

Lexus LC500 and LC500h

Lexus will get back into the posh coupe market that it abandoned after the miss-fire that was the awful SC430 with the sleek and sexy LC500 and LC500h hybrid. It’s a big 2+2 coupe, a rival for the likes of the BMW 6 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, with a 467hp V8 engine and serious performance. The 500h hybrid version will be far more frugal, but a bit slower - it has a 345hp V6 and electric motor.

Arrives: Late 2016

Maserati Levante

Another Italian brand at something of a crossroads is Maserati. The heat seems to have somewhat gone out of a sales revival driven by the Quattroporte and Ghibli saloons, so much now rests on the reception granted this big, hefty Levante. A rival to the Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga, the Levante is striking to look at and better than good to drive. Everyone wants a posh SUV these days, but has Maserati left it too late?

Arrives: Late 2016

Mazda MX-5 RF

Not strictly speaking a hard-top MX-5 but almost a completely new model. It RF (it stands for retractable fastback) gets a gorgeous coupe-like roof which, like a Porsche 911 Targa, turns into the most outrageous bit of street theatre as the whole back end lifts up to allow the centre section of the roof to slide away, for alfresco motoring. It’ll be heavier and more expensive than the standard flyweight MX-5, but it might also be just a bit cooler…

Arrives: Late 2016

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

You know the drill by now - take a perfectly sensible and practical SUV, in this case Mercedes’ all-round excellent GLC, and then chop down the roof and boot until there’s no space left in the back, call it a coupe and jack up the price. Sigh. OK, so maybe it won’t be as bad as all that but we can’t help but feel a touch cynical about coupe SUVs. Given how good the standard GLC is though, this one at least stands a chance of being decent.

Arrives: Autumn 2016

Mini Countryman

Once controversial (a Mini SUV? Well I never…), but now part of the roadside furniture, especially outside the posher sort of schools, the all-new Countryman should just sneak in before the end of the year. It gets a new platform (borrowed from the BMW X1 and 2 Series Active Tourer), new engines (the 1.5 diesel and petrol three-cylinder units from the Mini hatch and Clubman) and styling that’s a little more upright, boxy and more obviously SUV-ish.

Arrives: late 2016

Nissan Micra

We don’t know much about the new Micra yet, but we do know that it will platform-share with the Renault Clio, and production will return to Europe too, with Euro-Micras set to be built in France by Renault. The styling will be the biggest change - out goes the roundy, cuddly styling the Micra’s had since 1992, and in comes something more wedge-shaped and sleek. Primary engine will be the 900cc three-pot turbo petrol, and you can expect significantly better cabin space than that of the current Micra. Will the Micra name itself also survive? Rumour has it that the new car might be called Sway…

Arrives: Autumn 2016

Nissan Juke.

Nissan’s unexpected success gets a successor late this year as the new Juke, based on the same mechanical package as the fast-selling Renault Captur, arrives. While some of the outrageous styling will be toned down, the overall shape and look will remain much the same, but there will be significant gains in interior space and cabin quality. Can the car that kicked off the compact crossover segment keep its success rolling? We’ll see…

Arrives: Late 2016

Opel Zafira X

This one’s not really confirmed but Opel is prepping a major redesign for its mainstream seven-seater, which will see it pushed away from plain, mono-cube MPV styling and much more into the SUV sphere. People like SUVs but people need MPVs, so Opel hopes to capitalise on both need and desire with this one. If it arrives at all in 2016, it will be very late on in the year.

Arrives: Late 2016 (TBC)

Peugeot 3008

Peugeot’s sharp-looking replacement for the somewhat pug-nosed 3008 crossover is a clear sign that the company is trying to move its cars upmarket. The cabin is a fully-digital one, with no physical dials and very high quality, while there will be sporty-looking GT-Line and actually sporty GT versions too. Expect prices to rise accordingly.

Arrives: Late 2016

Porsche Panamera

We’re just weeks away from the reveal of the all-new Panamera, and Porsche’s ugly duckling saloon could be about to evolve into a much more graceful swan. As before, power will come from turbo V6 and V8 petrols, a new V8 diesel and an updated petrol-electric plugin hybrid too. Expect sharp handling but also more useable cabin and boot space - a bugbear of the current model.

Arrives: Late 2016

Renault Megane

Renault, rolling with the success of the Kadjar crossover, will try to break big back into the family hatch segment with the new Megane. Sharp new styling will try to silence the critics of the bland previous version, while a reliable (hopefully) mechanical package will try to erase memories of the dreadful 2002 Megane. The cabin gets a Volvo-style touchscreen makeover and there will be a sporting GT version for those that fancy something with a little more shove.

Arrives: July 2016

Renault Scenic

MPVs are cars you buy because you have to, not because you want to but Renault hopes to change that with the new Scenic and seven-seat Grand Scenic. Both cars have had their styling tweaked to make them appear a little more SUV-ish (rather like the we-don’t-get-it-here Espace, actually) and both are boasting roomy, versatile, high-tech cabins with a big, upright touchscreen in the middle. Enough to make an MPV desirable?

Arrives: Late 2016

Seat Ateca

Seat’s dealers and customers have been screaming for an SUV or crossover for years, and now at last in the shape of the Ateca, it’s here. Based on the same mechanical package as the VW Tiguan, the Ateca will be right at the cutting edge in terms of engines and technology, but will it be able to find buyers in a crossover market that’s becoming very crowded?

Arrives: September 2016

Skoda Kodiaq

You could arguably call the Kodiaq the first properly premium Skoda - it’s a big, imposing seven-seat SUV (which underneath bears a passing mechanical resemblance to the VW Tiguan) with understated styling and a roomy cabin. Engines will be the usual mix of VW Group 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels for now, but the Kodiaq will eventually get a plugin hybrid option too. Given the strength of the Skoda brand in Ireland these days, expect this to do very well indeed.

Arrives: Late 2016

Subaru Impreza

It may not look all that new from the outside (the styling is very evolutionary) but the new Impreza will be the debut car for Subaru’s new global chassis which will eventually underpin all of its model range. Nothing has been said yet about diesel engines, so it’s possible that Subaru is quietly phasing out its ageing 2.0-litre flat-four Boxer diesel in favour of a new lineup of petrol-electric hybrids. Certainly the next WRX model will be a hybrid - with a turbo flat-four powering the front wheels and an electric motor on the rear. 320hp has been spoken of, but with low emissions thanks to the hybrid. Could the hot Subaru be making a comeback?

Arrives: Late 2016

Tesla Model X

Tesla’s big, seven-seat SUV comes with the same insane performance as the Model S saloon, but has the added appeal of gullwing-style ‘Falcon’ rear doors. Space inside is massive, thanks to the compact electric motors, and it has a similar if-Mercedes-designed-a-space-ship cabin layout. The car has been dogged with reports of unreliability though, and while Tesla has spoken often of an iIrish dealer setup, so far nothing concrete has happened.

Arrives: Autumn 2016

Toyota CH-R

Given (a) our traditional love in Ireland for all things Toyota and (b) the current clamour for SUVs and crossovers, it’s kinds hard not to see the new CH-R succeeding, and succeeding in quite a big way. Distinctive to look at and based on Toyota’s new generation architecture (which also underpins the new Prius) the CH-R sits roughly between a Qashqai and a Juke in size terms, and kinda competes with them both. Thus far, it looks as if there will be no diesel option, but it will instead come with 1.2 petrol turbo and the 1.8-litre hybrid from the Prius - a brave decision considering the current headlines over diesel.

Arrives: Late summer 2016

Volkswagen Golf

Here’s the biggie - the eighth generation of Europe’s favourite hatchback. It will only arrive at the last possible minute in 2016 (really it’s a 171-plate model) and it will keep the same MQB chassis and structure of the current model, but you can expect sleeker styling, a seriously high-tech all-digital cabin, a more advanced all-electric version and a whole bevy of mild-hybrid models, which won’t work on just the batteries but which will push economy from the standard models up to close to 80mpg.

Arrives: Late 2016

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