S-T of new cars

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SEAT Mii

From the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo to the Toyota GT 86 sports coupe, here's S to T of the hottest new cars for 2012

SEAT Mii
On sale: May
Price: £7,500 (est)

SEAT’s interpretation of the up! city car will be its first offering in this sector since it launched the Arosa back in 1997. With a surprisingly spacious interior, feisty 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and very low price tag, the Mii delivers in every department.

Read our first drive >>

Skoda A-entry
On sale: November
Price: £15,000 (est)

Filling the gap between the Fabia and Octavia, the ‘A-entry’ – as it’s codenamed – is Skoda’s much anticipated answer to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. The first compact family saloon the company has ever built is the first of many new Skodas set to appear in the coming years, with plans to launch a model every six months from the start of 2012. It will appear in saloon form first, but Skoda
is also considering a hatchback version.

Skoda Citigo
On sale: June
Price: £7,500

The all-new Citigo is Skoda’s version of the VW up! and SEAT Mii and with its combination of good looks, low running costs and a quality interior, it makes downsizing more appealing than ever before. And the newcomer is a very attractive alternative, as it will come
with more standard equipment than either of its rivals, yet will cost £500 less than the VW. On the road, the 1.0-litre three-cylinder
engine has all the power you need for a city car, while handling and refinement are both excellent. Interior and boot space are equally impressive, making the Citigo strong across the board.

Read our first drive >>

We’ve driven it…
Steve Fowler, Editor-in-chief: “Go for a Citigo over an up! and you’ll likely pocket a £500 saving. I loved the Skoda’s easygoing nature; the ride is comfortable, the controls are easy to use
and visibility is superb. It’s a great city car.

Smart EV
On sale: July
Price: £15,000 (est)

Will this tiny electric car be a huge success when it arrives in the spring? Smart hopes so. The EV is capable of covering up to 87 miles between charges, and together with nippy performance and a vivid white and green paint scheme, it’ll get you noticed around town.

Smart ForTwo
On sale: April
Price: From £9,500 (est)

When Smart previewed its upcoming EV at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, it accidentally showed off what the facelifted ForTwo will look like. The main changes to the exterior will be larger, more rounded headlights, more sculpted bumpers, plus the latest eco technologies.

Subaru BRZ
On sale: July
Price: £28,000 (est)

Apart from a new front bumper and wheels, the BRZ is identical to Toyota’s new GT 86. It packs a 197bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and will cover 0-62mph in less than seven seconds. The lightweight (1,200kg) coupe will later be joined by a cabrio version, too.

Read our first drive>>

Subaru Impreza
On sale: August
Price: £18,000 (est)

Available in both four and five-door bodystyles, the new Impreza has had a much needed interior makeover – and there’s more space, too. Power will come from either 1.6 or 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer engines.

Subaru XV
On sale: March
Price: £22,000 (est)

With its bold, chunky design, the XV goes all-out to emphasise its off-road capabilities, but it’s really a rival to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai ix35. Inside, Subaru has concentrated on improving the design and quality. Initially, three engines will be available – two new petrols and a diesel. The petrols are 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines, available with manual or CVT gearboxes, while the diesel is the company’s familiar 2.0-litre boxer, and can only be had as a manual. This will be the most expensive version, weighing in at around the £25,000 mark, but Subaru still expects it to become the range’s biggest seller here in the UK.

Read our first drive >>

We’ve driven it…
Jack Rix, Deputy motoring editor: “The XV is a good attempt at taking a slice of the lucrative compact SUV market – it’s a smart-looking 4×4 with a spacious cabin. Quality could be better and the ride could be more comfortable, though.”

Suzuki Kizashi
On sale: February
Price: £23,000 (est)

The Kizashi is Suzuki’s new all-wheel-drive saloon, similar in size to the Skoda Octavia. It’s a limited-run model and will only be available in Sport trim. Power comes from a 177bhp 2.4-litre petrol engine paired to a CVT box. It returns 34mpg and emits 191g/km of CO2.

Read our first drive >>

Suzuki Swift Sport
On sale: January
Price: £14,000 (est)

The Swift Sport is one of the most enjoyable cars Suzuki has ever made. With its lower, more compact stance, aggressive bodykit and tinted windows, it certainly looks the part. Powering the warm hatch is an updated version of the 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine from the previous car. Power has been increased slightly to 134bhp. However, the Swift Sport isn’t about straight-line speed. The handling is direct, while the chassis feels well balanced and nimble. The benefit of the new engine and a lightweight body is that the new car is more efficient than its predecessor, with an extra gear boosting economy from 39.8 to 44.1mpg. Plus, CO2 emissions have dropped to 147g/km.

Read our first drive >>

We’ve driven it…
Paul Bond, Road tester: “The Swift Sport is one of the best cars I’ve driven this year. Its eager, naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine reminds me of retro hot hatches such as Peugeot’s 205 GTi – and the nimble handling is nearly as sweet.”

Tesla Model S
On sale: November
Price: £32k (est)

This new electric executive car will be offered in 160, 230 or 300-mile-range versions, and Tesla says charging from 10 to 90 per cent of the lithium-ion battery’s full capacity will take as little as 45 minutes, using a special 480V supply. The aim is to sell 20,000 cars a year.

Toyota GT 86
On sale: July
Price: £28,000 (est)

One of the most eagerly awaited Toyotas for years, the GT 86 is the Japanese firm’s back-to-basics sports car. It’s a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive coupe with a straightforward 2.0-litre flat-four engine and the aim of providing maximum fun-per-mile. Part of a joint venture, Toyota handled the GT 86’s exterior styling, while Subaru supplied the chassis, engine, transmission, brakes and suspension. Inside, the car has a 2+2 seating arrangement, but don’t expect to squeeze anyone over 5ft 7in in the back seat. However, the driver’s seat will accommodate those over six feet tall in comfort. Delivering 197bhp at 7,000rpm and 205Nm of torque at 6,600rpm, the GT 86 is capable of 0-60mph in around 7.0 seconds and, as we found out in Issue 1,195, is brilliant to drive.

Read our first drive >>

We’ve driven it…
Peter Lyon, Special contributor: “I was one of the first journalists to drive the GT 86 in early December, and it really is a stunning driver’s car. It handles beautifully, and marks a return to form for a brand sorely in need of boosting its image.”

Toyota Prius plug-in
On sale: August
Price: £23,000 (est)

At last – a Prius you can top up from the mains. The plug-in hybrid has the same engine as the standard car, but features li-ion batteries that can be recharged in 90 minutes. Electric-only range goes up to 12 miles and the Toyota will hit 60mph without petrol power.

Read our first drive >>

Toyota Prius+
On sale: June
Price: £24,000 (est)

It’s the Prius Toyota should have built long ago. With two extra seats, more head and legroom and increased luggage space, the Prius+ is far more practical than its smaller sibling. The extra weight means it will be slightly less economical, but should still do around 65mpg.

Read our first drive >>

Toyota Yaris HSD
On sale: June
Price: £15,000 (est)

The first small Toyota to fully incorporate hybrid kit, this uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine backed up by an electric motor; an overall 99bhp gives 0-60mph in around 12 seconds and 120mph. More importantly, the Yaris can do about 80mpg while it emits only 85g/km of CO2.

Read our first drive >>

Details

Chart position: 7

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