V of new cars


Vauxhall Ampera

Our A-Z ends with a string of hot new cars from Vauxhall, VW and Volvo, including the up!, new Beetle and Astra VXR

Vauxhall Ampera
On sale: April
Price: £28,995

With a total range of over 300 miles and economy of up to 175mpg, the Ampera will be more flexible than all-electric cars. It’s pricey, even with the Government’s £5k grant, but Vauxhall says the technology will get cheaper. It’s working on a smaller, Astra-sized model, too.

Read our first drive >>

Vauxhall Astra Convertible
On sale: September
Price: £22k (est)

The next Astra Convertible will go back to using a soft-top. The canvas roof will be made from a new, specially engineered fabric, and promises to be more durable and soundproof. The model will be wider and lower than the standard Astra, and based on a similar chassis to the GTC.

Vauxhall Astra VXR
On sale: August
Price: £25,000 (est)

Based on the three-door Astra GTC, Vauxhall’s range-topping VXR gets an aggressive bodykit, large alloys and a sporty rear spoiler. Power comes from a turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine that delivers 276bhp, up 39bhp from the previous edition. This gives the VXR more power than both its main rivals: the VW Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST. The result is a 0-62mph time of less than six seconds and a top speed of 155mph. The VXR is also fitted with FlexRide adaptive dampers as standard, as well as a Sport mode that stiffens the
suspension plus improves throttle and steering response. Inside, the hot Astra gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel, special VXR dials and leather-trimmed racing seats.

Vauxhall Junior
On sale: December
Price: £10k (est)

Based on the Corsa, Vauxhall’s premium supermini has its sights set firmly on the MINI and Fiat 500. The British brand aims to deliver a stylish car that will be fun to drive, and will go all-out on personalisation, too, with up to 10,000 variations of paint and trim available.

Vauxhall Small SUV
On sale: October
Price: £14,000 (est)

Rival to the MINI Countryman will be the first car built using Vauxhall’s new small car platform. It will be available with a range of engines, including a 180bhp 1.6-litre petrol and a 120bhp 1.7-litre diesel, and there will also be the option of two or four-wheel drive.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
On sale: January
Price: £21,000

This rival to the Ford S-MAX is practical, spacious and versatile. It’s also the most expensive Zafira ever made. But thanks to its impressive engines, smooth ride and direct steering, Vauxhall shouldn’t have much trouble justifying this car’s price tag.

Read our first drive >>

Volkswagen Beetle
On sale: April
Price: £16,000 (est)

The most iconic VW ever has been given a modern makeover, and finally the retro-inspired Beetle poses a serious threat to its stylish MINI and Fiat 500 rivals. It now looks more masculine – and it’s not only the design that’s been improved. The Beetle features all of VW’s latest engine technology, while handling and steering take a huge leap forward, too. At launch, three trim levels will be available, ranging from entry-level Beetle spec to Design and Sport trims further up the range. A Sport fitted with a 1.4-litre TSI engine is the most costly car at £21,220. VW is also planning a hot Beetle R, with the Golf GTI’s 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, sports suspension and a racy bodykit.

Read our first drive >>

We’ve driven it…
Mat Watson, Head of motoring video: “Finally, the Beetle is a car you’ll want to be seen in. It’s much better-looking and more enjoyable to drive, too. All Volkswagen needs to do now is make the hot R version.”

Volkswagen Beetle Cabrio
On sale: November
Price: £18,000 (est)

The new Beetle Cabriolet is far better looking than the outgoing model. VW hopes the more masculine styling will attract male buyers and, if the hard-top version is anything to go by, those chunky looks will be matched by a sportier drive. Soft-top electric folding roof is effective, too.

Volkswagen Beetle R
On sale: December
Price: £24k (est)

Following its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the red-hot Beetle R is closer than ever to production. It gets an aggressive makeover, with race-style bucket seats. Power is expected to come from the 2.0 TSI turbo petrol engine in the Golf GTI.

Volkswagen Polo R
On sale: September
Price: £24k (est)

Topping the new Polo range, the R will be based on the current GTI, but with styling tweaks and a 210bhp 1.6-litre TSI engine. The extra power means the R will go from 0-62mph in less than six seconds and on to 150mph. A four-wheel-drive version hasn’t been ruled out, either.

Volkswagen up!
On sale: March
Price: £7,995

One of the most eagerly anticipated cars of 2012, the all-new micro machine is set to redefine the capabilities of a modern city car. Featuring interior quality, refinement and performance unlike any of its rivals, the up! really does feel as if it’s a car from the class above.

Read our first drive >>

Volkswagen up! five-door
On sale: July
Price: £9,500 (set)

The five-door version will have even more space and practicality than the hugely impressive three-door model, yet you can expect the same smooth, refined and economical drive. The only exterior styling difference will be a more upright rear, to allow for the extra doors.

Volvo V30
On sale: August
Price: £18,000 (est)

Finally, Volvo is launching a rival to the Ford Focus and VW Golf in the shape of this new compact hatchback, set to be called the V30. Larger and more practical than the C30, it gets new Volvo-developed petrol and diesel engines, with a sub-100g/km DRIVe version a certainty.

Volvo V60 plug-in
On sale: December
Price: £30k (est)

The V60 plug-in will deliver power, economy and low emissions – that’s the claim from Volvo. Fitted with a 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine and 70bhp electric motor, the plug-in offers three cars in one: an EV over short distances, an ultra-frugal hybrid and a sporty estate.

Read our first drive >>


Chart position: 8