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Prime picks from Paris

Autumn brings the new ’66 registration plate and a tempting crop of new models. Jonathan Crouch runs the rule over what’s available…

Jonathan CrouchJonathan Crouch

October 2016

The recent Paris Motors Show has seen the introduction of a tempting crop of new models. Jonathan Crouch runs the rule over what’s available...

News from the volume brands

Starting with tiny city cars, there’s plenty to talk about. Daimler’s smart brand has announced a battery-powered ‘electric drive’ version of its fortwo urban runabout, a power plant which for the first time will also be made available in the company’s compact five-door forfour model. Renault has also announced key changes to its electric super mini sized offering, the little ZOE, which now gets a 41 kWh battery allowing its driving range to be increased to a real world limit of as much as 189 miles.

Smart ForTwo Cabrio ED
The Smart ForTwo Cabrio ED (That's Electric Drive)

If you want a more conventional small car and want the latest thing, then that’s probably found in the just-announced Nissan Micra Gen5, the latest installment of the Japanese maker’s long-running small car model line. Alternatively, you could consider the new generation version of the Kia Rio, a car which benefits from the brand’s latest GDI petrol turbo engine technology.

Those wanting a more up-market badge in the small car segment might be tempted by the latest revised version of the Alfa Romeo Mito. Or, if you want something more sporty, Ford is offering an affordable warm hatch in the shape if its Fiesta ST-Line model.

Moving up a category into the Focus-sized family hatch segment, the big news is the announcement of the tenth generation version of Honda’s Civic. This car has a smarter, lower look and some all-new downsized 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre VTEC TURBO petrol engines that are far more advanced than their i-VTEC 1.4 and 1.8-litre predecessors.

Honda Civic
The new 10th generation Honda Civic

One of the cars the Civic will have to beat in this class is the new third generation version of Hyundai’s i30, another of the new arrivals in Paris. If you want a car of this size with a bit of sporting intent, then another new option you could consider is the latest John Cooper Works version of the MINI Clubman.

Hyundai i30
The new Hyundai i30

The market’s fastest growing segment continues to be that for Crossovers, compact cars with SUV styling cues. Vauxhall reckon that even little city cars can get this treatment, announcing their new VIVA ROCKS model. Slightly larger is Kia's Soul, which now gets the Korean company’s latest 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo engine beneath the bonnet. More spacious still – and a little more sensible – is the Suzuki S-Cross, recently face lifted and now available with much more efficient 1.0 and 1.4-litre petrol engines, these using the company’s frugal Boosterjet technology.

Suzuki S Cross
The new Suzuki S Cross

If you’re shopping for an MPV, then there’s also lots of revised product to look at. Kia has updated its Carens compact 7-seater model. And if you want something bigger, Peugeot, Citroen and Toyota have all announced new van-based People Carriers that can seat up to nine. These are all based on the same fundamental design and come respectively badged as either the Peugeot Traveller, the Citroen SpaceTourer or the Toyota PROACE VERSO.

Toyota ProAce Verso
The new Toyota PROACE VERSO

News from the prestigious brands

Premium German brand Audi has plenty to talk about. It’s just about to launch its little Q2 crossover model onto the UK market and this will shortly be followed by a new A5 Coupe, a new A5 Sportback and a completely new version of the brand’s Q5 SUV. The company has also announced a potent 400PS RS3 version of its A3 Saloon too.

Mercedes has also been developing its SUV range, launching a coupe version of its compact GLC model. Plus the brand is aware that some business customers can’t decide between an executive saloon or estate and an SUV, so has brought these people a combination of both genres in the form of its E-Class All-Terrain model. For the super-car set, the Stuttgart maker has announced a desirable open-top version of its AMG GT sports car, the Roadster.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All Terrain
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class All Terrain

Land Rover’s big news at Paris was the introduction of its new fifth generation Discovery SUV. The new model looks for all the world like a larger version of the brand’s existing Discovery Sport, but is a much more capable seven seater and, as you'd expect, can take you almost anywhere you’d ever want to go off road.

Land Rover Discovery
The new Land Rover Discovery

Finally, if you want a break from the established premium brands and want to spoil yourself with a luxury coupe, it might be worth seeking out a rare but quite desirable one, the latest Infiniti Q60. Here, you get the kind of luxury you might have expected to pay six figures for at a price tag that will cost you half of that.

Infiniti Q60
The new Infiniti Q60