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Fall favourites

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

September 2016

If the prospect of the September number plate change isn’t enough to get buyers thinking about a new car, then the mainstream makers hope that a bumper crop of new models will tempt them back into the showrooms. Here’s the pick of what’s available this month…

News from the volume brands

Starting with tiny citycars, there’s plenty to talk about. Volkswagen’s little up! model has been substantially revised and the top version now features a clever three cylinder 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine at the top of the range to give it a little more zip. If you like a sportier feel in a car of this type, you’ll be interested in a fresh Fiat 500 derivative, the 500S. The more dynamic-looking ‘S’ package can be added in with any of the engines available with this car. If you simply want sensible A to B citycar transport at an affordable price, then you might be interested to know that Hyundai’s i10, a strong player in this segment, has been significantly revised with a facelift and extra safety and infotainment options.

Volkswagen up!
The Volkswagen up! has been substantially revised

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Moving on to superminis, we should probably start by noting the fact that Citroen will shortly be announcing an all-new third generation of their C3 model, a car that now has far more of the flair of Citroens of old. It looks smarter and there’s even a built-in camera that can record road accident situations or send video clips of your travels to your friends. A lower-profile all-new arrival in this sector comes in the form of Suzuki’s Baleno, this model offering a more sensibly-orientated approach to this segment than is already provided by the brand’s sportier Swift model. Also, you could check out the heavily revised facelifted version of Renault’s Clio, which gets upgraded infotainment, a classier cabin and a smarter exterior look.

In the family hatchback market, the big news is the arrival of Renault’s all-new Megane, but many buyers in the traditional Focus and Astra sector have switched to Crossovers and SUVs, cars like the latest version of Volkswagen’s Tiguan and its VW Group clones SEAT’s Ateca and Skoda’s Kodiaq. If you want something compact but family-sized and more affordable in this class, the new MG GS could well suit – or perhaps you’d like the extra boot space of SsangYong’s latest Tivoli XLV. Ford has a pokier version of its little EcoSport with a 1.0-litre 140PS engine, while Kia has introduced the small Crossover segment’s first hybrid in the form of its Niro model. Vauxhall, meanwhile, is about to launch a facelifted version of its contender, the Mokka, now badged the ‘Mokka X’. If you need something a little bigger in this class, check out the all-new second generation Peugeot 3008.

Renault Megane
The all-new Renault Megane is big news

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Finally, let’s talk about sporty models. Hot hatch fans wanting something small but perky are being offered a GT version of Renault’s little Twingo. For more serious supermini performance, there’s Ford’s Fiesta ST220. If though, you want a proper sports roadster, you’re going to want to check out the new Fiat 124 Spider.

News from the prestigious brands

Audi continue to expand into new market segments, the mst recent example of this being their move into the small crossover sector with their new Q2 model. The Ingolstadt brand has also just introduced a heavily revised version of its A3 premium hatch, with updates that also extend into that model’s saloon and Cabriolet derivatives. Wealthier buyers may want to try the exotic new generation R8 Spyder open-top supercar. Or, if they’ve families, then the new SQ7 TDI plug-in SUV performance model might appeal. There’s also an all-new A5 coupe too.

Audi Q2
The new Audi Q2 crossover

As for rivals Mercedes, well they’ve just announced the executive class E-Class estate, the GLC Coupe sporty compact SUV and the desirable C-Class Cabriolet. Don’t forget British brand Jaguar either. It’s just launched its new F-PACE luxury Crossover model, while for sportscar buyers, a rip-snorting SVR version of its F-TYPE will shortly be in the showrooms too.