Coming in 2016
So here we are, more than a week into 2016 already. This will be the year of the monkey, according to the Chinese New Year calendar. It is also a leap year, so singletons can get ready with their proposals. More bizarrely, it is the International Year of Pulses, as decreed by the United Nations General Assembly. So get munching on those beans and lentils!
More to the point, it is a year when pulses will be revving at the arrival of some hot new metal. This year’s expected crop of luscious new cars is a bumper one. By next Christmas, we will have seen around 150 new models joining the motoring scene.
We have already highlighted some of the most exotic, from the visually-challenged Bentley Bentayga to the unaffordably opulent Rolls-Royce Dawn. Those are nicely aspirational for millionaires. Now let’s look at what’s coming in the year ahead that may be a bit more within reach for rest of us.
The year gathers pace
The one I’m really looking forward to driving is the Jaguar F-Pace. This is a Jag on stilts, an aluminium-bodied crossover model that will flex its sinuous muscles against established rivals like the Audi Q5 and Q7, BMW X5 and Volvo XC90. Due in showrooms in April, it will have a choice of petrol and diesel engines, and a starting price of £34,170.
Other British models arriving soon are the new MINI Convertible due in March, and priced from £18,475, followed by the 4×4 MINI Clubman ALL4 arriving later in the year. Also coming in March is the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, a controversially styled hunk of a drop-top that I rate quite handsome, but others have likened to a bath on wheels. It will bathe you in roofless luxury at £47,500.
Ford and Vauxhall newbies
Looking a lot lower down the price scale, how about a new Ford Ka, with a starting price of around £8k? This will be the third generation of the Ka, and it is promised to be smarter and more grown-up than its predecessor. This year is going to be a very busy one for Ford, with eight new or facelifted models in the pipeline during 2016. They include a new small crossover Ford Edge, and its updated big brother Ford Ranger, both due this spring.
Meanwhile Vauxhall’s big news is the stylish Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, the estate version of the new Astra, which will be another one on the road in March. Later in the year, a new model Vauxhall Zafira is coming. There will also be a new Vauxhall Meriva, and a facelifted Vauxhall Mokka.
Over at Fiat, look out for the new Fiat Tipo scheduled for a March debut, with a price tag of around £15,500. Come summer, there will be a new Renault Megane with sharper looks and a £17,000-or-thereabouts starting price, and also a new Renault Scenic. Then at Nissan, the big news is a new Nissan Micra, also set for a summer arrival.
A dozen from VW and Volvo
Volkswagen is another manufacturer planning for a very busy year, with seven new or revised models on the way. They include a new-generation, sleek coupe Volkswagen CC, and the latest Volkswagen Tiguan. Others are a facelifted Volkswagen Golf Convertible and a refreshed Volkswagen up!
Volvo is on track for a list of five newcomers and updates, including the flagship Volvo S90 due this spring with a price tag kicking off at £32,000, and the Volvo V90 estate car coming later in the year.
A March debut is scheduled for the new Toyota Prius, with sharper styling and a starting price from £23,295. An autumn arrival is planned for an intriguing newcomer, the Tesla Model X. Following on from Tesla’s success with the Model S, which has impressed as the most convincing electric car yet produced, the company is now venturing onto the SUV scene with a trend-setting all-electric model.
The record for the biggest avalanche of fresh metal goes to Audi, with 11 new models and derivatives on the way this year. They include the Audi Q1 small crossover and a new Audi A5 Convertible. Mercedes won’t be far behind, with nine newcomers on the road in 2016. They include a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class due this summer.
What else is on the way? There are too many to mention them all, but here are a few highlights. The new generation BMW 5-Series will be here this summer, and a big hunky SUV BMW X7 is coming later in the year. A new Kia Sportage is arriving next month. Two newbies later in the year will be the latest Mitsubishi Shogun and also a new Peugeot 3008. Others include a new Skoda Roomster and from MG, a pumped-up crossover called the MG GS.