Jonathan Crouch runs the rule over the latest new models putting in a claim for your money, with the new ‘17 registration plate not far away….

As we approach the latest ‘17 registration plate that arrives in March, the motor industry seems to be in strong health, though we’ve yet to see the real impact of the Brexit vote.

Partly that’s because of world economics, but the automotive makers would also like to think it has something to do with the sheer volume of new products reaching the showrooms just at present.

 If you’re going to be shopping for something new with that new plate, here’s a quick run-through on what’s new….

News from the volume brands


We’ll start with tiny citycars. If there’s such a thing as a ‘premium’ example of a car of this kind, then Volkswagen’s little up! model is probably it. The Wolfsburg brand has revised this car for the current market, adding in a clever three cylinder 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine at the top of the range to give it a little more zip. Key rivals include the recently launched Ford KA+.


On to superminis. Arguably the most important new entrant to this market is the all-new Fiesta, due to reach the Blue Oval brand’s showrooms this Spring. The looks are quite familiar but in fact, everything’s all-new and there’s a much smarter interior and the option of derivatives specifically aimed at the hot hatch and crossover markets.

Another key new arrival is the third generation version of Citroen’s C3, a model with now has far more of the flair of Citroens of old. It looks sassier and there’s even a built-in camera that can record road accident situations or send video clips of your travels to your friends. As for other freshly launched supermini options, well we’d also want to look at the all-new Kia Rio.  A lower-profile all-new entrant in this sector comes in the form of Suzuki’s Ignis, which brings a dash of Crossover flair to the supermini segment. You might also want to check out the heavily revised facelifted version of Renault’s Clio, which gets upgraded infotainment, a classier cabin and a smarter exterior look.

Family Hatchbacks

Renault also provides the key new entrant in the family hatchback market, their all-new Megane – a key car for the brand with sharp styling and the promise of some clever engine technology to come. It simply must succeed if the company is to ease back into long term profitability. It’s got tough rivals though, primarily recently facelifted versions of the Volkswagen Golf, the SEAT Leon and the Skoda Octavia., plus an all-new third generation version of Hyundai’s i30. Eco-minded folk might prefer to look at the new Plug-in version of Toyota’s Prius hybrid.

People Carriers

If your family needs something slightly larger and you want a People Carrier, you might be interested in the all-new versions of Renault’s Scenic and Grand Scenic models, cars that go directly up against the improved Vauxhall Zafira Tourer and the recently revised Citroen C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso models. If you need a larger People Carrier than that, three new super-large van-based MPVs have just hit the market. These are all essentially re-badged versions of the same design – Peugeot’s Traveller, Citroen’s Space Tourer and Toyota’s Proace Verso.

Crossovers & SUVs

The real market growth area though at present, is found in Crossover and small SUVs. MINI has just launched a second generation version of its Countryman and Peugeot has announced a second generation version of its 3008. Ford has heavily revised its Kuga and Mazda has announced a MK2 model version of its CX-5. If you want something more compact, there’s Vauxhall’s new Mokka X. If you want an SUV with seven seats, there’s Skoda’s new Kodiaq.

Sporty Cars

Fancy something sporty? Well if you’re buying on a budget and find yourself often city-based, Renault’s new Twingo GT might be just the ticket. If, on the other hand, you’d prefer a ‘proper’ sportscar, Mazda’s MX-5 is difficult to beat – there’s now a special edition ‘Arctic’ version.


Another much smaller market segment showing signs of growth is that for pick-ups. Fiat has just entered this class with their Mitsubishi L200-derived Fullback model – and Renault are just about to follow suit with their Alaskan. That Renault is derived from another fresh market entrant, the Nissan NP300 Navara. Toyota has a new generation version of its Hilux model, while the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok have also been fundamentally revised.


News from the prestigious brands


Audi’s range continues to expand. New in the showrooms is the company’s first really small Crossover model, the Q2. If you want a bigger Crossover from Audi, you’ll be steered towards the all-new second generation Q5 model that’s just been launched. Executive buyers will want to find out about three new A5 models – there’s a Coupe, a Cabriolet and a five-door Sportback to choose from.


Rivals Mercedes have also been busy of late, following a flurry of new model activity last year with the announcement of the new E-Class Coupe, plus revised versions of the AMG GT supercar and the GLA compact Crossover.


Jaguar meanwhile, is now really establishing itself as a credible alternative to the German brands. It’s just launched its new F-PACE luxury Crossover model, while for sportscar buyers, the popular F-TYPE line-up has been extensively revised.

Alfa Romeo

A brand aiming to try and offer something different to the usual German premium options is Alfa Romeo. This marque has just introduced its most important car for years, the BMW 3 Series-sized Giulia model, which looks a strong and elegant contender.

Overall, it’s hard to remember when there was a wider choice of new models for a registration plate change. Research your chosen car carefully, make time for more than the odd test drive and enjoy the buying process.

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