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Models gearing up X-citement factor early this year

PUBLISHED: 15:52 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:52 02 February 2018

Volvo XC40. Picture: Volvo

Volvo XC40. Picture: Volvo

manufacturer supplied

This is going to be another exciting year for new cars – motoring editor Andy Russell picks out a few of the cars he is looking forward to driving.

Kia Stinger GTS. Picture: Kia Kia Stinger GTS. Picture: Kia

KIA STINGER

The stunning Stinger ‘grand tourer’ is going to be a game-changer for Kia’s image.

Now on sale, priced from £31,995, entry GT-Line and and mid-range GT-Line S are powered by four-cylinder 244bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol or 197bhp 2.2-litre turbo diesel engines for 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds and 7.3 seconds respectively with the latter also able to top 50mpg combined.

The £40,495 flagship Stinger GT-S packs a 365bhp, 3.3-litre V6 turbo petrol engine for 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed 168mph.

All models drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox with five different shift and throttle programmes and a limited slip differential is standard.

Volkswagen up! GTI. Picture: Volkswagen Volkswagen up! GTI. Picture: Volkswagen

VOLKSWAGEN UP! GTI

A classic pocket rocket, the up! GTI is the smallest member of the GTI family and a tribute to the iconic original Golf GTI.

This compact hot-hatch broadly follows the format of the original ‘hot’ Golf – the concept and power output of 115PS put the up! GTI roughly in line with the 110PS Golf GTI Mark I, launched in 1976.

The up! GTI, which includes sport suspension, telltale red stripes in the radiator grille, red brake callipers, tartan seat covers and a unique wheel design, weighs just 997kg and the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol engine can power it to 62mph from rest in 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 122mph.

Jaguar E-Pace. Picture: Jaguar Jaguar E-Pace. Picture: Jaguar

The three-door is £13,750 and the five-door £14,150 on the road.

JAGUAR E-PACE

The new E-Pace crossover, from £28,500, lives up to Jaguar’s sporting heritage with a muscular exterior design inspired by the F-Type sports car.

It also comes with the latest in-car connectivity, including a 10in touch screen as standard and, at under 4.4m long, has a roomy interior that can seat five in comfort.

Volvo XC40. Picture: Volvo Volvo XC40. Picture: Volvo

Power comes from new 2.0-litre Ingenium turbo engines – 150, 180 and 240PS diesel and 250 and 300PS turbo petrol. All are all-wheel drive and automatic but the 150PS diesel is also available with a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive and the 180PS version has a manual option.

The high-performance 300PS petrol model reaches 60mph in 5.9 seconds with top speed limited to 151mph while the front-wheel drive 150PS diesel has CO2 emissions of 124g/km.

VOLVO XC40

Volvo’s all-new XC40 compact sport utility vehicle is off to a winning start after being crowned What Car? Car of Year 2018.

Suzuki Swift Sport: Picture: Suzuki Suzuki Swift Sport: Picture: Suzuki

The XC40 sits on a new compact platform that can also be used for hybrid and pure electric powertrains but is launched with 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines with all-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmission. Entry petrol and diesel models are also offered with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox.

Six-footers can sit comfortably in the back while the 460-litre boot has a multi-function false floor.

Every version includes a nine-inch touchscreen control system, satellite navigation, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, 18in alloy wheels and the Volvo On Call remote control. Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive technology is available to keep the car safely in its lane, at the desired cruising speed ands a set distance from a vehicle in front. Prices range from £27,905 to £40,355.

SUZUKI SWIFT SPORT

BMW X2. Picture: BMW BMW X2. Picture: BMW

The third-generation Swift Sport features a lower, wider stance, more aggressive styling and a torque-to-weight ratio that propels the Swift Sport into genuine hot-hatch territory.

The new 140PS 1.4-litre Boosterjet turbo petrol engine also produces 230Nm of torque which, in a car 80kg lighter, much stiffer and more dynamic suspension than before, will make it even better to drive.

Suzuki’s flagship sports model looks the part too with carbon fibre-style embossing for the front grille, front-lip spoiler, side skirts and rear diffuser, thin-spoke 17in alloy wheels and tapered dual exhaust tips. Inside, it features red interior accents, sports instruments and extra gauges, sports front seats, D-shaped steering wheel, chrome gear shift knob and sports alloy pedals.

Safety features include advanced forward detection, dual sensor emergency braking and lane departure warning.

Volkswagen T-Roc. Picture: Volkswagen Volkswagen T-Roc. Picture: Volkswagen

BMW X2

BMW’s X2, due to be launched in spring, is an entry option for the X family sport utility vehicle line-up alongside the X1 but, like the larger X4 and X6, is sleeker with low-slung coupe proportions.

The X2 compact sports activity coupe is 7cm lower and 2cm shorter than the X1 but has an identical wheelbase.

It will be launched with a single 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel engine in the xDrive20d, developing 190bhp and 400Nm of torque, for 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 137mph. Fuel efficiency is a claimed 61.4mpg combined with CO2 emissions of 121g/km.

Other 2.0-litre engine options will follow later this year — front-wheel drive sDrive20i petrol and sDrive18d diesel and a four-wheel drive xDrive18d. Prices start at £33,980.

Vauxhall Insignia GSi Grand Sport. Picture: Vauxhall Vauxhall Insignia GSi Grand Sport. Picture: Vauxhall

VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC

The compact crossover class is predicted to double in size by 2020 and cars like Volkswagen’s new T-Roc will help drive it.

Sharing the new Polo supermini’s platform, the crossover features 115PS 1.0-litre, 150PS 1.5-litre and 190PS 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engines and a 150PS 2.0-litre TDI turbo diesel. The latter two, only in the range-topping model, get four-wheel drive as standard.

The T-Roc is available in S, SE, Design and SEL trims with Design featuring customisation options and range-topping SEL cutting-edge features. It’s the first Volkswagen SUV offered with two-tone paint with a contrasting roof, A-pillars and mirror housings.

Nissan Leaf. Picture: Nissan Nissan Leaf. Picture: Nissan

Standard features include automatic post-collision braking, lane assist, pedestrian monitoring and city emergency braking.

The T-Roc has a 445-litre boot, rising to 1,290 litres of load space with the 60/40 rear seat backs folded down. Pricing starts at £18,950.

VAUXHALL GSI

Vauxhall’s Insignia GSi, the performance variant of its flagship hatchback and estate range, is the fastest Vauxhall to have taken to the iconic Nurburgring track in Germany where it was developed.

Powered by 260PS 2.0-litre turbo petrol and 210PS 2.0-litre BiTurbo diesel engines, with eight-speed automatic transmission and shift-paddles, the GSi is 160kg ligher than its VXR predecessor and has all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, Brembo four-cylinder brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres on 20in wheels and four driving modes to adapt damping, steering, gear change-up points and stability and traction control systems.

The Grand Sport hatchback Insignia GSi can reach 60mph in 6.9 seconds and 155mph with CO2 emissions 192 to 197g/km.

Standard kit includes chrome air intakes, sports body kit, adaptive LED headlamps, leather upholstery, front sports seats, aluminium pedals, eight-inch colour information display with navigation, Bose sound system and head-up display. „The Grand Sport starts at £33,375, the Sport Tourer estate £34,875.

NISSAN LEAF

The next generation of the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, is in showrooms with prices, including a £4,500 government plug-in car grant, £21,990 to £27,490 – up to £1,500 lower than the previous model.

The all-new Leaf offers a significant update over the previous model with dynamic new styling, a higher-capacity battery – for a 50pc increase in official range to 235 miles and a 38pc increase in power to 150PS – and advanced technologies.

It is Europe’s first Nissan equipped with autonomous ProPilot technology and e-Pedal, which allows drivers to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop – simply by increasing or decreasing the pressure applied to the accelerator.

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