Jeep’ off-road icon is imminent in Sport, Overland and Rubicon spec, with 2.2-litre turbo-diesel power and torque allied to an eight-speed auto, a classier cabin, more refined road manners and better ride. Will potential buyers be spooked by the one-star Euro NCAP safety rating?
Second-gen Leaf could change the electric car game if priced right. It’ a more conventional-looking package with greater energy density and therefore battery range, as well as improved performance, and a focus on driver assistance tech that allows some self-driving functions.
The bigger, all-new RAV4 promises to be from the ‘New Toyota’ mould, which means driver appeal and ride/handling smarts are part of the package. A petrol/ electric hybrid, torque-vectoring AWD and off-road focused ‘Adventure’ version with multi-terrain modes all have our interest.
Ingolstadt’ bigger, second-gen baby is set to usher in greater class, including a richer cabin and cutting-edge infotainment to properly justify the premium over its Volkswagen Polo platform donor.
ALFA ROMEO Stelvio Quadrifoglio
AUDI RS5 Sportback, Q7 e-tron quattro, Q8
FORD Endura, Everest update
JAGUAR F-Pace update, SVR
LAND ROVER Range Rover P400e plug-in
LEXUS CT200h update
MERCEDES-BENZ X350d, C63 AMG update
SKODA Fabia facelift
SUZUKI Jimny, Vitara update
AUDI A1 and A6
BMW 3 Series, 8 Series, i3 update, X7 30d and M50d, Z4 (Feb); BMW i3 update (March)
HYUNDAI i30 N Fastback, Kona Electric, Veloster
KIA Cerato hatch + GT, Picanto GT
PORSCHE Macan facelift
ROLLS ROYCE Cullinan
TOYOTA RAV4 and Prius
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Fiesta as well as the (now delayed) ST? Okay, the mainstream Fiesta’s Oz noshow status is unlikely to change, but the ST’s three- or five-door status may still be up for negotiation. Can we have the five-door, please? (Or, even better, both body variants.)
HIGHLIGHTS The total market for 2018 tallied 1,153,111 units in a year that was good to SUVs (43 percent of the total market), utes (light commercials represented 21 percent of the market) and small cars (17 percent of the market). Toyota (with an 19 percent market share), Mazda (10 percent), Hyundai (8 percent), Mitsubishi (7 percent) and Ford (6 percent) filled places one to five respectively, with both Mitsubishi and Toyota up compared with 2017.
LOWLIGHTS A tough economic climate on the back of declining residential property values, tighter lending and drought among other factors saw the 2018’s total market drop by 36,005 sales or 3 percent compared with 2017’s record year. While three of four SUV sub-segments and 4x4 utes grew, most other segments took a hit. Worst were medium, large and sports cars, down 27, 53 and 32 percent respectively.
Honda’s medium SUV was up 16 percent in December and rounds 2018 up 70 percent on 2017. Its smaller SUV sibling the HR-V was the only other Honda to see growth in 2018, by a modest 2.6 percent YTD.
Emblematic of the Lion’s woes – Astra is actually Holden’s bestselling passenger car – the Euro hatch was down 70 percent in December and 27 percent year-todate. Its 1067 sales pale alongside model’s December 2017 tally of